Getting in the Groove®

This event is led by our associate, Brian Hayman

A Experience that…

  • groovesmDemonstrates concretely, in a stimulating and provocative way, the dynamics of group performance
  • Shows how temporary teams can come together, blend diverse skills and rapidly move to a solid level of performance
  • Reveals the organizational conditions that must be in place for people to perform at the top of their ability
  • Challenges teams and organizations to collaborate creatively for maximum results
  • Shows how to keep moving forward when the objectives and the way are not clear

The Setting…

  1. groove2The workshop begins with an improvisational performance by a live jazz ensemble, often with musicians who have never played together before. This grabs participants’ attention right away and provides them with a dramatic example of a performing organization, right before their eyes (and ears)


  1. Participants then engage in a facilitated discussion around what they have just noticed.

Typical observations:

  • no egos, no heroes
  • each player had a chance to shine and to lead
  • trusting relationships and mutual respect
  • seamless handoff from one person to another
  • each brings their own personality to the performance
  • different skills needed to create the synergy
  • they enjoyed themselves
  1. Following more jazz, attendees then surface insights around the conditions that need to be in place to foster this behavior and the resulting high quality performance.

Some elements they might identify:

  • shared sense of purpose
  • individual competence
  • clarity about roles and responsibilities
  • the importance of trust
  • rules of play and systems of governance
  • ensemble’s relationship with the audience
  1. Finally, participants then move into the customized part of the workshop, drawing their own insights for how the jazz model can be applied to their own organization, department or team. These discussions are supported at appropriate times by musical examples from the ensemble.

Typical applications include:

  • Leadership development
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Managing diversity
  • Assessing organizational culture
  • Managing change
  • Group problem solving and decision making
  • Team building
  • Conflict management
  • Developing individual competencies for self-organizing groups

The session can culminate with individuals or functional groups formulating plans for improving their collective effectiveness. Alternatively, the outcome can be a strongly reinforced theme for your conference, meeting, or upcoming business year.

The Learnings…

Agree on some basics
Just as jazz musicians agree on what chord progression to follow and what tempo to use, make sure that your group starts out with a consensus on a few key fundamentals about your goals, how you will work, and rules-of-play for decision-making.

Be flexible and keep an open mind
As in jazz, if everyone goes into a project open to possibilities and ideas generated from others, what the group ultimately creates will far exceed what any individual member could have created on his or her own.

Work with all the group’s resources
Allow everyone to participate. The essence of jazz is collective improvisation-the spontaneous, dynamic and creative interplay among the performing artists. Be willing to respond to what goes on around you. It’s not just about any one person, alone. Jazz solos are not monologues but creations open to the influences of the accompanying musicians. So should it be in your workplace.

Encourage risk-taking. . .within a structure
You can’t have improvisation in jazz without the freedom to express oneself. But, in groups, playing just anything that comes into your head results in chaos. Build in some sensible limits to liberate creative contributions.

The Event…

The freedom, so essential for the performance of jazz, is grounded in a rigorous individual and collective discipline. Jazz figured out a long time ago how diverse but highly interdependent groups of people can perform collaboratively. Jazz has put the theory of synergy into practice. For this reason, jazz, because it thrives on uncertainty and sees it as an opportunity rather than a threat, has much to teach contemporary organizations.

The program is available in several formats:

  1. Keynote presentation for conferences or major meetings or as
  2. Half or full-day learning event
  3. As part of a wider customized leadership development initiative for an executive or senior management group. The initiative might include 360 feedback (The Leadership Circle), focused leadership training, and special learning event simulations, and one-on-one coaching.
  4. “Unbundled,” beginning with the initial GITG event and then followed by a series of five sessions, each one emphasising one of Peter Senge’s “disciplines” of a Learning Organization. (Personal Mastery, Mental Models, Shared Vision, Team Learning and Systems Thinking)


Call us now, at 888-385-2786 or