Tagged: Leadership Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mono 11:03 am on March 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Leadership, , , Problem Solving, ,   

    Conventional Wisdoms: An Exercise (#2) 

    It was a great challenge to think through Lee Thayer’s thoughts on “advice” and knowledge in the previous post (Figuring Out). Today, I would like to tackle his second “Brain Exercise,” and attempt to think through it and make it meaningful to myself and hopefully to you, the reader. The second exercise calls for us to carefully think about the following:

    “Conventional wisdoms always and inevitably produce conventional results. This means that if you perceive some problem or opportunity in a conventional way (just because that’s the way your mind works), you will come up with a conventional solution. But high performance, real achievement, is far from being the norm, far from being “conventional.” So the implication is that if you want to achieve extraordinary results, results that are not more or less “average,” then you have to produce those results out of some fairly unconventional wisdoms. … [Often such] perspectives … are counter-intuitive. That is, they run contrary to what most people already believe… always and inevitably …”

    What unconventional way(s) could we think through this idea that would lead us to a better, more beneficial way of thinking? What Thayer seems to be saying is that the more conventional your thinking, the more conventional the results will be by virtue of your being limited by the conventional ideas which you use. That is, if you seek change in your organization, and since it comes from the thinkers you have available to you (your “resources”), you best make sure that the wisdoms you are drawing off of are potent enough to lead your thinking in the direction of that desired change. However, if the members of your organization are bounded by a “conventional” way of thinking, then that change itself will be “conventional.” We are limited by our thinking capacities.

    Extraordinary (extra-ordinary) results come from one’s ability to think in ways that are not ordinary (conventional). The richer your mind, the richer the results of your thinking. If the stream of thinking in your or your competitor’s organization flows unchecked, then it will be that unchecked flow that will end up drowning your competitive edge. Thinking and questioning in counter-intuitive ways, having capable minds on hand will, on the other hand, provide critical power to your organization’s culture. Perhaps questioning conventionality and the conventions of your organization is the first step toward counter-intuitive problem solving?

    In this light, it would seem that questions and the ability to be a superior questioner, in light of your purpose and your ideals (the ideals of your organization), would be a most beneficial skill to develop (is there a more “unconventional” approach that I am overlooking?). That, and perhaps, developing the ability to decipher the useful and provocative wisdoms from the run-of-the-mill ideas that get pushed by the mass business press.

    Where would you look for the resources needed to become a skillful unconventional thinker? How does one begin to develop ab-normal strategies for high performance? What thinkers have colonized and influenced your (or your organization’s) mind? Where have they led you thus far? Can one be such a risk-taker in a conventionally-minded organization? What are the risks?

  • mono 9:25 am on March 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Knowledge, Leadership, ,   

    Figuring Out: An Exercise 

    In a blog post from early 2007, Lee Thayer proposed a series of “brain stretching exercises” meant to getting one’s thinking gears in shape. Today, I will attempt to exercise my brain by tackling one of these exercises. The exercise in question revolves around the idea that, “People can’t figure out what they need to know. People can only figure out what they are personally capable of figuring out. So they seek “advice.” And here a paradox rears its ugly face: If you know the difference between good advice and bad advice, you don’t need advice (Thayer).” The link to the exercise is: here. Let’s dig.

    Looking at the first two statements I would ask, what are some differences between what people can figure out (what they are capable of figuring out) and what they “need” to know? Is what you need to know dependent upon what you are trying to know? How capable am I (or, are you) of figuring out what you need to know? Are we, as humans, perpetually stuck in the condition of forever being limited by our own capacities for knowing?

    Advice: Is most advice sought because one doesn’t know what one needs to know or doesn’t know where to look so looks to someone else for help? What should one do to maximize the quality of the advice that one gives/receives? Which leads us to the paradox that Thayer suggests: “If you know the difference between good advice and bad advice, you don’t need advice.” What this suggests to me is that it all comes down to your capacity for filtering out what is relevant to your purpose and reason for knowing. That is, if you can recognize good advice from bad advice, then you probably don’t need advice. Is that what Thayer is saying?

    Would the capacity to be able to distinguish good from bad advice somehow help one in their competency to be able to better figure out what they are capable of figuring out, thus leading them closer to where they should be?

