Monday June 17, 2013
Balancing and Harmonizing your Business
There are many ways to look at business. One way is to observe life as it is around you and compare it to business.
Recently, I was thinking about a flight I took from Pittsburgh (where I am originally from and had been visiting family) to Florida (where I currently live). I had the pleasure of sitting next to a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony who was traveling to Florida to perform. The Pittsburgh Symphony is recognized as a world class organization and performs all over the world. When I lived in Pittsburgh I had the opportunity to attend the symphony often. I talked with the orchestra member for most of the flight and it got me to thinking…
What do business and a world-class symphony have in common? The answer is… many things.
Let’s take a look.
A symphony creates music. There’s a rhythm, there’s a harmony, and there is a leader of the symphony orchestra known as the conductor. When it comes to business, you are the leader of your own symphony.
If a conductor doesn’t understand how to blend together all the instruments, how to blend together the different pieces of music, the talented musicians and how to make it all sound absolutely amazing, then the orchestra isn’t going to be considered world-class. It can’t make beautiful music. The same is true, no matter what your role or position is in business. You need to know how to pull it all together whether you operate your own company, manage a department or are a team member within a particular department such as sales, marketing or customer service. It’s about getting everything and everyone to hit the right notes at the right time. When it does, there’s success!
What’s impressive about symphony orchestra musicians is the amount of time they put into their art. Symphony performances are usually only about an hour in length. The performances may not be very long but the amount of individual practice and group rehearsal can be hours and hours of preparation. On the day of the performance the musicians may have the music in front of them but they already know what the next note is. They’re listening to not only their own instruments but are listening to all the members in the orchestra in order to be in complete harmony and to create music so beautiful the classical masters such as Beethoven and Bach would be proud if sitting in the audience.
Think about the preparation you put into your work each day. The hours spent before a major presentation or conference call so that you can give a flawless performance to a customer or potential customer. The hours spent before a new product or service is introduced. Are you listening to everyone you work with – and in turn, are they listening to you? Are you part of a team or is it more about the individual performance and being in the spotlight?
I enjoy many different types of music, but find attending the symphony to be quite a magical experience. Just think, all the members of the symphony orchestra come together with their musical talents, experiences, education and instruments to create a musical masterpiece. Don’t you do the same thing at work every day? It’s a group of people that come together with their business talents, experiences, education and business tools such as computers to create happy customers. In business, we call it a sale, closing the deal and providing extraordinary customer service. But it only happens when everything is in harmony.
You can look around the world, you can look around your own environment and you can see many comparisons to how business works. You can be walking down the street in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami or Asheville, NC, and there’s someone on the street conducting business. Next time you see this, stop and take a minute to watch, to observe them in action. Notice how good they are at what they do. Ask yourself if there is anything you can learn from them that can apply to business and how you work.
Whether it’s the Pittsburgh Symphony or a street vendor or your competition, listen to what their symphony is. Listen to how they are conducting the music. Listen to how they’re doing it so you can understand how to improve your business performance.
In business and in life, it’s always about improving the performance, no matter how good you are, no matter how good your team members are. We all have to be better at what we do every day. Why? Because the competition is getting better. It’s not the competition that beats us, it’s ourselves.