Recommended Reading

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life

by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

In a lively, sensible manual for turning life’s obstacles into possibilities, the Zanders introduce various “tools” for transformation, drawing on their extensive experiences with musicians, students and patients in therapy (Rosamund is a psychotherapist and painter; Benjamin is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic). In a chapter entitled “Giving an A,” for example, Benjamin relates a classroom technique that allows students to envision their own futures: all students in his class receive an A if they write him a postdated letter relating “the story of what will have happened to you by next May that is in line with this extraordinary grade.” Other chapters emphasize practices such as thinking in terms of making a personal “contribution” rather than stark “success or failure”; “lightening up” in order to see a problem from a new perspective (e.g., a patient of Rosamund’s was able to have a sensual experience with her husband even though she was angry at him); and reassessing “frameworks for possibility” (e.g., a teacher shaved her head in order to “reframe the meaning” of a hairless class member who had leukemia). The authors’ emphasis on “practice,” the importance of “flow” and the joy in creation and expression is apt and often truly inspiring. Although not groundbreaking, the Zanders’ suggestions constitute sound, practical advice that has much in common with Zen concepts of holism, balance and grace.

 

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life

 
With all the ups and downs of the economy and the various dramas in the business world in recent years, good leadership is more crucial than ever before. But the old methods don’t seem to produce the desired results any longer.
 
Author Deb Siverson knows this from firsthand experience. She worked for twenty years under the old productivity-based coaching model before she was introduced to a more relational approach. But rather than exchange one for the other, she realized that both models had something to offer. So she blended their effective aspects and created her own coaching model: the Cycle of Transformation.
 
Now, leaders can learn how to become “leader coaches” who empower their employees to fully engage with the company, resulting in a mutually beneficial connection that improves job satisfaction—which leads to increased productivity and profits. Approaching their role relationally, leader coaches play an important role in transforming their employees’ lives at work. And this is no small accomplishment.
 
Often enlightening and always practical, The Cycle of Transformation informs readers how to develop trust, why it’s important to spark insight before pushing for action, and so much more.
Don’t you think it’s time you refresh your leadership approach?
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