In which Jill rolls (and rocks) with the experts.
When I lived in Paris in the 1990s I went to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers play Le Zenith de Paris. Le Zenith is a small auditorium on the far reaches of the Parisian suburbs, past the gentrifying 10th arrondissement near the end of the M5 line. At the time Tom Petty wasnât necessarily de rigueur among Parisian hipsters (tant mieux !!), which meant Le Zenith was sparsely filled with a small crowd of die-hard Petty fans, many of them American.
To call the concert intimate would be an understatement. Petty frequently scanned the crowd for friends, solicited requests, and changed his setlist on the fly (âYâall ready for âBreakdownâ yet?â). Perched in the third-row I could see the sweat pool on the upper lip of keyboardist Benmont Tench. These were days before camera phones, so there is no documented record of the sly wink Petty shot my way before launching into a splendid rendition of âYou Wreck Me.â
Tom Petty at Le Zenith is the musical equivalent of going to The Comedy Store on a weeknight andâsurprise!âout pops Robin Williams to test out 2 hours of new material. (Yes, this also happened to me.) Or sitting next to Jack Welch in first class and enjoying the champagne and the warm nuts he turns to you and asks, âSo, whatâs new in your business?â (Still waiting for that one.)
Iâve thought about these experiences recently because Iâm working with some very smart people. As consultants, we canât reasonably expect to learn anything new on our engagements. We've been engaged to teach, enlighten, and propel our clients forward. But on a few occasions recently Iâve worked on projects where my colleagues have taught me a thing or two. In the past year Iâve collaborated with a great technician who has colored in the landscape of service oriented architecture; a V.P. of Marketing who has colored in the promise of Web 2.0; a CIO whoâs shown me the impact of BI in healthcare; and a strategy consultant whose book proposal made me change my own firmâs execution tactics.
Who would have thought Iâd get the opportunity to sit at the feet of the master in more than one area, if at all? They were all great to work with, flat-smart, and none of them even broke a sweat.
Posted August 31, 2008 4:14 PM
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