How do you Conduct your Orchestra?

In our quest to explore and find magical ingredients that make a team a high performing team, at the top of their game, we have pondered on many analogies over the years, from flying geese to sports.

Our passion is people, and our energy relentless in the pursuit of happiness and commercial success (profit and smiles).

On that note, just when we thought we had probably exhausted all the high performing team analogies, one of our clients, forwarded us a TED link, entitled: Lead like the great conductors (Itay Talgam, TEDGlobal 2009)

Thank you for sharing this, you know you are…. What an amazing talk…. I have never been disappointed by any of the TED clips and this one is well up there with the best… By comparing a number of different styles, Itay talks with such overwhelming passion and sincerity about the role and challenges of the orchestra conductor.

The conductor has the ultimate leadership challenge -

to create perfect harmony without saying a word!

As a leadership expert, always keeping my nose close to the ground to explore new theories, this got my cogs turning. That perfect harmony is something we take for granted when we listen to any orchestra, whether at the theatre, on the radio, or the TV, but the complexities of this team dynamic run way deeper than meet the eye……..or ear for that matter!!

Lead like the great conductors

Lead like the great conductors

In his lecture, Talgam discusses various differing conductor styles; each with their own unique style and blend of leadership characteristics to create great partnership and a perfect harmony. Talgam poses that it all starts by looking happy; he who looks, and is, happy spreads happiness. A conductor who is happy is, in his own way, through the power of the music, telling his story and by doing that, is encouraging and enabling others to tell their stories, a whole community of stories!

This authentic mix of stories serves to create conditions where people can be themselves and have the autonomy to do that safely, thus making the most captivating music, and fuelling the true experience of a live concert. Authenticity then, is key.

Question: Do we really respect leaders who think it is all about their story and importance, and are rigid in their ideas and approach?

Such ego or self-interest can be extremely destructive, often contributing towards a break down in trust and communication. Conversely, we often thrive as individuals when we are given a route with a clear direction and are then left to build the path as we see fit using our own unique blend of personal ingredients and stories to guide us. Talgam claims that a conductor may choose not to give an actual instruction, though there will be a meaning, a process or raw plan in place, one hundred per cent support throughout, and each orchestra member will be a partner in the process. When needed, if it all goes wrong, the authority is there, but it shouldn’t be needed to make people partners!

Stanford OrchestraSo important for us in our daily working lives, especially when we consider our energy and how we manage it. Autonomy and the freedom to be innovative and creative can powerfully invigorate us, enabling a vibrant contribution and result.

Whether you are a member of an orchestra, or a business team, if you have a clear direction or goal, with a uniting “Essence” or meaning, are committed to listening to each other and understanding each other’s energy, giving each other the space to be authentic, each of these components will create a perfect harmony a perfect partnership a perfect result, a perfect high performing team, making greater profit and smiles a daily reality.




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