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Work as a Symphony  29.08.2006

Have you ever seen an orchestra producing some truly amazing and inspiring music. I remember seeing an orchestra playing at the Sydney Opera House (and for all the overseas people it is something you must do whilst in Australia). I was so impressed with the way all the different instrumental groups blended together to make this magical sound.

The conductor’s role was very important in keeping all the sections on task and in time. However, all the groups must be able to work together (compliment each other) to produce beautiful harmonics. In a good orchestra, the wind instruments are not in conflict with the brass or percussion instruments. They all have a job to do, and they must be able to complete their task as well as support all the other musical sections in the process.

 

Great workplaces are like a wonderful orchestra. Yes there needs to be a good leader conducting proceedings, but there has to be synergy between all the other sections of the business. Just like in an orchestra, each section has a job to do and they must be able to connect with the other section’s success. An orchestra would sound terrible if the brass section decided that their section was more important than the other sections and played loudly to drown out the other sections.

 

 Remember every organisation is a sum of its parts. Therefore, if the parts are not working together, then organizational effectiveness will drop and performance will suffer.


Now let’s turn to your organisation. Do all your sections work well together? Is there any department that acts above another section, and therefore attempts to drown out its voice?

  • An interesting activity to do with your staff is for them to rank each section from the most important to the least important for the business. The same can be utilized for individual workers from different sections within the organisation. See how many people view each individual and each section with equal importance. You may be very surprised by the result.


So I challenge you within your organisation, to look at beginning a cultural change program that encourages each section, whether it is marketing, sales, operations, or management, to see each other as vital ingredients to the organisation’s success. When staff don’t feel ‘a part’ of a larger organisation and organisational vision, they often lack purpose. Without purpose they tend to lack drive and energy. This leads to motivation fluctuations and a decrease in organisational performance.

From my experience, many organisations fail when individuals and groups within the organisation don’t play in harmony with the rest of the organisational orchestra. Organisational success comes when individuals feel they are apart of something greater than themselves.

Working in a high performing team is an amazing experience. Your work can be like a symphony if each section is clear on it's responsibilities; if each section understands the importance of the other sections; and if the conductor (leader) can pool resources in the right direction at the right time.

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