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  • Ruth Mercer

The Art of Possibility

Updated: Aug 11, 2019



A few years ago I was fortunate to hear Benjamin Zander, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra conductor share his amazing work on The Art of Possibility. Written with Rosalind Stone-Zander, his book of the same name features in popular lists of must reads on leadership development. The book shifted my perspective on leadership with uplifting stories, parables, and anecdotes. From "Giving an A" to the mysterious "Rule Number 6" to "Leading from Any Chair"--the account of Ben's stunning realisation that the conductor/leader's power is directly linked to how much greatness he is willing to grant to others--each practice offers an opportunity for personal and organisational transformation.

As a Headteacher, I used many of his ideas to support staff in their own development and we had a lot of fun using some of his language. One particular phrase "how fascinating' got us through many a difficult situation - instead of dropping our shoulders and complaining about something or someone, we would lift our arms and remind one another of "how fascinating" things can be - a true shift of energy from negative to positive - and it always created a smile to help us through.


For me, this illustrates how simple it is to make a change, simply by thinking about an issue differently - a core principle that underpins coaching.

Have a look at the video clip below to get a flavour of Zander's work.



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