Change Whisperer – Gail Severini, Symphini Change Management Inc.

Is leadership, and leading change, like leading a symphony?

What does this have to do with leading change? Well “change” is the riskiest and most pressing demand facing organizations and their leaders today – and the most significant of this strategic change is of an imperative, magnitude and complexity that has rarely been attempted before.  Organizations can rarely rely on their track record.    

An overwhelming number of experts and veterans agree, the single most important success criteria for change is the quality, conviction and commitment of the leader.  If it comes down to leadership, isn’t it worth investing in getting it right?  Maybe worth a few conversations with leaders who have done this successfully before?

Here some great, and entertaining, perspectives that explore how symphonies and maestros do it so well:

  • “Lead like the Great Conductors” Itay Talgam on TED. An orchestra conductor faces the ultimate leadership challenge: creating perfect harmony without saying a word. In this charming talk, Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders.
  • “The Year of the Maestro” a great blog / podcast from Mike Lipkin exploring the concepts from a different angle.  “It [“maestro”] comes from the world of classical music, but it is also the ultimate professional accolade. Maestro is the title awarded to people who inspire us through their mastery of their art.” … “The greater the demand, the greater the need for people who perform at the highest level.  When no one else can, the Maestro can. And if they can, others will follow.” … ““So here are the Five C’s of the Maestro Model: Consciousness, Confidence, Competence, Capacity and Contribution.” If you can, do listen to the podcast – Mike brings it alive. 
  • Music and Leadership Part 1″ and “Part 2” reflections from an experienced Change Agent, Luc Galoppin (blog with video). “The conductor doesn’t make a sound. … He depends for his power on his ability to make other people powerful.” Bill Zander
  • “Orchestral Symphonies in Change Management” Richard Batchelor: “The orchestra has brass, percussion, woodwind and strings sections. The Change Manager needs to consider, People, Education, Communications, Technology and Environment areas of change. The very best orchestras will include every instrument possible for each section. The very best change manager considers every tool or instrument within each area of change. …”


Related Posts:

Credentials for Change Management Practitioners  (the value of experience)

Who makes change happen? (the role of the leader)

The “beginner’s mind” – blue sky (learning and mastery)

5 Comments so far
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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Christelle Letist, Luc Galoppin. Luc Galoppin said: Is leadership, and leading change, like leading a symphony? #ocpractitioner cc: @bizzarts […]

Pingback by Tweets that mention Is leadership, and leading change, like leading a symphony? « Change Whisperer – Gail Severini's Blog © --

Gail, while I couldn’t agree more that effective leaders orchestrate the results they need to achieve, one of the most important roles for any true leader is to develop leadership “capacity” in the organization. This means developing leaders, and a leadership mindset, at all levels. Even those without direct reports need a leadership mindset – to ask the vital questions everyone needs to ask.

Comment by Jeff Levy

Great point Jeff. Thanks for commenting. Gail

Comment by Gail Severini ©

Zander and Zander (one is a professor of business, the other a conductor) have a wonderful video on this, The Art of Possibility. If you have access to a good library, you will find that Karl Weick wrote about this topic around 30 years ago! The metaphor is still music to my ears 🙂

Comment by Marc Sokol

Thank you so much – I will look for it! I did find this on TED – Benjamin Zander on music and passion

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Gail Severini ©

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