Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation. – Saint Augustine
Excellence comes at the intersection of reverse polarities. – Hugh Ballou
Many times in interviewing leaders about their organizational culture, performance standards, and strategy, I get the response that there’s not sufficient time to write down the plan and it’s not important anyway. The response to my question as to why it’s not important typically is, “Too much structure interferes with my creativity.”
In my discipline as a musician, I understand that creativity is unleashed when the structure is clear. In addition, it’s crucial for the performer(s) to master the techniques and the notes, to then be able to be creative.
My 4th leadership principle is about Systems, “Rehearse for Success.” It’s mastering the notes that leads to excellence in performance. We don’t utilize this concept in non-musical settings. We just go directly to performance and continue playing the wrong notes, so to speak. We continue to proceed by ignoring the very things that compromise our performance and limit our results.
There’s a natural tension between form and freedom. There are many ways to interpret this dynamic. As a musician, I’m able to process information by using both sides of my brain. Those who are not musicians consider us to be right-brain thinkers without structure, when, in fact, we must learn to be creative within a very rigid structure. Music is a highly structured and organized system that’s mathematical and linear, very much like computer programming.
This post is part one on the topic of the reverse paradigm of form versus freedom. I invite your comments as I explore the different ways this principle plays out in the cultures we lead.
More on May 21…
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