Let us introduce you to Miha Pogacnik – celebrity speaker, leadership resonance expert, violinist, visionary, inventor and cultural ambassador.
Miha is an artist who inspires leaders through his speech, music, and arts. That differentiates himself from any other keynote speaker. Miha introduces attendees to his unique musical process to convey profound lessons in leadership and best business practices. Today, we met Miha to talk about his revolutionary musical method to solve business leaders´ dilemmas.
Could you please tell us more about the musical method you have developed and how it can benefit leaders?
I take the executives that are dealing with their organizational dilemmas on what I call „creative detour“. I don´t only play and expect them to enjoy the music. Actually, as I play, I stop the stream of music, I comment on it, I draw on the flip chart so that they could hear the music emerging and they can really feel the masterpiece. When participants emerge into this masterpiece, I help them to stay alert and awake for the sudden changes of the music. During this session, I put lots of emphasizing on the transition of the music and make a connection between the musical experience and their own problems, dilemmas and solutions.
When you look at the executives‘ organizations, they also play. But what do they play for? Usually only for money. Today, however, there are other topics emerging such as corporate social responsibility, sustainability etc. And when musicians start playing, they rise above their ego, they create a masterpiece, which is missing in the corporate organization. One has to realize that art is not just an entertainment, it is a serious thing. It deals with human nature and opens the possibility for humans to reach their uniqueness.
I don´t only play masterpiece – I translate them and help executives find solutions to their dilemmas.
How did you come up with the idea to introduce music and arts as a leadership tool for business transformation?
The main trigger was that I couldn´t stand having great art locked up in the museums while having a jungle in the society. There are and there always were problems and dilemmas in one organization. However, the organization never looks at the art as a tool to help. I am like an entrepreneur – I am bringing innovation and fighting for a new position of arts.
Art has a great influence on human minds and should be used in decision-making. I realized that´s what organizations need now. They talk about performance, but they never ask the real performers how to perform. Artists perform every day and for this, they need to practice. If they do not practice and learn, they will get worse (the same as it is in an organization). I found this connection between arts and business and I decided to help. Organizations need a splash of arts, vision, creativeness and uniqueness.
When did your music and art passion start evolving? Since when do you practice your musical method to convey leadership lessons to business executives?
Well, already in the 70s and 80s I was performing as a concert violist, but I felt I was not helping the society that much. I was just doing something that was there for decades and I wanted to bring a change. In the 80s, I discovered that there is a need to help people and organizations. The first big project I did was inviting my audience from the Western world to the Eastern world. I created a movement, a festival in the Central and Eastern Europe during the war. Then I proved that art can help in a crisis. It could make people open up, bring hope, or simply bring the best out of people.
Later, I also realized that there is something fundamentally wrong in the corporate world. Everything got digital and we suddenly got into a “crisis of meaning”. Everything is done by machines and us, ourselves, become machines. Human development is sadly stalled and in my opinion, it is extremely important to bring people back in balance. This is what we achieve during my lessons.
Can you give a concrete example of how you help your clients during your session?
It all depends on how much time I got, whether I am only a keynote speaker or I do a whole day workshop. During a keynote, I try to take people to a masterpiece. In order to get there, I take them through different stages of music. At the end, I provoke conversations and they usually have a very deep musical experience. They forget that they are CEOs. In that moment they are just human beings. Usually, I have the Executives in the first row and they are impressed what observation they hear from the back.
For the workshop, I prepare thoroughly. I get briefed on the company challenges and potential. Then I adjust the musical process experience to their language so that what happens in the music piece is what they actually see happening in their organization. At the end of the session, I see how people changed. They are different people from the ones who came in the morning. I create an environment, stimulated by arts, to find solutions to their problems. People have fun, they laugh like kids, and are relaxed and have numerous ideas. I teach them to put themselves in such a position so that they can listen to the emerging future, they could learn to be attentive. I also teach organizations to be inspirational and innovative. I teach the Eastern world not to imitate the Western world because I want people to be authentic and present themselves with their own uniqueness.
Classical speakers with PowerPoint presentation never go so deep. They touch people only on the surface and the audience tends to quickly forget what they were presented. After my lesson, however, people remember and speak about this experience for years.
Do you think that this method is suitable for everyone? There probably are some business leaders that may not be into music and arts…
Yes, of course – most of them are not into it, but usually, they do not know what to expect unless they read about it. If many of them knew, they would probably be scared. But during the session, I let them forget that they are managers and only their human side is coming out. I am doing this for many years and I already know how to bring people out of themselves and become creative humans. There are only few who are really not interested, but when the majority have fun, the others adjust.
How do young business professionals perceive your sessions?
They scream, they laugh and they are happy. I love working with young people because they are our future. Young people feel betrayed of the capitalism, they feel there is much more out there than making money. They want to find other aspects of life and they very much enjoy my unique musical method.
Is there anything that surprised you during your lesson?
I am surprised by each session. As I said, none of my session is the same. I adjust my lesson according to the organization needs. I never do the same thing. Whenever I start a new lesson, I start a new piece of art that I have never done before. The direction the session ends up often amazes not only me but also the attendees.
Miha Pogacnik is the inventor of the musical method which he has been using for decades for training and developing leadership teams of corporate giants like Johnson & Johnson, Bosch, IBM, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Shell, Novartis, BIAH, Electrolux, Unilever, World Bank, Harvard Business School and many entrepreneurial stars such as Steve Wozniak’s ventures. He has been also teaching at business schools such as HARVARD, IEDC , INSEAD, IMD, IESE Barcelona, CEIBS Shanghai, THNK Amsterdam, Berlin School of Creative Leadership and Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo.