In our company we have civil, structural and architectural disciplines, mechanical, electrical and process leads in engineering; while in an orchestra there are leads for strings, brass, percussion and woodwinds. The discipline leads report to their project manager, while the orchestral leads report to their conductor.
Both entities have many talented people with years of experience from different parts of the world. In our organisation, there are employees at different points of their careers who hold different roles on a diverse range of projects. This is not dissimilar to orchestras having repertoires.
What a terrible racket an orchestra would make if it played only with 90 violas and no first drums, 90 french horns without woodwinds – an imbalanced collection of talent. Each instrument, each discipline, each role has its area of responsibility and contributes to the overall production, and in our case, success.
In any organisation it may be soothing to have people around you who seem the same as yourself. Safety in numbers, right? Maybe so. But it is very limiting for any future growth and we are not always doing this for the right reason. We cannot afford to be lazy and only think one way. To grow we must open ourselves to learning something new.
By opening ourselves to diversity we can see that each person holds knowledge and may know of a different (faster, smoother, newer) way to complete a task. When you truly think about it, it is liberating as we do not need to know it all. We can specialize and grow our own skills, knowing others are learning about how to be better too.
It's like the orchestra. If I focus on being the best flutist I can be, I have neither the time nor the need to tell the bassoonist how to play. When we are all doing our best, the music is beautiful.
I like the notion that some of the larger symphony orchestras are using to recruit new musicians: they audition from behind a screen so that there is no bias on gender or race, simply a true assessment and judgment of the musician’s skills.
As for me, I will polish my instrument and wait until it is time for me to play my triangle. I may not have a big role but I am a member of this team, and my contribution of sound will be clear, strong and well-timed.