Tag Archive: belief

Today I Believe

Lord, You have always given
Bread for the coming day;
And though I am poor,
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always given
Strength for the coming day;
And though I am weak,
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always given
Peace for the coming day;
And though of anxious heart,
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always kept me
Safe in trials;
And now, tried as I am,
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always marked
The road for the coming day;
And though it may be hidden,
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always lightened
This darkness of mind;
And though the night is here,
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always spoken
When time was ripe;
And though you be silent now,
Today I believe.


Conducting Potential

Have you ever looked at people through the glass of their potential?  As leaders we have the opportunity to come alongside of people, hold up the mirror and say, “Look at what you’re capable of.”  Think about it, not many things are as exciting as finding out what could be.  A boyscout tying his first square knot eying a pioneering project, or a team in a huddle realizing they could win the game.  The joy of getting the kid with the good arm on your team in dodge ball!  Gym class aside, people can’t accomplish something if they don’t believe they can, and it is amazing what people can do when they start believing in themselves.

Benjamin Zander, Conductor BPO

As a leader it is your job to unlock the potential of your followers.  The wildly successful conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Benjamin Zander, said that after 20 years of conducting, he had an epiphany that changed his life.  He said, “I realized that conductors do not make a sound.”  What Zander meant was that a conductor is incapable of performing anything by themselves, it is in fact the musicians who produce the music.  This revelation puts a would-be leader in a predicament!  Most leaders love to accomplish things on their own, and are very capable and not in need of help from someone else.  Although Zander is an accomplished pianist and musician himself, his performance pales in comparison to what the full Philharmonic can produce.  (I shudder to think what his singing would be like.)  I think this is true of most leaders, they are capable of great things on their own, but if they can unlock the potential of others they can achieve truly great things.  “Real power is in making others powerful.” ~ Benjamin Zander
For more of Zander check out this great TED talk about music and passion.

So how do you unlock someone’s potential?  Here are some thoughts:

  1. Spend time with people and learn to care about them.  We have a shortage of people who really care.  You have to know people to know their potential, and that takes time.
  2. Be encouraging, raise their vision.  The more someone’s vision is raised, the more potential is unlocked.  Find me a person with a change-the-world vision, and they will most likely be using a lot of their potential, especially if they are successful.
  3. Believe in people before they believe in you.  Often times leadership is a one way street.  People don’t catch the vision, don’t care or see why any of this is important.  Be patient, earn respect and believe in people.  They’ll come around.
  4. Give people opportunities to find their potential.  I’m amazed at how many leaders believe that they are the only ones capable of accomplishing a task.  Be able to delegate responsibilities away so that hidden potentials can be found.  Maybe that student would make a great graphic designer, or engineer, or both…who’ll know till they try?  Also, try new things!
  5. Become a master teacher.  So you’ve found someone with potential, now what?  The qualities of a great teacher go hand in hand with the qualities of a great leader.  If you are able to pick up on someone’s hidden potential and then teach them to use it, be ready for an exciting ride!

Do you have a success story about how you helped someone reach thier potential?  Share it in the comments below!

“Leadership is a choice to deal with people in a way that will communicate to them their worth and potential so clearly they will come to see it in themselves.” ~ Stephen Covey