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What Jazz Can Teach Us about Serving Dads

Posted by Christopher A. Brown

Father Engagement Certificate

Provocative competence.

Excuse me? What's "provocative competence?" And what does jazz have to do with it?

In Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways, author William C. Taylor notes that the term was coined by Frank Barrett, a professor of management, to describe how great jazz musicians "stretch themselves to play in challenging contexts." More specifically, the term describes how these musicians challenge themselves to move beyond their mastery of music to create space to improvise. (Taylor uses this term to describe a characteristic of great for profit companies and nonprofit organizations.) 

The willingness to transcend in this way is a hallmark of jazz, and it has much to teach you about serving dads. Provocative competence, according to Barrett, is a process in which you don't allow what you know to limit what you can imagine. You must be both competent in your field and willing to transcend that competence through imagination and creativity. Think of competence as the cake and imagination and creativity as the icing on the cake--that which brings the taste of the cake alive and makes it distinct from other cakes.

To be provocatively competent in serving dads, you must have a foundation in the core competencies required for success in serving dads in any setting and be willing to experiment with different strategies and tactics that work in your setting. Our primary job at National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) is to help you and your organization develop the core competencies. Your job is to use your imagination and creativity to figure out exactly what works in your setting. We help you with that job by providing strategies and tactics (e.g. through spotlights in this blog, case studies, and in-person and online training) that you can integrate into experiments. But, ultimately, it's your job to determine which icing best compliments the cake.

NFI's Father Engagement Certificate™, in particular, helps develop five core competencies:

  • How to create a father-friendly organization
  • Implementation of best practices
  • Recruitment and retention
  • Involving moms
  • Fundraising

This affordable, online, on-demand, self-paced training provides a comprehensive treatment of these competencies. I encourage you to register for and acquire the certificate. (Click here to read more about the benefits others have received from taking it.) And please recommend it to others in your organization and community who serve dads.

We also offer a ton of free resources that can help you further develop these competencies and provide creative ideas for you to try. Check out our free on-demand recorded webinars and ebooks, for example! Many of them address effectively serving dads in specific settings.

Are you and your organization competent and creative in serving dads?

Are you and your organization stretching to move beyond what you know about serving dads?

Click Here to Start Your Father Engagement Training

Topics: fatherhood training

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