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The musical recipe for management in harmony.

The musical recipe for management in harmony

A clear common goal and deadline, shared understanding of each person's role and trust in one another.

These characteristics are a recipe for success in virtually any management project. They are also vital for members of an orchestra rehearsing and performing under strict time pressure.

Step forward, Bernhard Kerres, whose career has spanned both these areas and who now speaks and publishes regularly on management and music. According to his website, he has a track record of growing businesses, seeing change through and opening international markets. He has not only developed strategies in high technology and music but also implemented them successfully.

Bernhard Kerres started his career as an opera singer and is currently chief executive and artistic director of the Wiener Konzerthaus, a leading concert hall in Vienna. In between times, he was strategy consultant, chief finance officer and chief operating officer in the high-technology sector.

In the article 'Performing leadership', from Business Strategy Review, volume 23 issue 1, he describes how concerts are created and how conductors are typically introduced to the process. Citing examples of how prominent conductors ensure that the orchestra is ready, he emphasizes the importance of building trust and setting out clear expectations from the start.

Great orchestra performances are among the most difficult to achieve, he says, as they depend on a balance between rehearsing enough and not over-rehearsing. Moreover, the feedback from the audience is instant.

He describes how a conductor can provide leadership to the team, and concludes that the qualities needed to do this are the same as for any other great performance.

Bernhard Kerres is a great example of a global citizen, having worked or studied in, among other cities, Vienna, Munich, Dallas, London and New York. But according to the article 'Developing global leaders', in issue 3 of the 2012 McKinsey Quarterly, by Pankaj Ghemawat, there are simply too few of his like around.

Arguing that closing the global-leadership gap must be an urgent priority for companies wishing to expand their geographic reach, Pankaj Ghemawat claims that predictable biases rooted in widespread misconceptions about globalization are hampering their efforts to develop capable global leaders.

For example, the author challenges the notion that global leadership is developed through experience and that development is all about building standard global-leadership competencies.

He advances the view that escalating competition for talent in growth markets implies that it is more urgent than ever for multinationals to diversify their leadership team, and that shifting to the rooted-cosmopolitan ideal is critical to attracting and developing executives from emerging markets. But firms must not overlook one crucial fact - that incorporating more local talent will require a greater emphasis on people development.

Some among the executives selected for global operations will need to be specialists in sustainability. Peter Lacy et al., in the article, 'Developing strategies and leaders to succeed in a new era of sustainability: Findings and insights from the United Nations Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study', from the Journal of Management Development, Volume 31 issue 4, see this as driving new business models and essential for long-term success.

According to the authors' research among some 800 chief executives, from almost 100 nations and more than 25 industry sectors, senior managers believe that developing new skills, knowledge and mindsets for the next generation of business leaders will help to ensure that sustainability takes its place where it belongs - at the heart of the business.