“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.” – H.E. Luccock
“Band members have a special bond. A great band is more than just some people working together. It’s like a highly specialized army unit, or a winning sports team. A unique combination of elements that becomes stronger together than apart.” Steven Van Zandt
What happens when you combine a six-person percussion team, two fiddlers, one banjo player, 16 guitar players, a horn section, a four-person keyboard and synthesizer team, over a dozen vocalists, two sound professionals, one lighting professional, and a spreadsheet guru? One heck of a performance, that’s what! It’s not only the passion for music and the friendship, but also the commitment to each other and the performance as a whole that unites us as one team.
The teamwork involved in a musical performance is a good example of how all teamwork should work in an organization, on a project, in a family. Over the last 11 years, I’ve been privileged to be a part of an amazing group of musicians who perform twice a year to raise money for The Carnegie Arts Center’s arts educational programs for children. This fundraiser, Suits That Rock, has challenged me to do the uncomfortable by singing rock songs to a public audience, as well as teaching me the awesome power of teamwork.
Playing in a band like this is a multi-faceted experience of teamwork and accountability. It’s important when considering teamwork as a whole, that in order for things to have a positive outcome, everyone has to be held accountable for their performance. As a musician, I feel accountable performing across many levels and for many audiences:
- My family that I’ve spent time away from to rehearse for hours over the last six months (and when I’m home, the time spent practicing. Plus they are coming to support me, as well).
- My friends who are coming to see me perform.
- My company who sponsors the event and supports the organization.
- The Carnegie, the organization for which I am performing at this event to raise money.
- All of the other musicians: they have practiced and I have to do my job in order make sure I play my part well. And each song played well contributes to the final performance.
- Myself : I owe it to myself to practice because I know that doing my best to be prepared will ensure a successful event. I want to leave it all out there on stage, knowing that there was nothing I could have done to make it a better performance.
If one person does not do their job, it will show. It is a combination of talents, passion, and trust that makes every musical performance successful.
The same goes for teams working on projects and tasks at their organizations. Collaborating as a team can motivate us, inspire us, and challenge us to be better. When organizational teams do well, everyone celebrates. Whether it be for our families, our work, our SMPS chapter, or for our volunteer commitments, we all need to be accountable to each other to make things work well. Just like a musical performance, it’s that one thing done well (or perfect) that’s the glue that holds together all of the benefits of teamwork.
If you’re in a band or orchestra, you must learn to work well with the team around you for that music to work. If you’re in a team setting at home or at work, all of you must work together to play your part in order to create that perfect song that is truly inspirational to others. Let’s all work together to motivate, inspire, and challenge each other to be the best team members we can be.
Article written by SMPS President-Elect Melissa Lutz, FSMPS, CPSM.