Leadership and vision. Some great business lessons learned last night at the King Crimson concert I attended with my son. Business lessons from a rock concert? Absolutely. Leadership? The leadership came from founder, Robert Fripp. Sitting at the far right of the stage, the elder statesman of the guitar watched as the various band members showed off their talents. He beamed like a proud father, clearly pleased at the stellar performances, and while he was fully engaged in the team effort with his own playing (and very clearly in control), he maintained a distance that made it very apparent that he had faith in his team, giving them enough room to be individuals and to make their own contributions. They were not puppets, with a puppet-master pulling all the strings. That freedom allowed for creativity and growth beyond simply replicating the band’s classic songs note for note. Despite his own reputation and skills, he never overshadowed his team – it was never only about him. Vision? This band has been around since 1969, and has gone through multiple personnel changes. Fripp has been the only constant. Despite the changes, the performance was not of a group of hired guns who could accurately mimic what had come before, but rather of enthusiastic and fully engaged members of a cohesive team. King Crimson came across as being a living concept, capable of growth, rather than as a static organization – the performances were fresh and engaging and the decades of personnel changes seemed irrelevant. The performers all shared in the vision or the idea of what King Crimson was about, likely because they sincerely believed in it, and were given the breathing space to buy into and share the vision, with their own individual talents able to be fully expressed. The lessons for any organization or team were obvious, and showcased the value of strong leadership and vision to bring out the best in the individual members while staying true to the core principles of the organization.
Leadership and Vision