Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
-James Richardson, poet, professor (b. 1950)
#354-2. When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.
-Thomas Carlyle, historian and essayist (1795-1881)
#354-3. We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.
-Francois, duc de La Rochefoucauld, moralist (1613-1680)
I find these very profound. Each has multiple reminders that could be extracted.
From the first:
-Depending on the situation, the one holding on could be more blameworthy
-In some situations holding on (or pulling) is simply the only right thing to do, regardless of what the other does
-Many top leaders in politics and business are experts at brinkmanship, holding on or pulling beyond what a reasonable person would be expected to
-Breaking the thread might be a good thing so we are not necessarily talking of blame but credit. Could we think of real examples of those who "hold on" in order to induce change?
From the second:
-Many good things are all around us, we tend to pay too much attention to the negative
-For every calamity there are many more positive possibilities opening up
-Creation and creativity often emerges out of destruction
-Nature always finds a way (as observed by Malcolm the mathematician character in "Jurassic Park" by Michael Crichton)
-The first thing that occurred to me when I read this is that I would like to be like the unnoticed breeze.
Useful interpretations from the third one are left--as the cliché goes--"as an exercise for the reader".
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
-Cato the younger, Roman politician
#352-2. Leadership is not simply speech, it is speech that makes people march. Good judgment without action is worthless.
-Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis in their 2007 book, "Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls"
#352-3. We've already moved from management to leadership--and we're about to go beyond leadership to inspiration.
-Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
-Scott Cook, founder and chairman of financial software maker Intuit (1952-)
#351-2. We can build organizations that are far more adaptable, far more inspiring places to work, far more innovative than anything we've seen so far. But there's a huge ideological challenge in doing that, because inside most huge organizations is a bureaucratic caste that believes it's their role to make decisions.
-Gary Hamel, management thinker and author
#351-3. Today, talented people need organizations less than organizations need talented people.
-Daniel Pink, author of many books including "A Whole New Mind" and "Drive"
Leaders at all levels are struggling with a dilemma on how they should approach their role: should they base it on what they have observed leaders do in the past, or, should they go with what they intuitively sense is today's expectation? Should they go the whole hog on participative, inclusive, diversity-celebrating, empowering decision-making or are there decisions they need to weigh in on with their knowledge, experience, judgment and vantage point in the organization?
And amidst the agonies of making and fine-tuning such stylistic choices, leaders know that the talent pool they have is the critical foundation on which business success is achieved. Talented people today have multiple and overlapping options for their careers. Have you noticed how many full-time employees leave their jobs in large corporations with its associated perks and then come back to do more or less the same job as a contractor? I know many women who have taken a break in their careers, started their own ventures, went back to jobs and interspersed with freelancing stints.
The biggest challenge to help leaders perform effectively in such an environment is for HR decision makers. Some textbook-throwing is called for, methinks.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
#350-1. Pedantry and mastery are opposite attitudes toward rules. To apply a rule to the letter, rigidly, unquestioningly, in cases where it fits and in cases where it does not fit, is pedantry. To apply a rule with natural ease, with judgment, noticing the cases where it fits, and without ever letting the words of the rule obscure the purpose of the action or the opportunities of the situation, is mastery.
-George Polya, mathematician (1887-1985)
#350-2. Sure, we need rules, but remember that every rule removes a choice, and choice is the fuel for learning.
-@mwbuckingham (Marcus Buckingham, strengths guru on Twitter)
#350-3. Rules without relationship equals rebellion.
-attributed to many authors but mostly to Andy Stanley, pastor (1958-) and Joslin McDowell, Christian evangelist and writer (1939-)
Rules such as those codified in law are the foundation of civilization and society but it is more interesting to think about some other types of rules: assumed rules, outdated rules whose intent has become irrelevant and self-imposed rules. When our behavior is guided by unexamined rules, we find it difficult to adopt innovation and change. When we impose rules on others without building a platform of relationship and trust, we encounter resistance. Explaining the objective behind setting a rule is a necessary first step but logic alone does not suffice to convince others.
Breaking rules is a natural and essential part of growing up, of innovating, of bringing out the best of human potential. Ignorance about rules can occasionally help in generating original ideas but it is more often used as an excuse—and rarely accepted. Consistently successful rule-breakers first endeavor to know and understand rules before deciding which ones to break in which situation. When done well, this leads to new, better rules that achieve common good. Some have formulated this as a rule: Know the rules before breaking them!