“And the light of the sun fills our eyes
From the fire beyond the ancient stars we are born”
— Lyrics sample from the Wintersun album The Forest Seasons

Last Thursday and Friday, my wife and I immersed ourselves in back to back concert nights at Baltimore’s SoundStage to see bands from Sweden, Finland, Australia, and Portugal.

These are some of our favorite international metal bands including Amorphis, Moonspell, Omnium Gatherum, Dark Tranquility, Ne Obliviscaris, and Wintersun.

Along with enjoying the music, I also learned lessons that can be applied directly to leadership.  Here are three.

Be persistent.  I saw fans wearing T-Shirts for some of these bands that are from tours in the early 1990’s.  Music can be a volatile industry but these bands have managed to maintain a strong presence across multiple decades through changing times and personal challenges.

Bring your best.  This tour covered 22 cities in 28 days across Canada and the US.  Each night the bands treat that city and those fans, to an energetic go-all-out event.  Every crowd at every venue, big or small, gets the best show possible.

Be you.  Each band has a unique style just as every leader does. These bands developed their styles over years and have allowed those styles to evolve without losing the core of their uniqueness. They celebrate and hone the traits that make them distinct.

One of our favorites, Dark Tranquility, is a pioneer of the metal scene in Gothenburg, Sweden. This might seem to be an obscure specialty but there is nothing else quite like their particular brand of Gothenburg melodic death metal. They absolutely own it and love it.

Persistence, Dedication, Individuality.

Lead with these things in mind and you will do well.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

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