Step 5PRACTICE: Build Your Leadership Profile

The figure shows the fifth step of the Blueprint process, which is as follows:
1. Practice: How can I tangibly bring my leadership approach to life?

“If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting.”

Stephen Covey, American author and businessman

John Coltrane is widely lauded as the most prestigious master of the saxophone of the last century. Even people who are not familiar with jazz have usually heard his name, or at least it “rings a bell.” He recorded some of the most well-known and best-selling albums in the jazz canon, including Blue Train, Giant Steps, Lush Life, and many more. He also wrote a series of jazz études largely considered to be the all-time best of their kind.

Coltrane’s practicing habits are the stuff of legend. Some say he practiced with such wild devotion that his wife would often find him asleep with his saxophone still clutched in his arms, the mouthpiece right next to his face. Others report he would spend up to ten hours perfecting a single note. At a minimum, he played his saxophone six to eight hours per day. And that wasn’t all. In support of his practice, he obsessively studied music theory, recordings, and books about his craft.

What differentiated Coltrane’s approach to practice is that it was not merely an exercise in repetition. He didn’t just practice the same scales over and over again. Drawing from étude books, philosophy, and his own theories about a “three-tonic” approach to improvising and composing, ...

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