If I am lucky I am often a week or two behind my ability to grasp big ideas. In a previous blog I mentioned a book called High Altitude Leadership, in it was the concept of a compelling saga. According to the authors, a compelling saga is “…a story or drama that inspires passion for a strategic result, a passion that overwhelms the selfishness common in humans.”
I have been mulling over for a month or so how can I tell a compelling saga. I know the desired outcome of the compelling saga, I know the components of a compelling saga but I do not know how to tell a compelling saga.
I believe whenever I have a pressing question, an opportunity to discover the answer is always present. As such, an opportunity came through invitation to a Toastmaster's storyteller workshop this past Monday. When the speaker asked why we were there one man said he wanted to relearn how to tell stories like when he was seven years old. His statement soothed any anxieties of the crowd and reminded me of how an honest and authentic presenter with child-like awe can win the hearts and minds of an audience.
This workshop spoke to my inner artist and rekindled my enthusiasm for stories. So I thought I would share what I learned through a great online example.
Benjamin Zander is a conductor who claims (and convinces us) "classical music is for everybody." This is a fairly refutable statement as only approximately 3% of the population listen to classical music. Mr. Zander surely has a compelling saga up his sleeve.
Mr. Zander speaks in a vibrant, quirky, unique, and surprisingly funny manner. We know without question his life and his passion is classical music. Perhaps this is what lulls us into somehow believing this classical music business is not merely for the wealthy, the intellectuals, or those who are willing to spend an entire life understanding the meaning of one piece of music, but that it is for us common folk as well.
Mr. Zander immediately disproves typical arguments against an individual's ability to enjoy classical music and closes the gap between those who love it and those who have no relationship with it at all. All this within mere minutes, and then Mr. Zander's begins his compelling saga, "I am not going forward until everyone in this room...will come to love and understand classical music."
I actually love classical music yet with his compelling saga I felt my love grow stronger. In fact, it made me want to re-watch a favorite movie which showcases my favorite piece.
Mr. Zander has let us in on a powerful insight, "You notice there is not the slightest doubt in my mind this is going to work...it's one of the characteristics of a leader that he not doubt for one moment the capacity of the people he is leading to realize whatever he is dreaming."
Until I can practice more and deliver a one-buttock compelling saga, I am off to practice a two-buttock compelling saga. If this does not make sense, then you probably didn't watch the video. So I will forewarn you: If I am telling a story and leaning over on one buttock, I am not attempting to pass gas.