It is Mozart we are killing!


Didier Marlier

May 05, 2017

From Disruption to Engagement

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“Each time a child does not meet their full potential, It is Mozart we assassinate! For each and every child who does not become who they could have pretended to be, it is Mozart we have assassinated!” This cry from the heart comes from “Terre des Hommes”, Antoine de St Exupery (“The Little Prince” author) most profoundly humanistic novel…

By luck (or synchronicity?), my curiosity was attracted today by a blogpost’s title from Ed Trice, a young, retired US executive: “What’s the largest number you can represent with 3 digits? Nope. It’s not 999…” I thought to myself “Yeah that would have been too obvious. Now the largest number you can represent with three numbers is 999!” So… I went on reading and strongly recommend you do the same (click on this link).

In short, Ed explains that his daughter, when in primary school, got into trouble by challenging her teacher about the fact that 9 raised to the 9th power raised to the 9th power was a far bigger number that 999… But since she was not supposed to have covered exponents at her young age and because this result was not what the official, standardized nationwide test claimed to be the right answer, she was failed on that question (still getting 99/100)… I let you read the rest of Ed’s blogpost.

Last week, I showed you this clip on “Finding back the owner’s mindset” (I can’t call it “Founder’s Mindset” as I realize that with a surprising 1.0 way of thinking, The consultant has copyrighted the term ;). This post has attracted one of the highest number of private comments of the blog’s history, most of them keen to get on with it… Right! So let’s get on with it!!!

Recently a client called me. He said: “Our company has started something similar. We went to headquarters, were PowerPointed by consultants for hours and our creativity, energy and passion were tightly kept under control by our top managers. Let’s go back to our Founder’s culture but… respecting roles, rules and procedures. What a downer!”

We know the elegant quote of Albert Einstein: “Problems cannot be solved with the same mindset that created them”. That is exactly the point this frustrated man was making. Lynda Anderson, one of our colleagues, commenting on this clip, summarized it by saying: “The clip seems a very effective way of packaging the message which is what companies have been struggling with forever: simplify and get closer to your customer. What I think is implicit is that underpinning these changes are two important human factors: It challenges leaders around tolerating uncertainty and conflict. If individuals can’t tolerate and thrive in both of those areas, nothing really shifts, no matrices work, and energy isn’t available for the simplification work”.

Remember Campbell’s Hero’s Journey: It is not sufficient to accept the “Call to Adventure” and courageously decide to engage on our Change Journey. As long as we are not prepared and willing to challenge ourself, our orthodoxies, our winning formula and our ways of doing of the past (called “The Crossing of the Threshold”) we are not embarking on a truly Transformational Journey, we are merely feeding consultants, wasting time on designing PowerPoints and rebuilding on rotten grounds. And this is what we help our clients to realize. Be credible in the change you intend to take your organization into. Let us move forward (and not back) towards the Mentality that our Founders would have now and let us encourage our Mozarts (our employees thinking out of the usual frame) to take us there!


In memory of Falco, a provocative Austrian pop star, gone too early and Amadeus himself who both radically re-invented their businesses. Sorry for the 11’’ it takes to start the clip…


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