July 17, 2010

U2 & US Navy In The Same Post

Flag of the Chief of Naval Operations (U.S. Navy).

Image via Wikipedia
This is an interesting find. The US Navy drawing inspiration from U2. You will find the U2 section of the Navy's journal clipped and posted after this article. 

Source: Michael Lee Stallard
Published: July 15th, 2010

That’s right.  It’s true. Check it out for yourself.
The Leader to Leader Institute just posted an article on its website that Jason Pankau and I wrote for the Summer edition of the Leader to Leader Journal. The article features the stories of the US Navy’s former Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Vern Clark, and Bono, the lead singer of the rock band U2.  The article is about the topic of connecting with “core employees” to boost strategic alignment, employee engagement, productivity and innovation.  Here is a link to the article entitled “To Boost Performance, Connect with the Core.”
The Leader to Leader Institute was founded by the late Peter Drucker and is headed by Frances Hesselbein, two individuals whom Jason and I respect and admire for their competence, character and positive contributions to society.  The Institute was formed to promote strong leadership in the social sector. Jason and I support the Institute’s work by sharing our work and ideas related to Connection Cultures.  Recently the Institute added Jason and I to its Thought Leaders Gateway and last week I filmed a video interview for the Leader to Leader Institute’s Leadership Dialogues website.  The interview was about the importance of connection to human beings and how many leaders sabotage themselves by not investing time to connect with other human beings.  The interview was conducted by another thought leader whose work we admire, Mark Thompson.

HERE IS THE FULL U2 SECTION FROM THE JOURNAL: (Read the entire post  by clicking here.)

Connecting U2

The principles we are discussing are equally important in a smaller, less hierarchical organization. Consider something completely different from the military: a rock band. 

U2 has been awarded a remarkable 22 Grammy awards, more than any band in history. The band consists of four musicians who have known each other since they were teenagers in Dublin, Ireland: lead singer Bono, lead guitar player “Edge,” bass guitar player Adam Clayton, and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. These guys have been together for more than 30 years when most other bands eventually fall apart, often because one member becomes recognized as the star and the resulting disconnection breaks down the group. Not so with U2. Bono is clearly the band’s megastar but the Vision, Value, and Voice bridges are in place and his fellow band members feel like partners rather than his supporting cast.

The Vision Bridge

Bono has articulated a clear vision of U2, including its mission and core values. U2’s mission is to improve the world through its music and influence. Bono calls it “the spark.” He feels it sets U2 apart from many other bands. U2’s songs address themes the band members believe are important to promote, such as human rights and social justice. The band values excellence in the music it produces and in its concert performances. Bono has described this value as a desire to achieve the band’s potential. U2’s members value continuous improvement to achieve their own potential, never feeling satisfied that they can’t become even better. Another core value of the band is that its members value one another, and this has established the Value Bridge.

The Value Bridge

Bono further unites the members of U2 by appreciating their strengths. Bono has said that although he hears melodies in his head, he is unable to transfer them into written music. Considering himself a “lousy guitar player and an even lousier piano player,” he relies on his fellow band members and recognizes that they are integral to his success. To Bono, U2 is “the best example of how to rely on others.” 

Bono describes U2 as a tight-knit family and community.
Like all human beings, the members of U2 have experienced difficult periods in their lives. These experiences have shaped them in important ways. Bono’s mother died when he was 14 years old. Bono describes the period following her death as one in which he felt alone and abandoned. Although he longed for the emotional support of a family, his grief-stricken father was unable to comfort him. Having experienced what it was like to suffer alone, when Larry Mullen’s mother died when he was 16 years old, Bono reached out to console him. This began a close, supportive friendship. When Edge went through a difficult divorce, the band members were there to support him. When Adam Clayton became addicted to alcohol and drugs, the band members reached out to help him recover. Bono has stated that when one of the band members is in need, the band rallies around to support him and they put that need above the performance of the band. It’s no wonder that one of U2’s most popular songs is entitled, “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own.” 

The most dramatic example of this came when U2 campaigned during the 1980s for the observance of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day in America. Bono received a death threat that warned him not to sing the song “Pride (In the Name of Love),” a song about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at an upcoming concert. Bono described in an interview that as he sang the song, he closed his eyes. At the end of a verse when he opened his eyes Bono discovered Adam Clayton literally standing in front of him to shield him from potential harm. 

Bono describes U2 as a tight-knit family and community. He has said, “People with a strong sense of family and community . . . are always very strong people.” The commitment to support one another extends beyond the four members of the band. The members of U2 are part of a larger community that includes their families, crew members, and collaborators. Many of them have known each other for decades. 

The economic profits from U2’s work are split equally between the four band members and their long-time manager Paul McGuiness. That might surprise some. Given Bono’s status as a megastar, it would not be inconceivable if he claimed more than an equal share of the band’s profits. What better way to show your team members that you value them than to treat them and their unique contribution as economic equals?

The Voice Bridge

U2 is further unified by its participative, consensus oriented decision-making style. The members of U2 argue relentlessly over their music, which reflects their passion for excellence. Bono has stated that this approach is frustrating at times but that U2 feels it is necessary to achieve excellence. Everybody has a voice to express ideas and opinions.

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