Using creativity and music to unlock potential and build resilience

Paul Williamson discusses introducing the power of music to support your talented workforce and leadership team.

The Relocate Global and Think Global People audience were introduced to Paul Williamson’s captivating and creative style at the Festival of Global People in 2019, where he explored innovation and leadership using examples from the dynamic world of live theatre to illustrate how to unlock creativity and drive growth in companies.Developing leaders and supporting talent as organisations come out of lockdown and face the realities of change and the impact of Covid-19 on different industry sectors and economies have never been more challenging.“This webinar is part of a series to help managers and leaders support and develop their teams and face the future together, to build and grow their organisations sustainably, to respond to change and explore new ways of thinking and working”, explains Fiona Murchie interviewing Paul Williamson ahead of his webinar Knowing the Score on 4 August at 2pm BST.“It will be very special as he’ll be inviting participants to listen to original music specifically composed for this webinar.”

Q: Why should people attend?

Paul: Everyone has been through a tremendous amount of change and upheaval during the Covid-19 pandemic. With continued uncertainty as we head out of lockdown, the need for organisations across the globe to be agile and for teams and individuals to be creative and resourceful in their thinking has never been more important. This webinar will give participants the space to creatively explore new ways of thinking and working.One other really good reason to attend is to learn some interesting ways to reduce stress and build resilience. When you consider that the average human being loses between ten to fifteen IQ points when they’re stressed and overwhelmed, in a business/work context it makes sense for employers, leaders and their people to attend to this properly as the repercussions of not doing so can be serious. When we’re stressed, we lose access to the prefrontal cortex, which manages executive functioning and decision making. It’s no surprise then that people make mistakes and sometimes do, and say silly things when everything gets too much for them. The potential harm to people, business results and reputation can be very costly. We’ll bring this all to life using music and provide practical techniques people can use. The use of music makes it much more memorable so people will remember and easily apply the learning afterwards in their everyday lives.We’ll also use music to bring to life a fantastic model that really helps to diagnose and manage communication preferences in relation to team dynamics. This will help participants craft better ways to manage the needs of complex groups, improve their chances of being heard and understood, as well as hearing and understanding others.

Q: Who should attend?

Paul: The subjects covered are broad enough to appeal to anyone interested in heightening their self-awareness and building their own personal resilience.Leaders will gain new perspectives and insights from the session that will help them lead more authentically. Managers and team leaders will benefit from learning concepts and principles designed to elevate teamworking, encourage more creative thinking, improve collaborative working and achieve much better results as a consequence.HR professionals and marketeers will learn concepts that will enable them to be better business partners, recognising and managing team dynamics more effectively and designing communication strategies that work.

Q: How did the concept of your webinar ‘Knowing the Score’ come about?

