Future Pacing

One of the most powerful and engaging presentations I ever saw was at a conference several years ago. Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, coached a musical quartet whilst also talking about inspirational leadership.

He asked the quartet how they would like to play before they even picked up their instruments. He asked them to describe what it would be like to play the best that they could imagine. They then played and he asked them how that was and what they would change to do even better. He passed no comment at all, so basically he got them to set their own behavioural and attitudinal goals and then work towards them. It certainly was inspirational to watch and to see the impact of this experience on the quartet and their enjoyment of playing the piece (though I could not differentiate between the quality of the versions, as they all sounded wonderful to me!)

This could be a motivating process to implement in organisations, especially as part of goal setting. Individuals visualise and articulate what achieving a goal is like and use this to direct themselves to do so – they feel more involved and in control of the process.


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