I had a revelation the other night at a concert. No ordinary concert, I was listening to the Netherlands Philharmonic, conducted by Hugh Wolff at the iconic Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Guest soloist Stephen Hough performed Dvorak’s Piano Concerto, and it was mesmerising.
What struck me though about the orchestra, and the concert, was how much it was like a business with a clearly articulated strategy. The mission, the vision, the values — they were all in place. Having recently led a forward-thinking organisation in a strategy workshop, this was fresh in my mind. And the analogies were apt.
The musicians were all talented professionals. Some of them did the same job — the first violins, the cellos, the French horns — but they each brought unique skills to the task. Each group of musicians had their own script — sheet music, in this instance. It told them what their job was today. Importantly, it was the road map that took everyone to the same destination. They all knew where they were headed, and they were all headed in the same direction, via the same route. Half of them weren’t playing Beethoven while the other half played Tchaikovsky!
The conductor, American Hugh Wolff, kept an eye on everyone. Like a talented Managing Director or CEO, he knew where everyone was supposed to be, and what they were supposed to do. He had the big picture. He knew everyone’s task, and trusted them to do the job they were there to do.
Together, everyone contributing their part, arriving well-prepared, and being talented to begin with, they made something beautiful. And like a business that helps its clients to manage the challenges they face in life, the orchestra brings something as a group that no single member could achieve individually.
With a clearly articulated mission and vision, an organisation takes its employees along on a journey that is enjoyable and fulfilling. It brings out the best in them, and, knowing where they are headed with their colleagues, they make a crucial and unique contribution to getting the organisation to its destination.
So the next time you’re in a smoothly-running office, think of the orchestra when you look at the typing pool. They are the first violins. Makes sure your ‘violinists’ know where you are headed as an organisation. It will make their lives more enjoyable, and yours as well. Besides, we’d be lost without them.
If you think your organisation could benefit from fine-tuning your strategy, or refining your mission and vision, please get in touch with us at Bruce PR. We have led strategy exercises for a number of SMEs, and we would love to help you do better in business.