Team Lessons from Listening to Fleetwood Mac (part 2)
Posted on: 20th February 2017
Maybe rock bands are simply teams. The best are high performing teams. I believe Fleetwood Mac is a great example. (Part 1 can be found here: http://www.totally-ian.com/team-lessons-listening-fleetwood-mac-part-1)
Team lesson five – experiment
Not everything is about money, sometimes we just need to express ourselves – it might even make someone else happy. Tusk was by far the band’s most experimental effort. It took the longest to make. It was not received well by critics. However, it remains one of my top five favourite albums ever. It has brought me much joy. Buckingham in particular tried some wild things in his writing for Tusk, and in his performances in Live. It almost doesn’t matter how much they are liked. The point is he is in the arena expressing himself, not focussing on the critic.
How many times have I been surprised and delighted by others who connect with new things I try? Even when it doesn’t work, much is learned by myself and the team that otherwise would not have been learned. Being in the arena is much better than being paralysed by the critic. Dare greatly. The team needs it.
Team lesson six – vulnerability
It is at the heart of creativity. I keep finding that Buckingham surprises me with the honesty of his lyrics and performances. I’m so afraid is a song I connect with on a deep level. Not just the words, but the performance too. It has all the angst any one person could feel and express. And yet I don’t find myself seeing him as weak. I see now that to create is to be vulnerable. Whether it is about sharing personal life details or not, it is still the sharing of self. It takes courage. It requires compassion for self. It needs the freedom to share of yourself. Be vulnerable. The team needs it.
Team lesson seven – own your sh*t
Don’t be afraid to deal with your stuff, face your issues. Christine McVie developed a phobia for flying and left the band vowing to never return. She apparently lived as a recluse in a castle in England for years. Then one day she decided that there had to be more to life. She engaged a counselling therapist and began to work through her phobias. She faced her stuff and has re-joined the band and is now flying around on tour with them! We all have our issues.
I always knew there were issues for me to deal with. However, I never made progress until I reached a painfully vivid point of looking in the mirror, knowing what I was doing, and what I needed help to change. I withdrew and engaged a wonderful therapist and over the past year or so have begun to fully reconnect with life in its fullness. I am finding that not only do I not need my monster anymore, but I’m having a better impact than before. Finding life, dealing with the rubbish, coming alive – that’s where abundance lies. The team needs it.
Team lesson eight – partnerships
We need to partner with those who can brilliantly complete and complement what we bring. McVie says of Buckingham that she liked the way he completes her songs. Even though I continue to hear the band as if they are three different bands, I recently have started listening out for Buckingham’s guitar work on Nicks’ and McVie’s songs. It is epic and the songs would not be the same without it. Similarly the backing vocals, keyboards and guitars provided McVie and Nicks fully complement each other and complete Buckingham’s efforts. Tango In The Night didn’t start out as a Fleetwood Mac project. It was a Buckingham solo effort. At some point he realised that much of what he had would be so much better if it was performed by Fleetwood Mac – and complemented by some songs written by the team. The result, another great successful album with hits that combine all their diverse talents. When McVie recently returned to the band she said: “I saw that if I want to start to play again, there’s only one band I want to play with, and that’s Fleetwood Mac.” Don’t be afraid to admit you need others. True genius is in community. A community where you don’t lose your identity. Where what others bring adds value. The team needs it.
Team lesson nine – leadership
We always need leadership – just not in its conventional old hierarchic form! In many ways Buckingham is the obvious leader of the band – except that he isn’t! He may be the innovation driver, but that is only one of many leadership roles. Nicks is described as having a magnetic personality and I’m convinced she is part of the glue that has kept them together. She also has had the most solo success and could never be confined to the band’s boundaries. And yet all clearly respect her. I recently heard her tell a story of a situation where John & Mick were stressing about a driver who was not going to get them to a performance on time and how she calmed them down with her simple approach to life of whatever happens will happen! One day I was listening out for John’s bass. Wow. I now realise that he must have had a massive part in leading and shaping what is the distinct Fleetwood Mac rhythm. Christine is regarded by some as the heart of the band. Certainly she leads a style influence that they otherwise could never have had. Then there is the mediator – Fleetwood. He is the voice of reason. He has a talent of connecting people. He brought Buckingham and Nicks in to the band. High performing teams share leadership. Each influences in their own way as required. They are united around a common purpose. But not around one person. They all lead. The team needs this too.
Disclaimer: these musings are not based on any verified information other than my own perceptions, experiences, opinions, and feelings. No endorsement or agreement from the band has been sought or obtained!