Practice #9: Sign Me Up

close-up of a man sitting on a couch holding a shoebox (n.d.) Clara Griffin. Source:

close-up of a man sitting on a couch holding a shoebox (n.d.) Clara Griffin. Source:

The Zanders give multiple examples to illustrate practice #9, which they call enrolling. They advise not to take “no” personally and view it fatalistically. Instead they encourage the reader to interpret “no” a different way. This other way is the same way that my manager trained her salesmen to think about “no” when I worked at Nordstrom selling mens shoes (which was such an awesome job, by the way). No simply means one of two things. One: “I’m not convinced” and Two: “Not right Now.” In a way I see a pretty good connection with the practice of giving everyone an “A”. The process looks like this: No one in their right mind would not want to own a sweet pair of shoes. If they are unwilling to buy these shoes, it may be because they don’t understand the value of sweet shoes. This I can fix by enrolling this person. It also may be that they can’t afford these sweet shoes, which I cannot fix by enrolling. However, if I do enroll this person, it may be that when they CAN afford some sweet shoes, they will come back to me and get them. Enrolling is basically selling people. Enrolling is easy if you are passionate about something as the Zanders obviously are. I am passionate about shoes. Very. I enroll people into buying sweet pairs of shoes all the time, and I haven’t sold shoes in years. It’s something I do naturally because of my passion.

Teachers need to have this skill of enrolling as much as anyone, if not more, because we have what our students need. If my students are less than thrilled to sing the music I pick out for them, its because I haven’t enrolled them. Enrolling them is (theoretically) easy to do because I am passionate about what I teach, which is something not everyone can say, unfortunately. If they aren’t on board, it is my fault not theirs. Let the enrolling begin!


Zander, R. & Zander, B. (2002). The art of possibility: Transforming professional and personal life. New York: Penguin Books.


One Response

  1. I think you nailed it when you understand enrolling in connection to one’s passion. Without the passion than it’s just manipulation. I tend to be more “naturalistic” with my use of enrollment in that I depend on my enthusiasm for the subject to do the enrolling for me without (usually) directly addressing the other person’s response. If someone doesn’t get it than I try to understand where my communication is falling short, but I very much see it as my job to establish the link based on my passion for the subject. Beyond that is the great unknown (which can be very cool).

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