Wow, this was really impressive! Just coming back from a presentation (no slides – just music!) with Christian Gansch a renown conductor, music producer, consultant and book author. In his books he points out what companies can learn from Orchestras. In his presentation he explained what a complex organization an orchestra is with a lot of departments and department managers. He gave insight in how it is managed by the conductor and how it is also managing itself.

To thrive for highest “customer satisfaction” all 120 pretty eccentric personalities of that orchestra need to stand and work together very closely and sensitively. This needs a lot of respect for one another, it needs tolerance to give in and acknowledge that for example if the Oboe realizes it cannot hold breath long enough when the violin plays a specific part that part needs to be played differently although it maybe more difficult to play for the violinists. Finally listeners judge the whole sound of the orchestra and not just the Oboe.

The conductor also needs to value and respect each individual musician but also give each of them feed-back and not avoid conflict. In order to have a full harmony in the performance there might be conflict in the rehearsals (there are four of them in general and the last one traditionally is not interrupted by the conductor). On the other hand he needs to have a strong competence in perceiving the individual musicians to for example adapt some parts to a breath loosing singer who is not 100% on top that day. The latter reminded me of the leadership capabilities Scharmer is mentioning like listening, observing, sensing.

Overall this presentation was very inspiring, it came across with a lot of enthusiasm and passion. Here is an interview with Christian, unfortunately in German. Many thanks to HRD, Human Resources Development Consulting in Hamburg, who made this possible for their 20th anniversary!