Case Study 15.1: Rotating Leaders: Orpheus Orchestra
This week’s case study is look into what makes the Orpheus Orchestra and the leadership methods are so unique. This group of musicians are unique in the fact that they do not have a conductor to lead them. They lead themselves. With this method being so unique a lot of top companies have hired them to go into their organization and how they accomplish what they do with no one leader.
This group came about by a few professional musicians that were looking for something different then the standard conductor lead symphony The founder of Orpheus that the musicians needed to be able to express themselves where in traditional settings they are only doing as they were told. So he selected a few people in the beginning to try his idea out. The biggest key to being successful is having members that know how to give and take with ideas and criticism.
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The next layer of the organization of the group is selecting a concertmaster. Like the small groups the concertmaster rotated through the different group members. This allowed everyone to have input, but a mediator to help keep the ideas and decisions flowing. The biggest key to their success is the fact that all the members in the group rotate through the different positions not only from concert to concert, but also piece by piece that they play. This method allows everyone to take a leadership role, but not take over. Everyone has input and it works really well.
1. What would business organizations such as Kraft Foods gain from observing Orpheus in action?
I think that any organization especially a large dynamic company watching Orpheus can teach the leaders of those organizations a lot. The biggest key that I think they can learn is the dynamic method of allowing the group (your team members/ employees) to evolve and change over time. This evolving allows all members contribute to the company’s goals, and will keep a higher employee satisfaction because everyone will feel that they had a lot of contribution to the overall success.
2. Orpheus rotates the concertmaster position among core-group members. What is the logic of rotating the leader?
The logic behind this method is not allowing one single member be the “leader” of the group. Everyone has a voice, which is taken into consideration, and no one single member is the leader that has all the control. Making sure the leader rotates everyone feels that they have a part in the overall success of the group.
3. What are some of the substitutes for permanent leadership that exist within Orpheus?
The main theme within in Orpheus is that the structure is the same, which keeps the continuity within the group is keeping the organization set in stone. The fact there is always a core-group, a concertmaster, and a sound check person keeps the format that the group works with the same. That all being said there is a for of leadership at all times just through those different aspects of concertmaster and core-group. It is just unique that those positions are comprised of an ever-changing group of members.