Imagine this nightmare scenario: seconds before an important meeting you find out that you brought the wrong presentation with you. A similar thing – only a million times worse – happened to star pianist Maria João Pires. The orchestra was already playing when she realized that she prepared for the wrong Mozart concerto.
Leading by example
One of the things I like about this video is the reaction of conductor Riccardo Chailly. You could use it to illustrate a management seminar: instead of getting mad or acting disappointed, he keeps his cool and affirms his trust in her. The result? Pires gives a flawless performance. All thanks to Chailly’s excellent management skills. And because Pires has the memory of an elephant, of course.
“Unlike business companies, orchestras are simple.”
An even better example is this wonderful performance of another Mozart concerto.
Do you see how conductor and pianist David Greilsammer is ‘a part of his team’ and how he ‘leads by example’? With a bit of creativity, you can match just about every business cliché to classical music. There’s even no ‘I’ in ‘orchestra’! I can’t believe http://www.mozartformanagers.com is still available – it’s a goldmine.
Of course …
Imagine my total lack of surprise when I found out that this sort of thing is already being done. At Music & Management they “invite the corporate world to explore new ways of thinking about business practice” and “provide extraordinary insights into leadership, collaboration, creativity and personal development.”
The lucky participants of the Orchestra Experience are seated within an orchestra to:
- “see and hear music being played from inside the orchestra, observe the role of the conductor and orchestral players.” Which sounds like fun.
- “engage in an interactive discussion with the conductor and musicians about how playing in an orchestra mirrors the culture of a business organization.” Which sounds horrible.
Money well spent
Will this experience enhance the participants’ management skills? Probably not. You see, unlike business companies – especially the ones who can afford the Orchestra Experience – orchestras are simple. Everybody knows who the boss is and believes in the common goal. Each member has a recognizable skill and clear task, so nobody needs to hide the fact that he secretly feels unnecessary. That’s what managers should learn from musicians, not “the importance of creative freedom within the constraints of a large organization.”
But that doesn’t mean those seminars are a waste of time. Some of those people will surely walk out with a new or renewed love for music – never a bad thing. Because when the next financial crisis comes along, it’s good to have Mozart’s shoulder to cry on.