The Myth of the Maestro
The Myth of the Maestro is an executive program focusing on the leadership role as key element in any organizational culture. The great ‘Maestro’ serves as an illustration and metaphor for extraordinary leadership, thus becoming a tool for participants through which they can a freshly examine their personal leadership experience from an unconventional angle. Central to Talgam’s approach is constant dialogue: the session takes the form of continuous conversation, triggered by video clips or live music, and helped by some group musical experiments, in the way of clapping, humming, etc. – all very light spirited and serious at the same time
At the heart of the session stands a shared observation of the leadership styles of six great conductors. This triggers a joint effort by all participants aimed at a deep diagnosis of the various styles, using both business and musical descriptive languages. This collaborative exchange makes the session itself into a mini-lab for organizational-culture, where many aspects of leadership and co-creation are being experienced, as well as discussed. This makes for a strong intellectual and experiential over-lap, resulting in what is often described as having a lasting liberating effect on the group’s ability to cooperate. Two levels of learning can be expected from this session: The first is the level of the inter-subjective experience, shared by all, which sheds new light on the culture of their organization and, moreover, on what can be done to alter it in a desired way. The second level is of course personal, enabling different leanings for individual participants, as they are encouraged and helped in taking a new look at themselves as leaders.
As he does in his recent book, THE IGNORANT MAESTRO (May 2015, Portfolio/Penguin), Talgam uses examples from his own conducting career interwoven with stories from his business world lectures to flesh out emerging ideas during the session. He provokes new thinking by arguing counterintuitively that the best thing a leader or manager can do is to embrace their own ignorance—it’s the only way they will learn new things, and their employees and colleagues will learn to trust their own judgment and creative forces. He also praises “gaps” such as misunderstandings, different perspectives, or simply times of uncertainty, as being the true renewable fuel source on innovation for any organization’s wishing to constantly improve itself – from a family-cell to the Googles of this world.
The Myth of the Maestro can take the form of an extended seminar (3-4 hours) for small groups, or a 90 minutes session with large audiences.
The Ensemble Program
Playing ‘in ensemble’ means being part of a dynamic process, flowing together coherently, sometimes dissonant, harmonious as a whole
The Ensemble Program provides a playful yet serious teambuilding event that combines musical metaphors with carefully framed exercises to enable participants to analyze and experience what it means to be an effective team member. The program is ideal for all organizational groups – functional, departmental, managerial, or geographical teams.
Joe is a musician, a member of many ensembles: his regular job is with the London Symphony Orchestra, a 120-member ensemble, where he plays the second clarinet. He is also a member of a wind-quintet, which he founded with his colleagues, with whom he shares the joys of playing chamber music. Occasionally Joe is invited to be a guest-soloist with another orchestra. In the annual parade he plays in a marching band, and to relax he joins his friends for his much-loved Jazz jamming-session.
In each of these ensembles Joe meets new rules, new contents, new partners, and different hierarchies. Even when he plays his regular role with the Philharmonic, he faces changing demands almost every minute. As the piece begins he is expected to play as an equal, blending his sound with the other instruments to achieve a well-balanced chord, while following the exact timing dictated by the conductor. Then he has to play a solo, which allows him a degree of individual expression and also puts him in a leading position, in which he is heard and followed by the whole orchestra. Then his line becomes the accompaniment for another instrument’s melody, and he has to be all ears. All this in one ensemble, during just a few seconds.
What special skills does a player like Joe needs in order to be able to fulfil so many and varied demands? How are these skills acquired? What are the necessary conditions for him to enjoy his participation, and be effective in his constantly changing roles? Is it not very much like the experiences we all have in our working environments?
The Ensemble Program is designed according to the number of participants and the time allocated. It may last from 90 minutes to a full day, and may incorporate a live music experience by various chamber-music ensembles, or even a symphony orchestra.