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Business lessons from the choreography of ‘Hamilton’

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Guest columnist Ken Grant

Like millions of others, I have become enamored with the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton.” I’ve enjoyed the soundtrack multiple times, read both Ron Chernow’s biography and “Hamilton: The Revolution,” and listened to every interview I could with the actors, producers, set designers, costume designers, and anyone else associated with this production.

During an interview with choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, I realized this show had something to offer not only for history buffs and Broadway fans, but also business leaders.

In the show, the two lead characters – Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton – are given two distinct ways of walking on the stage. Understand that both men are ambitious, both are trying to make a name for themselves and are operating from one goal to the next. The difference in choreography, though, is that when Aaron Burr is moving towards his goal, he is moving in a straight line, his eyes focused on getting to that spot – he is focused and will not be distracted.

But, when Alexander Hamilton is moving from point A to point B on the stage, he is traveling in an arc – he sees where he wants to go, and he also sees what is happening around him. Hamilton is looking for the opportunities to have others join his cause. He is looking for the projects that are going on that could bolster – or hinder – what he’s trying to accomplish.

Most of us can probably immediately relate to one style or the other – the business leaders who are so focused on the target that they don’t let anything else distract them or the business leaders who know where they are going, but remains open to other ideas and collaborations along the way.

Whichever style you find yourself naturally embracing, true wisdom might come from acknowledging that there might just be a time for each style. More importantly, it might be helpful to be able to quickly recognize the style your team-mates, your organization leaders, and your competitors employ.

Whether you’re planning a sale, a merger or a strategic plan, may you travel well towards that goal and may you not give away your shot.

Ken Grant is the public and government affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic in Delaware.

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