Why We Exist

[ut_dropcap style=”one”] P [/ut_dropcap] eople often ask me why I decided to start Symphonic Strategies. I love having the opportunity to answer that question. It allows me the chance to speak from my heart about my personal passion and mission. So, I decided to write something that articulates why we exist as a company. This company exists because there are a lot of dysfunctional environments out there. I wish I didn’t have to say it so directly, but sadly it is true. So often our environment simply gets in our way, and, as a result, we leave so many potential collective achievements “on the table” because the “conditions weren’t right.”

Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise. Exceptional collective performances are rare. Often, they don’t occur because of the social drama that unfolds around us. These dramas are ripe with noise—a term I like to use to describe the rivalry, divided loyalties, and tension that lead to dysfunction and that adversely affect performance and ultimately impact.

I have found in my experience working with thousands of leaders in a variety of environments that there is an internal struggle taking place within the hearts and minds of the very people we put our faith in to deliver results. If you are one of these people, perhaps you know exactly what I mean. There is a sense of frustration and urgency that weighs you down when you see untapped potential or unrealized achievement.

My goal is to help you to deploy your highest order skills and talents against your highest order challenges and opportunities. I want to help you achieve something extraordinary and that means helping you find a strategy that can redefine what is possible within the environment in which you find yourself. I want you to be able to help others see those things that we have prematurely rejected as impossible, to find the courage to construct environments where people can play from their souls, and to develop the knowledge and skills to be able to move the crowd toward extraordinary collective achievements.


Everything we do at Symphonic Strategies is based upon an awareness of the context in which collective action takes place—what we describe as the theater of performance. [/ut_blockquote_right] A theater of performance is the arena in which you and the groups to which you belong perform. It can be as broad as a geographic region (e.g., the Middle East) or as narrow as the place you call home each night.

The theater of performance construct provides a lens through which you and the groups around you form an identity.  It, in turn, influences your perception of interests and the corresponding political behavior needed to protect those interests.

This is where conventional strategy breaks down. This is where performance wanes and collective action stalls. It is within our theaters of performance where noise becomes distracting and deafening, making it difficult for individuals and organizations to even recognize what is strategic, let alone to mobilize people to achieve something strategic.

As you get to know our work, we hope to persuade you to abandon the traditional view of action that casts you as being captive to your environment—to the situation. A majority of the narratives that currently exist portray the environment, the situation, or the context as something that constrains or inhibits action. People, they argue, choose how they will act based on the situation at hand.

True, and necessary. But it doesn’t have to be so one sided.

Symphonic Strategies encourages you to consider an alternative that is a bit more balanced. We invite you to embrace a perspective that holds your theater as flexible and malleable. Increasing complexity need not thrust you or your organization into chaos. You can survive and thrive at the same time.


I use the musical metaphor of jazz to connect why we exist to how we work. [/ut_blockquote_left] Jazz lends itself very well because it incorporates so many of the principles and the challenges of acting collectively. Great jazz performances are the result of the harmonious combination of disparate elements. Like jazz musicians, you are challenged to perform in environments where there is no formal score and where the tempo and the quality of play are determined less by a conductor and more often by external forces. Today, our environments look less like conductor-led orchestras and more like jazz bands where leadership is shared and where agility and improvisation are the expectation.

Wynton Marsalis once said that: “Jazz…is an art form that can give us a painless way of understanding ourselves. The real power and the real innovation of jazz is that a group of people can come together and create art, improvised art, and can negotiate their agendas with each other and that negotiation is the art.”

Well, collective action is a negotiated art and we find ourselves negotiating agendas in environments that are growing increasingly complex (and for some, chaotic). As the numbers of contexts in which you will interact continue to expand, the world will need some masterful negotiators. It will need symphonic leaders™—individuals who thrive in complexity and, in the process, are able to gracefully lead others into unfamiliar territory while still producing extraordinary collective outcomes.

I hope through this company to be able to do my part to help as many individuals and organizations as I can overcome the barriers to collective action that are preventing us all from achieving something extraordinary.

By | 2017-02-09T09:09:34+00:00 January 1st, 2013|News|0 Comments