Learning the importance of business improv through jazz

Chris Washburne, world-class trombonist, Columbia University professor, and published author, graced GLOBIS Hall for a unique hybrid music-business seminar. The session set out to exhibit the parallels of business leadership and communication with jazz.

He says Jazz can teach you how to communicate interculturally, how to approach the global market, and how to adapt quickly to your environment. These traits also happen to be vital in international business, especially when it comes to global innovation and expansion.

Chris' musical prowess was on full display. Not only did he preach about the power of improvisation and jazz, but he showed the audience first hand through a few short trombone performances.

Jazz groups certainly have a top down structure; someone is the band leader. But, as soon as they take the stage, the leadership structure flattens and everyone has an equal voice. Modern companies need to adopt this "Fluent Leadership" structure according to Washburne. Creating a space where everybody feels they can voice their opinion creates a sense of employees' self-value and boosts productivity.

There are many ways the business world can learn from the creative arts. As we push further into the fourth industrial revolution where automation is becoming commonplace, perhaps we can look to jazz to boost our creativity and improvisation to future-proof our careers.

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