Orchestrating Collaboration is the title of a talk Ben Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, gave at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year [the video is 9 minutes]. I read the Zanders' book when it came out, in 2000. It is timeless. Long after we will be done pounding the meaning out of the term conversation, this book will continue to inspire generations of students of The Art of Possibility.
It's very much a business book, I like to think of it as a marketing book. With its many lessons for those of us who are eager to move beyond the mere mechanics of what is, to what could be. When we do not let the cloud of technology and tools overcome our basic needs to seek opportunity, find happiness, and create meaning, we fully embrace the here and now that can take us to what's next.
The Zanders organized the journey into 12 practices. Today, at The Blog Herald, we talk about three marketing lessons we can draw from their work. There are many more ideas. Some thoughts on marketing and communications that build on their practices:
- It's all invented - marketing programs are often built on media placements and programs. What would happen if you were the media? Increasingly, with the help of social media tools, you may become that. Think opportunities to help your customers learn about what other services you or your partners offer that complement their business, a-la social network personalized content. What else?
- Stepping into a universe of possibility - public relations initiatives become more fun because now you are less worried of being in control, and more open to what may develop. We've talked about the sticky question of ROI on many occasions. How would the obsession with measurement be transformed into the acknowledgment that involvement can lead to influence, and thus purchase consideration? Today, they call it thought leadership. What is real leadership?
- Giving an A - if you could stop worrying about getting a mark and instead found yourself fulfilling a promise, that of your potential; what would you do differently? Would you take on more risks? How would the creation of your marketing be affected? How can you give an A to your team, your customers, your partners?
- Being a contribution - replace creativity-sapping thoughts of competition with ideas on how you can make your business truly valuable. Can you think in terms of contribution?
- Leading from any chair - think of your employees, colleagues, partners, even friends - how can you help them be successful? What steps can you take from wherever you sit in your career and organization, to make an impact for your customers?
- Rule number 6 - ask yourself: what would have to change for you to be completely fulfilled? This is valid also of your program, project, team. This is an incredibly powerful rule, one that tells us to lighten up. There are stories we tell ourselves about the way things are, how they are done, that keep us from fulfilling a goal, creating a connection.
- The way things are - how we speak and think about reality sets the context for what happens, how things unfold. Assess your situation, budget, time frame, what is, and use that point as a springboard for what comes next. This reminds me of the resourcefulness of MacGuyver, he could always fashion a brilliant point forward even when backed into a corner. How can you use what you have?
- Giving way to passion - participate, lean forward, learn, experiment, experience. Passion is the smallest unit you break down into that can permeate your whole being. It's your signature, the expression of your strength - go for it. Your customers will see it, they will want to be near it, and you.
- Lighting a spark - are your contagious? Do you let others light a spark in you?
- Being the board - how can you bring the whole game inside so you can play at home? When we blame the economy, the scarce resources, the lack of time for our ineffectiveness, we are in fact giving up our power to change the game. How can you look at it differently?
- Creating frameworks for possibility - what is your vision? How can you speak of it, own it, use it to invite expression, development, growth?
- Telling the "we" story - you're in it with your customer, without a doubt.
It takes practice. More than a year ago, I wrote a post on the substance of marketing, in it I conclude - the ancestor of every action is a thought. What are you thinking about?
[hat tip to Robyn McMaster of Brain Based Biz for the video]
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