Re-Igniting Organizational Creativity: The Tango as Metaphor

A Series on Organizational Change

Couples dancing at a Milonga in Los Angeles

Couples dancing at a Milonga in Los Angeles

I am a learning and development specialist and have worked with many different types and sizes of organizations during the last 20 years.  Somewhere along the line, all of them have experienced mission drift, entrenched business practices, inadequate resource allocation, and/or archaic management structures. I have found that using metaphors is a very effective way to begin discussions on solutioning specific obstacles.

I am also a dancer.  I have explored many dance forms from creative dance to classical ballet, folk dance, modern dance, jazz, salsa, and most recently Argentine Tango. It was a life that required many hours of disciplined learning, practice, and self reflection, a life that was richly rewarded by many years of performing and teaching across the United States and in Germany.

I find that I see the world in terms of movement through space and that my service to an organization begins with studying the choreography of all of its resources, both internally and externally.  The work is to refine or sometimes create the choreography that matches the musical themes/vision of an organization.  

Several years ago, I began learning Argentine Tango. As an art form, I fell in love with it because of its foundation on improvisation, rich cultural traditions and, its sophisticated technical discipline.  The more I studied and practiced, the more I realized I needed to learn and reflect -- about the dance and about myself.  It was then that I realized how the art of Argentine Tango is the perfect metaphor to facilitate organizational change!

So, I decided to write a series of articles for organizational leaders using the metaphor of tango, to encourage you to experience your work and envision solutions to barriers using new imagery.  Topics are organized around the elements of Argentine Tango. 

Part 1: Ongoing Commitment to Skill and Technique
Part 2: Staff at Artfully-aligned Organizations Move to the Same Beat
Part 3: Pathways to Organizational Success Require Exquisite Navigational Skills
Part 4: Organizational Style Emerges Through Expressive Storytelling
Part 5: Building a Dynamic Community of Organizational Peers Entails Awareness and Reflection

I hope you will join me in my series on Organizational Change.  Connect with me: or @CelenaTurney