Thanksgiving, 1998

As this Thanksgiving season reminds us once again to consider our gifts, I feel grateful for many. The specific opportunities to guide leaders who influence significant growth and change have been especially enriching for me. The challenges are similar whether senior corporate executives, non-profit executive directors, CEO’s of privately held businesses, or pastors.

Learning from and bridging the different venues, as you may know, is an exciting component of my work. Even while on vacation I seemed to be alert. I encountered a specific experience of “note” while attending the rehearsals of the chorus and orchestra at the Spoleto Music Festival this summer in Italy. Having sung in several choirs, I was looking forward to experiencing how the professionals prepare. What I was not expecting was to be fascinated by the two different conductors I observed. I knew they are important to keeping everyone together, to shape the sound, etc. But what I was not expecting was the specific and significant way they are also leaders!

What can be learned from an effective conductor? A few transferable realities follow:

  • He had studied the music and knew it so well that he could actually hear it in his head. His interpretation of the piece had become his vision, his energizer, his passion.
  • His primary challenge became the communication of that sound to others. Using sensitive, respectful ways to coach and inspire, he invited each one to contribute individually to the unified whole.
  • The desired end is a performance that originates in the soul of the conductor, is delivered with heart by the musicians and choristers and ultimately resonates emotionally in the audience. A mere playing or singing of the notes is different from memorable moments of really making music!

Once again, I became convinced that direction and energy start with the leader!

Sure, there are differences in leadership choices. It would be fun to dialogue with you about them. Hopefully, the similarities can be transitioned into richer leadership experiences of your own.

As Richard Wagner, the German opera composer, once noted, “ The art of composition is the art of transition”. As you continue the original composition of your own life, may you welcome the choices of transitions that can serve as bridges to new opportunities in 1999. My warmest wishes to you and yours.

Happy Holidays,

Beryl B. Byles
Executive Coach

Beryl B. Byles | Executive Coach | 43 Sawgrass Lane | Newtown Square, PA 19073 | phone 610-353-6545 | fax 610-353-5179