As someone who speaks to audiences about changing the way they approach challenges, I’m very conscious of the importance of preparation when it comes to having a successful performance. It’s about doing things that will put you in a mindset where you can just flow with the action. I know my material, I know my audience, and I can shape my talk to fit their needs.
I’m always curious to find out how other performers prepare themselves for a show. Recently, after enjoying a performance of the North Carolina Symphony, I asked one of the musicians how she gets ready for a concert.
The violist surprised me by saying, “I don’t do any house cleaning or anything that would tire out my arms on the day of a performance.”
What could housework have to do with musical success? Playing a viola in an orchestra for a roughly two hour performance is a strenuous endeavor. For her, in order to Clear the Path to success, she makes sure that her arms are fresh. Tired arms create an obstacle to achieving her best work.
Would anyone in the audience know if she had painted a bedroom on the day of a performance and didn’t have fresh arms? That could be the difference between a world class orchestra and a nice local music group.
For an orchestra to reach its maximum potential, every one of the more than 50 instruments must be played to its highest level. While some parts are of a higher profile than others, each musician must do everything possible to support the overall sound.
The artists are paid to perform but a big part of that is making sure you are as prepared as possible to succeed. That can mean giving up things in order to be at your best.
In your organizations, do your employees take a similar attitude to work? When they reach their desks, are they focused on the day ahead or are they still recovering from the night before or the weekend? Can they apply some of a musician’s discipline to their jobs?
In an orchestra, a principal performer gets the solos. It’s a high profile gig that recognizes their skill. But the players behind them are also very important to the overall sound of the orchestra.
Do the supporting members of your team think of themselves as playing an important role in the overall output of your organization? Or do they take it easy, relying on the brilliance of your top performers to carry the tune? Do they feel like their contributions don’t matter or are unnoticed?
I frequently see this where a company has a brilliant sales person but an awful customer service department. You buy because someone made you feel inspired but later rule out the company for future business because the customer service left you frustrated. That’s an out of tune business. It’s like the wrong note coming out of the symphony.
As a leader, do you assume that everyone knows their role and the importance of it? Like a conductor are you promoting them to stay in tune with everyone else?
I think you’ll find most successful organizations are in perfect harmony. Are you?