Maestros judging maestros—if only we could hear leadership

The other night, I had the opportunity to watch conductor Franz Welser-Most as he watched his Cleveland Orchestra being led by guest conductor Pierre Boulez.  Cleveland is generally regarded as one of the world’s greatest orchestras, particularly in its ability to created a blended, unified sound.  I’m not discerning enough to hear the difference in its playing under a different conductor but I’m sure Welser-Most is – I’m sure he could tell if the musicians were playing their best and how well they were blending with each other.  Since only the conductor was different, that means he could discern Boulez’s vision for the music and his ability to communicate it to the players and attract them to it. 

In other words, he could judge how well Boulez did the job that every leader has.

Wouldn’t it be great if it was that easy to tell if your organization was pursuing a clear, accepted vision and working together in a way that allowed them to perform at a level that exceeded what they could do independently?  Because that’s the goal of a leader and the purpose of communication within any organization. 

Surveys, feedback and observation are the mainstays of determining whether your organization is in tune with your leadership and each other.  It would be convenient if another CEO could tell whether it was so just as easily as Welser-Most could by listening, but it doesn’t work that way outside the concert hall.  The trick is to combine enough understanding and insight into your organization with sufficient outside perspective to be able to discern that organization as clearly as a maestro.

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