Thursday, October 23, 2008

DS al Coda

A couple of weeks ago, my band played a gig at a club we hadn't played before.

Unfortunately, the day of the gig, our keyboard player said he was unable to come (despite saying the night before that he'd be there for sure), so we had to fire him.

We didn't fire him just because of this single incident. He'd missed practices and had showed up drunk for a previous gig.

None of us wanted to fire him. We'd given him several chances. He was a really good player and a nice guy.But all of us were agreed we had to have people in the band we could rely upon.

Sound familiar?

As a result, the night of the gig we had to meet early to set up and re-arrange nearly 3 dozen songs to either drop or create in some other way the keyboard parts. We dropped a couple we simply could not perform without keys and added in a couple of reserves.

We managed to get through the night. Fans were really appreciative - one of the best audiences we'd ever had. I think the enthusiasm of the audience helped stimulate us to do even better than usual and the manager of the club booked us for another gig in 6 weeks.

So what can we all learn from this kind of experience?

Sometimes you have to have the stomach to make drastic changes in personnel when some employees are disruptive to the point it puts the organization's performance at risk. In doing so, you also have to be prepared to find other ways of performing a fired employee's function. It could be via replacement with a new hire or promotion. Or it could simply be a restructuring.

I guess we restructured.

You need to have and be able to draw upon reserves so , in the event of unforeseen circumstances, you can continue to operate.

Although playing in the band is essentially a hobby we all share, we approach running the band as if it were a business. (From what I've heard, this is the model Mick Jagger has with the Stones.) It's amazing what a learning experience it all is.