Ken Robinson: Creating a climate of possibility

Sir Ken Robinson has the most viewed TED Talk ever, and his latest talk on education is a must-watch as well:

Notice his presentation style. He uses no slides, no video. He stands in one place and holds the audience’s attention with his wry humor and short stories and wise insight. His humor charms the audience throughout. The man has terrific stage presence without seeming to try hard. He’s just chatting, in a rather low-key manner, as though he’s talking to a small group of friends. He seems authentic and approachable, and, therefore, very persuasive.

His message, though, is dynamic and powerful. We must do better at educating children. We must free teachers to connect with kids where they are. We must honor and nurture creativity. We must create an expectation and an environment where these young humans can come alive, each in their own way.

Robinson’s final story about Death Valley provides a terrific metaphor and a strong finish for his talk. Flowers blooming in Death Valley proves that it’s not dead, just dormant. So, too, our failing students, or rather students being failed by our education system, have life in them and need only a change in climate and conditions to blossom as well.

The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility. -Sir Ken Robinson

Any great organization, whether a school or business or family, is great primarily because of its culture, its climate. If you’re in charge of something, if you’re a leader or want to be, the most important task is to create and nurture a culture that informs and empowers the people you serve.

And culture revolves around the “why” questions. Ask “why” before worrying about the “how’s”. “Why are we here?” “What’s our purpose?” “Why do we what we do?” Compelling answers to these questions can build and sustain a culture and create possibilities previously unimagined.