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Leaders Of Transformation | Conscious Business | Global Transformation | Leadership Development

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Oct 3, 2019

Robert Mann was the founding member of The Juilliard String Quartet and musical giant in some of the world's greatest concert halls over the past 70+ years. Before his death at 97 in 2018, Mr. Mann completed his autobiography A PASSIONATE JOURNEY: A Memoir which offers lessons in leadership through his remarkable career as co-founder and first violin of The Juilliard String Quartet.

Perhaps nobody knew Mr. Mann better than his son Nicholas who followed in his father's footsteps. Professor Nicholas Mann is co-chair of Manhattan School of Music’s string department and has been a Juilliard faculty member since 2002. He is a founding member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet and he performs widely as a soloist and chamber musician.

In today’s interview with us, Nicholas shares some of his favorite memories of his father, the biggest challenge his father faced and how he grew through it, and powerful leadership and collaboration lessons you can apply in both your personal and professional life.

Key Takeaways

  1. A string quartet is one of the most complicated and intense partnerships.
  2. You have to pick your battles. It’s easy to get upset over differences, but ask yourself, “Is it really worth fighting over?”
  3. One of the rules in a quartet is that you must listen to the ideas, and then try to make them work.
  4. It is surprising how often you can change your mind, if you are really open to a new idea.
  5. You can disagree in a quartet but you have to have respect for each other. That’s the basis for success.
  6. While you will need to comprise with your colleagues, there are certain things you don’t comprise. Certain core values that are the line you will not cross. You must know what they are and stay true to them.
  7. In terms of teaching and leading others, it’s great to have a talented student but mostly you want to have someone open to learning.


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