Carlos in the Background.

May 16, 2020

Carlos in the Background.

May 29, 2023

What can we learn from a Grammy winning guitarist? Recently a client was envisioning his evolving role in the organization. His goal was to develop younger leaders to grow and flourish in responsibility and authority.

The role model we used was Carlos Santana playing guitar in his band. Carlos is a natural leader on several accounts. He’s extremely talented (winning ten Grammy awards), yet he’s content to step back and take a supporting role in his group. He freely collaborates with younger musicians and helps them launch their careers by adding his name, experience, and mesmerizing guitar work to their projects.

His generosity is often the “Midas touch” that turns a younger artist’s album to gold.

Although Carlos has the skills, reputation, and drawing power to pull rank on anyone in his band, he doesn’t. Instead, he plays with the band and lets others have the spotlight and be up front.

Because of his humble style of leadership, this superstar has helped launch dozens of talented younger musicians who might otherwise remain unknown. Without his generous spirit, their artistic contributions may have gone undeveloped and unappreciated.

Although clearly in a position to retire and relax from years of hard work, Carlos remains active. After selling over 100 million albums, he could demand to always play lead and control the band. But he finds joy in putting others at the front of the stage.

Still touring, he’s clearly “replaced retirement with intentional living.”

John D. Anderson is author and creator of Replace Retirement, where he writes about envisioning the second‐half of life as a time of exponential impact and abundance.

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