The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is a place where magic makers meet and showcase their cutting edge adventures in new and inspiring cinematic journeys. This past January, I had the good fortune to spend five wonderful days there. There is something therapeutic and regenerative about waking up every morning looking at mountains, ski lifts, and slopes. It is hard to complain about cold temperatures when it is accompanied by bright, sunny skies.

Of course, I had the opportunity to experience several thought-provoking and inspirational films. But my favorite activity was a panel discussion of filmmakers who were discussing virtual reality. This panel was described as a “panel of people who are so smart that the technology they envision using in films does not exist yet.”

Already, the use of green screens and virtual reality technology creates any environment that is desired: the viewer can be transported to an exotic island or imagine themselves floating in deep space. But, what would it mean to go further – to have the viewer experience the sensations of having just eaten a delicious meal, or an even more deeply engaging impression of attending a carnival by filling the theater with the smells of cotton candy and popcorn?

It was a fascinating discussion on what they introduced as “immersive” story-telling. I was enchanted,… like the first time you go to Disney and totally feel that Cinderella’s castle is somehow real. There were broad ideas, weaved boldly throughout a discussion about what is possible.

You might wonder what all this has to do with leadership.

While listening to the panel discussion, there was this moment, this moment when I was swept away by the possibilities and relaxed back fully into my comfortable chair…. and then, I remembered. They helped me remember…. ah, yes, THAT’S who we are….

As executives and leaders, WE are magic makers! We create environments that inspire our teams to think creatively and imagine new ways to solve challenges and grow into uncharted territories.  

But what happened to the magic? When did we forget? When did we fall into daily email and an endless schedule of meetings? What experiences are we creating for our team? Yes: What impact are we having on their results… but also how are we shaping them as leaders? Are we creating magic makers?

People look to us as leaders to create that inspiring environment where anything is achievable. They look to US to show them every day that they can do more than they think they can. So, how about you? What magic will YOU create with your team today?