Byron's Babbles

Building The Cocoon

Being the rock and roll band groupie that I am, it will come as no surprise that I am reading Peter Frampton’s book Do You Feel Like I Do? A Memoir. I’m only on page 59, but I can already tell there will be multiple blog posts prompted by this book. For one thing, Peter has written this book with a very conversational voice. As I’m reading it is like he is with me telling the story. Such a talented person. Another thing that has already jumped out at me is the fact that his dad was a teacher – and a great one. I already tweeted this quote from from the book where Peter was telling about his dad teaching David Bowie and him knowing Dave (as he called him) as a schoolmate: “My father’s passion was teaching art. He could see those students who had the eye and the excitement to learn when they walked into his classroom” (p. 24). As an educator I appreciate this compliment of his father and wish for every student to encounter teachers like Peter Frampton’s dad.

Then came this statement in the book: “Wherever I looked, I was in this cocoon of famous people, people who I admired” (p. 31). As I always say, “Language matters.” The word “cocoon” jumped out at me. Here, Frampton was using a powerful metaphor for describing being with and learning from members of The Rolling Stones, great producers, great engineers, and other music industry influencers. I loved the metaphor because I can actually see them insulating and protecting just as a cocoon does for the larvae.

As a student of rock bands, and wannabe with zero talent, I’m always amazed at how those in the music business can spot talent and then, to use Peter’s metaphor, build a cocoon around them and help them. It’s like group mentoring or a team apprenticeship. This is really the way we should be doing this. Because there were so many great and talented people providing multiple parts of Peter Frampton’s mentorship, blind spots were minimized and the biases of any single mentor were eliminated. A genius model we should be using for our students and ourselves.

Peter Frampton truly had systemic use of diverse mentors and session formats provided for him without there being a formal plan. His mentors saw the talent and then set out to build the cocoon that allowed the development to happen.

I can’t leave this post without one more quote that drives home Frampton’s point about how good the stars of the moment were to him: “I’m asking about touring and what they do and everything, so I’m learning how a successful band works. But just seeing this person who’s a Rolling Stone, who’s now my friend, and he’s friends with my parents and was this regular guy—so okay, I don’t have to be something other than who I am. It was kind of like an apprenticeship. I was learning as I went, and I’m getting these amazing opportunities along the way” (p. 33). You might want to read that quote again; there’s a lot there. I can just imagine him, wide eyed, asking relevant questions, and taking it all in as he forged his path to stardom. Who has been a part of your cocoon? Thank them! Who are you mentoring and building a cocoon around?

Lou Brock: Universally Admired

Posted in Baseball, Coaching, Leadership, Lou Brock, Mentor by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 7, 2020

So many things have directed my thoughts toward baseball ⚾️ this weekend. Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Cal Ripken Jr.’s becoming Iron Man by playing in his 2,131st consecutive game (I blogged about it in Leading By Availability). Additionally, I’ve been sharing how I love having our family’s cutouts at Great American Ballpark supporting the Cincinnati Reds and the Reds Community Fund.

Then came the sad news today that Hall of Famer Lou Brock had passed away. He was dubbed the “Steals King” and I always admired his ability to steal bases. Stealing bases is a great metaphor for leadership because to steal bases you can’t be afraid to fail, and you have to take your foot off base and go. Lou Brock was a stolen base specialist.

You can’t be afraid to make errors! You can’t be afraid to be naked before the crowd, because no one can ever master the game of baseball, or conquer it. You can only challenge it. ~ Lou Brock

In her great piece, HOFer Brock, Former Steals King, Dies at 81, Anne Rogers has quotes from many who described him as a mentor, great ambassador, driven, and universally admired. It was said he could light up a room when he entered.

Enough said! He taught us leadership when stealing bases and was universally admired. Thank you Lou, for the example you set. You will be missed.