Just 3 Chords !!

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to attend the Louisiana SHRM State Conference. I relish it when I can spend time with HR peers. It fills my bucket. I also gave two presentations and got to see the good work of other presenters. Conferences are a great time to connect, network, learn, and have fun. We spent so much time laughing while getting to know each other better.

After the conference came to a close, my dear friend Rebecca secured tickets for a real treat. A handful of us who were staying after the conference decided to go see two legendary bands – ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynrd !! I was so geeked because I have been a fan of both bands throughout their long and illustrious careers. The night started by grabbing some incredible Mexican food and decompressing from the successful conference. We gobbled down our food and drinks because Rebecca and I wanted to make sure to catch every moment of the show.

When we made our way to our seats a third band on the bill, Black Stone Cherry, ripped the roof off. This was completely unexpected. I had never heard of them. They destroyed their set and were a mix of southern rock, heavy metal, and a bit of country. ZZ Top quietly took the stage as they sauntered out. Billy Gibbons strummed his first note and they were off !! (I’ll come back to this Texas trio in a sec.) Skynrd was so talented. They played a series of hits and elevated the room as we sang along ending the night with Freebird. The whole night was epic !!

The surprise of the night for me though was ZZ Top. Three musicians made enough noise to literally shake your chest with their sonic mastery. It was astonishing. All of the band members are now in their 70s which is ridiculous. They spoke little but did share the quip – “We’re just three guys with the same three chords.” So simple yet so powerful. They played a mix of their hits along with some deep, deep cuts and I was in heaven. I sang, screamed, and cheered throughout their entire set.

There is magic in threes. This is true for these rock legends just as it is for us professionally. We often talk about the need for mentors in the workplace. I agree. Being a mentor is a great privilege. Helping others learn the ropes so they can succeed in the company has limitless value. There is a watch out for this though because one should not just be a mentor. No one should feel they are so talented that their sole purpose is to have people sit at their feet just to listen to their wisdom.

People who are successful mentors have mentors themselves. That approach puts them in a trio. You shouldn’t mentor others unless you have a mentor. You need the 3 chords in order to make mentoring work effectively. We gather experience over time and there is strength in sharing what we’ve gone through. At the same time, we should never stop learning. Never. There is always something new to learn or glean from others who are your mentors.

This week follow the ZZ Top model for mentoring. They’ve been together playing their unique style for over 50 years. Three guys playing three chords works. It always will !!

To keep the vibe going as you read this, enjoy this deep cut they played live.