What CEOs Can Learn From Audio Engineers

I have always had a love for music and especially the drums. My brother gave me his childhood drum set as my wedding gift years ago.  This year, I have spent a lot of my free time recording music with my friends. It has been an amazing journey.  Much of the time has been in mixing the different components together into one cohesive sound.  It requires a lot of trial and error and persistence to it.  There are many parallels between leading a business and mixing audio.

All the Parts Need to Be Balanced For Success

When mixing a rock and roll song, if all you hear is one instrument, that likely won't sound too appealing.  A good mix successfully integrates all of the pieces together in one body of work.  In a great recording, the drums, guitars and voice all coexist and all come together to form something impossible on their own. Software Mixer showing audio levels of different components

Mixing board showing different instrument volume levels

As CEO or leader of a company, it is your job to make sure all the parts that make up your business integrate flawlessly together.  Is there too much sales and not enough marketing in your mix?  Can your customers not hear your customer service offerings in the current mix?  Is the human resources department making so much racket that is all that you hear?   You may need to make some adjustments so that everything is coming through and balanced.

Picture of mixer with sales, HR, marketing and different levels with hand adjusting one


You Need the Right Tools To Identify Problems Objectively

When an audio mix starts to have a lot of instruments, effects, and more, it can be difficult to keep it all straight.  You may notice something isn't right with what you hear coming through the speakers, but many times don't know what is causing it.  The same goes for your business.  In both cases, you will need to drill in and see what is happening.  In audio mixing, you likely will use a visual equalizer to see what frequencies are hitting or various audio meters on your plug-ins.

Audio pl

Audio engineers use meters like this to see how each effect is performing

In business, dashboards and reporting tools can help you identify problems. Was sales activity lower than expected this month?  Why were costs higher than expected?  The right reporting solutions can help you get to the bottom of it.

dashboard showing variious metrics of Text Message Analysis

Consider The Entire Mix When Making Isolated Changes

When mixing audio, it is tempting to press the "solo" button, which allows you to hear only that one instrument or part you are working on.  Maybe you want to isolate just the singer's voice or a guitar solo to hear how it sounds by itself.  You hear some things you should adjust like volume or effects.  After this, you listen to the entire mix together and realize what you did just made things worse, not better.

Business leaders need to account for this as well when making changes to a business.   If you make a big change to sales in your business without considering the impact to customer service, it might not have the ultimate impact you were striving for.

mixing board fader controls

Conclusion - Let Your Mix Fly

Eventually, if you want others to hear your music project, you need to finalize your mix.  You send it off to the streaming service and that's it.  You don't get to make any more changes.  Whatever was in your mix is now out of your control and into the world.  In business, you are not so limited.  You can always continue to make changes.  But it is still a good idea to let your "mix" sit out in world for a while.  Take it for a spin with some sunshine beating down as well as on some rainy days.  This will give you a good feel for how well the decisions you have made are hitting the world before hastily making more tweaks.

couple riding in covertible with lady hands raised in excitement