How is conducting a chorus like leading an organization?
As it turns out, the two processes are in many ways the same.
The key insight for me is that in a performance, I do not sing or play a note. Instead, we conductors make strong and potentially transforming connections with our fellow musicians, which have personal and professional components. At NYCGMC, I facilitate and empower others to do the show, in a kind of extreme delegation process where the vision as all mine, but the implementation is literally all theirs.
Above all, I have to trust my singers and players. I show them the vision, demand a lot from them, and help them to understand what to do on a technical level as well as on an emotional one. But then, I have to give up control, to allow them to commit to their own performance. We support each other, and all of us lead, follow, evaluate, take initiative and contribute equally.
Last week, I saw this article by Shellie Karabell, which explains the process well, and applies what we do in the corporate context. And the parallel is also well documented by the amazing Ben Zander.