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Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz by Frank Barrett

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CHAPTER SEVEN
Leadership as Provocative Competence
Nurturing Double Vision

Duke Ellington was a widely acclaimed jazz composer, pianist, and big band leader, widely acknowledged as the most important composer in the history of jazz. He was brilliant at using the materials at his disposal to bring out the best in people, notice their unique voices, support their strengths, and create the conditions so that they could branch out and blossom. Ellington paid close attention to what players could do when they were at their best, how they played when they were doing well. He composed music specifically to match his players’ strengths, their unique personalities, and their unique voice and sounds.1

Ellington looked for distinctive voices in his band ...

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