Category Archives: Passion

How much money have Jimmy Cobb, John Coltrane and the other musicians made from Kind of Blue?

Kind of Blue is the best-selling jazz album of all time. It is also the most heralded, and most influential. Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb – these are all titans of the jazz world that came together for one perfect album. Even if you’re completely unaware of jazz, or thought you hated jazz, if you listen to this album, you’ll probably really like it. So what (play on words intended for those of you who know the name of the first track) kind of riches have the musicians who helped Miles create this masterpiece made financially over the years? Here’s a photo of the payments from the first of two sessions for the album. Each performer made $64.67. Chambers and Jimmy Cobb had to bring more gear so they got an extra two dollars each for ‘cartage’.  That’s it. No royalties, no more money. $64.47. This was just one day in thousands of sessions and gigs for these great men. And the pay from each session and each gig all added up (hopefully) to enough money to live a life doing what they loved. (Stay tuned for more on that at the end of this article.) Contrast this with CEO pay – $7.4 million a year average in 2018. (Median worker pay was $77,000.)  It doesn’t seem fair, does it?  Do you do good work, have you helped, have you been of use? Do other people seem more successful, have more money, people you don’t think deserve it…not like you? What if the mark of success isn’t money at all? What if it’s what intangible gift you give others, what lives you change by being you? What if a life live quixotically guided by your inner muse that looks downright weird to others is success? What if we’ve been looking for success in the wrong place this whole time? PS: Jimmy Cobb is the last man standing from the Kind of Blue recording, still drumming at 92. He says of the Kind of Blue session, “It must have been made in heaven.”  He, however, is in poor health and could use your help. Here’s a GoFundMe campaign started by his daughter to help pay for his health expenses.  I’m skeptical of many GoFundMe campaigns (those ‘pay for my trip to -fill in the blank- ones especially).  This is not one of them – it’s the perfect use of this tool. Let’s help Jimmy as thanks for helping us. 

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Who do the most engaged employees and the least engaged employees talk to?

Who do the most engaged employees and the least engaged employees talk to? According to Gallup, engaged employees spend the least time working alone. Instead they spend more time communicating with their manager. That’s great! The least engaged employees spend the most time with their customers. Uh-oh. That’s not who you want to have talking to your customers. Emotions are contagious. Engaged customers lead to increased sales, increased revenue, increased stock prices – it’s the Gallup Path. Least engaged employees? They’re not helping with any of that. If you were wondering how important engagement and the quality of managers were, here’s your answer. Want more of the juicy good stuff like increased profit and higher stock prices? It all leads back to engaged employees using their strengths every day, extensively guided by great managers. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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The two part formula for flextime

According to Gallup, the ideal outcome of flexible work is two parts. AutonomyAccountability This aligns with knowing your people’s StrengthsFinder strengths. Using our strengths to get the work done is an extremely personal process. No one can chart that course for us, because no one really knows what it’s like to be us. Great managers define the end zone, but not the path to get there. And accountability is easy if we’re using our strengths. We get things done faster and more efficiently if we’re using our strengths.  If you’re a leader experiment with increased autonomy and increased demand for accountability. And if you’re a worker hoping for more autonomy, you first need to demonstrate that you’re accountable. Then ask for more autonomy. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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Why is flextime so important?

Why is flextime so important? According to Gallup, it’s because people deeply crave freedom. They want to be in control of their own lives.  This lines up nicely with happiness and depression research. Lawyers (especially first and second year lawyers) and ER nurses are the unhappiest workers. What’s the connection with these two occupations? Their work is high stress, low choice.  We crave choices (but not too many choices). And we sometimes don’t notice the door of the cage is open. Psychologists call this ‘learned helplessness’. If flextime is important to you, grade yourself on how well you identify and enjoy your current level of flextime. For example, lunch is built-in flextime. How free are your lunches? (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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What percent of companies offer some form of flextime?

Only 44%. Is flextime important? Along with listing at as the most valued employee benefit, Gallup says that: Employees would trade some of their salary for flextime.63% of millennials would change jobs for flextime.53% of all employees say work-life balance and wellbeing is ‘very important’ when considering whether to take a job I know I would – and do – trade money for flextime. I work for myself so flextime is easier to negotiate. And adding up all my working years I’ve probably passed up on multiple millions of dollars for flextime – that’s how important it is to me.  If you don’t offer your people flextime, you’d better start or they’ll find somewhere that does. And if you’re making a good salary but are still not as happy as you want to be, try negotiating to increase your flextime. At the very least take all those personal days that are piling up. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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How are businesses doing with the Gallup engagement Q12? Here’s the data.

