"Choosing ignorance might seem a terrible quality to exhibit in your workplace--a sure path down the stairs and out the corporate door. But stick with me here and see how it leads you upward. You'll understand why great leaders embrace ignorance and use it to elevate their people to new heights of achievement."A conductor in front of his orchestra is an iconic symbol of leadership--but what does a true maestro actually do to enable the right sort of cooperation among his players, leading to an excellent performance? Read more...
"Choosing ignorance might seem a terrible quality to exhibit in your workplace--a sure path down the stairs and out the corporate door. But stick with me here and see how it leads you upward. You'll understand why great leaders embrace ignorance and use it to elevate their people to new heights of achievement."A conductor in front of his orchestra is an iconic symbol of leadership--but what does a true maestro actually do to enable the right sort of cooperation among his players, leading to an excellent performance? If you think his primary job is making sure the musicians play the right notes, prepare to be surprised. For twenty years, in addition to conducting orchestras around the world, Itay Talgam has been a "conductor of people" for companies large and small, for CEOs of Fortune 500 companies as well as startup entrepreneurs, and beyond. Drawing on his decades of experience on the podium, he teaches nonmusicians how conducting really works and how the conductor's art can help leaders in any field. In his lectures (including an acclaimed TED talk) and now in this book, Talgam shows why imposing your vision on your people is likely to backfire. Great conductors may know in advance how they want a piece to be played, but they make room for the creativity and passion of their musicians. They respect the gap between the baton and the instruments. They focus more on listening than on speaking. And they embrace their own ignorance, knowing that others may have better ideas than the conductor can imagine. Talgam explores the nuances of leadership by describing the distinctive styles of six world-famous conductors: the commanding Riccardo Muti, the fatherly and passionate Arturo Toscanini, the calm Richard Strauss, the gurulike Herbert von Karajan, the dancing Carlos Kleiber, and the master of dialogue Leonard Bernstein. All took different approaches to the age-old leadership dilemma: how to maximize both control and creative freedom at the same time. The Ignorant Maestro will empower you to help your own team make even more beautiful music. Talgam's anecdotes and insights will change the way you think about listening, humility, and the path to unpredictable brilliance.
- ISBN-13: 9781591847236
- ISBN-10: 1591847230
- Publisher: Portfolio
- Publish Date: May 2015
- Page Count: 240
- Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-02-16
- Reviewer: Staff
This strained offering from orchestral conductor and leadership speaker Talgam frames leadership lessons through an orchestra leader’s perspective, peppered with examples of great conductors, such as Richard Strauss. Talgam, a grandchild of the first kibbutznik pioneers to Israel, takes an entrepreneurial and fail-fast-fail-first approach to leadership; ignorance, according to him, can be overcome by a willingness to learn from and listen to colleagues and respected mentors. Talgam admits to knowing very little about the fields in which most of his consulting clients work; this has not, to his mind, precluded him from being able to lead them toward success. His tone is encouraging—“You are the designer of your organization, the composer and the orchestrator of its flow of work”—but it is not always clear how he expects his readers to interpret his more orchestra-specific musings on topics such as “gap handling” (dealing with the spaces between notes) and creating “enough structure to sustain the flow” in the “metaphorical music of the workplace.” Though earnest and well intentioned, this book is too vague and meandering in its execution, and the musical metaphor is stretched too thin. An enthusiastic attempt that misses the mark. Agent: Lisa DiMona, Writer’s House. (May)