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Natural Woman

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Some people probably don’t know that Aretha Franklin didn’t write the song “Natural Woman”.  Her 1967 single made it to #8 on the charts, and was written by Carol King, who released her own performance of the song on her best-selling (1971) Tapestry album.

When asked in her NPR interview how she felt about Aretha Franklin recording her song, “Natural Woman”, here’s how Carol King replied:

“The great Aretha Franklin recorded it and, it’s just a remarkable feeling to hear a song of yours come back with all of the embellishments that you…didn’t quite imagine, but you sort of had in your head and there they are, only even better.”

What respect she showed to Aretha Franklin in making such a statement!

When I heard Carol King (who of course is an amazing performer in her own right) say this, I was blown away at how thoughtful and respectful she was to Franklin.  This level of respectfulness and public credit given by Carol King got me thinking about how this might apply to organizations.

Most things that get done in organizations are the result of lots of layers, teams, and individuals.

Wouldn’t it be powerful if we could harness the level of gratitude and respect shown by Carol King for the accomplishments of our teams?

Wouldn’t it be great to recognize more overtly that “the idea” of a product or service is only one dimension, but equally important, valuable, and beautiful is the delivery, deployment, or performance of the idea – the thing that brings it to life?

This might seem like quite a jump, but why is it so rare to hear such respectful and reinforcing comments in organizations?

We could draw a parallel between organizational leaders creating systems and processes to help people to perform more effectively (“writing the song”) and then putting them out to those who will use them in the business and asking people to make them their own.  Asking people to deliver them in a beautiful performance.

Oh yeah, and let’s not forget that the top predictor of employee engagement is a supervisor who gives specific praise for good work being done.

Here is Carol King performing the song, it’s amazing:

Here is Aretha Franklin performing it to a standing ovation:

If you’re thinking about how to get your team up to speed on these or other techniques I cover, email me for info on my courses.

Would you like me to speak to your organization on topics like this? Email me and let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

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