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He is NOT the Boss

“Now I know why Springsteen is the boss, who comes out and plays before the concert?”, I tweeted as we waited for the Bruce Springsteen concert to officially begin.

“What are you doing?”, asked my husband. I told him I was tweeting about the concert.

“Well”, he told me, “Bruce Springsteen does NOT like to be called the Boss.”

“Oops, sorry.” I suppose a true fan would have known that. Now you know I was the tagalong at this concert. I figured that since I like Bruce Springsteen and he has several good songs; that would be enough to keep me entertained, while my husband, the true fan would rock out. It was only a couple of hours out of my life. Well it was almost a three-hour show and one of the best I have ever seen.
Remember who pays your bills. Bruce came out BEFORE the official start time of the concert, played a song, posed for pictures with fans and then left the stage saying, “See you in a bit.” A man standing near us said, “Wow he really remembers who pays his bills.” I agree.

Say what you are going to do and do what you say. At the beginning of the concert Bruce said something along these lines to the audience, “We are going to stay here tonight until your feet hurt from dancing, your backs hurt from standing and your throats hurt from singing.” He was not kidding. And at about twenty-six minutes into his thirty-minute encore, he asked, “So did we do it? Are your feet sore, does your back hurt, does your throat hurt?” And the crowd replied with a resounding, “YES!” And then he played one more song.

Understand that you are a reflection of your team. The E Street Band has been Bruce Springsteens’ back-up band off and on since 1972. As with any team they have had their ups and downs. There was a time when Bruce decided to work without them. Luckily for all of us those days are over. He is much better with them. Which leads us to:

Share the spotlight. Calling the E Street Band a back-up band is like calling Mt. Everest just another mountain. They are an amazing group of musicians in their own right. Each of them very talented. Throughout the concert Bruce did not give them the usual cursory, “Hey, give it up for the band” treatment. There were several times when he focused on one or all of them. Everyone had their time to shine. They really came across as the strong performing team that we all seek to create.

Work with the best and your best becomes better. Bruce Springsteen is a star. He has decades of hits. A loyal fan base. He does not need to risk his reputation by sharing the stage with other huge talents. But he did. Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine Fame), is a phenomenal guitarist. Yes, I am going to say it -definitely better than Bruce. But when Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello play together, it is magical.

Encourage everyone to participate. Another one of my pre-concert tweets had to do with the fact that there were multiple generations in attendance. Right near us was a grandfather, son and grandson group and behind us was a mother with her daughter and son-in-law. A young girl of about seven or eight was brought up to the stage to sing along with Bruce. Another young girl of about five joined him in dancing. Bruce took many opportunities to walk into the crowd, shake hands and have the crowd carry him back to the stage. Sure this is all part of ‘the act’, but in the project world we too should plan and seek out participation.

Do what you love and give it your all. Do you think Bruce Springsteen needs the money from his concerts? I don’t. He may have the ‘need’ to perform. Just like some of us ‘need’ to lead or ‘need’ to be productive. He definitely LOVES to perform. Cynics will say that he put on such an amazing show because he is recovering from poor reviews from a prior tour. Who cares? He and the E Street Band were clearly in their element. It was obvious that we were in the presence of a team who loved what they were doing and loved doing it with each other. The end result? They gave it their all! If the audience went home with aching feet and sore backs and tired throats, imagine how they all felt?

Say ‘Thank you’ and mean it! Bruce was the last one to leave the stage. Not because he was hogging the glory, but because he stood there and shook hands with every one of his band members and thanked them for their performances as they left the stage. Then without fanfare, he left the stage.
I thought I would come home from this concert tired, instead as you can tell I came home inspired. My wish is that we all have days where we send our team members and the others around us home inspired too.

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