Key Signature Leader Spotlight: Jim Vinyard As the musician walks into the quiet room, he immediately notices the panel of three seated in the center. Upon approaching the piano, he notices a large stack of unfamiliar sheet music. Instantly, he began to experience feelings of anxiety, fear and even nausea. But before he reaches for any of the first few pages, he attempts to calm himself by remembering the words of his first piano teacher, “Before playing a single note, always take a moment to look at the key signature and understand what key you are in.” Upon meditating for a moment on the simple instructions from his teacher, he felt more comfortable and relieved that his audition would be successful.
In musical terms, the Key signature is the arrangement of accidentals at the beginning of a staff, indicating the pitches that will be most common in a piece of music. Not only will the key signature identify the pitches that will most likely occur but it will also bring attention to whether the pitches are sharp or flat. Key signatures are important because it announces from the beginning, of what to be expected but also it informs the player to how he should adjust along the way. Key signatures grants the player a sense of direction.
Key Signatures advise the player What to focus on? Sharps or flats How many will you encountered? 1,2,3, etc What will you do? Raise or lower What is the key signature? G Major, Ab minor
In a recent article by Forbes, a survey illustrated how a high percentage of employees across America were displeased with their current relations in the workplace. Employees have grown tired of unexpected outcomes resulting from the lack of direction. They want to be informed of any change management efforts before – not after the fact. Employees desire to know what is expected of them and be given the opportunity to adjust themselves, rather than be told later they are not qualified for new roles and responsibilities and can no longer execute their functions successfully. The leadership in many of these cases has failed to clearly identify the KEY to their team and staff.
Being aware of the key signature does provides a level of confidence and builds trust. However, it does not eliminate potential surprises. But when leaders face the often unfortunate unexpected circumstances, they should be prepared to clearly communicate the organization's direction and purpose. This assurance and connection builds trust and leaves the employees and staff feeling empowered and motivated even in spite of the present challenges.
My dear friend, Jim Vineyard, has over 20 years of experience in business and global event management and has seen his share of upset due to the lack of direction, witnessing the frustration of among staff. During my last few years of knowing him, I've come to recognize that he is a leader that values the importance of understanding directives, but also sharing it clearly with the team. As the Director of Partnerships and Special Events for Serv International, he is responsible for fund-raising and raising awareness to the current living conditions and needs in Kenya. Clear direction is essential in his day to day operations. Jim is a leader that acknowledges the key signature. I've seen this first-hand during a recent meeting with Jim and Serv leadership team. As a result of having clear directions, Vineyard and his teams has made such a profound impact throughout Africa providing clean drinking water and food to the malnourished in that region.
This is not the absolute leader solution for all cases. But the key signature principle is another tool in developing effective leaders. Here is an example of how you can use the key signature for direction.
- What to focus on? Sharps or flats (What is your passion and your niche)
- Where are you going? To be expected 1, 2, 3, etc sharps or flats (What is the goal?)
- What will you do? Raise or lower (How are you going to get there?)
- What is the key signature? G Major, Ab minor (Who are You as a organization?)
Learn More About Jim Vineyard and his involvement with Serv International: servone.org
Creative Coaching through Music: “Music can change the world because it can change people” - Bono