In my last post I talked about the importance of measurement for employee satisfaction. Where I work, Spring is a time of measurement. Our fiscal year ends on May 31, so we are busy evaluating our outcomes from last year’s goals and creating new ones.
It is also a time of possibility. My challenge as a manager and a leader is to call to attention in myself and for others how the world of measurement relates to the universe of possibility. What is their relationship? How do we step outside the world of measurement (last year’s goals and this year’s metrics) to imagine a world of possibility (what we will do next year and in coming years, how we will work together, what is possible)?
I turn to my favorite nonfiction book I read last year, “The Art of Possibility.” A chapter of the book was assigned reading in a class I took at a leadership workshop at UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School taught by Professor Mark Rittenberg. Therapist Rosamund Stone Zander wrote the book with her husband, Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Benjamin Zander. The couple created a theory and practice of possibility that they each use in their individual work.
They describe the world of measurement:
We propose to call our familiar everyday world the “world of measurement” in order to highlight the central position held by assessments, scales, standards, grades and comparisons. In this story of the everyday, each of us strives for success, hoping to arrive at a better place than where we are. On our path to achieving a goal we inevitably encounter obstacles. Some of the more familiar ones, aside from other people, are scarcities of time, money, power, love, resources, and inner strength. . .[Certain qualities are adaptive to safeguard us in world of measurement] alertness to danger, a clever strategic mind, an eye for assessing friend and foe, a knack for judging strength and weakness, the know-how to take possession of resources, a measure of mistrust, and a good dollop of fear…keeping our armor intact is of critical importance as well, which means resisting any challenge to our personal viewpoint. (pg 17-18)
Next I will share the technique for stepping into a world of possibility…