How learning to dance can lead your business to greater success

Are you craving a new, inspiring, invigorating form of learning and expanding your skills as an entrepreneur?

You’ve subscribed to the best business podcasts, signed up for exciting weekend workshops and tuned into webinars over lunch. But, what about those of us who prefer to learn by doing? Who else is just waiting for that lightning bolt of revelation to strike?

It struck Valeh Nazemoff in the middle of a dance lesson with seven-time World Professional Latin Dance Champion Riccardo Cocchi.

In between steps and twirls, she began putting the pieces together of how her lifelong passion for dance is so closely connected to her philosophies on business. As the latino champion walked her through eight-counts, she began formulating the basis of a theory that would go on to prepare entrepreneurs to become better leaders, stronger partners and more creative minds.

Nazemoff is the executive vice president and co-owner of Acolyst, a data mangement consulting firm. She is a shark in the business world. But on the dance floor, her grace and elegance is swan-like. In her new book The Dance of the Business Mind: Strategies to Thrive Anywhere, From the Ballroom to the Boardroom, Nazemoff explains how both are factors in her success and she lays out the approach to follow her lead.

Here’s what dancers and entrepreneurs have in common

“During the lesson, he began sharing the importance of connection and coordination in partnership dance. In the middle of practice, we realized just how intertwined partnership elements in both dancing and business are.”

Nazemoff names these six qualities of dancers that translate to the business world:

  1.  Dance with purpose – All moves in a dance routine should match the music and contribute towards telling a story. Dancers’ purpose must be clear and persuasive without saying a word.

  2.  Be persistent – Focus. Don’t give up. If a dancer can’t master a step, he or she must keep going until they get it. There is no try; only do or do not.

  3.  Discover a way – Sometimes dancers experience missteps during a competition. There is no do-over. They must either get back on track or find a new way. Just keep moving.

  4.  Own it – Nothing is sexier than being confident, ambitious and owning it.

  5.  Be authentic – Be true to yourself and others. Judges can tell when dancers move or dress in ways that doesn’t match their values or personality.

  6.  Be grateful – Voice appreciation when it’s least expected. Even when scores are low, dancers must be gracious, appreciative and humble.

Here’s what you can do to start building those partnerships

Nazemoff wants to help her readers create powerful dynamics in their business partnerships. She says, in business and in dance, it begins with a discussion. Before dancers agree to dedicate their time to one another, they need to ask a few important questions.

The Persian dancer gives these three guidelines to start:

  1. Your work ethics

  2. Your commonalities

  3. Your hopes and dreams

Perhaps your partner’s answers won’t entirely match yours. That doesn’t mean you can’t create a powerhouse team. Take this opportunity to start laying your foundation. Identify the ways in which you may lean on one another and look at the sum of what you both bring to the table.

After all, Nazemoff says, it really isn’t about your solo performance. The goal you’re trying to achieve is much bigger than yourself.

“Dancing was about social inclusion, the ability to speak, communicate, collaborate, and bring to the spotlight a vision no matter the culture, gender, or type of person dancing,” she says.

And, here’s how you can lead with passion

If by now you are still doubting that a dancer’s perspective can improve your ability to lead a company, consider the biggest difference between a dance performance and the day-to-day operations of your competitors. Passion. Emotion. Human connection.

In Nazemoff’s work, helping businesses turn their data into proactive, strategic solutions, she’s helping executives understand the value of the human element in what can feel like an impersonal business transaction.

The Dance of the Business Mind explores this powerful idea. Gathering research from neuroscience, psychology and organizational behavior, the author draws impressive connections between your head and your heart.

“It helps the reader connect to and understand their emotional state, neurological decision making process, and become aware, alert and in-tune with opportunities, strengths, and connections with others.”

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