Don’t Worry, Be Happy- Leadership Lessons

This video was brought to my attention again this week. It is a video by the legendary Bobby McFerrin (remember the song Don’t Worry, Be Happy?). It is an awesome video – with many lessons – that you should watch. It is only 3:04 minutes.

What are the lessons for me?


When we manage expectations, the rest comes naturally.

McFerrin gave the first few notes and jumped on the stage to set the scene. He was laying the grown work so expectations would be fulfilled.

This is a powerful. Understanding this notion allows to better lead our staff and to some extend our customers/patients. When one properly and clearly lay out the ground rules, people know what the expectation is, thus proceed as expected.

Provide direction, but don’t interfere.

I love how McFerrin directs the audience by jumping back and forth, but he doesn’t get too involved in the singing. He provides the pitch for direction but leaves it up to the audience to hit the right note. He does add to the exercise with his own melody, but it doesn’t hinder it, but rather enhances it.

This is another lesson in leadership. Provide enough direction to get audience going, but not too much where one actually obstructs progress.

Defined principles are universal; use them to your advantage.

McFerrin uses the pentatonic scale for his experiment. The pentatonic scale is practically universal. It is very common and is found all over the world. It would have been much more difficult for McFerrin to pull this off had he used another scale.

When working with people, whether it is with the staff, with patients or in our case, parents, it is critical to find principles that are common and all share because this is the way to make progress.

Now it is your turn. What were the lessons for you?

4 thoughts on “Don’t Worry, Be Happy- Leadership Lessons”

  1. Thanks for posting this short clip. I then went to YouTube & watched/listened to the whole 90 minute presentation (in 10 parts) Notes & Neurons.

    Is our response to music hard-wired or culturally determined? Is the reaction to rhythm and melody universal or influenced by environment? Join host John Schaefer, scientist Daniel Levitin and musical artist Bobby McFerrin for live performances and cross cultural demonstrations to illustrate musics note-worthy interaction with the brain and our emotions.

    A bit off-topic for Pediatric Inc, but really interesting.

    1. Yeah, fascinating stuff.

      I little off-topic, I agree. But that goes to show that there are lessons for us everywhere. And I think health care would tremendously benefit from looking outside of the industry for inspiration. This is just one example.

      Thanks for your comments Liz.

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