What’s Your Oboe?

Tuning Up Your Small BusinessMy wife and I spent our Friday night at the Meyerson in Dallas listening to Amy Grant and band play with the Dallas Pops Orchestra behind. It was nice, especially for my wife who is one of the biggest Amy Grant fans on the planet.

As things got started, the orchestra began the tuning process. You know the one: you hear a single note, then lots of single notes from different instruments, and then all sonic hell breaks loose for about 30 seconds. And then they just stop.

I had forgotten that the oboe is always the instrument that starts things off. The rest of the orchestra tunes to the oboe, apparently because oboes cannot adjust intonation like other instruments. In other words, the oboe is the standard for the rest of the orchestra to compare to. It is ground zero.

Everyone needs the occassional tune-up, but what are you tuning to? What is your standard, your ground zero? In the case of business and marketing, it’s entirely too easy and too tempting to chase projects beyond your area of strategic focus. Sometimes it’s a wise move; sometimes it’s not. However, it’s inevitable, at least to a certain degree.

The key is knowing what your oboe is, and taking time on a regular basis to tune accordingly. Is your firm dedicated to providing marketing help to small business? Check in every once in a while to be sure you’re not chasing too many large corporations. Are you a designer or writer who specializes and shines in the B2B market? Then limit what you chase in the B2C world.

Identify your oboe and schedule time for tuning. Otherwise, you’ll end up tuning to a trombone or timpani, and nobody wants that.

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6 responses to “What’s Your Oboe?

  1. That tuning explanation has been around forever. It’s not true, though. We can alter our pitch very easily. I’m not sure who started the rumor; probably not an oboist! 🙂

    We ARE much easier to hear … it’s more about our timbre (pronounced tamber), really.

    Just a little FYI.

  2. Yeah Brett. You probably shouldn’t have written about the Oboe since that’s not your specialty. Stay with what you know…a wise man once said.

  3. I hope I didn’t come across as harsh. I didn’t mean to! Go ahead and blog about oboe, I say. 😉

  4. No harshness at all, Patty. Nobody really cares what Sinbad has to say, anyway.

    Patty, thanks for setting me straight on why the oboe is used to tune. Regardless, I think the point of ‘finding your oboe’ still works.

    I played trombone in middle school, and was probably never in tune.

  5. Heh … my husband was a trombonist. I do enjoy teasing him about that instrument. 🙂

    Sure, I say you can stick to “finding your oboe”. Everyone should! 😉

  6. Yeah, everyone likes teasing the trombonists. No one ever took us too seriously.

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