Lessons from Music for the businessperson (The Businessperson’s Guide to Music)

Essential tips for working together

Communication between people is of the highest priority in today’s and future management.   We search to understand the qualities of teamwork and look to all resources as how to enhance communication at our workplace as well as in our personal lives.

Executives and musicians face common issues at their workplace, in dealing with teamwork, change, achieving performance value, competing to succeed.  The world of music provides many examples of people working together to create great things in time of change. In that way we can  consider it a valuable metaphor to understand leadership and teamwork.

I would like to share with you essential tips of teamwork based on music from my own experience as well as from other musicians I have worked with or have heard of.

As a musician from very early childhood playing with other musicians was the most natural thing. My first collaboration was with my sister, a pianist, 3 years older than me. My first lesson was that I was not the leader and my sister the accompanist who would obediently listen to me, but that we were equals working together to perform our very best for our teachers, family and friends. We had to learn how to match our tone (our ideas) and at the same time be able to lead or quickly switch to accompany the other.

One of the first essential tools one had to learn as a musician were good manners: when one player gets lost, the others have to stop or give immediate support to continue, not just carry on because they can and they know where they are. And then be ready to restart playing at anytime.

These first lessons set up the principals by which all my further collaboration with other musicians up to this day is based on, whether it is playing together with my pianist or guitar player or with a larger chamber music ensemble.

When a music group starts to work, the initial A is played at the beginning to “tune” in the ensemble/team. It expresses a vision of partnership, teamwork, and relationship. In giving the A “the tone”, the manager and employee become a team for accomplishing the extraordinary.

Looking into a music team each member knows his part, is highly trained in his skills and is responsible to deliver his best. You must know how you fit within the whole, what your role is in the picture.  Flexibility is needed as various situations can arise where there will be the need to improvise, cover up for someone, restart and play on. Depending on the music score (business plan) you have to be ready at any time to take over leadership, pass it on or share it. It is a constant give and take situation. Working extensively together one learns each other’s moves and in that way creates the platform for a successful and empowering team. When I come to think of it, my long-time music partners and I have more of a silent dialogue taking place during our rehearsals.

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