Category: Leading

Invisible Threads

Orchestration is the invisible thread that pulls us together and ensures every small part of our work, whether service, a team member, or a software system, unites as a cohesive whole. Let’s continue to explore ways to understand our own power as leaders, the keepers of the thread, of the “Big E Experience” work in our health care systems.


A Delightful Box

Monthly subscription boxes continue to be a household go-to, so making a business stand out is a challenge. Beauty product company BirchBox brilliantly realized that its sustainability as a business depended on placing the Orchestration of the customer Experience in the most savvy hands – those of its customers. Birchbox launched as a transformational company giving consumers the beauty counter-sampling Experience, curated and shipped to their homes each month. Because they are a mostly digital interface, BirchBox knew that in order to avoid fading into a saturated market, they needed to stay relevant, and what better way to do that than to put the power into the hands of the consumer? Using customer input, they are able to tailor the Experience to the customer’s beauty preferences and then offer products that the customer might not have found themselves. By Orchestrating and personalizing the Experience, BirchBox can delight its customers every time they open a box. Founder Katia Beauchamp shares how she built Birchbox and divulged that she believes “if you’re going to do something discretionary, it’s the retailer’s responsibility to make it really delightful.”

How can we Orchestrate a personalized Experience for our internal and external customers? As leaders, how can we invite others to provide input?

Loves me. Loves me not. Loves me.

The good ol’ “I love you” or “I’m sorry” flowers are being totally reimagined by Austin-based flower delivery company, Urban Stems. A phrase we normally save for the dining or hotel Experience, “perfectly Orchestrated” can now apply to the floral industry as well.

UrbanStems allows customers to pick a type of bouquet based on color, occasion, and price. Upon making a delivery, the delivery person takes a photo of the flowers with the destination in the background to confirm that they were hand delivered. It’s a personal touch that feels as close to delivering them yourself as technology allows.

What Experience could we Orchestrate anew to make better? Think about how flower delivery is handled? Or our visitor process? Brainstorm areas where small changes might make a big difference.

OKAY-Go! Pull Out the Dominoes

Last year, you received a box of dominoes in your Orchestration Action Kit. As we continue to build on our understanding of Orchestration, we invite you to bring them back out and try a new exercise to dig deeper into the connectivity of our roles. 

What’s Next? In your next idea session, have each team member grab a domino. One person begins a conversation. Whoever has a matching tile number goes next. Continue until everyone has contributed to the conversation. It’s a simple way to ensure everyone is heard.


Orchestration Done Right

A well-Orchestrated Experience is the mode by which two feelings are delivered: surprise and delight. We create a lasting impression for those we serve when we stage a positive and memorable moment.


Disney’s Experience Spark

Never underestimate the power of a pin. A simple birthday pin is the spark to some of Disney’s most customized and memorable guest Experiences. Disney prides itself in the Orchestration of Intentional, personal details. When “cast members” at Disney see a birthday pin on a guest, they know to create a birthday Experience during interactions with characters, restaurants, and rides. It’s clear that technology allows for more of this type of customized orchestration to happen (think RFID hospital bands providing medical and personal information to each team member with whom a patient comes into contact). What can’t be overlooked, though, is the simplistic power of physical and human design. This little pin triggers the Disney cast members to stage a positive and memorable moment that often becomes the hallmark of the Experience.

What are easy ways for us to set a custom Experience in motion? Speaking of birthdays, how are we making our team members’ personal days special?

Singing Together in Siena

This widely shared story from Siena, Italy reminds us all of the part we can play to bring joyful spirit and solidarity in difficult times. During the nightly lockdown due to COVID-19, one man began singing Canto della Verbena (And While Siena Sleeps), a local folk song that expresses pride in the beautiful Tuscan city. It was just the wholehearted invitation needed for neighbors to lean out their windows and join in singing together and remind each of them that we are in this together—we are not alone.

There are so many other beautiful examples happening worldwide from neighbors exercising together on their balconies in Spain and Italy to physicians and nurses dancing in Iran to keep their spirits high. Be on the lookout for the good out there.


Why Behind the Scenes Matters

We can learn the value of honoring and valuing each individual part of the “machine” that is our organization from dishwasher Ali Sonko. One of the highest-paid team members at Copenhagen’s Michelin-starred restaurant Noma, Sonko was made a partial owner of the culinary “temple.” Why? The owner of Noma explained that Sonko, who has remained a dishwasher his entire 15-year career at the restaurant “holds as much respect as the best head chef. Because of his engaging personality, his work ethic, and his dedication to doing the job right.”

As we hinted at in our introduction to Orchestration, the sum of the parts is only as strong as each individual stakeholder; an organization is not just judged on “Experience” as a whole. It’s judged on how each nurse, each administrator, and each facilities specialist adds to a patient’s Experience.


Orchestrating Without Words – The Ignorant Maestro in Action

How much can we say without speaking? This charming TED Talk with Itay Talgam, conductor and author of this month’s book, The Ignorant Maestro, shows us how six great 20th-century conductors rise to the challenge with their own unique styles. Great conductors use small gestures to create perfect harmony while bringing out the best in their musicians. Each player feels special and valued, plays their unique part, and is absolutely essential to creating the great joy of music.

Use this video to spark conversation around the book and leadership styles. How can we enable others through our leadership? How can the Experience of working together become joyful?

Finding The One Moment

This mind-blowing video, “The One Moment,”  from Chicago rock band OK Go shows more than musical Orchestration – it shows life’s Orchestration. OK Go’s thoroughly crafted music videos paired with upbeat, catchy songs tend to go viral immediately when they hit YouTube. They have a knack for striking a chord in humans right along with their musical chords. With more than 25 million views, this video and its Rube Goldberg-machine-inspired wonder is well worth the watch.

The song behind this incredible video digs into something deeper that parallels perfectly with the visual cues. Frontman Damian Kulash explains in the video’s credits that the song is a “celebration of (and a prayer for) those moments in life when we are most alive. Humans are not equipped to understand our own temporariness; it will never stop being deeply beautiful, deeply confusing, and deeply sad that our lives and our world are so fleeting. We have only these few moments. Luckily, among them there are a few that really matter, and it’s our job to find them.”

When we are the leaders, or conductors, of the work we do every day, we have the potential to surprise ourselves and our team members alike. How can we Orchestrate surprise and child-like wonder into some of our everyday processes?