    Perhaps, if you have the ability to distinguish what advice is good/bad for you, then you needn’t seek. In other words, the building of the capacity to distinguish the two, in itself, becomes useful in terms of figuring out what you need to know. Where would you start exercising this capacity? In asking yourself for advice?

    To further explore: If a person wants to take a job for a certain company, but, in fearing he doesn’t know everything he should know about that company, seeks advice from others, and then, in hearing the advice rejects the advice, did he actually need the advice in the first place? What benefit was the advice that he received? Had he already decided before even hearing the advice?

  • mono 12:23 pm on March 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Couples, , Leadership, , , , , , , Roles,   

    The Influence of Each Other 


    In his book “Leaders and Leadership: Searching for Wisdom in all the Right Places,” Lee Thayer writes, “Relationships are necessary. You can’t be anyone without first auditioning in front of others. But the influence goes both ways. Other people want you to be who they want you to be. If that is consistent with what you intend to be, then consider yourself the most fortunate person on earth and move on.”

    If this is so, then problems most definitely arise when two people are at odds with who they want the other to be in their eyes. In these cases, how do we navigate each other away from the problem? If I want you to acquiesce to my way of seeing things and you want me to acquiesce to your way of seeing things, then we will have a problem. Is the solution simply a matter of one person acquiescing to the other? Or, is this a mis-diagnosis of the problem? Will the fundamental difference (the, perhaps, stubbornness) go away or increase in the changing of oneself?

    Relationships between couples seem to be a good example. If one of us wants to go north and the other south and both have compelling reasons for wanting to go their respective ways, then how do we as a couple solve this problem without ending the relationship? How do we compromise? And, say one goes north with the other, getting his/her way, but then becomes adverse to the decision thus blaming the other for proliferating a mood of negativity, it would seem that both lose this game. How could the two resolve this problem? Again, is there something more fundamental that the two are not seeing?

    If the couple intends to be together, yet suffers such problems of who the other is (diverging views of each other) then would that mean that they ought to redefine the relationship and their purposes for being together? Other than either redefining each other or acquiescing to one or the other (deferring), what other possible solutions are at hand?

    Do relationships fail on the basis of bad performances? Are the most fortunate relationships those who are sharing purposeful performances?

  • mono 8:56 am on June 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arthur Conan Doyle, , Leadership, , Mystery, , Sherlock Holmes, Study in Scarlet   

    Quote: Sherlock Holmes 

    From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet”:

    “You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend up it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.” – Sherlock Holmes

    Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
  • mono 7:16 am on February 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Leadership, , , , Slowing Down,   

    Some Thoughts on Michael Wade’s “Slowing Down” 

    Michael Wade wrote an excellent article entitled, Slowing Down, which I recommend you spend some quality time with. His brief article deals with, as the title says, “slowing down.” Namely, slowing down the ways in which we might rush through a project, an email or a piece of writing (slowing down our habits of living). His words ring quite true to myself as I scramble to put on my tie, finish and send an email while wolfing down breakfast, so that I can get to work on time. His words also remind me of some Constructive Living wisdom, which goes something like this: When you are in a hurry, slow down.

    It’s amazing how sometimes we can jump so far ahead of ourselves that we ignore some small yet crucial detail or task, necessary to the successful and mistake-free completion of a project or task. Even as I am writing this, as the words keep appearing, I am, in a sense, rushing (now revising). Maybe you can sense that. We tend to live in a world of varying degrees of speed (as Thayer reminded us in “Reach vs. Grasp”). Sometimes productivity can overwhelm us. Sometimes being too productive can cloud over the value of slow and effortful doing. Perhaps productivity folds back in on itself. Sometimes faster is not always better, only faster. If, as the cliche goes, “time is money,” then we should make sure that we are wisely investing our time. This does not mean engaging in “impulse buys,” but, more crucially, in well-thought-out decisions (purchases) and purposeful doing. It’s the difference between eating fast-food as opposed to eating fresh fruit. There are big differences in the outcomes of this seemingly brainless choice.

