10 Expert Skills- from an orchestra conductor to the digital leader

Last week three events happened around the same time in my house.  My younger child, twelve years old and three years younger to her sibling, started paid classes for Python coding with the help of a coding tutor.  Meanwhile, my older child started an online Python course by MIT, free of charge and independent classes. Parallely, he also made an ECG machine through an inter-disciplinary summer project with Plaksha University. And, the third event was when I landed at this article on Chiefmartec.com : Why does the massive landscape of marketing services firms not bother people the way martech does?

Welcome to the world of democratization of knowledge. Where a twelve year old is learning something that was not available to another twelve year old just three years ago, where a fifteen year old school going kid has learnt something that he might have come across in graduate studies. To understand functioning of an electrocardiogram machine, to connect it to the Arduino IDE, transfer data to Python and design threshold levels was executed end to end in an online two week camp. Democratization of knowledge means the knowledge is increasingly available to everyone, irrespective of years of experience or age. Democratization of knowledge also means it is available in smaller, modular forms at a price that is affordable, and in many cases, free of cost.  Democratization of knowledge means you can attain mastery in an area of your interest, irrespective of your age and experience.

How does it impact you:

The democratization of knowledge is creating skilled resources. And technological advancements are bringing products that replace parts of high skilled jobs. For example, even some parts of highly specialized jobs of a doctor are being democratized. If you have heard about oximeters and if you have access to an oximeter, you know what I mean. You have taken one job of a healthcare worker. 

This is how our work lives are changing where a technology platform picks up the task and the person who has acquired specific skills takes over as the driver of the platform. 

Martech as the name suggests is about marketing and technology as a combined force where creativity meets technology meets people. The independent departments of IT and Marketing & Sales & Finance are merging. Business is to be driven by Martech. Below is the excerpt from the article Why does the massive landscape of marketing services firms not bother people the way martech does?

The number of agencies and consultancies is more than 10X the number of martech companies in these countries. Marketers and agencies aren’t locked in battle against a burgeoning martech landscape. They are becoming part of the martech landscape. In the UK, they identified 1,820 martech companies — but 21,570 agencies and consultancies serving marketers.

https://martech5000.com/ lists 8000 Marketing technology companies. For a close look, please visit the link

Any industry that you are in be it consumer facing, business to business, healthcare, edutech, defence, finance, you are a part of the landscape. The way you hone your skill is the way you will stay relevant in the landscape. Or, the future could be similar to the front desk attendant at your doctor’s place whose job was to take the Oximeter reading. 

What can you do

They say acquire a digital skill. You chose a course “Understanding AI’ on Coursera or may be, you do a ‘content marketing’ course on Hub Academy. And you feel equipped. But what you need to learn is not just one technical skill, you need to learn to be an orchestra conductor. 

These are ten must have skills in your resume to be a digital leader. 

Here is the mapping of ten digital leadership skills with the skills of an Orchestra Conductor. The orchestra conductor skills has been taken from American Orchestras: Traits and skills of a music director. Your platforms are the instruments, your tech experts, your service agencies, your team members are your musicians. You are the master conductor.

1 Mastery of at least one platform: Mastery of at least one instrument is vital to the development of greater musical insight and an understanding of music-making from a player’s point of view. 

Read: Understanding of a platform helps in understanding of the scope.

2. Voracious appetite for tech landscape: a voracious appetite for hearing performances of all types-experiences as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and conductor

Read: There are more than 8000 technology platforms available. A voracious appetite helps in knowing what is suited best for your business goals. 

3. The listening ability for ideas Inquisitiveness about what composers may have wished to communicate in their music.

The opportunity to create solutions can come from anywhere. Democratization of knowledge and the availability of cloud computing opens up the world of possibilities.

4. The capacity to focus on outcome- The capacity to invoke a range of emotional responses, and the skill to create drama, contrast, and well-defined gestures in music, from the smallest detail to the overall shape of a piece. 

Read: The orchestra’s success lies in connecting with audience through emotional responses. Similarly, staying focused on the business objective while creating several digital solutions is a necessity for the leader.

5. Analytical skills to meet the goal- Advanced aural skills to deal with complex problems of orchestral intonation, balance, and color; advanced skills in sight-reading and transposition, especially as applied to the preparation of orchestral scores for performance. 

Read : Aural skills are like analytical skills. You may not be a data scientist, but you need to have the ability to know what you need to measure to meet your objectives.

6. Ability to have a clear vision: Practical experience in composition so that there is an awareness of the creative process and its choices, systems, and procedures. 

Read: An understanding of composition helps in defining a clear vision. 

7. Baton technique to manage the team and its tempo: Ability to maintain continuity of rhythm, line, structure, and interpretive integrity in the overall performance of a work while evoking and controlling response using gestures at all levels of musical detail.

Read: A campaign needs to be rendered in different formats to suit the medium and yet come together as a complete campaign. The baton technique is the ability to manage different things in a way that brings them cohesively to create the big show. 

8. Rehearsal technique: to test, analyse, align to the vision. Rehearsal technique is the  ability to recognize, diagnose, and correct musical, interpretive, rhythmic, balance, and intonation problems in an efficient, sequential, and creative manner. Ability to fuse the analytic knowledge of the structure of a work and an artistic conception into a sonic realization in the available rehearsal time. 

Read: The ability to select and buy appropriate platforms & services is almost like A/B testing of a campaign.

9. Podium presence: Perform and enthrall:  Podium presence is the awareness of how the conductor’s body language enhances the quality of music-making, as well as how it affects the physical and emotional well being of the players

Read: the ability to deliver the business objective with confident decision making.

10. Ability to gain respect by leading through an example of creativity, knowledge, and dedicationA passion for the orchestra and its repertoire and an ability to translate that passion into well-coordinated programs and activities that carry out the orchestra’s mission.

Read: The passion to inspire the team and service providers. The ability to attract the talent.

Image courtesy: The film ‘The Conductor’ based on the true story of Antonia Brico- Dutch-born American conductor and pianist, the first woman to gain wide recognition and acceptance as a leader of world-class symphony orchestras.

Disclaimer : Evaluating conductors objectively can be difficult: The orchestra, not the conductor, physically creates the sound. It is not always clear to what extent the conductor is responsible for a good (or bad) performance, though the picture generally becomes clearer over time.

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