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I am a small business consultant with 17 years practical experience in leadership within Fortune 100 companies in the fields of marketing, PR, profit and loss, change management, internal consulting, process enhancements and risk. I have a BA in Psychology and MBA. I will  complete a Master’s in Organizational Development and Leadership on April 25th 2019. My background has given me a perspective that is uniquely mine. I am fortunate enough to have a small business consulting firm to share my experiences with small businesses who can benefit most. Visit to find out more information. 


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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Jones Taylor

Five Leadership Lessons From Foo Fighters Front Man, Dave Grohl

Updated: Jan 23

Dave Grohl, Foo Fighter frontman, teaches us some classic leadership lessons worthy of examination. In my estimation, he was a born, charismatic leader. And like all “born leaders”, he still had to hone his craft. And I don’t mean the guitars, drums and vocals; I mean the art and science of leadership. I confess that this is a somewhat gratuitous and indulgent excuse to write about one of my favorite rockstars, but in all seriousness, Dave is a leadership coach in at least five ways. After waiting a year for the opportunity to see them in Austin in 2018, a lesson in leadership was the last thing I expected to take away from the show. But, indeed, that’s the most memorable part of my experience. Of course, my handsome date’s air drumming skills do deserve an honorable mention.

Dave Grohl, front man for the Foo Fighters sings and plays the guitar in Austin Texas live.
Dave Grohl, Front Man for the Foo Fighters

Lesson 1:

Dave is generous with recognition. He applauds each member of his band. He authentically gives credit where credit is due. He dedicates a lot of time in between sets extolling each band member, sincerely. He doesn’t do it a patronizing way, and he doesn’t speak in generalities. Instead, he gives specific reasons why that musician just crushed it. He doesn’t just say, “Hey, Taylor, you’re awesome.” He calls out Taylor’s vocals. In fact, Taylor has a broader range than Dave’s. Feedback should always be specific. What did the person do, exactly, that made their performance awesome (or poor)? Dave does this well, and delivers feedback in a setting that Taylor likes.

Taylor Hawkins, drumming on a riser as the subject of Leadership Lesson 1
Taylor Hawkins, the Late Drummer for the Foo Fighters

Lesson 2:

He demonstrates vulnerability and growth when he makes BIG mistakes.

Here’s an example: William Goldsmith, the first drummer laid down the drum track for their 20 year old masterpiece album, The Colour and the Shape. Dave wasn’t happy with Goldsmith’s performance, and without informing Goldsmith, Dave re-recorded the drums and released the album. He could’ve given feedback and coaching, or a performance management talk. At the very least, he could’ve told Goldsmith what he was going to do and why. I equate this with a lack of courageous leadership. This had a profound impact on Goldsmith who turned to alcohol and drugs. Now, that’s not on Dave’s shoulders, but it shows how profound poor leadership can affect a person. Dave also received a lot of flack and has to live with the fallout of his 20 year old foible. Sometimes, you can’t take things back.

Dave Grohl singing a slow song looking remorseful over a mistake
Dave Grohl Live in Austin, Tx (Photo: Crystal Taylor)

Lesson 3:

Leaders don’t always have to know how to “swing the hammer” to be the boss, but it does give you a leg up if you’ve done the job. Dave’s technical abilities give him the street cred needed to command thousands of people. For example, when Dave tells thousands of people at Wembley to pipe down so he can speak, they listen. He rarely has to repeat himself. He has earned the respect it takes to command his audience. Even controlling a fight or a heckler is no match for Dave. A simple, “You don’t fight at my show”, seems to quash a conflict.

Lesson 4:

Dave gives people development opportunities. He takes a shot on people who could possibly ruin a show. That must be hard to do for a perfectionist like Dave. He usually invites someone up on stage. Sometimes it’s a ten year old kid to do a Metallica cover. Sometimes an adult, like the now infamous “Kiss Guy” who joined the band to play Monkey Wrench on Dave’s guitar. I'll let you YouTube it. Warning: NSFW.

Dave shares the stage with an audience member who shines in playing a difficult assignment song
Dave Takes a Chance on KISS Guy (Photo: Crystal Taylor)

Lesson 5:

When Dave’s world got rocked, Dave rocked harder. He was divorced, homeless, his band was falling apart, and he couldn’t access his bank account. During that time, he wrote what is, arguably, his best work ever: Everlong. He created and finished a beautiful project in a time of personal tribulation, something all leaders know a bit about. And borne from this strife was something beautiful. But Everlong, too, seemed to be a failure. However, he didn’t give up on it. He tweaked it into an acoustic version and took the calculated risk of playing the stripped down version on Howard Stern. He persevered, in spite of widespread doubt, for something he believed in.

As I rocked, and performed a bit of air-musicianship, myself, I started making these connections. Like many of you, I recognize instances of great leadership when I see them. In this case, I waited about 15 years and paid $372 for a ticket to a great rock show, and walked away with so much more.

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Welcome to my blog, where I discuss Organizational Change Management and Development. I embrace Prosci’s global ADKAR methodology, as a Prosci Certified Change Practitioner (PCCP), and the best practices for managing change at scale as a Certified Change Management Professional (CCMP designation) from the global Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP.)


I’m here to connect and collaborate with others passionate about change and overall business acumen. One of my interests is demonstrating the concrete value of enterprise change management, in the language of dollars and cents. Let’s do something great!

With 20 years in Fortune 100s, my roles include P&L responsibility, fulfillment and shared services functions. I often say have a 360 degree view of the business to augment my approach to Change, including stakeholder engagement resonant visions and cases for change.


My strategic planning and tactical execution in Change Management spans HR, Strategy, Digital, Brand, Marketing/MarTech, COO, DE&I, CTO, IT and CFO, where I have had the opportunity to positively impact the employee experience for 39k employees and millions of customers in concert with brilliant project teams.

I have a creative streak, which helps me achieve sustained results with minimal resources, when budgets are tight. For example, I co-patented a new business model for a financial services’ vehicle ownership.


Outside of work, I enjoy volunteering on the ACMP Virtual Engagement Committee, animal rescue, and creative writing, where two of my pieces have been recently published.


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