The Gallup engagement Q12 survey has been around for over twenty years now. It’s great stuff and I use it often in both strengths training and management and leadership training. It’s been rigorously tested and it’s the way to go for any company that is looking to measure and increase engagement. But what’s it like in the trenches? Has the dial moved? Are workers now more able to agree that each question is true for them, leading them to greater engagement? Here’s the percent of global employees that strongly agree that each of the Gallup Q12 engagement questions are actually happening for them. First you’ll see the statement, then the percentage of workers that are able to say, “yes, that’s true for me.”  Remember, it’s sequential. #1 is the building block for #2 and on and on all the way up to #11 is the building block for #12.  How engaged are we? 1. Do you know what is expected of you at work? One in two global employees strongly agree.  2. Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right? One in three global employees strongly agree.  3. At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? One in three global employees strongly agree.  4. In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing goodwork? One in four global employees strongly agree.  5. Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person? Four in ten global employees strongly agree.  6. Is there someone at work who encourages your development? Three in ten global employees strongly agree.  7. At work, do your opinions seem to count? One in four global employees strongly agree.  8. Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important? One in three global employees strongly agree.  9. Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work? One in three global employees strongly agree.  10. Do you have a best friend at work? Three in ten global employees strongly agree.  11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress? One in three global employees strongly agree.  12. In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow? One in three global employees strongly agree.  The highest score was 40% for ‘someone at work cares about me as a person’. That’s great, except a 40 is still a failing grade. The lowest score was 25% for ‘in the last seven days someone has recognized my good work’. Sigh. There’s work to be done – by all of us, no matter the role. Many of these questions can be helped by co-workers caring about each other and recognizing good work, regardless of the role. But this should especially put people in management and leadership positions on notice. 25-40% is not going to cut it.  If you want more from your people, you need to give them more. In this case, more doesn’t mean more money or a better job title.  There’s work to be done. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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What perk do employees value most?

What perk do employees value most relating to their engagement and wellbeing? Here are some possible choices: Health InsuranceVacation/Paid Time OffPerformance BonusesPaid Sick Days401(k), Retirement Plan and/or PensionFlexible ScheduleEmployee Development ProgramsTuition ReimbursementEmployee DiscountsGym Membership or Wellness ProgramsStock Options and/or EquityA Diversity Program According to Gallup, the #1 perk is….a flexible schedule, aka ‘flextime’. If you can’t give your people a raise but want to give them something, now you know – give them flextime. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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We rush ahead so we can save time so…

“Though we rush ahead to save our time, we are only what we feel.” – Neil Young, On the Way Home We do what we do, to feel as good as we can.  Rushing ahead, trying to ‘save time’, it’s in the service of a promise to feel something we want to feel and to avoid something we don’t want to feel. The question for today: Is it working? If we’re only what we feel, what are we actually feeling? If rushing ahead isn’t doing it, time to try something new. Perhaps the opposite of that.

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What percent of Americans plan to work past age 65?

74%. That’s a lot of people! Unfortunately, the data doesn’t show what the percentage is of ‘want to keep working’ vs. ‘have to keep working’.  However, in a recent survey it was found that 21% of working Americans aren’t saving anything at all, and 69% of working Americans are saving between zero and ten percent of what they make. And the percent of people saving nothing jump up when it’s just Millennials and Gen X in the mix. These two age groups are hardly saving at all.  A lot of people are going to be working past age 65 because they have to. Are you more engaged if you have to do something or if you want to do something? Are kids more engaged building snow forts or shoveling the sidewalk? So, this means that we’re growing a work force that is going to be less engaged as they age. You may even be one of them. If so, start saving today. Cut your expenses and save that money. You can keep working as long as you want, but you’ll be happier if you keep working because you want to instead of because you have to. And if you end up having to or are in that situation right now? Find your strengths, and use them every day. Your engagement level will rise and you’ll be happier. And your emotions – happiness included – are contagious. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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Globally, what percent of employees are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work?

Globally, what percent of employees are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work? 85% That’s most of us. It’s a sobering number. The U.S. numbers are a little better. As of 2018, 34% – a third – employees are actively engaged. That still means 2/3 of us aren’t.  So there’s work to be done, by all of us.  To be kinder to each other because so many of us are unhappy. And all of us humans want to be happy. And to help each other find a way through to engagement with our work. An engaged person is a happier, more fulfilled person.  And it starts with finding, then using, our #1 engagement tool we were born with – our strengths.  Learn more: StrengthsFinder – Gallup’s online assessment of unique top five strengths. Learn your team’s strengths and learn how to put them into action. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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