Recently, I had the pleasure of attending Developing Leadership Impact at Royal Roads University. There were dozens of moments where I felt a shift, and a new pathway of learning being created in my mind, but one thing that really resonated with me was a short film about a man named Benjamin Zander. He is a conductor, a teacher, and a great storyteller. I searched out everything I could about him online and found several other snippets of video of his deeply affecting storytelling around the subject of leadership. Here he brilliantly uses story to connect with his audience and talk about the ‘Art of Possibility’:
It got me thinking about how we tell our story, and if it allows for possiblity? Or is the ‘situation hopeless’ as the shoe salesman character believes. Do we limit our growth, whether it be personally or in our business, by attitudes of cannot versus can, of risking into the future versus holding onto the past? A practice that Benjamin implemented in his teaching around grading demonstrates, again, the idea of limitlessness, and how powerful that can be. He chose to give all of his students an ‘A’ on the first day of class. He lets them create their own story and it frees these students to be all they can possibly be. They surrender to their own possibility and in doing so, find they are indeed are all ‘A’ students at the end of the year. Here is a short video where Benjamin tells the story of how he began this innovative practice:
What if we all surrendered to the possiblities versus insisting on ‘the way things have been done’ or ‘playing safe’ or worse, simply not believing we are more than what others tell us we are.
Is your business story one of possiblity? Are your employees given A’s the moment they walk in the door? I wonder what kind of workplace we could design if we employed a few of Benjamin’s strategies.