The Music Of Communication

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I love to watch the symphony as much as I enjoy hearing it.  The masterful maestro, the first chair of the violin and the percussion all joining hands to create the masterpiece.  Organizations are  creating music too.  The question is what kind of music and how does it sound?

Think back to music class.  For me it was a special class with Mrs. Cox and I recall the two words consonance and dissonance.  Consonance comes from the Latin – con “with” and sonare – “to sound” simply put a beautiful fusion of individual sounds to make something even more beautiful.  Juxtaposed to dissonance, which is comes from the Latin dis – “apart” and sonare  -“to sound”

These words can help leaders lead and communicate within organizations.  Take a look at the chart below to help you grade your last 30 days of communication:



“Communication that understands the importance of bringing people together in a collaborative way”

“Directive communication that is devoid of understanding the context”
“Your agenda and motive is to serve the client”

“Agenda and motive is about my convenience”


“Interview, build relationships with, walk in the shoes of your client”

“It’s all about my career and my team and my initiatives and goals”


“Collaborative initiatives”

“Siloed Communication”  or “Its all about me”


“The team’s stats trump my stats”

“My stats trump the team’s stats”


“The client needs to win” “I must win”
 “I am here to serve you”  “I am here to serve myself and advance my career”


A few questions for you to use as you evaluate your leadership in this area:

1) Who else needs to be involved in building this agenda, the project goals and deliverables for this initiative?  Include each party in this construction.

2) Anticipate the consequences of the action before you move, both positive and negative.  If you find, that the pronoun “I” is listed more often than “We” you may have a problem.

3) What is the best method (Email, meeting, call ect) I can use to create consonance around the project?  Stop the “Reply All” after the second “Reply All”

4) Gain some informal feedback from your team and ask them to evaluate if your leadership sounds like a symphony or a scratched CD.

Remember dissonance is: “An unstable tone combination; traditionally they are used to express pain, grief and conflict.” Roger Kamien

What do you do to build consonance on your team?