Participants: Tim Bacon, Pam Rostal, Wendy Johnson, Ellen Gottesdiener, Rachel Davies, Ainsley Nies, III, Tim Mackinnon, Debra Schratz, Maury Myllyaho, and Jean Tabaka
In the book “The Art of Possibility” by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamen Zander, the authors present 10 “mantras” to guide people in how to transform their professional and personal lives by expanding their sense of possibility. One of the chapters, entitled “Giving an 'A'”, describes a notion that Benjamen Zander used during his tenure of teaching at a Boston Conservatory of Music. Trying to motivate his students about musicianship and the correlation with personal growth, he gave each student an “A” at the beginning of the semeste. He explained that, to earn their “A”, they needed to write him a letter in the first two weeks of the semester that was dated the last day of the semester. In the letter “Dear Dr. Zander”, the student was to reflect on what they had done during the semester that had earned them an “A”. The letters were moving and powerful, showing how expanding one's sense of possibility could create amazing expansion of one's own capabilities.
In this session, we worked to discover ways that we could use this powerful metaphor in driving retrospective attendees toward expanding their own sense of the possible, whether for themselves, their project, or their organization. Through brainstorming we discovered 3 different possible exercises that could bring this metaphor forward