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The Talent Magnet Leadership Podcast


Episode #181: Making Leadership Tangible: Analogies in the Arts with Raphael Hoensbroech and Guest Host, Daniel Wachter

There are so many intersections between conducting an orchestra and leading a business. Raphael Hoensbroech and Daniel Wachter delve into some of them in this episode of the Talent Magnet Leadership Podcast. Raphael is the Artistic Director and Managing Director of the Konzerthaus Dortmund, one of the leading concert halls in Europe. He has also spent eight years at the Boston Consulting Group where he worked as a management consultant, giving him invaluable insight into the corporate world. Raphael and Daniel have an intriguing conversation where they explore the bridges between orchestra and business, leading in the now and anticipating for the future, and what lessons leaders can gain from conductors.

  • Inexperienced leaders often do not think of the entire group. "In order to lead, you have to be a part of the future," Raphael shares with listeners. Leaders need to work in the three time zones: what is about to come, what will come, and what has come. [4:17]
  • For first time conductors, it is better to take only one decision at a time. The moment the conductor has this decision in mind, the orchestra is already following. "If the inner idea is clear then your expression follows almost automatically," Raphael remarks. Conversely, if there is no clear idea or goal then there is nothing to follow, and you are simply managing a process. [5:55]
  • There are people who have come out of their teams and ended up in leadership positions. They grow from the inside into a leader. They need to be mindful not to spend so much time micromanaging, that they miss the leading part of the job. [10:06]
  • New leaders often think that good leaders should mirror other good leaders. This isn't truly the case. It's much more about finding your leadership personality and living that personality because it is that makes people follow you. "It's not your ability to perform leadership situations or leadership tasks, but it's much more that they at first follow your personality," Raphael explains. [14:21]
  • Find the right balance between working in the system and working on the system. Working in the system is how detailed or directive the conductor gets about how exactly a musician should perform a piece. Working on the system is orchestrating the totality of different instruments and musicians playing in the orchestra. In the business world , this means that leaders should have a balance in how much they manage and direct their employees, but also how much they trust them to do their jobs without having to oversee everything they do. [17:25]
  • Make music instead of playing notes. If you only stick to playing notes as a musician, you're only operating on a management level. The goal of a conductor is to empower people so that they can come into a stage of making music. The goal of business and a conductor is to put the right people at the right place. [21:14]
  • A mistake is not the worst thing that can happen. When mistakes do occur, first rely on the peer feedback structures in place in your organization. As a leader, you cannot correct every mistake that happens with your employees but you can encourage and help them so that they can avoid making the same mistake in the future. [23:59]
  • In times of crisis, it's important to look to the future and the opportunities you may have. Go into that scenario with strategic thinking, and take the entire organization with you. Involving your entire team will help you to not get stuck in the crisis, see different perspectives and help your organization in the long run. [28:58]



Daniel Wachter | LinkedIn 

Raphael Hoensbroech | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram

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