Hi, I am Apostolos
Welcome to my blog!
It all started with music!
When I was 5 years old I realised I was passionate about music. My parents took me to a music school where I started playing the piano and study music theory. I practiced the piano and keyboards for 10 years overall but then I kind of lost interest in it. After this I got more interested in dancing and took dance classes, expanding my horizons to many different music styles (Greek, Latin, European). I also started DJ-ing and collecting albums. Ever since music has been an integral part of my life.
But it is not all about music.
I came of age in the 90’s, when personal computers, internet and new technologies were just picking up. I developed an interest in maths and physics and went to study mechanical engineering. However, a few years later I realised that it was not for me. I had spent too much time thinking in a linear and mechanical way and this has unconsciously affected my personal life. Somehow I had forgotten how to be creative, intuitive, and imaginative. I was struggling to connect with my emotions and to my body, but even worse to connect with others. I had also stopped dancing. It was as if a part of myself has been completely blocked.
I realised that it was time to take a turn in my life and career and move away from my rigidly structured view of the world to the messy world of humans, teams, and organisations. To understand what motivated, inspired, and influenced others to achieve great things.
So, I decided to leave my life in Greece and move to the UK to pursue a career in management.
I completed a Masters in Management at Warwick University and have spent more than 12 years in building, coaching, and leading global teams of people across different industries.
But my passion for music and dance remained.
And that’s when I discovered Cuban Salsa, which in an almost magical way helped me rediscover all those elements of myself that I had long forgotten.
Cuban Salsa made me feel complete again and inspired me to create this website, write about my journey and what I have learned along the way.
In my writing, I try to bring together elements from seemingly different fields, such as dancing, psychology, philosophy, management science, leadership, systems thinking, and sports, and discover surprising insights on who we are, what drives our behaviour, and how we connect with others.
I hope I will inspire you to think in new and unexpected ways!
Welcome to the Leading Beat!
Other Interests and Sources of inspiration
Basketball: I just love this game and although I don’t play that much anymore, I watch many basketball games and enjoy reading about and analysing the various coaching systems and game strategies. There is so much that team sports can teach us about collaboration and achievement.
Travelling: Every place has its unique pallet of colours, sounds, aromas and flavours.I travel as much as I can and get hugely inspired by exploring new countries and cultures. Every new place I visit makes me more humble and curious to explore further.
Books: I have read hundreds of non-fiction books and academic articles, ranging from philosophy and history to management and autobiographies. The more I read the more I get inspired to write.
About Leading Beat
Afro-Cuban music is a fusion of West African and Spanish music styles. As such, it is one of the richest and more influential musics in the world, and has contributed massively to the development of the most popular music styles of the early 20th century (Salsa, Mambo, Cha cha cha, Rhumba, Tango, Bolero, Jazz) and later of modern pop and dance music.
The key characteristic of Cuban music is that it is polyrhythmic in nature, comprising of many different types of percussion that play contrasting rhythmic patterns. This creates a disturbance in the normal flow of rhythm and a departure from boring and repetitive rhythmic structures, which enables musicians to play complex rhythms that keep the music unpredictable and exciting.
However, all these interlocking rhythms do not lead to chaos, as they are all organised around a repeating rhythmic key called the Clave, which is played by two wooden sticks and keeps everyone locked in time. The power of Clave is in its simplicity and how it helps organise seemingly chaotic and disjointed rhythms into wonderful music.
The Clave was the inspiration behind the Leading Beat.
In a way, Cuban music with its dynamic rhythms and asymmetric patterns, represents the interdependent relationships and complex communication challenges we face in our professional and personal lives. It represents the underlying structure in our unpredictable and chaotic world.
It is easy to get lost in complexity, especially when leading multiple diverse business teams, but like the Clave, there is always a simple structure, a Leading Beat, that connects everyone and makes it all work.