You can’t play a symphony on your own

Have you ever observed the conductor of a philharmonic orchestra and how they spend very little time facing the audience?

In fact, when you think about it you’ll recognise that they spend most of their time facing the orchestra, which is their team. They are spending their time guiding them to play beautifully, creatively and with great impact together.

And have you noticed how perfectly the musicians play together, seemingly unaware of each other, yet obviously acutely aware as they harmonise with each other through their various instruments and expressions, providing their own unique and crucial contribution.

And then once in awhile, the conductor faces the audience and shares what’s going on – what they are doing, what we can expect, what they will or have delivered. And we, the audience, feel seen and taken care of. All of this is an example of great teamwork and great leadership.

You can’t play a symphony on your own.

Take inspiration from the world of music. If you’re a leader, ask yourself this question: Am I focusing too much outside the team rather than giving the team the focus and guidance they really need to be able to deliver? Are you for example attending meetings all day, hence not having much time to spare for your team?

Am I spending enough time enabling my team to perform at their best? Am I removing barriers to success?

All leadership is of course a balance; you need to carefully balance all your stakeholders.

Do you get the balance right? Are there maybe stakeholders that you give more focus than they need or want? Are there stakeholders that need more focus?

Take inspiration from the world of music and reflect on how you spend your time as a leader. Orchestras are also a great reminder of how important all team members are. You can’t play a symphony on your own!

Taking stock of 2021

We are coming to the end of another year and this is the perfect time to take stock. To think about achievements, successes, challenges, insights and how you’ve grown and developed. Do you realise quite how much you have learnt, this year alone? If not, this is the perfect time and opportunity to do just that.

In fact, this is not just for the end of the year, we need to spend more time in reflection mode throughout the year as well. With busy lifestyles we tend to rush onto the next thing without really appreciating what and how we have achieved. Yet, that is just what we all need to do, while also focusing on our strengths and then celebrate those strengths too.

Maybe you have been practicing leadership journaling, which we wrote about in the last issue of IMPACT. If so, you can look back at those reflections and pay specific attention to insights and realisations.

Imagine snapshots of the year? Where were you? What did you do? Which would be the pictures that best described 2021?

If you haven’t yet captured your thoughts through the year or if you want to summarise the year, here are some reflection questions to help you get started:

  • What are you most proud of from 2021?
  • What did you achieve?
  • How did you use your leadership, your ability to positively influence others?
  • How did you help others? And what did that do for them?
  • How did you use your strengths? When and where? And what difference did that make?
  • What didn’t go to plan and what was good with that? (Yes, that’s a very important question because the toughest moments can lead to the greatest learnings and growth)
  • What new knowledge did you acquire?
  • What did you learn?
  • What surprised you?
  • How will you celebrate your insights and achievements?
  • How will you take your learnings from 2021 into 2022 and let them become levers for new meaningful contribution and success?

And finally – a little bonus question; Have you thought lately about how wise you are? Wisdom is being able to apply your knowledge and experience, bringing a unique contribution that no-one else has. What is yours? And how did you use it? Capture that too.

If you think about it, every day is a fresh, clean start – if we choose to look at it that way. It’s never too late or too early to act on our dreams, our aspirations, our interests, our passions. And knowing where you are right now, is a great place to start.

Learn from yesterday, from this year, take from it what you can; learning, insights, results – and move forward with curiosity and joy. Anything can happen – and often does. What do you want to happen? And how will you make it happen?

Yes, a fresh new year is around the corner, with new opportunities, new energy, new collaboration for sustainable success. It’s a great opportunity to take all your wisdom from this year into the next, using it as a stepping stone to impact in 2022.

Take a moment (or two!) to feel good. This is a perfect time of year to celebrate, so go ahead and enjoy the festive season coming up.

You deserve it!

The last IMPACT issue of 2021

Welcome to the last issue of IMPACT for 2021!

In this issue, we focus on how to retain your top talent, how to navigate the ’emotional minefields’ of mergers & acquisitions, and what we can learn from a philharmonic orchestra and its conductor.

As we are coming to the end of the year, we also reflect on how to take stock of 2021.

And there’s a story about the dangers of a suspicious mind – and the IMPACT HACK this time is all focused on face to face meetings (something that many of us may have gotten a bit rusty with!).

You can download and/or read it online.

Enjoy the read and thanks for reading!

Now published in China!

We are absolutely thrilled that ‘The Leader’s Guide to Impact’ has been translated Chinese and is now published in China!

China is, alongside the US, the biggest publishing market in the world, but the number of foreign titles that are published is relatively small, only around 15.000+ per year.

And we were interested to find out that even though online sales is dominant, there were still 4000 physical book shops opened in 2020.

The Leader’s Guide to Impact (or Positive Atmosphere as its Chinese title translates to) is now available to buy in DangdangKongfz and many other stores.

Publishing statistics sources: