We haven’t done music here on the screed in a while so how about we take on modal music? For those of you without the benefit of music theory classes, modes are types of musical scales that create very specific sounds. Not much of an explanation, but if you play a “C” major scale (all the white keys on a piano) while playing in the key of “D” rather than using a typical “D” scale, you’re playing modally. If you know the Metallica song “Sandman” you’re hearing modal music. Same thing with Led Zep‘s “Dancing Days.” To your ear they’re not exactly in a major key or a minor key and they create a very specific sound, and no, it’s not just heavy metal bands that use it.
Interesting, but what’s it doing here on a business blog?
As I see it, we should all think about playing modally in our businesses. Ask yourself what happens if you continue to play a certain way but do so in a different environment: a “C” scale in the key of “D” has a business equivalent of transforming content cross-platform for example. It can also involve how one creates a specific feeling that might not be as straightforward as, say, a major or minor scale. In other words, maybe we need to spend less time thinking linearly and a lot more time thinking modally.
Modes aren’t just musical either. There are modal verbs in English which we use when we want to express our intentions and attitudes, talk about necessity and possibility, or make offers, requests, or suggestions. “Can, may, will, would” and others are all examples. They’re “helper” words. “Can you shut the door?” is a good example and points out that modals often bring confusion along with them. I raise this because while we’re adjusting our musical modal thinking we can bring about the sort of confusing jumble that modal verbs can cause (in the previous example, you don’t know if the speaker is asking for someone to close the door of if they have the ability to do so). When we start to do business in different ways, staying focused on clarity needs to go along with the effort.
You know it when a business is playing modally. You take notice of their marketing because it sounds different and yet is very clear. The real question is how do we all get to that place? Thoughts?