Marc van Roon


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Leadership Development

Leadership Development Ever-since joining forces with the Shell International creativity and change management programmes in 1993 with the co-founded group ‘Art in Rhythm’ I have been actively involved in the domain of corporate leadership development and the transformation of corporate cultures. I have been invited to bring jazz to numerous companies and corporations world-wide. The creative learning programmes I have developed over the years are embedded in the context of institutions in economic, educational and organisational domains in search for ways to cope with rapid societal change and increasing demands for flexibility and adaptability due to cultural and social changes, globalisation, demographic change and aging, and global economic restructuring. 

It now has become obvious to me that many companies and organisations today are in need of fresh inspiring stories and narratives and search for answers and inspiration in interdisciplinary connecting conversations. The experience and dynamics of Jazz music can serve as a sense-making tool that facilitates the development of skills and mindset needed to recognise the reality of increasing complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity in our work places today. And in dealing with the systemic complexity and intensely interwoven relationships in our societies and value driven networks. The invitation is to say yes to the mess and transform it into something artistic. The invitation is to play with both the Blues and the Swing - the upbeats and downbeats - in the organisation and transform it into something meaningful. A bit more trust, a bit less rules. More jazz. 

The last twenty years I have explored and researched the various ways in which my music and professional musicianship can connect with the context of leadership development and the transformation of corporate cultures. I have searched for ways to help people in organisations to align the internal organisation with their external objectives and ambitions. I have explored the ways in which the creative artistic perspective can facilitate to setup and structure new ways of creation and production in modern day organisations. Since then, in the role of a creative musical leadership developer, I have visited many countries in numerous parts of the world and have worked with more than 500 different companies and organisations world-wide - many of them being so-called ‘fortune 500’ companies. I have been invited to speak at conferences and think-tank sessions including the TEDx Leiden meeting in 2012. I have seen many people in organisations who flourished and got shiny eyes when invited to play and make music. A hopeful and empowering sight. 

I’ve joined forces with many internationally acclaimed writers and speakers over the years. I’ve met with Margaret Wheathley in Vienna and worked with Joseph Jaworski exploring the ‘Source’ of the creative life processes at various occasions. I have been artist-in-residence at the ‘Zin in Werk’ monastery and management centre in The Netherlands where many conversations about the love affair between the Arts and business emerged. It has been an inspiring journey. It is enriching and insightful to be able to observe and explore organisations from both the inside and the outside. Internally they express their corporate culture, they show how the organisation is led, and how the internal processes are running.  Externally it becomes explicitly clear how the organisation’s relationship with environment contributes to our society’s wellbeing, and what the organisation produces and what it brings to the people in a meaningful and sustainable way.

In my ‘Score and Core’ module music serves as an experiential metaphor on several levels. It facilitates the development of skills - and awareness - in how to connect the art of orchestration with core of jazzy group improvisation. It connects the precomposed with the emergent. It connects the head with the heart - the conceptual with the physical. Practitioners get an hands on experience in how to be structured conductors and ‘play’ jazz at the same time. How to embrace and transform life’s messiness and ‘say yes to the mess’. How to be able to transform mess and jazz into orchestrated art. How to be fluent creators in the fluid non-linear context. And in how to create value with network peers from their interconnection, while being in the moment, using a minimal structure as the score and being willing to take risk. How to trust themselves as creative beings and make others sound great.

For more information see: 
"From score to core": Marc van Roon at TEDxLeiden 2012

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Marc van Roon / Marc van Roon Trio

European Jazz Trio