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Whither the proverbial box out of which we think?

I am back from facilitating a workshop with a group of managers. One of the topics we discussed and worked on is out-of-the-box thinking; in other words, thinking differently about the work we do, about managing, and about the way we think.

In a side conversation one of the participants shared the following: “I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it”.

Hard to disagree.

 

What really matters in business

Jason Fried via Fast Company on what matters:

  • Are you profitable?
  • Are you building something great?
  • Are you taking care of your people?
  • Are you treating your customers well?

Turning in a profit while building something great in the service of your customers and your people. That’s as complete a précis as they come. Much along the lines of Peter Drucker’s 5 questions.

An elementary school teacher who teaches her students to focus on living a life that matters -video

A moment with a good teacher can give a lifetime of hope.

No todo es innovación y cambio

Para formar profesionales reflexivos, debemos tener en cuenta tres dimensiones:

  1. la capacidad de reflexionar sobre su práctica profesional,
  2. la capacidad de reflexionar sobre sí mismos en el contexto de su práctica profesional, y
  3. la capacidad de reflexionar sobre su práctica profesional en el contexto de su sociedad.

Y esto significa una visión amplia de la reflexión, que incluye

  • qué se piensa,
  • sobre qué se piensa,
  • cómo se piensa y
  • desde donde se piensa.

Y en este proceso es clave incorporar las humanidades en la formación de profesionales. No como complemento o decoración, sino como un camino de acceso privilegiado a la comprensión del propio lugar en el mundo.

Por eso la sumisión a la innovación y el cambio como valores absolutos arrastra en muchas personas la mentalidad de que no hay nada relevante que se pueda aprender o considerar de las grandes producciones canónicas de la humanidad

via Josep M. Lozano.

In praise of procrastination

Too many people fail to recognise what good public speakers and comedians all understand: that success depends on knowing when to delay, and for how long. The important thing is not to do things first but to do them right. And doing them right often involves taking a bit more time.

via Schumpeter.

Most of what I know about writing I’ve learned through running every day

 

Most of what I know about writing I’ve learned through running every day. These are practical, physical lessons.

How much can I push myself? How much rest is appropriate—and how much is too much? How far can I take something and still keep it decent and consistent? When does it become narrow-minded and inflexible? How much should I be aware of the world outside, and how much should I focus on my inner world? To what extent should I be confident in my abilities, and when should I start doubting myself?

I know that if I hadn’t become a long-distance runner when I became a novelist, my work would have been vastly different. How different? Hard to say. But something would definitely have been different.

 

More on the importance of talent, focus and endurance in writing from the author of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running at 99U.

 

Mintzberg: time to think of organizations as communities of cooperation

Our obsession with leadership, of any kind, causes us to build organisations that are utterly dependent on individual initiative. We do not allow them to function as communities. So when they fail, we blame the leader, and seek a better one. Like drug addicts, each time we need a bigger hit.

Consider that ubiquitous organisation chart, with its silly boxes of “top”, and “middle”, and bottom managers. How come we never say “bottom managers”? This is no more than a distorted metaphor. It tells us that we are fixated on who has authority over what and whom. The painting may not be the pipe, but to most of us, the chart has become the organisation.

Isn’t it time to think of our organisations as communities of cooperation, and in so doing put leadership in its place: not gone, but alongside other important social processes.

[O]bsession with leadership is the cause of many of the world’s problems. [L]et us get rid of the cult of leadership, striking at least one blow at our increasing obsession with individuality. Not to create a new cult around distributed leadership, but to recognize that the very use of the word leadership tilts thinking toward the individual and away from the community. We don’t only need better leadership, we also need less leadership.

via FT.com.

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