With the current lockdown in place, I have been listening and reading to articles that spotlight the necessity to find new leadership models that can help us navigate through the stormy seas of our current world. This triggered a memory of the first interview I gave back in 2008 on the subject of leadership through the metaphor of music.
I was thrilled at the time to be invited by the Czech Business Weekly (especially as most people considered my ideas utterly unrealistic) and share my thoughts on the value of using the music leader as a metaphor for leadership in business. I concluded the interview with these words:
Right now, this concept is revolutionary in business, but its time is coming. People need creativity, which will lead to innovation. This won't change the business world, but it can be an important part of the mosaic.
Twelve years later my words seem to ring the bell of truth. The value of interdisciplinary education is gaining ground and organizations and individuals alike recognize that interdisciplinarity may hold the golden key to unlock a better future.
The question you may ask now is...why? Why should I look to a music conductor for inspiration? What do I, as a business leader, have in common with a music leader?
Much more than you think. You both lead PEOPLE. And people are the same no matter their background, profession or industry. I am always amazed at the similarities I detect whilst playing with an orchestra and working as a business consultant. While the nature of these professions is somewhat different, human nature is not. Challenges are comparable, solutions pretty much the same.
What gives music a key advantage is that throughout the last 400 years there has been a progressive endeavor to seek new concepts and solutions to leadership, organizational structure, personal and professional growth. We may safely ascertain, that severe crises with an impact like COVID-19 occurred during this period many times: wars, revolutions, pandemics, economic recessions, lockdowns. Music leaders developed skills and qualities that enabled them to navigate through conditions similar to the ones we face today. History taught them a key lesson in orchestrating their leadership: the next challenge is always around the corner.
The latest report published by The World Economic Forum lists skills – like analytical thinking, complex problem-solving and creativity – that will be most sought-after by 2025. The music leader, orchestrating his/her leadership covers 90% of these skills.