The Mick Jagger Slide
©2020, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved.


Having a few stakeholders in a project meeting can be challenging. Having two dozen stakeholders in a business transformation session… wait, what’s “challenging” to the third power?

My manager and I knew from discovery interviews conducted prior to the session (a very valuable exercise, I might add) that these stakeholders had serious disagreements with each other with respect to the Future State of a major process which affected all of them. The cliché about leaders mostly being Type A personalities is based on reality, and we knew as facilitators that things could get out of control almost immediately after the usual round of introductions. In fact, we had clues from some of these executives that other executives were “going to be an issue.”

There were hard decisions ahead in order to have a successful process transformation. From what we knew about the subject, there was no realistic way that we were going to please everyone… and it was possible that absolutely no one was going to be happy.

The day before the session, I was still wrestling with this issue to the point of distraction about the rest of the agenda. We had our ground rules set up, based on company’s usual suggestions. Still, there was something missing. These leaders were not going to get everything they expected…

And that’s when The Rolling Stones started singing in my head. This was unusual as I come down more on the Beatles side than the Stones side, but then again, the Fab Four had not recorded the song that was playing in my mental jukebox.

Hoping that I would not be violating fair use principles by too large a margin, I did a quick image search and came up with a photo of the lead singer of The Rolling Stones. He looked to be about twenty years old, was nattily dressed in a button-down shirt and wool jacket, and had struck a crooner pose with an old-school microphone. Perfect.

I pulled out the presentation for our introduction, located the ground rules slide, and added the words “and one more…” in small print at the bottom. Then I inserted a following slide and filled the right half of it with the image I found. On the left side I typed:

“In the words of that eminent philosopher Sir Michael Phillip Jagger...

“You can’t always get what you want (this in 54 point font)

“(But if you try sometimes, you get what you need)” (in 16 point font)

[Yes, I know the song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, but Mick is the lead singer, and besides, Keith will outlive all of us, right?]

I was concerned right up until I showed this slide in the meeting, but when I got laughs and understanding, I didn’t have to say anything else. My attempt at calming down a situation wasn’t expected from a Lean Six Sigma Practitioner, but it worked. The “Mick Jagger Slide” was requested by half a dozen leaders afterward. As far as I know it’s still being used from time to time.


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