The answer, to those familiar with Shakespeare, is ‘love’, but it could just as easily be replaced with life, passion, relationships or whatever word or feeling takes your fancy.
This weekend, the Eurovision Song Contest takes centre stage with the competition hosted in Austria at the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna. 200 million will ‘engage’ with the final performance on Sunday.
Business relationships are about engagement. And a business engagement should be more than just ‘doing the books’. It is, or should be a harmonious, mutually beneficial relationship. Which brings me back to music.
For many years, I have had a relationship with the Brandenburg Orchestra. Not as a performer, but as a committee member, advisor, observer and listener. But the relationship is one that goes both ways and, like all good relationships, we have a long term commitment to each other.
Orchestras are in many ways like business. Or should it be business is like an orchestra? Both have a diverse group of people with different skills and passions. You don’t often find the cor anglais player beating on the drums or the harpsichord player having a whirl on the lute. Yet all these different talents and instruments play together and create something beautiful from what are some very varied and often curious sounding instruments.
But it doesn’t happen by magic.
My relationship with the orchestra has given me some rare insight into how it all comes together and why every performance is more than just a lot of practice.
An orchestra is nothing without inspiration, creativity and passion all drawn together into the coherent whole by the artistic director or conductor. We call this music. I often smile when someone says they “conduct business”. Do they really do it with as much passion and joie de vivre as an orchestral conductor?
A good conductor fosters trust and respect. At every rehearsal and performance, the conductor is the one who channels the cacophony of sounds into harmonious melodies.
I wax lyrical…
Good business relationships like music are a virtuous circle: a recurring cycle of events, the result of each one being to increase the beneficial effect of the next. Their benefits far outweigh the effort and they bring us joy. They are innovative, creative, respectful and underpinned by harmony with just a hint of ‘frisson’ to keep us on our toes.
On the weekend, if you join the 200 million people who watch Eurovision, and with Australia as a top pick to be the winner I presume many will, or if, like me you will put on a DVD of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, muse about how much we have to learn from music.
And remember, if music be the food of ‘business life’, then play on.
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