Some words find their way into our daily lexicon, which holds a special meaning to us. It may be a word that a mentor often used, evoking fond memories. The word may evoke a desirable air of coolness or intelligence when used, or its meaning reminds us of an essential concept that is important to us. For me, “groovy” is one of these words. A friend humorously reminds me that this word is outdated every time I use it, saying, “It is not coming back!” Deep down, I long for the day that it stages its brilliant return.
The most common use of the adjective “groovy” is used to describe something excellent or trendy. The more literal application of the word represents a rippled-cut potato chip (which in itself is quite groovy). The use of the word, which holds a special meaning for me, describes the performance of a team. This points to the word’s jazz roots.
Jazz musicians are perpetually seeking “the groove.” The groove is the point in the musical performance when all members of the band are listening, responding, and contributing exceptionally. It is the point where the band members don’t want the music to stop. The audience can’t help but move their legs in rhythm or offer a joyful shout if nothing more than to be a part of it.
The groove is the height and bliss of collaborative engagement. All members are pushing each other to heights of creativity and productivity that otherwise would be out of reach individually. It is the experience where the ego and self-interest vaporize. It is when the fight becomes drive and momentum takes over. When this state of engagement occurs, it is excellent. It is wonderful. It is groovy!
How does one achieve the state of grooviness with your team? It all begins with intentionality. Think like a jazz musician when you engage your team and chase the groove. When the groove is achieved, all of the other desirable outcomes, such as innovation, creativity, and productivity, follow with exuberance. The path to the groove is through listening, encouragement, adaptability, leading, supporting, and boldly asking “why not.” The groove is found in discovering the spaces and fearlessly filling them in with what you have to offer.
Admitting that your favorite word has fallen into obsolescence is difficult. For mine, its use faded into the past over thirty years ago. When considering its meaning and experiencing a team demonstrating their grooviness wholeheartedly, I find it hard to believe that its outdated mode is permanent. Who would not want a groovy day, groovy teammates, and groovy projects?