Paul: I’ve listened to classical film music since I was a child. I started seriously collecting soundtrack albums from about the age of 11 and have never stopped. I just loved listening to amazing orchestras like the London Symphony Orchestra playing this rich, dynamic, evocative music. It fed my imagination and gave me the courage I needed to be creative. Before long I was following specific composers like John Williams, John Barry and Jerry Goldsmith and buying their music regardless of whether I’d seen the film or not.One of my favourite albums as a kid was the score to ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, composed and conducted by John Williams. I had it on vinyl, in fact I still have it…and on the back is a short dedication written by the film’s director, Steven Spielberg, which I must have read a thousand times. He said;‘Were it not for crucial bursts of dramatic symphonic accompaniment, Indiana Jones would surely have perished… Jones did not perish but listened carefully to the Raiders score. Its sharp rhythms told him when to run. It’s slicing strings told him when to duck. Its several integrated themes told adventurer Jones when to kiss the heroine or smash the enemy. All things considered, Jones listened…and lived.’Spielberg’s words stayed in my head for years and I often wished when I was growing up that my life was accompanied by an orchestral score. How handy would that have been? You’d know when there was danger, because you’d hear low, ominous strings. The music would let you know if someone you met wasn’t to be trusted. You’d know when you were going to do well and get a great result because the music would be brassy and heroic. You’d know when someone felt the same way about you, and you were falling in love, because the orchestra would strike up a gloriously romantic theme. The soundtrack of your life would signpost direction, provide feedback and heighten milestones in the moment – how amazing would that be?!Fast-forward thirty-odd years to 2015 and I was doing the Practitioner Diploma in Executive Coaching with the Academy of Executive Coaching and struggling with the questions ‘Who am I?’ and ‘How am I going to coach?’ In one memorable exercise, one of our facilitators, Lizzie Pawley, played a piece of film music. A beautiful piece from the film ‘Cinema Paradiso’ composed by Ennio Morricone. I remember really connecting with the idea that there are moments in music that really resonate; a particular melody, a change of key or instrument that can create a physical reaction, a tingle. There have been moments in my coaching experience akin to this. The music in a coaching session may be the words used, or the rhythm, tone and delivery of language, which has its own musicality. The emotional underscore can also come through in gesture and silence. Music then, is a fundamental element of my coaching model, along with art and performance.I’ve used music in all the leadership programmes I’ve run and been bowled over by the reactions it generates from participants. It seems to act like a magic key, unlocking extraordinary reflections, deeply felt emotions and accessing whole new reservoirs of creativity. It’s given some people the permission to be their authentic selves and articulate their purpose. I’ve seen others access their vulnerability and bravely share more of themselves, creating a powerful connection with an audience.This webinar is an extension of that work. An opportunity for people to take some time out, time for themselves. Time to slow down, listen and reflect. Now, more than ever, we all need to attend to the imaginary score playing out in our lives. Music in a film often represents thoughts and feelings. For the purposes of this webinar, we’ll be inviting participants to listen to original music specifically composed for this event, and attend to whatever the music evokes. In my experience; this can be revelatory. 

Q: What can people expect?

Paul: You can expect a change of pace. A space to relax and reflect. You can expect a rich experience where you’ll be taken on a musical journey.In these turbulent times much can be learned from considering the orchestra as a metaphor. The best way to coax extraordinary performance out of your players is a skill we should all learn.For people joining the webinar, I’d recommend plugging in some head/earphones and finding somewhere comfortable to sit. If you allow yourself the time, and you’re willing to apply the required focus, I’m confident you’ll get a lot from the session.I’m tremendously excited about this webinar. It’s a dream come true to be able to construct a session about something I’m so passionate about. So few of us have taken the time to stop and reflect during the pandemic, most of us are just focusing on ‘getting through’ the day, the week, etc. Maybe, in the words of Irving Berlin it’s time to ‘face the music…and dance!”

Watch the webinar trailer:

About Paul Williamson and his webinar guests

Paul Williamson – Webinar producer
Paul Williamson
Paul heads up learning and development at a global live entertainment business. He has worked in the theatre industry for over 20 years, enjoying leadership roles in sales and ticketing prior to moving into Human Resources.Paul has developed a number of in-house development programmes, including a residential leadership development programme for senior leaders, and a two-year development programme for emerging leaders. He is also an executive coach.   Paul is a chartered member of the CIPD, an AoEC qualified executive coach and a Hogan personality assessor.During the webinar Paul Williamson will be interacting with three guests from around the world:
Participants in the Knowing the Score Webinar
Emily Smith – General Manager of the Majestic and Empire theatres in San Antonio in the U.S. (part of The Ambassador Theatre Group) – two historic venues dedicated to presenting Broadway shows, concerts, comedians and other live events.Read more Lindenlaub – Head of Booking for BB Promotion in Germany. BB develops, markets and implements national and international tours of concerts, musicals, shows and events. Singers – Executive Coach & Diversity Consultant in the UK. Prior to this, Claire was Managing Director and co-owner of LD Communications, the UK's leading music and entertainment communications agency. Link to Claire's profile;