Collective Virtuosity – An Introduction

 In Teams

We live in a world of clichés that are embedded in the psyche of Corporate life. Leaders repeat mantras about quarterly profits and the bottom line. Everything has to be “faster, better, and cheaper” and there aren’t enough “A” players to be successful. Most people find team collaboration to be hard, exhausting work that isn’t always productive. We’re told that “teamwork” is essential to organizational success, but what constitutes good teamwork? The notion is foggy to most leaders, who assume it’s a matter of trial and error to enable teamwork. Team building exercises temporarily help groups to work better together, but the effects of the exercises don’t often persist.

What if you could have fun during collaboration efforts and feel energized afterwards, rather than drained and depressed? What if you discovered that by adopting a new way of being with your colleagues, you could awaken a collective virtuosity within your team and organization that is inspiring and also produces results?

Musicians learn the secrets of collaboration while rehearsing and performing in chamber music groups. I learned these secrets as a music student at the Eastman School of Music, and at numerous summer music programs, such as the Castleman Quartet Program and Yale Summer Chamber Music at Norfolk. I shifted my career to the world of business and corporations for 25 years.  In 2007, I left the corporate world, embarked on a journey back to my musical roots through my doctoral studies in Human and Organizational Systems.

I rediscovered musicians’ secrets for collaboration at the Cleveland Institute of Music, working with the Cavani String Quartet while conducting my dissertation research. I am now writing a book for leaders based on this research, tentatively called: Collective Virtuosity: Music Lessons for Leaders. I look forward to sharing these ideas with you on this Blog.


The author, performing in a masterclass taught by Joseph Silverstein, Eastman School of Music, late 1970’s

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