Archive for the ‘Wisdom’ Category

World Crisis Transformed

In 2015 ‘the world wide threats’ that have reached a crisis stage will be overcome. Why is this and how can I predict it? It is because they are the greatest creators of chaos in the world . They will have evolved to the point where they become a crisis. When something hits the ‘most wanted list’ it is because it has been recognized as a crisis. We as a people are great at reacting to crisis. We are not really good yet at avoiding crisis. That will require a higher level of consciousness leading to more wisdom. In the meantime we will continue to focus our attention on these crisis creators as they occur. Once we can focus our attention, and not get distracted, we can always overcome situations or threats to our civilization. This will require transformational thinking. It has always been this way and today is no different.…

Transforming the Future

My wife commented recently that most portrayals of the future are not optimistic. The Economist Magazine The World in 2015 confirms her opinion. It is full of articles based on what in business we call lagging indicators. These are the results, or output, from the system. In the case of our current world situation there seems to be negative output and chaos from the system of world order. Most of the articles take these lagging indicators (and they are many) as a semi permanent pattern and project a future based on the past. This is based on what I call incremental development of the current pattern. To transform this situation one has simply to take a new point of view(s) and seek outputs that create more peace and order. This creates a group of leading indicators that require one to take actions to create and implement the new pattern. This is I call leadership. Since this scenario does not appear anywhere in the magazine, and if the magazine reflects general world opinion or expert opinion, then it appears that we don’t have any active point of leadership. The Economist does mention the lack of leadership in the world but not the presence of some group of people that they think will change this opinion and lead the world successfully to the next level of performance. This type of leadership activity is what is needed to transform the current pattern to a new and more productive one. Our leaders today are really followers! They are blindly following the current pattern and bolstering it through their mindless acceptance of the present situation. The wisdom needed to withdraw and reflect on the current situation objectively, in order to create the new pattern, is the desired remedy. The question is will we ever get better or is this a chronic disease?…

A Structural Approach to Organizational Transformation

Not all organizations are created equal. It is their structure that decides their fates. Most follow a Newtonian view(inorganic-physics) of structure where the whole is a mathematical sum of its parts. Those organizations that emerge as exceptional follow a different approach. It is the approach used by nature in the building of organic structures where the sum of the parts is exceeded by the whole. Each level that emerges in an organic structure contains more. It is in the combination of the organic parts into new more complicated structures that creates these emergent properties. Organizations that follow this idea, or model, for organizational development have the potential of becoming more successful. New products and services along with new ways of working emerge when the design model used is organic. Further in organic structures ‘self healing’ takes place. This mechanism for fixing things that are broken is built into the whole structural matrix. The people that work in these structures are both integrated and differentiated. They integrate to make the team work while at the same time improving their skills and capabilities to differentiate. This means that they follow what Aristotle, Buddha, and Confucius call the Middle Way.  It is a way that maximizes the individual potential of each person and the whole organization. It is the way that the healthy human organism works. Organic organizations have a ‘life’ while the newtonian inorganic ones do not. The organically structured ones are growing and prospering. They are constantly transforming. You can feel it as well as see it.…

Transforming Foreign Policy

A recent book called, Give and Take by Adam Grant outlined how people interact and treat each other. Basically you follow one of three styles as your primary strategy. You are either a giver, a taker or a matcher. A giver is focused on adding more value to and for the other person. ( Selfless/ Win-Win ) A taker wants to extract more value than they get. (Zero Sum games). A matcher gives only as much as they expect to receive. (Quid Pro Quo). I believe it to be the same for countries. A country after all is just a sum of its individual inhabitants. (Some are a mathematical sum and some exceed that sum with emergent properties. This will be discussed in another blog.) Why then would not this same model apply to countries and how they interact and treat each other? Trust follows from a belief that you are sincerely interested in the ‘other’ and their success. It is not what is in it for me or us or our ‘interests’, it is rather what can we do to add as much value as possible to the rest of the world. It is leading by example. It is a way to make a ‘connection’ and open doors. Making the connection is important. You must make the connection before you can get anyone to listen to you and pay attention to your ideas. If we want to influence others in the world we first need to get them to trust us and our intentions.

