Does management style come from experience or lack of experience? (Part 2)

(or how I learned to love The Beatles)


I love the Beatles. I grew up with the original American LPs in the house as my sister is 15 years my senior. From age 5, I was hooked and I still go through heavy phases of Beatles listening today — now experiencing it through the eyes (ears) of my 13 year-old son. As a guitar player, I was always fascinated by George Harrison’s playing. To me, George was the supreme example of guitar playing excellence. If George made guest appearances on other people’s recordings, I can pick him out without looking at the credits. He had a very distinct style. If you listen to those recordings, George almost always stretches his guitar solos beyond the standard 8 bars — sometimes by only one note. That’s George! Long before his slide guitar style became a trademark, you could hear George’s personality coming through in his playing — always getting the last word in. And isn’t that what music ultimately is? Communication?

George and the other Beatles were not formally trained musicians. All self-taught and very little ability to read music. I believe that this approach combined with some natural talent produces a style of playing that can’t be taught.


I transitioned quickly into my new management role — my manager taught me about schedules, interviewing, time management and creativity in the work place. When I say creativity I mean allowing my employees the room to find a better way to do things and find efficiency all while being grounded in the established process. I was never afraid to listen to their ideas and to take their ideas to my boss — presented as their ideas. I never presented their ideas as my own (and still don’t). I feel that creating an environment where ideas are welcomed and celebrated reflects on me as a manager just better than a manager that has all these great ideas and leads a team of drones. I mean, who better to find improvements than the people doing most of the work?

After moving to Florida to be nearer to old friends and a new girl friend, I was forced to take a temporary position with Hewlett Packard in their Medical Device division. I say forced because I came to Florida with no plan other than being with the new girlfriend. I had $500 in my pocket, no job, no where to live and no prospects. My new job was to perform preventive maintenance on imaging equipment all over the state of Florida. I met a ton of good people and made many contacts — I was networking, but I didn't know it. Among those was the Office Manager, Melanie, of the firm that placed me in the job at HP. I was in her office a lot to turn in expense reports and my time sheet. I was strangely attracted to her despite our age difference and I enjoyed flirting with her and making her blush. This was a welcomed distraction from my relationship that was destined to cause years of heartbreak and trouble.

After months of working with HP I found myself in a groove — I had mastered the job, won over my customers and my bosses at HP. I was completely bored. As a temporary employee, I had hit the glass ceiling. I was never going to advance unless I got a permanent position with the company. About this time the Melanie left her job at the recruitment firm and went to work at a start-up ticketing company form Italy that was working on a major project at Walt Disney World.

One day while performing a “PM” at a local hospital, I got a call from Melanie. It was getting close to the holidays and the Italians from her company were looking to spend some time with their families back home, but they were in the middle of an implementation and had no one to support the effort while they were gone. Melanie told them about me. I had an interview.

A single golf clap? Or a long standing ovation?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.