A few years ago I became aware of a guy in Portland Oregon, named Tor Clausen who owns a company called Musical Furnishings (www.musical furnishings.com). It seems this gentleman had the brilliant idea that furniture, while remaining functional as furniture, could also serve as entertainment and as a tool for creativity. He designed a series of tables, benches and chests that also can be used as percussion instruments. This takes the form of various drums or xylophone type instruments.

I’ve been a musician most of my life, which is almost embarrassing to claim since my playing ability nowhere matches the amount of time I have spent practicing or just fooling around for the pure joy of it. But the one thing that I have never been any good at all is percussion. Despite having reasonable time while playing other instruments, I can’t carry a beat even if it has a handle. I have little creativity when it comes to hearing drum beats and clapping can sometimes even be a challenge.

Regardless of my obvious and self-admitted lack of talent in all things percussion, I could never get the concept of a musical table out of my head. Just the idea of having a musical experience integrated into something as common as a coffee table, is just so appealing to me. The context that it presents is so attractive that I couldn’t imagine putting down my coffee cup or the remote without a couple quick taps.

Luckily for me, the kind folks at Media1 picked up on my intrigue for these musical tables, and for my 10th anniversary this last January, they gave me a gift certificate for one of my very own. I got to work with Tor Clausen on the types of drums and size of the table as well as the finishes. A few weeks later, I’m the proud owner of my very own musical table.

Now I don’t expect that suddenly I am going to become an amazing percussionist, but I do expect, that I will get better. If I had a drum in my music room, I would probably never play it; instead I would choose to pick up my favorite guitar or mandolin, but the coffee table in my living room? How can I not walk by and try a little beat? It’s integrated into my everyday life and it has a presence that will be hard to ignore.

All of this got me thinking, can we create better leaders by making sure that the opportunity to be a better leader is ever-present? How can we make professional development as irresistible as playable furniture?

Harrison Plays his Rumba Table