May 2017

Text: Petra Danhofer



In 2001, when finishing his degree in conducting, he developed the training method “conducting for executives”. He completed further education as a trainer, among others. Mr. Huber taught in different institutions and headed a music school for six years. His career took him to Belgium, Germany, Austria and Hungary. He was born in Dresden and lives near


Leadership. A good executive acts like the conductor of an orchestra. There is a reason why musical terms can also be found in the field of management. In special trainings, executives can even learn to “conduct” their teams.

Changing tempos, interaction, harmony, becoming attuned, dictating the rhythm – these are important terms both in an orchestra and in a team of a company. Management trainer and conductor Lorenz Huber developed a training method for executives in which he transferred experiences and findings from the interaction in an orchestra to the entrepreneurial practice. Starting from May 20, he leads the workshops “From a virtual conductor to a string quartet” at the Vienna Haus der Musik. Participants, even without any previous knowledge, can experience the difference between conducting a “music machine” and a real string quartet.

Every change in tempo is a risk

“Every orchestra and every team need two fundamental qualities: expertise and the quality of interaction,” explained Huber. An orchestra is an expert organization based on the division of labor. The conductor must behave in a way that enables him to influence people, i.e. soloists. He must succeed in forming a collaborative team of these soloists. At every change in tempo, an orchestra bears the risk of breaking

apart and not managing a synchronized change. Therefore, the musicians must decide very quickly if they go along with this change in tempo. If the orchestra comes to the conclusion that it is too risky, a “substitute leadership” emerges. “Usually this is the concert master. He decides: Do we continue in the old tempo or do we accelerate a little less?”, Huber explained. In order to obtain their desired and successful results, teams, like orchestras, do not only need a joint piece – a goal – but also a joint


understanding of this piece and balanced leadership.

“Balanced leadership means that the executive gives finely tuned impetus to the team in order to avoid oversteering and understeering.”
Lorenz Huber
Conductor and management trainer

According to orchestras, teams need a joint piece – a goal.

Balanced leadership

“Balanced leadership means that I as an executive give finely tuned impetus to the team in order to avoid oversteering and understeering. If I give too much impetus, I risk stress caused by permanent changes in direction. On the other hand, a team feels disoriented if I give too little impetus,” the conductor said. In both situations, an “informal leadership” emerges “from necessity”. If this happens in an orchestra, the musicians start to look at the concert master instead of the conductor and watch his impetus because they want to perform the joint piece well. This shows that teams are able to lead themselves although many executives think that they have made a relevant contribution to the result. Huber concludes: “If you as an executive don’t want to be replaced by informal leadership, you have to lead in a balanced way.”

Double trust

“Every conductor needs a stable relationship to his soloists, a positive attitude towards the piece and a good relationship to himself. This can be transferred to business,” Huber explained convincedly. Successful, balanced leadership means establishing double trust in a team. The executive must be so clear that every person in the team can follow him. And he must face critical questions about why he takes a certain decision to make sure that the team follows. Huber has chosen music as his form of communication in management training because “also music requires good interaction, no matter if it is an orchestra, a jazz ensemble or an opera.”

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