Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Teaches MBA Students about Shared Leadership
The Grammy Award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra - the only chamber orchestra in the world that rehearses, performs, and records without a conductor - shared its unique approach to shared leadership in the workplace at a one-day teaching residency for Haas MBA students on the Berkeley campus on November 29.
The Orpheus Orchestra demonstrated its work process from preparations to final product as it rehearsed the first movement of Haydn's Symphony No. 63 in C Major in "real time" in front of the student audience.
Students had an opportunity to ask questions and hear about applications of the Orpheus Process to the business world by then-Dean Laura D'Andrea Tyson; Harvey Seifter, executive director of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and author of Leadership Ensemble; Haas lecturer Terry Pearce; David Pottruck, co-CEO of Charles Schwab; and John McGeehan, chief administrative officer of Morgan Stanley Japan Limited.
The event was sponsored by the global financial services firm Morgan Stanley, which also sponsored a similar Orpheus residency at Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, in June 2001.
"Morgan Stanley's own flat management structure and emphasis on team building and collaboration provided the basis for the firm's partnership with Orpheus," said John McGeehan, chief administrative officer at Morgan Stanley Japan Limited. "The powerful message the attendees at the seminars both in Tokyo and San Francisco took away with them was that the lessons of the Orpheus Process are as relevant to conference rooms as they are to the concert hall."
Orpheus has garnered worldwide attention in the corporate sector for its unique approaches to creativity, innovation, and self-management. The "Orpheus Process" is built on individual responsibility, shared leadership, and workplace democracy - principles that are highly valued in today's progressive corporate environment. These principles have enabled the orchestra to unleash the talent, vision, creativity, and leadership potential of each member of the group. The results have produced 28 years of sustained excellence at the highest level of international accomplishment.
Central to the distinctive personality of Orpheus is its unusual process of sharing and rotating leadership roles. For every work, an elected committee of musicians selects a concertmaster and each instrumental section chooses a representative. These chosen representatives, called the "core group," are responsible for forming the initial concept of the piece and developing an overall interpretive approach to the music (e.g., tempi, phrasing, articulation, dynamics) before the entire orchestra comes together to rehearse.
The core also structures the rehearsal process for the entire orchestra, which provides clear leadership while insuring that every member has a stake in the artistic outcome of every piece performed. In final rehearsals, all orchestra members participate in refining the interpretation and execution.
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