When The Symphony Serenaded The Hospital

The sounds of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 5th Symphony rang out over at Center Stage last week in the middle of the afternoon. The Richmond Symphony, clad in black was notshy about their passion for this piece. The concentration on their faces under the conduction of Steven Smith was unlike anything I’ve seen before.

I had the opportunity to sit in on a special Floricane collaboration with the Richmond Symphony and the CJW Medical Center. The creative facilitation was led by Floricane's John Sarvay and was part of a leadership team "treat" (not retreat!) to energize and reconnect an 80-person team of leaders from CJW. Steven and John co-facilitated the 140-person group of hospital executives and symphony musicians through a three-hour exploration of vision, leadership, creativity, collaboration and communication.

CJW staffers sat on stage, right beside the Richmond Symphony. What they saw was the passion, drive and dedication put forth into working together as a group. Experiencing that synchronicity with a leader’s vision set off light bulbs for the hospital team: Hey, this is exactly what we do with out patients.

Though unclear at first, the similarities between the two groups were drawn out in front of everyone. The connection felt by both groups through the performances was clear upon the last note played of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. The  compassion that the CJW medical workers experienced for their patients is the same compassion experienced by the Richmond Symphony’s musicians.

The CJW workers were entranced, under a spell of beautiful music and wonder. How did the players know and understand the wild movements of their conductor? How did the players’ understand and communicate with their conductor? Body language, experience, confidence and understanding intentions.

What does a good conductor do? What can a good leader do to become a great leader? They raise expectations, change directions and create mystery.