My company recommends Maxwell’s Developing the Leader Within You, along with several other Maxwell titles. I’ve started it, and I try to think about how it relates to both my workplace and my chorus.
Think managing a chorus (or better yet leading a chorus) is entirely different from managing a business? Well, maybe it is, but some of the principles are the same. One of them is: Read!
Read Or Die
How can people complain to me they’re not getting ahead and then also tell me they’re not reading very much?
If you’re not reading regularly, significantly, virtually every day for at least an hour, your development is lagging. Professionals interested in their own self-development read voraciously.
Start or re-start now.
One of my best friends in my entire life is Michael Swenson. At our conferences, Michael often shares one of his favorite quotes: to know and not to do is not to know. It always reminds me of, the man who can read but doesn’t is no better off than the man who can’t.
I know – you’re too busy. But get this: in 2008, the President of the United States read 40 books. He’s busier than you are!
Business professionals have to keep up with more than television headlines. To say nothing of the fact that television is the arch-enemy of readers, anyway.
Daily newspaper: you’ve got to read a newspaper – or an online equivalent – every day. Your local (Major cities) paper is fine, in most cases. You’re lucky if you live in New York or London or Berlin or Hong Kong. If you can get WSJ or FT, that can MORE than suffice. We love the Journal, but we also crave more when we’re in Europe.
Business Press: You don’t necessarily need a supplement if you read the Journal or FT. But if you don’t get those, read Fortune. Don’t bother with Forbes or Business Week, for different reasons. I have started getting Bloomberg Markets, but doubt I can recommend it for wide appeal.
Professional Books: You need to always be reading at least one professional development book. It could be Drucker, it could be the latest fad, it could be a biography if you like. (For some reason, biographies just don’t teach … but if you learn that way, by all means do.) Here’s an idea: our book list.
Fiction: Has someone ever joked about some guy named Godot while you were waiting for someone, and you didn’t get it? Do you know who Sherman McCoy was? If you know who Gordon Gekko is/was, but not McCoy, you’re a step behind. And seriously, Harry Potter is literature, though he’s not as colorful as Travis McGee.
(Full newsletter here.)
Okay, so that’s more of a business perspective. Here’s a musical perspective: Read The Harmonizer. Read backissues as PDFs from eBiz. Read barbershopHQ.com. Read your chapter newsletter. Read your district newsletter. Read books about music, and maybe even (gasp) books about leadership and management. I’m reading Maxwell’s Developing The Leader Within You.
[ Edit 11/23/10: Added direct link to full newsletter ]
Sure, I write an article like “Full power on takeoff” and then go on vacation for a week. 🙂
- Remember The Milk, http://www.rememberthemilk.com. Web-based todo lists. Works on smartphones too. Faster than many desktop apps.
- Evernote, http://www.evernote.com. Notes, web clipping, saving documents — there’s a very good chance that if you can store it on a computer, you can clip it to Evernote and take it with you wherever you go. Windows, Mac, smartphone, web clients. Windows client works acceptably on Linux under Wine. (Evernote version 3.1, I think; haven’t tried 3.5 or 4.0. Just discovered 4.0 for Windows today, in fact, and haven’t had a chance to put it onto my Linux box.)
- Groupanizer. The Society recommends it, too. My chapter is just getting started with it, so I can’t cite too many specifics.
- Google Mail, Google Calendar. Get your mail and etc from anywhere.
I’ve been on the BoD for two years as Secretary, and for a year before that as the then-Secretary’s assistant. In all that time I focused on all the various jobs of a Chapter Secretary: renewals, shows, contests, minutes. In a word, paperwork. (Which is ironic, kind of, ’cause I’ve always sucked at paperwork. My chapter hasn’t kicked me out yet, though.)
Getting home tonight I had six things on my todo list that were Chorus-y. I worked for maybe an hour, maybe two, and got a lot of stuff done, and none of them were any of the six things actually on my todo list. But they were all Chorus-y and (hopefully) will all bear good fruit. Without going into specifics, I caught up on my BoD email and created some tasks in Groupanizer for some BoD members.
I’m in a men’s chorus, a chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Went to my first rehearsal December 2006. My life has never been the same.