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What Organizations can learn from Orchestras

What Organisations can learn from Orchestras

A business is probably not the first thing you would think about when hearing the word orchestra. But orchestras and businesses have more in common than you actually might think.

I think orchestras are even more a prime example of how every business should be up. I want to share a few similarities and aspects I discovered yesterday when I attended an orchestra concert in Düsseldorf.

What an Orchestra actually is

Classical music is not simply music. Electronic music may be composed by a single musician, rock music by a group of 3–5 people. Classical music is a prime example of hard work and perfect organization. Orchestras consist of a variety of different instruments and musicians which are usually grouped into different sections. For example, orchestras feature string instruments, brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments. All these musicians with their different but unique talents are led by a conductor. The conductor, although playing no instrument himself, is a crucial part of the orchestra. He uses a conductor’s baton, his hands and arms to unify the huge assembly of musicians and instruments. He sets the tempo and interprets the musical piece performed. As you can see a piece of classical music isn’t recorded in a small recording studio. Classical music is a composition of many musicians from as many as 40 or even 120 players. Perfect coordination and corporation are needed to perform a composition accurately.

Talented Teams and Leadership

An orchestra is an assembly of many different musicians all playing unique instruments. While musicians or players are divided into different sections like string instruments they still play different and uniquely important instruments. One musician plays the violin while two others play viola, cello, or double bass. Players are categorized into instrument groups but they still have a very important role in the orchestra. Every single talent of every single player is needed to perform a composition. Maybe you can already detect similarities to a business or any other organization. Organizations are also made up of teams with unique and very important talents. We can divide organizations also into different sections. In businesses, we see divisions and departments like Marketing, Accounting, IT, and Customer Support. The Marketing department is not made up of 10 equally talented clones but it also includes many different talents. Some employees are specialized in social media marketing while other’s know exactly how to handle public relations.

A Team is Crucial For Success

Now imagine a single violin player. Without her orchestra, she might be able to play the notes but she would never accomplish a masterpiece of a composition on her own. A great composition is played by a team and not by a single musician. The same is true for a composer. He may be able to write a musical masterpiece but without a great assembly of talented musicians, he will never be able to bring his composition to life. What about a conductor? Imagine a lone conductor standing in front of nobody. It does not matter how passionate he is swinging his conductor baton without musicians he will never hear a note.

Now again you might spot similarities to organizations. There are entrepreneurs all over the globe who are having clear visions of what they want to achieve. But even the best entrepreneur with the greatest invention will not go far without great partnerships and even more talented teams. Elon Musk who is seen by many people of the innovator and boldest entrepreneur of our time would never achieve his success without a great team. Here is how Steve Jobs describes the importance of teams:

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” Steve Jobs

Even the Smallest Players are Important

In an orchestra, even the easiest instruments and their players are crucial for a great composition and performance. There are instruments in an orchestra such as triangles and drums which are not that hard to learn and play. Nevertheless, these instruments and their players are crucial for the orchestras overall success. While the player might not be the talented player of a complicated violin he is still a passionate part of the orchestra. This is directly transferable to companies and organizations. In organizations, there are also employees which are on the first sight not that important as their task is very easy. Nevertheless is this position crucial for the overall success of the company. This might be the carmaker of the office building or the chef of the kitchen. But without the work of a great chef managers or other employees would not have the energy to perform their tasks at a great level. A good chef, caretaker, cleaner, or greeter is still an important part of the company.

Take a Break to Refocus

The orchestra I attended yesterday had a short break after around 50 or 60 minutes of playing. All musicians, as well as the conductor, were exhausted of one hour of extremely concentrated work. They retrenched for a few minutes while the conductor was able to give the team compliments and maybe a few suggested improvements. If they would not have paused for a few minutes they would never have played the remaining composition in such an excellence.

The same is true for focused work. The human body needs periods of relaxation and rest. Everyone who ever had a three-hour meeting knows exactly how unfocused all attendees are after 60 or 90 minutes. We are humans and we are not made to work 9 hours nonstop without short periods of relaxation in between. It is also true on a bigger scale, it is not healthy to work 80 hours a week for 12 months in a row without any period of relaxation or vacation.

Appreciate and Thank your Team Sincerely

In the end of the orchestra, the conductor received standing ovations from the audience and a flower bouquet from the orchestra hall. Instead of taking the standing ovations and the flowers for himself he respected and thanked every single member of the orchestra. He pleased nearly every musician to stand up so that they were able to receive parts of these amazing standing ovations. He also passed the bouquet of flowers to another key musician instead of taking it home. This showed his true appreciation for the great work the player just did.

Great organizations and companies should work the same way. As we have just learned, a business success is built 100% upon teamwork. If a great CEO receives praise and compliments he will never keep the compliments for himself. Great managers know exactly that his success would not have been possible without the backing of his great team. This is the reason why great managers handle compliments the same way the conductor did. They pass on the appreciation and compliments to their team members.

Collaboration is the Key to Success

The most important thing in an orchestra of 80 players is a perfect collaboration. Real success is only possible if all 80 talented people or players follow the vision and strategy of a great leader or conductor. To succeed they also need to corporate among themselves. A great leader or conductor will create the necessary work environment which puts the whole team on a winning path.

Are you a Leader?

Nowadays there is a trend to become an entrepreneur all around the globe. More and more people are becoming freelancers. True advancements in human kind have only be achieved with teamwork, collaboration, and partnerships. Not everyone is a born leader which is able to bring a company on a succeeding path. But everyone has unique and great talents within themselves. If you are not a born leader try to join a passionate team and a leader with a clear vision because this is the only way how you can become truly satisfied and successful. And if money is important to you, don’t forget: the fiftieth employee of Google is still pretty wealthy.

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