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Can you lead like a conductor?

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The way information is treated in an organisation is a good indication of the kind of organisation it is.  In a make and sell style organisation, information is often treated on a need to know basis, with it frequently hidden or manipulated according to circumstances.

By contrast, in a sense and respond style organisation, the fast and open flow of information is what binds the enterprise together and enables it to make fast and coordinated decisions.  In such an environment, everyone gets the same information at the same time.

It’s an approach that Peter Drucker famously compared to conducting a symphony orchestra.

the right model for the information-based organization is not the military, even in its modified form.  It is the symphony orchestra, in which each player plays directly and without intermediary to the chief executive (the conductor), and can do so because everybody else has the same ‘score’, that is, the same information

To do this of course requires a strong culture towards transparency and openness that is often missing from the modern organisation.  Indeed, in many, the culture is such that telling the truth can be career suicide.  Think about Enron as a prime example.

If our leadership and our corporate cultures are to become that of the orchestra then it requires a concerted effort to change that culture, and to make the hiding or manipulation of information a firing offense.

The following is a talk by Israeli consultant Itay Talgam.  It sees him discuss how he seeks to install conductor like attitudes and mentalities in leaders around the world.  It’s a nice talk to see you into the weekend.

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