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Saturday, June 19

With Love

I watched “This Is It” for the first time last night (I know, I’m extremely late—but better late than never). I observed how Michael Jackson meticulously worked with musicians and dancers until they adjusted notes, timing, moves and overall stage presence to his liking. I saw him perform dance steps with such precision and energy in rehearsals that, some would agree, should have been reserved for the actual show. He held little back.

This movie reminded me that Michael Jackson is genius. Michael Jackson is near perfection. So, this post could easily be about how “little things matter” or “practice makes perfect,” but it’s not. It’s about diverting potential conflict.

There was a scene about middle-way through the movie that stuck out, to me. Michael was attempting to sing a Jackson 5 number, but he couldn’t hear the music properly because something was going wrong with his earphone. So, he went through the rehearsal not actually singing but trying to get on beat. After the song was over, an agitated and frustrated Michael told the producer that the sound was screwed up which was throwing everything off.

This could have brought about some tension, but Michael added a simple “with love” at the end of his short rant that immediately dissipated any anxiety that was brewing. As a result, the problem got fixed quickly and the rehearsal went on.

As Michael conveyed his frustration, his intent wasn't to get anyone flustered. He simply wanted the problem to go away so that the team could continue on with a successful rehearsal. If his comments had a harsh tone, his addition of “with love” let folks know that he was only after improvement and that none of his words were personal.

What a simple yet useful lesson. Adding “with love” at the end of statement could help people understand that you’re not attacking. Instead, you’re only trying to help.

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