Music & business success: Listen to all voices to reach the miracle goal

Editor’s Note: thought leader Grace Yun CEO of Savvy Growth, a prominent leadership coaching and management consultancy like WRALTechwire, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Grace writes: Regular columns on happiness and leadership for us. Grace’s primary services include one-on-one coaching for CEOs and their leadership teams and conducting strategic reviews of companies at critical times. A TED speaker, she has been hired to facilitate team building retreats and lead HappinessWorks™ programs for businesses and campuses.


Research Triangle Park – Many recognize Juilliard as the premier performing arts educator, attracting students who are the world’s most talented musical geniuses, future Oscar winners and prima ballerinas.

I grew up with my older sister, Vivian. Vivienne has demonstrated a talent for the piano since her earliest days. Every time she went to a gig, she was asked, “Do you play the piano too?” I didn’t think I had a natural talent, so I quit after a few years and started a tutoring business, instead pursuing the role of a school leader. I attended graduate school, where I earned two music arts degrees and taught in a highly selective pre-college program.

But did you know that Juilliard is also the emerging leader in business education?

Last year, I came full circle and recently thought that business leaders could benefit from taking courses at the Juilliard School, or at least from Juilliard-trained musicians. As many of you know, last year I resumed studying piano for the first time in 40 years after coming out of an episode of depression by launching a column on leadership and happiness. To honor the memory of my mother, my first teacher.

My Juilliard-trained teacher taps into my intrinsic motivation

I chose Teddy Robbie, who graduated from Juilliard with two degrees, as my teacher. I am progressing faster because I have a new openness to learning that I didn’t have when I was a girl. I take lessons not because someone made me or what society expects me to do, but because I want to. I have experienced a distinct difference in the outcome of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

In my last column, I looked at how teams set their own goals, and how they set important goals to help them reach their difficult goals. How can you inspire them to set goals that will help you reach your goals, not just the company’s overall projections?

Please take lessons from my piano teacher.

Why do violists bear the brunt of so many jokes?

A few months ago, Teddy encouraged me to read the book. declassification, His Juilliard classmate, Arianna Warsaw-Fan Rauch, had just published. One of my goals for 2023 is to read more books. Highly humorous and explicit, Ariana offers an insider’s look at Juilliard and a life like a pressure cooker that prepares her for a career as a musician performing concerts at the highest echelons. She concludes her own memoir with a joke about violist and how they are “stupid”. My niece, who is smart and kind, is a talented violist, so I got mad at her and asked her sister why there were so many violist jokes.

Violinist of the famous Juilliard String Quartet

Viola: the inner voice that unites music

A few days later I asked Teddy the same question. He had already seen Ariana posting the same violist joke on her Instagram feed. He laughed and said that the violist he knew was actually the opposite and he was very smart. And they know the truth, they know the swell is a joke, so they take the joke with a grain of salt. He explained the importance of being a violist. Like his bass-playing son, concerts he is not in the limelight as master or lead his guitarist, but both play an important role in the success of the musical group. The violist is the inner voice that plays a key role in connecting all musical voices.

Like middle management!

I thought – oh! This is similar to middle management in a company. They don’t bask in the spotlight like executives, but they oversee the day-to-day operations and execute the CEO’s strategy. This reminded me of the learning and development workshops I was commissioned for emerging leaders and middle management. Most of my work over the last 20 years (my company is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year) has been targeted at the C level, but over the last few years I’ve focused on applying that material to the important middle class. I’ve been asked to fix it. They are often forgotten, but they are the core that holds the company together. Just as the viola’s role in a musical ensemble is to emphasize the melody and enhance the overall beauty of the piece.

Bach’s Complex Compositions: Similar to Today’s Organizations

In How the Art of Listening Can Apply to Our Work Culture Beyond Music, I mentioned concert pianist Lang Lang as my musical muse. I am studying the Goldberg Variations. When I first listened to it, I thought the composition was a bit boring and even shallow. Why were these variations Lang Lang researching them in depth for 15 years before recording? My sister said the music was so complex that I probably hadn’t heard enough. As she said, I responded to the opening aria, followed by only the first few songs of the 30 variations. I jumped to conclusions too quickly without listening to more Bach. I stopped immediately.

Teddy told me that, overall, the Goldberg Variations are one of the most difficult pieces to learn. He explained that Bach composed counterpoint music, often polyphonic, and recommended listening to variations by a trio for violin, viola and cello and a solo pianist. So putting aside the Lang Lang album, listening to the trio, and hearing his three separate voices, he experienced a-ha. Only then did I realize the richness and depth of the aria and the importance of the viola in retaining the inner voice between the cello and the violin. Respect and curiosity for Bach’s masterpieces increased. I am inherently motivated to study further.

The Juilliard String Quartet, The Juilliard School, Wednesday, May 4, 2022. Credit Photo: Erin Baiano

In the same way that Bach’s works offer complexity in multiple voices, so too is today’s workforce. Leaders who listen to a few people miss important themes entirely, as opposed to a statistically significant sampling that is representative of the entire workforce.

Listen to all voices and reach the miracle goal

This week, I’m doing a retreat for my leadership team, leveraging Appreciation Questions (AI). Researched and developed by David Cooperrider, Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Case Western Reserve, AI has been used around the world as a change management tool for over 30 years. It consists of a 4-D cycle: discovery (what gives life and what we appreciate), dreams (possibility and imagination), design (how we can, co-construct), destiny (what will be the future). what to maintain).

We want to be able to hear each team member and recognize the strengths they bring to the team. Instead of focusing on all the challenges and issues that are sapping their morale, reflect on where they did their best work and visualize a future where they’ve met the very aggressive revenue targets currently set. I hope that How will each of them use their strengths to make this “miracle” happen? How can we move from extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation? How can the goals of our bosses and investors become our goals?

We want them to focus on past successes, team member strengths, and synergistic achievements rather than problems and what’s not working.

They can then together design the successful future they envision.

About Grace Jung

Grace is CEO of Savvy Growth, a leadership coaching and management consultancy founded in 2003. She has a great passion for helping leaders and the companies she runs reach their full potential, as well as her empathy and ability to help leaders understand the “why” of their clients. are combined. Most valuable.

Companies have hired her to facilitate leadership coaching and strategy consulting, as well as the HappinessWorks™ program, instilling the benefits of happiness into their corporate cultures to increase productivity and results.

A marketing strategist, Grace has held leadership roles in five high-growth technology ventures that have achieved success through acquisitions or IPOs. After starting his career at Bain & Company, he worked in brand management at Clorox and General Mills. She has a bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her MBA from Harvard He Business School.

Grace and her partner, Rich Chleboski, are proven cleantech veterans, developing and implementing strategies to support the growth of impact-driven companies, and guiding leaders in executing strategic plans. Their expertise spans all stages of business, from valuation to growth and liquidity.

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