The Maestro is a Master of Intentional Leadership

The Maestro is a Master of Intentional Leadership


The magnificent “Tribute to Vienna” concert at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles is an unlikely place for a leadership lesson. However, within the spectacular venue, a wonder to behold with the acoustics better than I can appreciate, an Intentional Leadership Lesson is what I had.

The orchestra was exquisite, as were the graceful dancers, and singers with voices that filled the massive hall. However, it was the conductor that fascinated and held me mesmerized thro

This conductor's conduct was music to my ears.

This conductor’s conduct was music to my ears.

ughout the performance. He is the Maestro of the Vienna Philharmonic, Neils Muus, an Intentional conductor.

The energy, acrobatics, enthusiasm and power of Neils Muus’ leadership was as beautiful to me as the performance it inspired. He used every part of his face and body intentionally—including his eyebrows! The impact was full-bodied, rich and unquestionable leadership

Some examples of Intentional Leadership I observed from the Intentional Conductor:

  • A small railing was behind him as he faced the orchestra and periodically, he would lean one hand on it while sweeping the other in a full 360-degree arc.
  • Other times he would jab his baton almost in the faces of the violin players or dip down to squatting position—and then leap up with both arms cajoling his performers to swell the sound coming out of their instruments.
  • When he wanted quiet, the entire concert hall was hushed. We knew by his body language, whether he was facing us or the orchestra, exactly what he wanted—and he got it from us, audience and artists alike!
  • At times, he would turn towards the audience and lean on the railing as he gazed admiringly at the beautiful dancers and singers performing at the front of the stage.
  • Not infrequently, he burst into a huge grin, his whole face lighting up–and we grinned and lit up with him.

What do you as a leader do with your hands, arms, and eyebrows? If you don’t know, you are missing an incredible opportunity to impact your followers. If you do know but are not intentional in how you manage these vital aspects of how you communicate, you may be missing an opportunity for excellence.

Thank you, Maestro Muus, for a thrilling performance and another reminder of how intentionality is the foundation for exceptional leadership.

Art Linkletter: A Fond Farewell

“Guess who’s coming to Grand Forks,” my mother said when I answered the phone one January morning in 1998.  Before I could ask who, she blurted it out:  “Art Linkletter!”  Her words transported me back to 1954 and for a moment, I was a fourth grader again. We were the first family on the block to get a television set and I have wonderful memories of gathering around the set after school to watch “Art Link letter’s House Party.”

Art, a television pioneer far ahead of today’s reality programming gurus, tickled his audiences every day by rummaging through the purse of a delighted audience member to see what embarrassing item he would find or giving one of his famous deadpan expressions when a child gave a startling answer in his “kids say the darndest things” segment. My mother thought that Art Linkletter walked on water—my having met him was a seminal achievement in her eyes!

I only met Art because of his wife Lois, one of the warmest most giving people I’ve ever known. I was thrilled when she’d agreed to become a member of the Board of Directors for Children’s Bureau of Los Angeles.  I had been the Executive Director there for several years and was in the process of trying to strengthen our Board.  Lois rolled up her sleeves and began working on the agency’s future from day one. Though long retired from daily broadcasting, Art’s many talents kept him engaged in writing best selling booking, overseeing international business interests, appearing in television commercials and, occasionally, making public appearances.  In no time, Lois also had Art thoroughly involved in working on behalf of the interests of the abused children and troubled families who we served.  Over the years I had come to know and treasure them both.


No Need To Whisper – an interview with Lauren Shuler Donner

On Tuesday, August 11 at 11 a.m. Pacific time, Lauren Shuler Donner will be my guest live on my weekly talk show, “Leading the Way to Success.” Lauren is a former board member of Hollygrove and is the producer of the movies, “You’ve Got Mail”, “Dave”, “Pretty in Pink” and many more. Last year, Lauren made public the fact that she was diagnosed with Lupus 20 years ago. In addition, she is a breast cancer survivor.  Tune in to listen and/or participate in the Chat room to hear her discuss her amazing leadership journey:  You can also call in your questions: 347.326.9791.

LIKE ANY small town, Hollywood has its secrets, ” declared the headline in an article by the Los Angeles Times (6/13/2008). Some secrets are as carefully protected as a bank because, “acknowledging publicly that you’re ill could mean instant unemployment.”

Now there’s a celebrity about whom there’s “no need to whisper,” the Times went on to say. Lauren Shuler Donner has Lupus.

Over the last two decades, Lauren has produced some of Hollywood’s most popular — and profitable — films, including “Pretty in Pink,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Dave,” “Mr. Mom,” “Free Willy” and all the “X-Men” movies.

According to the Times, “No secret is as carefully guarded as a celebrity suffering with a chronic illness, but the A-list producer wants to end this conspiracy.”

Lauren was honored by the Lupus Foundation in June of 2008. In her acceptance speech, she said, “I want to show people that you can still live a life.”

And quite a life she has had! Not only with Lupus but also as a breast cancer survivor. Cured of her cancer, she is still living with lupus.

 “I know there’s a stigma that has made it hard for people to acknowledge it, if they’re sick,” Lauren told the Lupus Foundation audience. “I didn’t tell anyone I had lupus for many, many years, and I didn’t tell anyone I had cancer.

“I was afraid no one would hire me, and I also felt it was deeply personal. It was nobody’s business,” she continued. “Now, of course, my feelings have changed.” And, she has become a vocal spokesperson for lupus awareness.

Click here to read more of this story about this special woman….