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  • Writer's picturePhil Loosley

Lessons from The Piano Man

In December I was fortunate enough to see Billy Joel live at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Before performing one of his songs he confessed that he might have trouble hitting some of the high notes in the song. He'd originally recorded this particular song in 1982 and at the time had given no consideration to the idea he would still be singing it live over 40 years later.

Here was one of the all time greats owning his possible upcoming mistakes to people who had paid hundreds of dollars to see him perform. It was brave.

The result... the crowd sang those high notes louder than ever to help him through. We cheered as his voice reached out to find the top of its range. We embraced his vulnerability in admitting his voice can't get there reliably any more. We loved him for being transparent and not pretending nothing was wrong as he fell just short of those notes.

We weren't disappointed or resentful.

Admitting, embracing and acknowledging mistakes is one of the core principles in LightSwitch Consulting workshops.

When teams feel safe to acknowledge mistakes they feel safe to try things, to be creative and be vulnerable.

When the pressure to be perfect is removed, individuals relax and perform better. They learn when to admit something doesn't work and try a different approach instead of being scared to hold their hands up and admit they didn't hit the high notes.

Changing your team's culture around mistakes can change your team's overall culture.

From fear to confidence.

From tense to relaxed.

From stuck to productive.

From suspicious to trusting.


A healthy approach to mistakes and failure is part of the foundation for a healthy team culture.

Let LightSwitch Consulting show you how to be perfectly imperfect.

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