Music is the universal language. It’s also a great lens through which we can make sense of the world around us. Now more than ever, uncertainty abounds and there’s a lot to be made sense of out there. So, what lessons does the metaphor of music offer that can help us gain clarity? Whether you are a professional in the world of music or in the world of business, here are a few questions from the musical paradigm that can help provide perspective and focus.
What Song Are You Playing?
Every song comes to an end. Sometimes the song that just ended is one that we really liked playing. So when the next one starts, are you still trying to play the last one, refusing to change tempo and key? Or on the other hand, are you already thinking about the next song while you’re trying to play the current one? If we want to be successful, we have to adapt to what is happening now, no matter how much we preferred what was happening in the past, nor how much we are looking forward to the future. Being in tune with the present is the key to great performance in both music and business.
Where Are You Listening?
Are you so focused on the sound of just your own instrument that you lose track of the song as a whole? Conversely, are you so carried away by the emotion of it all that you’re not paying attention to the details of the part you are playing? As professionals, if we have our nose too close to the grindstone, we miss big picture opportunities unfolding around us. On the other hand, if we only focus on the big picture, our ability to execute can suffer. What generates excellent results is maintaining the perspective we need to identify strategic opportunities, while also having the focus needed to act with accuracy and precision. Notice where your focus is and seek to find balance.
Whose Instrument Are You Playing?
Are you playing your instrument, or are you trying to play someone else’s? Who’s business are you minding? We are responsible for doing everything we can to have the music sound great. And there is a point beyond which we have to allow and empower others to make their contribution. We play our part the best we can, and then allow the music to go where the music will go. (For a fantastic musical example, check out this 1-minute video.) We can’t always call the tunes, but we can always play our best with a sense of trust and courage.
For information on how to bring the metaphor of music to your team, reach out to us.