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Charlie Watts playing the drums

Managing through tough times Rolling Stones style – tip #3

Charlie Watts playing the drums
Photo by Michael Conen

Keith Richards, guitarist and vocalist of the Rolling Stones, tells a great story about Charlie Watts, the band’s legendary drummer. After a night of drinking, Mick Jagger (lead vocalist) saw Charlie Watts asleep and yelled, “Is that my drummer? Why don’t you get your %^&* down here?” Charlie got dressed in a Savile Row suit, tie, shoes, shaved, came down, grabbed him and went: “Don’t ever call me ‘your drummer’ again. You’re my singer!”

This is “thinking inside the box” and my final tip in this series on managing through tough times.

Managing through tough times requires that we take leadership.  We need to demonstrate to our team that we have a plan and that we are not just going to carry on, but carry on with style.

I heard a great inside the box leadership story from a future IBEX customer recently.

A manager was asked to take over a residential support location where staff morale was causing serious problems.  After speaking with the staff and working with the supported individuals, she came up with a plan.  She re-branded the house.  It was now to be called “the Palm Oasis” and it was going to be the best place to work in the agency, an oasis where everyone else wanted to work.  The beautiful setting of the house lent itself to this branding.  She coached each of the staff outside in an area deemed “the  oasis” and got to the root of the problems.  In her words, “I found a pretty great team that just needed some help.”

Her solution was to take the focus off the current problems and onto an exciting vision for the future.  She already knew she needed to work one on one with each staff member to get to the root of the problems, but she took it a step further by declaring right off the start that this house would be the best place to work in the entire agency.   The situation was dramatically improved.

My final tip on managing through tough times – find a simple and inspiring way to improve or re-frame the situation with the tools well within your reach. Think inside the box.


Inclusion Blog Post

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