Create a true whole greater than the sum of its parts.
A manager has the task of creating a true whole that is larger than the sum of its parts. One analogy is the task of the conductor of a symphony orchestra, through whose effort, vision and leadership individual instrumental parts become the living whole of a musical performance. But the conductor has the composer’s score, he is only interpreter. The manager is both composer and conductor.
The task of creating a genuine whole also requires that the manager, in every one of her acts, consider simultaneously the performance and results of the enterprise as a whole and the diverse activities needed to achieve synchronised performance. It is here, perhaps, that the comparison with the orchestra conductor fits best.
A conductor must always hear both the whole orchestra and, say, the second oboe. Similarly, a manager must always consider both the overall performance of the enterprise and say, the market-research activity needed. By raising the performance of the whole, she creates scope and challenge for market research. By improving the performance of market research, she makes possible better overall business results. The manager must simultaneously ask two double-barreled questions: “What better business performance is needed and what does this require of what activities?” And “What better performances are the activities capable of and what improvement in business results will they make possible?”
ACTION POINT: Have you composed your symphony? Has your boss composed his or hers? Have you begun rehearsals with your players yet? Can you hear the second oboe? Are you ready for Carnegie Hall