Passport to the 21st Century
John Seely Brown, Steve Denning, 
Katalina Groh, Larry Prusak: 
Four of the world's leading thinkers
explore the role of storytelling in the world

 I Introduction to storytelling I John Seely Brown on science I Steve Denning on change I Katalina Groh on video
Larry Prusak on organization I Discussion I | Contact us | Bibliography on storytelling

The film-maker as storyteller: Katalina Groh
Making others powerful

Ben Zander: And we all know the feeling of radiating possibility. It’s that excitement, that energy, that feeling that we’re all in it together. A sense of awe, a sense of beauty. In the place of possibility, our eyes shine. I had an amazing discovery when I was about forty-five. I’m a little embarrassed how old I was when I made this shattering realization. But I’ll tell you what it was. 
This was what I discovered. The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He’s the only musician who doesn’t make a sound. Right? So he depends for his power, and his power is very great, and his picture appears on the front of the record jacket in various poses. But he depends for his power on his ability to make other people powerful. 
   That was a phenomenal realization for me. Because I realized that my job was to enliven possibility, to awake possibility in other people. 
   And when I got that, I of course began to be very interested in how effective I was in doing that. 

   And the only way I could think of doing that was to look at the eyes of the people in the orchestra around me. And if they were lit up, I could say, “Great! We’re doing it!” And if they weren’t, I got to ask myself the question, “Who am I being that the eyes of my orchestra players are not lit up?” 
   And so I started giving a white sheet of paper, and put it on everybody’s stand in every orchestra that I conducted, grown-up orchestras, children’s orchestras. And the white sheet of paper had an invitation with it, which is, to write anything on that paper. 
   Somebody, a young girl, wrote on her sheet of paper, she said, “You’re not making enough crescendo before p.” This was in a Bruckner movement, and the music was building up to a great climax, and she said, “You’re not doing enough.” And so there, that night, at the concert, I did a huge crescendo. And she came up to me afterwards, and she said, “You did my crescendo!”
   Well, of course, my dream is that every single member of the orchestra will be feeling, “You are doing my crescendo!” At every moment. I believe that that is a possibility. Because it is a characteristic of a leader that he never doubts the capacity of the people he is leading to realize whatever he is dreaming. O.k.?
   Imagine if Martin Luther King had said, “I have a dream! Of course, I’m not sure they’ll be up to it….”
Books and videos on storytelling 
*** In Good Company : How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work
by Don Cohen, Laurence Prusak (February 2001) Harvard Business School Press
*** The Social Life of Information, by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid
(February 2000) Harvard Business School Press
*** The Springboard : How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations
by Stephen Denning (October 2000) Butterworth-Heinemann 
*** The Art of Possibility, a video with Ben and Ros Zander : Groh Publications (February 2001)
Copyright © 2001 Katalina Groh 
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