I wish to share a story that I heard at a leadership workshop that made me think about the way I approach dealing with difficult situations and when things go horribly wrong.

In 1975 a jazz concert was being held at the Koln Opera House featuring Keith Jarrett the American pianist.

Prior to the show beginning, the organiser of the event was introducing Keith Jarrett to the venue and showing him the piano that they had arranged for the concert.

Keith Jarrett looked over the piano and started to practice and tried the piano out.

It turns out that a mistake had been made by the delivery company and the wrong piano had been delivered for the performance.

The piano was too small for the concert hall and would not deliver the volume needed, it had no high register and the black notes kept sticking.

Keith immediately went over to his producer had a brief discussion and left the building.

His producer spoke to the event organiser and said that if you do not arrange for a new piano immediately than Keith will not be able to perform tonight.

The event organiser went into to damage control mode and tried to find a replacement piano, which he was unable to do. He was however able to find a piano tuner to tune the piano.

The event organiser pleaded with Keith Jarrett perform and not to disappoint the 1400 people that were coming to the event that evening. Keith Jarrett took pity on the organiser and agreed to play.

Keith played that night and embraced the situation that confronted him and produced a concert that is renowned for being one of the best jazz piano concerts of all time.

We in business are from time to time presented with situations that can seem to be an impossible mess, and our first instinct is to turn and walk away from it, placing it in the two hard basket.

The logical way to work through difficult situations is to fall back on our normal mind set and try one thing and then tweak it. Then try something else and tweak it.

Phycologists have proven when we are presented with an impossible mess/obstacles, people who think outside the box and use ideas that should not work in certain situations, create and come up with outstanding results.

Sometimes a situation like Keith Jarrett’s unplayable piano can present an opportunity for us to use our creativity and innovate to make a piece of gold from a potential disaster.

Something to think about!