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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Leadership Lessons from the 3 Tenors

Really? The 3 tenors have lessons on leadership?  Many have heard of the original 3 tenors:  Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, and Luciano Pavarotti.  They had some of the most distinctive and great voices on the opera circuit.  The “Three Tenors” name came later in their careers when they started performing on stage as a group and the songs sold on CD.  As you might expect, each of the tenors had such strong voices that they often sang solos.  Even when performing as the 3 tenors the solos were frequent with each taking turns.  Sometimes the real music came when they sang together in harmony.  This is when great talent found a way to put egos aside and form one beautiful vocal blending the distinct voices together.

Think about the egos involved in entrepreneurs and their startup teams.  The desire to standout and be recognized in a crowd is critical to many.  When working with the team, finding a means to be part of a team to achieve something extraordinary is often a mismatch.  Egos get in the way and desires for credit or power prevent the harmony needed to achieve goals faster and with higher quality.

Leadership sometimes requires knowing when to sing solo and when to harmonize.  This is a lesson that comes mostly from experience.  Some learn and others have difficulty.  It is often said, there is no “I’” in “Team.”  Your team will certainly agree.  Especially when the I and me become rampant in trying to build a company.

The 3 tenors figured this out, at least the times they appeared on stage.  Each had every right to be the star of the show, but they found a way to make the solos turn into trios.  The result was a performance that attracted many viewers and lead to greater revenues and a better product.  Interestingly, it is easier to remember the “Three Tenors” than to recall each of their individual names.  The team became famous and better recognized as a brand. 

The goal of every leader is to achieve optimal performance.  They must learn when to direct, when to lead, and when to follow.  Achieving a great company and line of products requires the vision provided by the CEO.  Then finding a way to achieve the harmony and quality allowing for optimal time to product launch and sales becomes a function of the team.

The overall goal of the entrepreneur CEO is to know when to sing solo and when to harmonize.  Do you agree?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts.