When I was a kid I dreamed of being a conductor. I would fly around the world, waving a baton and wearing a cape. Yes, a cape. I was clearly mixing up maestro and Marvel at the time. Wherever I landed I would meet orchestras and draw magical performances out of them before hopping on my plane again. As it happened, I took a different path in life.
Or I thought I had.
I have just flown back from a large and complex innovation workshop in the UAE which I was leading-cum-facilitating-cum-moderating-cum-animating-cum-entertaining. I’ve always wished there was a simpler way to describe how I work to conjure the very best out of a meeting. Reflecting, on the flight home it occurred to me that ‘conducting’ could be the perfect word.
Try it yourself. Approach the next meeting you lead not as a ‘chairperson’ or an ‘agenda jockey’ but as a conductor.
- Before you begin, make sure the attendees are tuned up – and tuned in
- Set an appropriate tempo for the meeting; allegro for decisions, maybe or andante for discussion. (For more tips on this you can check Huffington Post.)
- Draw out the voices that need to be heard, particularly the softer ones
- Bear the agenda in mind but keep your main focus on what is actually happening moment by moment. Really watch the players, or if you are on a conference call, really listen.
- Finally, remember why you are there. For all the arm waving and tossing of hair, the conductor is not the star. Their attention is on the music and how to inspire the best performance from everyone involved.
When I was a kid I dreamed of being a conductor. Without realising it, I think that’s what I have become.
So what did YOU dream of doing when you were a child? And how does that link to what you’re doing now? I’m really curious to know…