In a recent Zits comic strip, Jeremy was caught looking through his dad’s old dental school yearbooks. Dad got all excited and said: “Doing some career shopping?” Jeremy replied: “No, looking for band names. ‘Black Hairy Tongue’ – that’s a definite maybe.”

While it seems absurd out of context, band names tend to skew toward the crazy: Smashing Pumpkins, Bare Naked Ladies, Lonely Goats, Hootie & the Blowfish, Matchbox 20, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Echo & the Bunnymen, and, appallingly, the Child Molesters. Even bands that have become iconic – so we have become accustomed to their name – don’t really make sense when taken in isolation: the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Def Leppard, the Who, and the Grateful Dead just to name a few.

When assembling a group together in a workshop or for a team project, instead of encouraging them to provide a team name – which tends to conjure sports teams or common nouns – require your group to name themselves as a band. (You can also use it as an individual icebreaker: “If you were going to start a band, what would you name it?”) The exercise automatically gives them license to be crazy and stimulates thinking outside of the box – music to the ears of a facilitator.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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