An entrepreneurial client recently mentioned one of his favorite Ted Talks: The Transformative Power of Classical Music, by presenter Ben Zander. By way of various piano renditions of a piece by Chopin, Zander illustrates several aspects of understanding classical music that I found extremely relevant to family business success. https://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion
Ben Zander is conductor and music director of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. I had known him through his book, national best seller, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life. In it he describes his leadership style as a conductor as one of embracing possibilities. He has subsequently taught workshops on his approach to leadership in corporate settings.
Several ideas from his Ted Talk came through to me as having critical relevance to family business:
- No one is tone deaf; rather, perhaps, they have not learned how to hear the music. The capacity of family members to be instrumental in business success may be overlooked even by themselves. Look for signs of it in their conduct of everyday life.
- An important characteristic of a leader is not doubting for one moment the capacity of people to realize whatever it is that the leader is dreaming.
- The job of a leader is to make the players powerful, and this awakens possibilities of creativity and expression. Making other family members powerful awakens possibilities in them that will benefit the family.
- Placing similar emphasis on every note in your business will distract you from your view of the big picture.
- Expecting a perfect performance does not allow for the creativity and spontaneity that produce a resilient and viable next generation.
All of these ideas point to ways of embracing possibilities within your family business. They speak of a leadership style of openness and confidence in the family, the business vision, and in success for generations to come.