Tokonoma and the art of the focal point
Presentación Zen: Por fin! La versión en español ya está disponible

The art of control without controlling, doing without doing

Itay_ted As a leader — in business, education, or design — how much control do you need? How much can you give up? Is control even the right word? Is it possible to lead without leading? Here is a great TED talk that will get you thinking that has applications for leaders of all types. Former conductor Itay Talgam today runs workshops to help people develop a musician's sense of collaboration, and a conductor's sense of leadership. In this excellent talk at TED Oxford, Itay touches on the art of creating perfect harmony without saying a word by showing the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors. I point to this presentation for the content, but the delivery and smooth use of video clips to illustrate his points is a good example of how to connect with an audience and get them to think differently.

Questions to consider
  • Can you lead with less control or a different kind of control?
  • Must "control" be a zero-sum game?
  • Is there joy in leading by helping other people tell their own stories?
  • Is leadership only about technique or is it more about meaning?
  • Are we using team members, employees, or students as instruments for our own ends or are they viewed as partners, where their development is a central consideration for us?
  • Is not leadership also about creating the processes, structure, and conditions that allow team members to perform autonomously? Can you still be "in control" and let people be/feel free? Can the structure create the conditions for that freedom?
The best line of the talk: Apparently when Strauss was 30, says Itay Talgam, he wrote the "10 commandments for conductors." My favorite commandment? "Never look at the trombones; it only encourages them." As someone who played trombone in the orchestra all through my school years, I greatly enjoyed that line.


Benjamin Zander on music and passion


Nick Smith

Excellent. Zander's was among my all-time favorite TED talks, but Itay's is now right up there. Hearing both of their thoughts on leadership and motivation, it's a wonder we think of business as so far removed from music and the arts.

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