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Sep
12

Three Leadership Principles Orchestra Conductors Taught Me

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In my previous blog, I introduced the idea that leading an orchestra is very much like leading a group of real esetate agents. In fact, it’s fascinating to me, as a life-long flutist, how much dissension, individuality, and insistence on ‘going their own way’ orchestral players exhibit. They are often portrayed in the press as we managers think of leading agents. Getting them to all agree, in both groups, is like herding cats!

Transferable Leadership Lessons Learned

There are three important lessons we can learn from the great orchestral conductors about leading for a prodctive, focused atmosphere with common values:

A�1.A� To get into the orchestra is a privilege; you must audition.A� Each player must meet certain standards if the orchestra is to succeed as a whole. So, selection is key to top performance.A� That means, to the real estate manager, that we must be selective and set standards for hiring, so that the person hired will fit well into our common focus. If we hire Bill, Sally, and George, and them segregate them, we fracture our focus, and create a negative atmosphere that makes it extremely difficult for our new associate to perform well.

2.A� Before the conductor allows the orchestra to play the piece together, each person and then each section must practice to perfect their parts.A� Musicians know perfect practice insures perfect performance.A� When we finally put all the parts and sections together, we also experience

A�the whole as greater than the sum of the parts.A�

In the business world, we call the results of this practice method a�?teamworka�� and a�?synergya��. How does a real estate manager accomplish this in his office?A� By establishing a strong, comprehensive new agent training program, focused on practice and performance, not focused on knowledge.A� The training program is the a�?musica��, complete with the values and concepts that are endorsed in that real estate office.A� Each member agrees to and is trained that way.

3. The a�?first chaira�� leader (the best player) has great responsibility for the teamwork and focus of his section.A� He is charged with assuring his section plays as one and that each player plays well so all players benefit.A� On solo parts, he can shine, but he still needs to play within the framework of his section and of the whole orchestra.A� This creates a win-win for all in the ensemble.A�

The first chair must be a consummate leader.A� There are actually many wonderful virtuosos who cana��t play in orchestras, because they arena��t team players.A� They want to a�?play it their waya��a��and their way is not the orchestraa��s way.A� Kind of like a real estate office, except, brokers, unlike conductors, many times allow solo performers in their offices even if they arena��t team players!A�

What’s Wrong with ‘Doing Their Own Thing?’

Brokers tell me that their top agent a�?does her own thinga��.A� I hear them say that she is a�?not a team playera��, but she does makeA�them lots of money.A� Oh, really?A� So, in what orchestra is that top agent playing?A� Obviously, not yours! The lack of common focus and endorsement of maverick behavior by top producers only shatters any teamwork and shared values the broker is attempting to instill in his group.A�

Make Up Your Mind

If you want a team, create one with an all-winner group.A� Banish your maverick player to someone elsea��s orchestra. The result: More production from your a�?sectiona�� players, more teamwork, more common focus, and a more pleasant job for you!

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