In a string quartet, all four musicians are trained to move certain ways for technical reasons specific to their type of instrument to produce the perfect note (sound). For example, let’s consider the cellist. The cellist is hunched-over their instrument, head-down, making jerky, distracting movements (they are connected to themselves as cellists). Isolated, this behavior negatively impacts the other three musicians because the cellist’s movements are distracting, it’s difficult to make eye-contact, etc… What would happen if the cellist modified her behavior to allow a better connection with the other musicians? This is leading from the inside-out.
Additionally, what each musician predominantly hears (in this case the cellist) is the sound of their own instrument. What they hear is their reality only (cello music). What if the cellist practiced exercises to help them develop an “ear” for the other musicians’ instruments while playing? This is leading from the inside-out.
Leading from the inside-out means being connected to yourself (cellist knowing themself) and then connecting to the quartet. For example, the cellist thinks about what they need to do to generate confidence, clarity and focus and then modifying to connect to the quartet is leading from the inside-out. The contract comes last.
What it is not is what most of us do today. We operate as part of a quartet first. The contract between the musicians comes before the relationship (for example – traditional project agreement vs. an Integrated Project Delivery agreement) and before each musician is connected with themselves.