Business 101, with Andre Rieu.

Andre Rieu is currently winding up his Australian tour and I was fortunate to go to one of his concerts, a first for me! As far as my musical “pedigree” I am not an aficionado when it comes to classical music, I play guitar but my skills are equivalent to the weekend hacker at golf.

Before I start my babble perhaps I should provide a little background information for those of you who don’t know who Andre Rieu is.  Andre Rieu is a classical musician who produces enormous stage shows that have to be seen to be believed. Andre Rieu is the all time highest selling musical act in Australia and has been unfairly labelled by the “stuffy musical elite” as presenting “Classical Music for Dummies”. But he certainly knows his market and what to sell to them!

Watching an Andre Rieu concert is an incredible experience. Even my kids love it when the orchestra start playing Bananas in Pyjamas.  But I also watched the concert and saw a unique business perspective, and not in terms of the fact that he has sold millions of DVD’s and CD’s. Andre Rieu currently has 4 DVD’s in the Australian top 20 charts. Pink only has three!

When you listen to orchestral music you are confronted with a wall of sound, 50 or more instruments all playing at the same time. It takes great talent to put all this together into a great piece of music. But what I noticed was each instrument played a unique part in the performance and if you listen to each instrument individually many would bare little resemblance musical piece being played. The combination of playing the right note at the right time, at the right tempo produces a result that is truly magnificent.

Is your team playing the right note at the right time?

Great teamwork is crucial to an orchestra just as it is in business. Great teamwork relies on having the right person in the right seat. Don’t ask a percussionist to play the piccolo. Too often we make the costly mistake of squeezing the wrong person into the wrong role and then wasting time training them. Dedicate time to recruiting the right person and developing the skills they have, not on developing the skills they don’t have! In terms of working on an individuals skills, prolific author Marcus Buckinham says, “work on what was left in, not what was left out”.

The other observation that I made was how much fun Andre’s orchestra was having. If you have watched an Andre Rieu concert, you will notice that everyone is having a great time laughing and joking around. Not the usual high-brow classical concert! How can these people, who play the same pieces of music, night after night, continue to produce outstanding performances and remain enthusiastic. The answer is PASSION.

When Andre Rieu introduced his orchestra, he made special mention to the one thing that drives his orchestra to produce these amazing performances, ”they play from the heart”. His team love what they do, they are passionate and they give so much night after night and enjoy themselves.

Have a look at your team, do they genuinely love what they do? Are they passionate? Successful people often have an enthusiasm that drives them to go above and beyond the call. They are passionate about what they do. Contrast this with the clock watchers and the ones that couldn’t care less. To produce great results you must have passionate people.

Small business can learn from watching Andre Rieu and not just about his music. Small business people can learn to:

  • Recruit the right people in the right roles,
  • Give them the correct equipment to play the right note at the right time, and
  • Develop people with passion.

Finally if you still don’t know who Andre Rieu is, click on this link to watch one of my favourite pieces of music. Enjoy.