I was recently facilitating a strategic offsite for a symphony orchestra in Virginia. It was a fascinating experience as I am a big classical music fan. One of the musicians put forward a musical phrase as a marketing concept that “cut to the chase” for those who want to experience the music, but may not want to spend all night doing so.
That concept was Alla Breve.
Alla Breve is Italian music speak for “cut the playing time” or play faster. I think there is some wisdom here to share as we are often faced with the reality of “doing less”, ie cutting the time or “doing more” ie playing faster.
This likely impacts our professional and personal lives.
1) Are we habitually “out of time” running from one meeting to another?
2) Is there an on-going sense of frustration that that the task doesn’t fit the time?
3) How can we shorten the time needed to do what we need to do?
4) Do we know our “time signatures” and how to change them?
5) Are we playing solo even though we are part of a larger group?
6) When orchestrating plans are we being realistic?
7) When was the last time we intentionally gave back time to somebody else?
8) When was the last time we actually had time “given back”?
How to apply Alla Breve to the questions above goes a long way to determining if the sounds we fill the air with are sweet, melodic and harmonious or off pitch and in the wrong key.
Alla Breve starts by being mindful of our default time signatures both at home and at work. At Voltage Leadership, we utilize several assessment tools that help people understand their default personalities, motivational factors and cognitive capabilities. This helps illuminate if somebody is playing staccato (disjointed, disconnected) instead of legato (smooth, flowing.) Knowing when to “go hard” ie Allegro vs “when to play more slowly” ie Adagio can make all the difference in the tonal quality of our lives!
A few ideas:
· Try cutting a one hour meeting to 45 minutes.
· If the agenda is too long, then do 2-3 items and agree to emailing each other for the rest.
· Question if you really need to meet weekly for your next project.
· Review your priorities and meetings for the next week on Friday. Do you still need to attend all the meetings? Who could go in your place? Now, how will you invest your new found time?
So, the next time we are asked to sit through Handel’s Messiah, when we really only need Chopin’s two-minute Waltz, think “Alla Breve” and use the time redeemed to make beautiful music elsewhere!
For further discussion on this concept of Alla Breve in our work lives, listen to this episode of our VoltCast radio show, Illuminating Leadership.