Oh, how I love the symphony!

Music has always been a popular method of communication and entertainment; but what appeals to me most about a full symphony orchestra is the diversity of voices. The banging and clanging from the percussion; the wispy high notes of the violins and flutes; the piercing focus of trumpet; the somber tones of the cello and French horn; and the sheer depth of the tuba and double bass are used to create a range of emotion that speaks of the complexity of life – and business.

Ludwig van Beethoven must have witnessed too many board meetings before composing his 5th Symphony (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4IRMYuE1hI). We hear a melody line from the start – like a CEO starts the meeting to introduce a new idea. As the meeting progresses from one department to the next, we get to hear everyone’s voice and opinion on the subject and how they will be affected by the campaign. Some will quickly see the potential and be excited, while others are reluctant because the current situation still works.

In order to move our customers and investors to trust us with their money; it is important to let all the voices of our business be heard. Though they can each sound harsh and annoying when left unchecked; it is the contrast of voices that actually compliments the message once they are properly balanced.

Where a symphony orchestra relies on great composers/conductors who understand each of the voices and know how to get the best out of them; the business world needs strong leaders who can set the pace for the business and give cues for each department to make their contributions. Though conductors are skilled musicians with knowledge of each instrument and player; their role is to NOT play a single instrument, but to lead the musicians and audience through a joyful journey.

Many business leaders want to play First chair violin as it gets the majority of the glory. Others take a humble seat in the middle where they play supporting harmonies – each equally important. But without a conductor, even the finest musicians struggle to perform at their best.