Setting the Conditions

When I became director at GBCA, I was fortunate to have a wise board that acknowledged I needed more training as a leader, so I engaged with an executive coach. I won’t go into the many insights I’ve gained from that process here.

Yesterday, our coach showed our group the below Ted Talk with Itay Talgam.

It’s impossible for me not to compare these conductors to directors. I think it’s important to remember about a director the same thing executives have to remember–that “every expression, every word, every posture of the leader is magnified by 1000 in the eyes of their employees”.

The key message that comes across to me is that the leader sets the conditions of the working environment and the culture. The leader defines the boundaries, the goals, the process, and the terms of the collaboration, indicating how much each individual artist may bring to the table. This last piece is essential to communicate to your artists.

After directing The Other Shore last year, I’m really interested in how much freedom of interpretation you can give to your artists on any given night, while still having them follow the conditions set up. I think by building a very strong ensemble, I was able to trust the group to alter the blocking every evening, to follow their impulses, and to deliver honest, present performances every time.

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2 responses to “Setting the Conditions

  1. Mr. Jabailey,

    It is most coincidental that when I found your blog this morning, you were featuring a TED Talk. I am acquaintance of Leah Johnson’s in Loveland, and still recall your eloquent response on her blog in response to a local city council member who claimed that we must forego the arts in tough economic times. A nascent team of individuals is working to organize a TEDx conference in Loveland at what will be the newly-expanded Rialto Theater in May 2012. Our theme is “Creative Potential”, whereby we will address the Creative Process, it’s contributions to community and the related challenges of sustainability. We will do this utilizing a diverse collection of speakers, demonstrations and performances. With your roots in Loveland and your leadership in the arts, I was wondering if you would be interested in being a speaker at TEDxFrontRange? Please contact me at or at 970.667.1070.

    Kind regards,

    Paul Mueller

  2. Pingback: The Beginning of a Long Process | J. Buck Jabaily

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