    Wade points us to a simple yet, in my opinion, valuable, look at this controllable way of thinking and doing. Our TV game shows like to challenge us by testing how quickly we can answer questions. The person who is the fastest gets to reply. If, in that situation, we are fast and able to correctly answer the question, we may walk away with a cash prize. Nonetheless, our daily lives are much different than that. While speedy responses and speedy completion of projects may show us to be valuable employees on the surface, what if the haste of our doing results in some simple yet overlooked mistake? Do we still get “the prize?” What if that email lacked some important piece of information? Why kick yourself later when you had the choice to revise? Overlooking something can be corrected if we just slow down. Is tackling a project with speed and tackling a project with purpose different? If so, how so? Can a quick reply be a well-thought out reply? Perhaps, but not for me.

    Sometimes we become speed and sometimes we become slow. How does this way of thinking change or improve our ways of doing? Does it matter?

    • M 10:39 pm on February 28, 2009 Permalink

      Just finished catching up on your writings over the last week or so. I have gained a lot of insight into thought processes and just wanted to let you know. I had to write down this one “Can a quick response be a well-thought out reply? Perhaps, but not for me.” Some people will blurt out without thinking of what they are saying. Keeping your statement in mind and practicing slowing down in responses can insure us that we respond exactly what is intended.

  • mono 9:36 am on February 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Leadership, , , , , Publishing, Windsor Media Enterprises, WME   

    Communication!: A Radical Philosophy for Life’s #1 Problem 

    1934229083-2I have studied (and worked hard at understanding) the works of Lee Thayer since 2000 and am eagerly awaiting his newest book on Communication, Communication! A Radical Philosophy for Life’s #1 Problem to be released sometime this month (February) by Windsor Media Enterprises.

    According to the WME website:

    “Communication! begins with a half-dozen “Forewarnings,” such as # 2:

    “For the most part our … perspectives on communication treat it as a means to more or less immediate ends. This is okay, because we can use communication in that limited way. But it trivializes our understanding of what’s really at stake. … Communication is the creator and the infrastructure of every human mind, and thus of the worlds we create ….”

    The book closes, in “Performing Life,” with:

    “It makes a difference what you call things — and why. We humans are made of meanings. Get those right and you get the rest of it right.

    “To understand at the deepest level that life is a performing art may be the best way ….”

    In between, Lee Thayer’s essays take us on a 20-stop tour of the world of life-making and meaning-making. His provocative ideas on “communication competencies” offer new ways to “influence people … [and] be influenced by the world in ways presently not open to you” and, ultimately, to “a richer, more meaningful, more mindful life ….”

    WME has also published Thayer’s “Leadership: Thinking, Being, Doing” and “How Executives Fail.” I highly recommend both of these for anyone looking to improve their personal performance or the performance of their organization.

    Finally, from the above linked WME website, a PDF sample of “Communication!” is currently available for download. If you are looking to get a taste of Thayer’s work, spending some quality time with this free PDF should serve as a great point of entry into his way of thinking and stimulate your own thinking appetite.

    In closing, remember: “As you communicate, so shall you be.” – Thayer

  • mono 8:30 pm on October 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bricoleur, , Leadership, , , Polymath, Yvonne Divita   

    The Bricoleur 

    What is a bricoleur? How is a bricoleur different from a polymath? Who are some famous bricoleurs? Are our schools educating children to be bricoleurs? Are you a bricoleur?

    Listen to Dr. Lee Thayer and Yvonne DiVita discuss the above questions and more in this five part podcast:

    The Bricoleur: Conversation with Lee Thayer

    Dr. Thayer writes:

    “The Bricoleur

    Let us latch onto a different kind of concept.
    It is useful. It is powerful.

    A bricoleur is a person who accomplishes what has to be accomplished, when it has to be accomplished, with the tools and resources at hand. This means that when you invest in bricoleurs, you get a full return on your investment. Otherwise your investment has to be discounted. A bricoleur is a fully empowered person.” Read more

    • Yvonne DiVita 12:06 am on October 30, 2008 Permalink

      Thanks for this call-out on my conversation with Lee Thayer. I am intrigued by the Bricoleur concept and love listening to Thayer discuss it. Your post is very timely, considering the state of our economy at the moment.

    • jgrefe 6:58 am on October 30, 2008 Permalink

      Yvonne, thank YOU and great point about the state of the economy and its relevance to the Bricoleur concept. Please get in touch if you and Thayer record any more conversations.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc