Quixotic Enough To Tilt At Windmills?

by Hunch on August 8, 2011 · 2 comments

in Leadership/Management

Warning: this is a five part post.  For future reference, “five part” is a term coined by my colleagues that means the beginning and end are so divergent only my confused little mind could connect them; this differs from a five segment post, which is a post divided into five separate entries.


I was recently told that a song reminded someone of me; curious I listened to it and, while not something I’d typically listen to, I really liked it.  While some of the lyrics may or may not be evocative of me, I quickly focused on the introduction — attached below — because it brought a powerful image to my mind’s eye that wouldn’t normally be associated with a song from this genre.  Please listen to the clip below and post what it sounds like to you; if you’re curious about my thoughts you can find them after the clip.


You might be wondering why this is appearing on a business themed blog; here is my Aesopesque moral to instrumental introductions.  To excel as a leader it is essential to have imagination.  The average company exists for fifty years and the ones that survive longer than that often have to re-invent themselves.  Take IBM as an example; IBM evolved from manufacturing typewriters to manufacturing computers to manufacturing servers to consulting and now seems to be positioned to transition to VC/green technology.  It took visionary leadership to see the fundamental shift in the market place and transition into a completely different business line that was still a part of the firm’s core competencies while still having enough market share and cash to fund the transition.  Fundamentally, to succeed in business you have to offer a product people desire at a price that yields an opportunity cost acceptable margin.  This has never been more difficult than now; just look at the cell phone market.  The StarTAC was the it phone for about a decade, then the Razr for about five years, and now the phone you bought two months ago looks like a rock compared to the one released yesterday.  A fundamental assumption of economics is that people want more, that more is better than less.  For businesses to succeed in this fast paced environment they can’t get stuck in a rut, resting on their laurels, doing the same old thing; they have to innovate, adapt, and forge ahead of the demand curve.  To accomplish that the executive team needs to be very imaginative.  Please listen to the clip and let me know what image it brings to your mind; it doesn’t have to be the same as mine but it should be something – instrumental music is very good for that.  If you don’t get an image your homework is to watch a children’s movie, preferable animation (I’m partial to Disney) because to succeed you need to be quixotic enough to look through the present into the future, planning three steps ahead while executing the current step.  Editorial note: my high school history teacher used quixotic as a direct synonym to visionary and while it means more of a combination of visionary and foolhardy, some things just stick with you.  Let your imaginations run free…

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To me this sounds like a modern wild west anthem; I’ve described it as The Magnificent Seven meets Miami Vice but that isn’t quite right since there’s no synthesizer.  Close your eyes and listen to the shimmering cymbal, a look across the plain toward the faint sound of distant hoof beats.  The guitar joins in as a cowboy charges, cresting the ridge as his posse swoops in behind him indicated by the song’s volume and tempo become forte allegro.  Blocks are struck sounding individual hoof strikes, galloping across the plain.   The twang and intonation of the beat make me want to shout Yeee Haaawwww! Consider the rhythm: Bum, bum, bum, ba-da-bum, bum, bum, baa-daa, bum, bum, bum, ba-da-bum, bum, bum, yee-haaww!  Even that subtle, elegant strength lends itself to the image of a cowboy.  8 seconds evoked this image by a song from a genre that couldn’t be further from western soundtrack.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Turc1656 Turc1656 08.22.11 at 16:27

now i know why you disabled ratings on posts…

regarding what this brings to mind…all i keep seeing is flashes of those stupid faces nicki minaj makes every 20 seconds:

link to tinyurl.com
link to tinyurl.com

and i really just can’t get past it.

Turc1656 Turc1656 08.26.11 at 14:48

begrudgingly, i will admit your “yeeeeehawwwww” doesn’t sound out of place.

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