Sharp and Flat

Last week, I was a delegate, representing Wisconsin at the North American General Conference of the Wesleyan Church. We elected officials and voted on a plethora of issues and resolutions.

As the business proceedings unfolded, I noted an interesting observation about leadership which I'd like to share with you.

People are like piano keys. They have to work together and be in tune in order to produce harmony.

Some aggresive folks go "sharp." Attempting to force change, they speak shrilly, and that brings disharmony. (Have you tried to sing in a choir beside someone who is singing a half pitch too high? It's not a pretty sound, and sets everybody on edge.)

Now, there are times when I am impressed with a person, and say, "There's a sharpie!" Maybe that's not such a compliment after all. One piano key, a little sharp, makes the whole song sound bad.

On the other side, there are those leaders who do less than they ought.. Rather than attempting progressive action, they'd rather just keep the "status quo." Unfortunately, "status quo" doesn't hold tune. It always goes flat.

While shrill leaders bring disharmony by going sharp, dull leaders also bring disharmony by going flat.

Nobody wants to participate in an dull, flat organization that's not going anywhere. Often, the reason a leader settles for "status quo" is because he/she doesn't want to cause disharmonoy. That course always ends on the flat note of mediocrity.

Over the years, through personal experience as well as observation, I've discovered that just as much disharmony is caused by going flat as by going sharp.

So, leaders, heed this adage:

Push too much and you'll go sharp.
Push too little and you'll go flat.
Seek harmony through the whole song.

The way to make beautiful music is to simply stay in tune. That comes by being God-centered, walking by faith, staying true to yourself, and listening carefully to others.


Keetha said…
I'm watching the 18 hole playoff between Tiger and Rocco this morning. What an EXCITING finish to the Open. Listening to Rocco in the interviews this morning I realized - - - his personality reminds me of YOU!!! His positive attitude, smile, and making the whole thing fun - - - he could be your long lost brother. Is he???

I can't help pulling for Tiger the way he is playing through obvious pain, but how great would it be for Rocco if he could pull this out!!!
Steve Uhthoff said…
What a great observation you have made about leadership. I love it.

Too many times I am more than sharp, I am squeeking. One thing I have learned from my love of singing: When I get sharp, it is usually because I am trying to hard to reach a certain note or sing a very hard song.

Usually I need to step back, look over the song and drop it all down to a slightly lower key. Then I can reach the note I wanted.

We all want to see the denomination go somewhere. If we don't keep trying to reach those high notes we will be stuck in the same old place forever.

Thank God for people like you Mark who are willing to step back. look us all over, forgive some of the odd sounds and ideas, and adjust the key we are playing in. Keep up the good work but we do need to hear some squeeks now and then.
Anonymous said…
Have you ever heard a song on a piano (or any instrument) where the pianist forgot to play the sharps and/or flats? The black keys were put there for a purpose.

Although middle 'C' might think himself the most important key, it would not be much to listen to all by himself.
Steve U. said…
I love it: Steve
Anonymous said…
Last Sunday, you had talked about, among other things, the way it is when families get together... a lot of different flavors with a bunch of nuts mixed in. As you spoke, I thought of Tremblay's Candy Store, and thought they should have a fudge named "Family Fudge"..."All different flavors with a bunch of nuts mixed in." Charles (Tremblay) and I were visiting yesterday, and I told him that. He just might do it. He thought it would get a lot of smiles. Enjoy the day and lift your face to the Sonshine!
Sue B.
Anonymous said…
All I can say is your thoughts sound very vanilla (dare I say "luke warm")--let's try to be all things to all people and never make a stand on anything! And before you quote Paul who said that he aimed to do just that (become all things to all people) please remember that he was not afraid to stand up and speak out. He was probably very "shrill" at times!

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