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Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listening Hardcover – October 15, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Top Customer Reviews
While this book did cover much that I had learned elsewhere, it did give me a new appreciation for some of that, and went on to present some ideas that were new to me. My favorite lesson was that, as a conductor does in an orchestra, a business leader has a perspective that is fundamentally different from those he leads. This is not only due to his looking in a different direction, but also because he hears things differently. Many times as a leader, I had not realized this and expected those whom I led to see what I saw. This book has definitely improved my leadership skills.
These short storytelling business books about management skills trace their roots to the 1982 bestseller: The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. They teach certain truisms in a short story and hold promise that a few insights will translate to business management success. The trend now is to deliver a story about a business person learning wisdom from leaders outside the normal business environment. The premise is that the conductor has business management skills.
The Maestro, the conductor, gave several lessons on how an orchestra works together in harmony. This was very interesting and well done, with examples that included some interesting musical scores. We learn about the uniqueness of the conductor. The conductor has immediate access to all the information from the podium and provides leadership that results in the whole being much greater than the sum of the parts. Importantly, all the musicians are artists, so they cannot be told how to do their jobs. But everybody has to yield to the vision of the conductor. The conductor is a visionary leader who strives to reduce the gap between the reality of the performance and the vision of the ideal performance.Read more ›
As a musician, I like the book in its obvious references to music and musicianship. Sometimes, I wondered if non-musicians would "get it", though it is written in a very easy to read style. Mostly I had to think about my principal, a micromanager, who I would very much like to read it! Written by a musician, but by someone who is giving himself the position of an industrialist, I have to think that the leader of any type of team or business could benefit by the metaphors constantly brought up to make all work "in perfect harmony". It spells out the importance of the individual, and how a leader can bring out the best cooperation while bringing out the innovative ideas of others.
We learned about change and how to prepare and cope with it in Who Moved My Cheese? The same was done in John Kotter's Our Iceberg is Melting.
And now, conductor, Roger Nierenberg explores leadership in a new business fable to add to the list, Maestro.
In Nierenberg's parable, we follow a business executive struggling to motivate his team to work together so they might stop their business' sinking ship.
The executive befriends an orchestra conductor who allows the executive to sit within the orchestra during rehearsals. And it's from that seat that the executive soon learns the value that listening has on leadership.
For instance, from the violin section, one may not understand what the double basses are hearing, or how it may impact how they play. In the same way, one business division may be working in a silo -- not considering its impact on the rest of the company.
And so by learning how a large and diverse orchestra works so flawlessly, the executive finds leadership principles to apply to his own career.
Seeing that it's a parable, it's a bit difficult to select some quick-meaning quotes, but here's a few of my favorites:
"...a strong vision can lead people away from focusing on their part alone toward being aware of the whole. The vision should be lofty enough to stir and challenge people. If it's too limited, then people will feel underutilized and uninspired."
"Tasks that might have previously seemed routine now acquire meaning and beauty. While they are doing their jobs, they're always thinking of the grand vision.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book really inspired me as a new orchestra conductor and president of a volunteer organization and other positions I hold. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Charles Dickens
Book arrived in good condition and content is fabulous.Published 15 months ago by Barara M. Davenport
A bit on the nose and full of platitudes, but it is an interesting read. If you're looking for a book with more detailed suggestions to implement in the workplace, look elsewhere. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Daniel E Lago
Not a very interesting read. It did not help that it arrived with a sticker on the cover that said "$2" considering that I paid 5X that amount to buy it. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Brad Pedrow
This is a short, very readable book, which presents very clear messages using a metaphor resonating also with people who have no music background. Read morePublished on December 24, 2013 by Gidi