In the moments on stage, there is a lot of pressure to perform, but I'm never alone. I'm always surrounded by a great team of orchestra musicians reaching the limits of their technical and emotional capabilities to deliver invigorating performances. Across continents, and throughout industries, getting teams to perform at their best requires the same universal set of skills.
I love sharing my insights with others. Leading a team is difficult, fostering psychological safety takes intentional work, and getting you and your team into the state of flow, while exhilarating, can often be elusive.
I offer a unique perspective on leadership through my decade of experience working with the best orchestras and musicians in the world. This experience paired with my MBA makes a perfect match for an inspiring encounter that will leave your audiences energized.
Here are some of the topics I speak about. I'm happy to work with you and your organization to customize these or to create bespoke interactive experiences perfect for your offsite or conference.
Have you ever thought about how the conductor is the only person on the stage who doesn't make a sound? That doesn't mean I'm not doing anything, but it is important to recognize that the musicians are the ones making the music. A great leader or manager knows when they need to not get in the way, allowing room for the individuals on the team to shine as they strive toward the leader's vision. It's all about knowing when to step back, and when to lean in.
As a leader, stepping back sometimes may feel like we're an "imposter," but truly, knowing when to get out of the way is a mark of a trusting leader. When teammates feel trusted, and when they trust you, they are more likely to engage in a growth mindset. You may even be surprised by the creative and intelligent ideas teammates bring to the table when they're allowed some autonomy.
What the leader brings to the table is a vision, passion for the project, and the big picture. Your audience will learn about what exactly the conductor as a leader does and how understanding the big picture will guide them to know when to step back and when (and how) to engage.
State of Flow
Have you ever been so engaged in an activity you forgot to eat? Flow is a state of mind that exists when you are involved in a task in which your expertise and the challenge are on par. It all comes down to your attention. When we can distill our consciousness down to the task at hand, we become one with the task. When I'm conducting orchestras, I'm not thinking "one, two, three, four." Honestly, I don't feel like I'm thinking at all.
My first vivid memories of being in flow were when I started studying orchestra music in college. I would get so immersed in the score that I would forget to eat from early morning until late at night. Now I've learned what it is and how to activate it, I spend nearly all my time in it.
I'll take your audience through the process of understanding what flow is, how to find it, how to nurture it on your team, and how it can unlock creativity, innovation, and satisfaction at work and in life.
You can't be creative if you don't feel safe. I don't mean safe from physical harm, I mean psychologically safe. Psychologically unsafe environments stifle innovation, improvement, feedback, and growth. If you really want to get truly awe-inspiring music out of an orchestra, or if you want your team to be blowing past its KPIs, you must have a environment that makes them willing to be vulnerable.
This is possibly the most important job of a conductor. Those goosebumps you feel when you hear the softest, sweetest playing from the flute or the massive, overwhelming sound of the brass are the result of the orchestra making themselves vulnerable, pushing their instruments and their technique to the border of what is possible.
Just as an orchestra musician can't create those magical moments without feeling safe enough to make themselves vulnerable, you and your team can't bring their best work without feeling like they're going to be OK if something goes wrong. Building a trusting relationship with your teammates, where feedback is welcome and reciprocal, and where you feel safe to bring your innovative new ideas, is essential for success in business and in music.