I am guessing that Benjamin Zander is not a name familiar to most of you? Those that do recognize the name are likely to be either classical music fans or have seen his TED talk on passion and music – which often appears in ‘top ten TED talk’ lists. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommended finding a spare 18 minutes to view it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9LCwI5iErE
I have watched this talk a number of times and did so again this week. I am very firmly in the ‘take it or leave it’ camp as far as classical music goes, but what Benjamin does in 18 minutes is epitomize everything we are trying to be at Sandhurst Consulting.
1. Talking from Experience: Zander is an experienced and talented musician and is therefore talking from a position of personal experience. Not only does he play the piano and many other instruments but he is also the conductor of the Boston Philamonic Orchestra. He is clearly well read and understands the theory – but it is the hands-on experience communicated through personal anecdotes that gives him the credibility. At Sandhurst we capture this in the phrase ‘Leadership Delivered by Leaders”. All our facilitators have been leaders themselves and can therefore bring the theory to life with their own personal experiences not stories about other people that they have read.
2. Passion: Zander is clearly passionate about his subject and this shines through as he talks. He is animated, he knows the subject material intimately and he injects a healthy dose of humor. He is not just going through the motions – he genuinely wants the audience to feel what he feels about classical music. At Sandhurst we have a passion for leadership development – having seen first-hand the powerful agent for change it can be when done properly. To us it is not a box ticking exercise – we know what a profound impact the training can have on both individuals and organizations. For that reason we are always keen that progress is measured and quantifiable.
3. Customization: Zander has done many other talks on a variety of subjects ranging from leadership to music to teaching. What is noticeable is that although the overall themes are similar – each one is customized to the particular audience. While the piece of music by Chopin is obviously not his, everything else is clearly his own work, his own ideas and his own stories. At Sandhurst we are not mouthpieces for one of these large training companies – where customization is talked about, but in essence you are getting the same material that every other client gets. Our facilitators are heavily involved in the design and development stages of the process – not just picking up a pre-prepared set of slides to present.
It is clear from this particular talk that Zander also shares our overall guiding principle about leadership, namely that the main role of a leader is not to gain more followers; – it is to make more leaders. His ‘eureka’ moment about the role of a conductor within an audience captures this thought wonderfully.
So if Benjamin Zander ever needs a job – we would employ him here without any hesitation – he would be a perfect fit! In the meantime if you are considering leadership development, and want training customized to your organization with measurable results and delivered by experienced and passionate facilitators – let’s talk………………….