By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help broaden your problem-solving perspective. Reading time: 3:56.
Are you a special agent –an operative–in your organization? The most effective business leaders think of themselves as operatives –a.k.a. Opera-tives– with a well-honed affinity for the power of the opera. With their operative power, they more productively confront adversaries and solve problems. Sometimes against overwhelming odds.
Consider these business lessons from the world of the opera:
Is conformity undermining your business success? Then think like Richard Wagner who gave his customers something different. He opened his opera Tannhauser with a ballet that surprised the audience that had become accustomed to a ballet in Act II.
- Are you pigeon-holing some talented people in your company just because they’re not from the “right background”? Then think of Italian-born Jean Baptiste Lully and German-born Giacomo Meyerbeer. They were not from what people said was “the right French background” yet they became two of France’s most important opera composers.
- Are you confining your new product development process to too narrow a cycle? Then think of Giuseppe Verdi whose opera Gotterdammerung takes 5 hours 30 minutes, twice as long as his opera, Rigoletto.
- Are you enduring too much grandstanding at company meetings? Then think of Christoph Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice that reasserted musical and dramatic integrity over pure embellishment and personal promotion.
- Are you fumbling to generate a synergy between different departments? Then think of Richard Strauss who described his opera Capriccio as words and music combining “to form a single creation, a mysterious experience, one art being restored by the other.”
Are you limiting your business opportunities with a confining working environment? Then think of Mozart’s celebration of the new and different with 36 different scene changes in Don Giovanni.
- Are you “customerizing” your products or are you simply producing what’s most economical to earn short term profits? Then think of Mozart’s opera Zaide which was not performed for nearly 100 years primarily because it did not meet customer expectations for the duration of an opera. Mozart’s Zaide opera was considered too short for a full evening and too long for a double bill. Do you have products or services that are too short or too long in meeting the needs of the customer?
- Are you tempted to jump ship for greener pastures? Then think of Don Jose in the opera Carmen. He deserts the army for the seductive gypsy. But Carmen later jilts him in favor of a bullfighter. Don Jose then kills Carmen in a jealous rage.
You might not have any gypsies working for you but you do have a wide range of personalities comprising your company. That range of personalities —your employees–turns every business into an opera stage where human emotion and diversity clash with a creative tension that spurs productivity and profitability.
And optimum Opera-ting capital that makes the bottom line sing with the flair of a Special Agent.
Leverage Your Opera-ting Capital to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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