Handelsblatt Rethink Work: “Mr. von Hoensbroech, what can executives learn from an orchestra?”

Düsseldorf “The orchestra decides within five minutes whether to play with or against the conductor,” says Raphael von Hoensbroech. And he knows: This sobering finding also applies to teams, companies and their bosses.

As a shifter between music and business, the 44-year-old has already experienced several “revolts”, in orchestras and companies. He studied music (violin), law and philosophy and learned conducting at the same time. He worked as a management consultant for eight years. Today he is the artistic director and managing director of the Dortmund Konzerthaus.

Von Hoensbroech believes that conducting is part of everyday life for managers – and a lot can be learned from the orchestra. That is why managers meet real musicians in his management seminars. They should experience first hand why revolts arise in the orchestra (and in their companies). He himself stands on the conductor’s desk and plays the role of micromanager, for example, who conducts each one individually and sets each note.

Raphael von Hoensbroech

“The conductor is the only one in the orchestra who doesn’t make a sound.”

(Foto: Jean-Pierre Geusens)

Although von Hoensbroech repeatedly chooses new and therefore unsuspecting orchestras for his seminars, the same thing happens: the musicians try to hide the conductor; playing past him. What does it take to prevent this from happening? Above all trust, because “the music is made by the others,” says von Hoensbroech. “The conductor is the only one in the orchestra who doesn’t make a sound.”

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How to let go and at the same time empower each individual, especially in the corona crisis, we talk about with Raphael von Hoensbroech in the first episode of Handelsblatt Rethink Work. And the father of five reveals the last time he threw all the principles of good leadership overboard at home.

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