Wonderful orchestra conductor, music educator and leadership speaker, Ben Zander, used to explain how he gives his music students an ‘A’ and the beginning of the year, and then ask them at the end to explain and justify how they got an A. In fact he asks them to write a letter dated one year later and starting: ‘Dear Mr Zander, I got an A because…’
A wonderful model that needs no explanation. The antithesis of what we usually do with people, from schools to organizations.
In his cheeky way, he goes beyond the explaining and says about his students: ‘You don’t know how good an orchestra of ‘A’ sounds’
An orchestra of A sounds fantastic. So does
A team working as if they have full empowerment
A leadership team that behaves as if it has archived its vision
A change management team that behaves as if they have succeeded already
Give them an A. Then plan work and process. But the A needs to be justified
Starting with giving ‘them’ nothing means I don’t trust you. Yet.
Starting with per-conceived ideas is a recipe for achieving them, seeing them realized. Good or bad.
So, why not to start with the A?
Good on paper but scary in practice? I agree.
But I am told by Ben ( and more than once) that an orchestra of As cannot be matched. So, I may be missing something.