What can a business leader learn from a musician?

Business leaders and musicians: what do they have in common? Isn’t it a strange question? At first you could say that these two worlds are so different that one excludes the other. The words “office” and “business” bring the associations in mind like hierarchy, processes, workflow, efficiency, cost savings… Meaning no trills, no entertainment, no distractions. The world of musicians can be described by the artistic freedom, self-realization, creativity, inspiration-driven curiosity, emotions… This is a stereotype thinking but what if we change the worlds and bring “artistry” to the office space? Successful musician knows how to balance the creative and the business side. The personality traits of musicians like hard discipline, patience, perseverance can be of use in any job. And musicians are creative all day long!
That is exactly what the Stanford University scientists did. They developed a methodology “Design thinking” after having observed and analyzed the creative process of artists and musicians with the goal of establishing a new culture for innovations, better products and optimal solutions with customer satisfaction in a business world. I would like to refer you to their website for more insight on it under http://dschool.stanford.edu/use-our-methods/ Sounds cool – but how can it work in practice?
For the business leader things are getting more complex, the analytical and rational way of thinking does not give answers that guarantee success, the trends are changing so fast that we are under pressure. Customers are expecting new creative solutions. And some are sitting at their desk and expect some sort of inspiration to reach them. Being creative or being able to produce something new and original is also a skill that can be trained. It is a dynamic process that should have a sense of purpose. The motivation behind helps to bring you to a creative path with several stations or sources of inspiration, figuratively speaking.
I would like to share with you some thoughts and learnings of musicians that could be useful in the daily life too and could push your creativity.
The visualization is a strong tool to start you going. The very thought of putting you in a role of, let us say, a musician, opens mentally a new perspective and can give you this famous “different angle” of perspective. I would say the ears are the most precious thing for musicians and the ability to hear the nuances in speech or just listening for a longer period with full attention could bring advantages. The concentration on one matter is not easy, but imagine that it is something beautiful that desires your attention – a beautiful melody or a famous tune! The recent Harvard Business Review devoted the whole editorial to the mindfulness at work and emotional cultures in the action. The feeling for a right tempo can be translated in a business language into a feeling for doing things right – in other words, your intuition. I guess musicians are at the best when they are most intuitive in their art. The work in orchestra with its hierarchy and well-defined roles: that of a conductor- leader, first violin, individual instruments with their character, is a fascinating start of leadership, group dynamics and teamwork. Just add the improvisation to it and you get a complete picture for any business leaders with learnings about the readiness to venture, try things out and just do things! Speaking about trying it out, the prototyping and iterations are the corner elements of the design thinking methodology.
The musicians are very inventive when it comes to developing their methods to cope with stress on the stage and fear of failure. I remember one story of my piano coach. Before he starts playing, he would whisper his name to himself. Saying our own name reminds us of the most important source of inspiration for our creativity, namely ourselves. I tried it out too and could see that it brings back the confidence and takes away the fear.
Personally I believe in positive attitude and optimism as the big boosters of creativity. Makes me think of joyful music that lifts the spirits and puts me in a right mood. Positive emotions influence employee satisfaction, performance, quality and customer service – just name it! Positive mood is not possible without the “isles of rest”. Some companies use deliberately the “Pause for Fun”, others schedule some time for meditation, or provide mindfulness apps on people’s work devices to remind them to simply breathe, relax or laugh.
The idea to use music for relaxation pauses comes naturally. The team of Moving Classics TV was working a tool “MY CREATIVITY BREAK”. 3 minutes of relaxed listening and slow watching videos devoted to one topic. You can see the daily “my creativity files” in our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/movingclassicstv or in LinkedIn our Moving Classics TV page https://www.linkedin.com/company/movingclassics-tv I would like to invite you to test it yourself.

What is your experience before and after watching “my creativity break”? How important is creativity in your job? Do you work on improving your creative skills? What do you do for it? Do you make use of music for your personal development? Do you think music and musicians could share some learnings with other professions? If yes, what exactly? Thank you for reading and am looking forward to many interesting discussions.