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Orchestrate projects like Rossini operas

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Immense, labor-intensive projects are part of every leader’s life: reports and projects that require coordinating the work of 10 people or more.

When one of these behemoths hits your desk, it can help to remember the systems developed by Gioacchino Rossini, the Italian composer who could write an opera in 30 days or less without compromising quality. (Many of his works, such as The Barber of Seville, are seen as masterpieces today.)

  • Tackle what you do best, and let other people do the rest. Rossini penciled in the melodies his singers would perform, then used shorthand to tell his copyists what to write in for the orchestra to play. That way, it took him about 10 minutes to complete each page of music. Business lesson: Invest personal energy in the things only you can do. Let appropriate specialists fill in the details.

  • Cut and paste. Rossini earned fame for “recycling” overtures and tunes from one opera to the next. Business lesson: Make sure your people locate existing materials you can use for your new project instead of reinventing the wheel.

  • Let clerical help, not specialists, handle “grunt” work. Once Rossini’s “first line” copyists filled in instrumental parts and checked their work with him, they handed those pages to junior copyists who wrote out the individual parts that each instrument in the orchestra would play. Business lesson: Don’t have your experts collating, punching and stapling. Use clerical workers so your experts can keep doing what they do best.ÿÿÿ

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