… any more than finding a recipe will make you a great cook.
Bill Bennett reflects on the writings of Alfred North Whitehead on learning. He ends up dismissing the pursuit of “best practices” as secrets to success in favor of a culture of discovery:
- Design your organization so that it develops new capabilities;
- Make it your job, as a leader, to help your organization be better at learning;
- Structure your organization so that your people must engage with important, unsolved problems.
- Establish routines that allow for failure and reward those who try to discover;
- Build a culture that values discovering over knowing, becoming over being;
- Lead by design.
And don’t forget the secret: There is no secret1
Millennials want the same things from their employers that Generation X and Baby Boomers do:
- Challenging, meaningful work;
- Opportunities for learning, development and advancement;
- Support to successfully integrate work and personal life;
- Fair treatment and
- Competitive compensation.
And all three generations agree on the characteristics of an ideal leader: a person who
- Leads by example, is accessible,
- Acts as a coach and mentor,
- Helps employees see how their roles contribute to the organization, and
- Challenges others and holds them accountable.
Full article here.
Manfred Kets de Vries in HBR:
- The strategist: leadership as a game of chess. These people are good at dealing with developments in the organization’s environment. They provide vision, strategic direction and outside-the-box thinking to create new organizational forms and generate future growth.
- The change-catalyst: leadership as a turnaround activity. These executives love messy situations. They are masters at re-engineering and creating new organizational ”blueprints.”
- The transactor: leadership as deal making. These executives are great dealmakers. Skilled at identifying and tackling new opportunities, they thrive on negotiations.
- The builder: leadership as an entrepreneurial activity. These executives dream of creating something and have the talent and determination to make their dream come true.
- The innovator: leadership as creative idea generation. These people are focused on the new. They possess a great capacity to solve extremely difficult problems.
- The processor: leadership as an exercise in efficiency. These executives like organizations to be smoothly running, well-oiled machines. They are very effective at setting up the structures and systems needed to support an organization’s objectives.
- The coach: leadership as a form of people development. These executives know how to get the best out of people, thus creating high performance cultures.
- The communicator: leadership as stage management. These executives are great influencers, and have a considerable impact on their surroundings.
I found this quote in my notes. And it coincides with my current reading of Tomas Sedlacek‘s Economics of Good and Evil. Sedlacek was an economic advisor to Vaclav Havel. Although I have not finished reading the book, I can already recommend it. More on the book and its thesis in a future post.
[Vaclav] Havel embodied the guidelines of creative defense with wit, wisdom, and the shortcomings of a man. He inspired people with a bold algorithm, a mantra really: living in truth. In an era of cryptic truths, so too was the very notion of “living in truth”. After 1989, he became the first anti-political president of the Czech Republic and the planet; he remains so to this day the bearer of a political legacy not so much shrouded in failure as indifference to power. Yet, he was never powerless, not for a moment.
Who in New York, Baku, or its affiliate, well-to-do cities of East and West dares brave the consequence for something greater than a slogan, or greater than themselves? To be a dissident has reached the point of cliché if only because human rights is all too often the case of a competing elites, alienated from “the people”; to be imprisoned does not necessarily mean you speak for human rights, but it does mean, if only for a moment, that you spoke for yourself.
Yet in many societies, this remains a grave crime. To do so creatively, brilliantly, and in a way in which the humor never fades from the voice, the laughter never subsides, and the constant cackle is one that echoes in the executioner’s chamber as opposed to in society, the inmate’s cell and among those who have struggled to know the difference between the two — this is the gift Havel gave.
via The New Inquiry.
Since the 1970s Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has singlehandedly planted a forest larger than Central Park in New York City.
For the movie buffs, pair this story with the Oscar-winning The man who planted trees (L’homme qui plantait des arbres):