Episode 15: Maestro Roger Nierenberg: Leading Your Own Orchestra

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In this episode of the Manage Your Message Podcast, host Jim Karrh speaks with Maestro Roger Nierenberg about the lessons from conducting world-class orchestras that apply to leading a team or business.

Maestro Nierenberg has served as the music director of the Stamford (Connecticut) Symphony and the Jacksonville (Florida) Symphony. He has also served as a guest conductor for great American orchestras in cities including St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore, San Diego, and Indianapolis—and he has recorded with the London Philharmonic and conducted at both the Prague Spring Festival and the Beijing Festival.

While his musical expertise is undeniable, Roger is also a bestselling business author. His book Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listening was even named the Best Leadership Book of 2009 from 800-CEO-READ. His book is based on “The Music Paradigm,” an interactive experience he has led for hundreds of different organizations in more than 20 countries. His clients range from big corporations such as Johnson & Johnson to the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.

As their conversation unfolds, Maestro Nierenberg shares the story behind The Music Paradigm and how this program uses an orchestral performance to demonstrate organizational dysfunction. He discusses the power of music to provide a sped-up experience of real-life situations. Maestro Nierenberg explains how he demonstrates, in real time, mixed messages between business leaders (the conductor) and their employees (the orchestra) in a way that connects to people’s everyday business situations.

Jim and Maestro Nierenberg also discuss the connection between how musicians listen and how employees listen, and how this can inform business leaders. During this segment, they talk about the importance of collaboration, avoiding micromanaging, and providing genuine leadership that simultaneously helps the individual and the collective thrive. Finally, Jim and Maestro Nierenberg talk about how business leaders are the face of their companies, and what implications this has for the way they lead others.



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