By Graham
Posted on: 2011-01-01 high performing teams

Losing the Manager

There is an orchestra with no conductor, no management, and no soloists. Called Spira Mirabilis (the logarithmic spiral found across nature, e.g. in shells), the musicians use the power of distributed leadership.

The ‘leader’ is one big idea, a shared purpose across all members of the orchestra. This frees up each member of the orchestra to identify what needs doing next, and then go ahead and do it. Do it in harmony with all the other actions.With the music reflecting a much deeper collective performance than is possible following a single conductor.

This makes them able to react instantly to changes around them, enables them to play “guerrilla concerts” unannounced, spontaneously and in unusual venues (e.g. a market, pub etc.) Most importantly, it enables them to minimise risk much more effectively than a standard orchestra. It enables them to include all stakeholders (including the audience, or consumer) in working with them to create success.

I’ve seen similar elements in high-performance teams. The idea is the real leader, and so everyone takes on leadership and management roles when they see a need. Enabling them to optimally absorb and react to any new information, any changes.

Next time you’re leading a team that could be a high-performing team, ask yourself what you need to stop leading so that the team can start leading? And so become a high performing team, like Spira Mirabilis?

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For more information on Spira Mirabilis, see and