Welcome back to Fast Forward Friday, where we review resources to help you relax, refresh, and power up for next week.  That will include recommendations for Listening, Reading, Viewing and Researching that will sometimes amuse, sometimes instruct, but always help you to focus on lifelong learning and recharge your batteries over the weekend!

Listening: A band that has always fascinated me is Yes.  Are they a rock band playing jazz, or a jazz band playing rock?  The “Classic” Yes lineup includes Jon Anderson on vocals, Steve Howe on guitar, Chris Squire on bass, Rick Wakeman on keyboards, and Alan White on drums.  Yes has released dozens of albums over the years, some exceptional, some not, but one thing that any fan will tell you is that the Classic lineup live performances were extraordinary.  The last tour that the original Classic lineup did was in 2003-04 to celebrate 35 years as a band. While “Songs from Tsongas” was released as a DVD, an even better concert is “Live from Lugano.”  That concert is available on YouTube and covers a lot of ground, all the while showcasing the virtuoso talents of arguably the best musicians to grace a stage among not just Progressive bands, but any band.  Highlights include a sizzling version of “Long Distance Runaround/The Fish” showing Chris Squire and Alan White at their very best.  Those two were bandmates for 43 years and it shows.  For those of us who are willing to enjoy songs that often run more than 10 minutes long, “Live from Lugano” is a gem.

Reading:  The Leadership Handbook, 26 Critical Lessons Every Leader Needs by John C. Maxwell is a thoughtful read presented in Maxwell’s trademark short chapter style that can be read in any order and be enjoyed equally.  Maxwell is considered one of the foremost leadership gurus alive today and has sold some 30 million books worldwide. 

I have taught Maxwell through several classes and have always appreciated his straightforward writing and use of personal examples to illustrate key points.  As any good leader knows, we learn a lot more from failures than successes, and Maxwell does a great job of pointing out his own shortcomings that served as learning experiences.  This book is no exception.

A special helpful feature of this book is “Mentoring Moments” that appear at the end of each chapter that walk the reader through scenarios that enable them to apply what they have just learned.  Maxwell accelerates practical use of his precepts by adding Application Exercises at the end of each chapter. 

This book is full of useful observations and strategies to improve your leadership.  Two chapters that stand out are “The Best Leaders are Listeners” and “Your Biggest Mistake Is Not Asking What Mistake You’re Making.”  In a world where talking heads dominate everything from television to ubiquitous podcasts, listening has become an art form.  At a time when outrage has become a staple of everyday life because it draws online clicks, listening is needed now more than ever.

Similarly, far too many leaders are far too sure of themselves.  When we lose the capacity to carefully examine possible consequences of our actions before hauling off and doing them because we “feel like it,” we are in jeopardy of losing not only our credibility, but our ability to influence events and those around us for the better.  Maxell does an excellent job of examining these concerns, along with 24 others that are well worth working through.  If you want to learn quickly and well about leadership lessons, this book should be on your reading list. 

Viewing:  One of the most interesting and unpredictable interviews ever filmed took place in 1969 between the host, Dick Cavett, and the guest, Groucho Marx.  Almost 80 years of age by that time, Groucho basically turns the tables on his friend, Dick Cavett with a relentless barrage of quips, quotes and questions that caught Cavett off guard and kept him off guard for the entire interview.  A program that was supposed to last for 30 minutes rolls through 90 minutes of fun, reminiscences about Groucho’s brothers, his films, and friends and foes over his entire career.  In true vaudeville fashion, Groucho moves effortlessly from deadpan humor to songs to interrupting Cavett when he tries to get a word in without skipping a beat, while keeping Cavett off balance throughout. This is Groucho’s world and Cavett is just living in it, and he wisely gets out of the way and allows Groucho to go wherever he wants to. If you like a blast from the past—and can keep pace—try this interview on for size. 

Researching:  The Word of the Week for you to research is “serendipity.”  This is one of the more descriptive words in the English language, but seldom used because it looks intimidating.  As you research the origin of the word and its meanings, be sure to consider how many times you encountered serendipity during the last week—and did not quite know what to call it.  My parting wish for this weekend is that you experience serendipity as often as possible!

We will be back next Friday with more resources to Fast Forward you into the following week!

#LifelongLearning #FastForwardFriday #serendipity