Skip to main content

An Eleven String Guitar

How many strings are on a 12-string guitar? No, it's not a trick question, but if you're in my house on the right day, the answer could be eleven.

That's not the right answer, but it is the true answer.

Why? It's not intentional. The strings come in various gauges, simplified on the container as Light, Medium, and Extra Light (an interesting logic of its own) and the mediums are hard to find. Using light gauge strings on a 12-string guitar means that the thinnest string is so thin (.08 cm) that it's very easily broken.

Sometimes, I can break a string while I'm tuning it, that's how easy they are to break. When that happens, it's eleven-string time until the next trip to the music store.

If you don't tell anyone, an eleven-string guitar could go undetected for weeks (I've done it). The sound is pretty much the same and the strings are so close together to begin with that you'd need to really get close to see the gap.

It's not ideal, but the music is still good and the rest of the strings don't seem to mind.

What did I learn from an eleven-string guitar?
  • Plan ahead
Clearly, I've done this before. Why not have an extra string for when one breaks? By planning ahead my 12-string guitar will always be complete. Maybe I just like to live on the edge, when it comes to music -- but when it comes to business, are your "extra strings" in place? 
  • Play on with what you've got
OK, so sometimes we don't plan ahead enough. That doesn't have to be the end of the song. Lots of great music has been made with pieces missing and lots of great teams have succeeded long after key players left. Play on.
  • Know your breaking point
That .08 cm thin string breaks for me about half the time, which is why I usually select the higher gauge. What parts of your machine, or team, or project are breaking under the strain. What can you do to minimize that? How do you raise the gauge of your work?

Points to Ponder

If you play a musical instrument, change something about it (use a different reed, re-tune your strings, use a mute, amplify it...) and play your favorite song. How does change for you to be more creative? What else can you do to increase your creativity?

Draw a picture of yourself (or your company logo, or your favorite cat...) using your non-dominant hand. What details can you miss and still make a recognizable picture? Can you still capture the essence of your message? What accidental lines or marks spark a memory or idea?

-- Doug Smith


WHO SAID IT?

"You do not merely want to be the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do."

Was it...

A. Jerry Garcia
B. Eric Clapton
C. Pat Metheny?

The answer is here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Warning About Tradition

  Are you bumping up against tradition? As leaders we are often breaking barriers. We're constantly knocking down walls. Sometimes, we're stepping on toes. We change things because that's what leaders do but it does matter how we change. Are we graceful, or clumsy? Are we considerate, or brutal? Are we deliberate, or chaotic? Change is necessary because it's where growth happens. Doing that change we can forget about or even demolish tradition. "If it mattered we'd keep it," right? It matters. How we handle tradition tells our team how we will eventually handle each and every one of them. What has been placed there before us has been trusted to us. We can improve it, always. Must we ever destroy it? Seldom. Ignore tradition and you'll lose stability.  Lost stability and there's no telling where you'll end up. We can drive change and still honor tradition. That means learning more about both. -- doug smith

Are We Really All In Sales?

How many people have tried to sell you stuff today? Six? Sixteen? Sixty-six? It's a lot, isn't it? Some days it feels as if everything is a sales pitch. Buy this, try that, sign-up for freemium but get ready to pay. It's good for you, it's what you need, it will bring you friends and fun. I know, I know, I know. We're all in sales. I sell stuff, too. I do better if people sign up for my courses. I make more money when customers supplement their learning by buying materials from me. I sell, I sell, so who am I to tell? I get so weary of people trying to sell me things that I almost stop selling things myself. But, I do find myself selling less these days. I'm not criticizing sales. I have a son who is an absolute ace at selling insurance and he does very well, and well -- people DO need insurance. It meets a need. But, we don't think about it, we don't address the need, unless someone tells us about it. Unless someone sells us something. How do we make pe

Who Are You Today?

  How far afield have you ever gotten distracted?  Have you ever gotten so far distracted that you forgot who you are? Not literally who you are, but rather who you are supposed to be in your work. Your role, your vision, your mission -- your PURPOSE for working. Presumably who you ARE is safely lit in your heart. It's in our work that we can get confused. At least, that's true for me. I've at times taken assorted bunny trails down jobs that were not suited for my purpose. I did them, whether it was as a favor, or out of a desire to serve, or to simply earn some money -- but I could always feel, in those times, a gentle tug telling me "hey, this isn't you..."  Like a small cat patting me on the head when I shouldn't be sleeping. Like a small puppy tugging on my pants leg when I should be outside, moving around...that gentle but irritating feeling that there is better work ahead, but what I'm doing is getting in the way. It's easy to do. Life will l

Start With A Goal

  Have you ever solved a problem and then been disappointed by the result? I sure have. The problem was bad, the solution was worse.  We need to narrow down our target. We need a focus that allows for surprises and yet creates a solution based on something we really want. After all, it's not the END of something we're working on, it's the existence of something better. High performance leaders create better situations. Be careful about solving a problem until you know what you really want. Start with your goal. -- doug smith

Your Goals Need You To Get Started

If your big goals is really a series of twenty-five little goals, the sooner you get started on those little goals the sooner those goals will add up to that one big goal. -- doug smith

Keep Digging

  Bigger problems have more than one cause. Keep digging. -- doug smith

Wherever we are...

During a webinar that I was facilitating, one of my participants, David Palmore, quoted a former boss of his and it makes so much sense I just have to share it here: It's a supervisor's job to remove obstacles and excuses. -- Mark Howard It's so easy to find excuses - "they won't listen anyway," "it's above my pay grade," "I'm not good enough for that..." and yet what do excuses ever give you?  You don't have to think too long on that because the answer is nothing. Maybe less than nothing because excuses take away opportunity. We're not always fully equipped to do the job we need to do. We often lack resources needed to achieve our biggest goals. People push back and give us second thoughts. There are walls everywhere. But we can climb those walls. We can dig under those walls. We can go around those walls. And, when we need to we can pound thru those walls. No wall is worthy of an excuse, and no excuse is as tough as a wall

Problems Spark Collaboration

  Is it annoying when someone brings you a problem? Sometimes they catch us by surprise. Usually, it's in the middle of something else that's already important. There it is, a problem. We could resist. We could avoid. Or, we could engage. It's up to us. Think of someone who brings you a problem as a new collaborator. -- doug smith

Keep Moving

  Perfection is a direction, not a destination. -- doug smith