There was an Ingrid Bergman movie (name escapes me) about a nun operating in a country run by a tyrant. In the movie she was a giver. It is that stance, as a giver, that provided the plot line for the movie. In the end the tyrant converted to Christianity because he was overcome with her consistency as a giver. He could do nothing to get her to give up her ‘giver’ stance. I know it is just a movie but the message is powerful.

As the leader of the free world it is time that we stand up and take a new transformational giver approach. To do it( Foreign Policy and Affairs) the same way everyone else does it (taker or matcher) is to lower our potential and that of the world to do good and thrive. To bounce around among the three stances, which we do, is to confuse and limit our credibility. The question is do we have the courage to transform?…

Transformation and STEM

The STEM educational process being suggested by NASA and others to train our future workforce may create an opposite affect. To exclusively study science, math, engineering and technology will not produce the literate culture that will create the great ideas that will take us to the next level. At best it seems to be a skills based process that lacks the power of a broad integrated education. We need to start at the top and not the bottom in our thinking. As a country and culture we need citizens that are literate and wise as opposed to technicians that are narrow and limited in their understanding of ‘wholes’ instead of ‘parts’. It is the broad parts of our education that are failing and not the narrow courses. To transform STEM would be easy. It would require one to balance technical skill building course work with education on how it all fits together into the whole economy. It would tie purpose to careers and roles that would provide an understanding of what it is like to live a life of consuming purpose and interest. It would teach the persons how to live their lives fully while focusing on their specialty.…

Transformation and Job Creation

Jobs are created the wrong way. They need to be created by the worker and not the organization. It is a ‘pull environment’ versus a ‘push’ environment. This distinction creates an opportunistic job placement process as opposed to a planned one. What would change if the roles were reversed?

* First instead of applying for a job, a person would make a job proposal.

* Second the person making a job proposal would do so to companies they had identified as ones that qualified for their model place to work.

*Thirdly they would make a proposal based on the two most important things that produce business value and profits. They would propose how they, with their skill set, would assist the business in either growing revenues, productivity or both.

This would create a host of new opportunities for the businesses that were to receive these proposals. It would also reduce the jobless rate as the businesses would be able to bring on people based on an ‘investment vs. cost’ basis. In fact it would be a win/win and would transform our current economy.…

Transformation and Servant Leadership

A lot has been published lately in regards to servant leadership. The origin I believe was the original book on the subject by Greenleaf. It basically states that acting in service to others is the underpinning of a great leader. This is the central idea from which a great leader does their work. What this usually requires is that the individual go through a transformation. Most people today in all cultures see themselves as the ones to receive the services (entitlement) and as individuals whose rights need to be protected. The recent story of the health care worker returning from an ebola infested region of Africa and being asked to remain in quarantine is an example of this phenomena. The worker refused as it was her ‘individual right’ not to be quarantined. Even if it was only a precautionary request she did not hold herself accountable from a ‘service perspective’ to abide by the governmental request. So while she is a health care worker, who professes to work in the service of others, she put her ‘individual rights’ above all others because she ‘knows better’. For this worker to be a servant leader would require a transformation of her foundational value of service to others. Once physicians held out the idea of ‘first do no harm’. This is a servant leader concept. Under the mind set of our health care worker it would read, ‘first do not harm as long as it does not affect my individual rights to do whatever I want to do based on my own judgement of the situation’. In other words I know better and I will always put my own self interests in front of all others. This is a selfish rather than a selfless point of view and lacks all features of any leadership qualities. To transform this point of view would be to move the world.…

Retirement Transformation

There was an interesting article in the July-August edition of Harvard Business Review on The Crisis of Retirement Planning. The author suggests transforming the point of view of our current 401k defined contribution plans from asset growth to income needed. This is an example of the idea of reframing current points of view to arrive at a new and more effective point of view. It adds value because the point of view of asset growth is misleading and often does not result in the outcome expected. The new point of view does but requires a change in the thought process. This is an excellent example of how to challenge existing thinking and create a win/win transformed process.…

Performance Transformation and Management

Most businesses that I have talked to over the past 30+ years of consulting have a great expectation that their management team will work on transforming their business and move it to the next level of performance. Is this a reasonable expectation? I would say not. In most cases the management team can help to develop incremental change of the current processes/ levels of performance but most do not venture into the transformational change realm. The primary reason for this is risk and most managers are risk averse. They work  constantly to make sure that the risks involved in the day to day operations are avoided. This risk averse point of view does not lend itself to easy change in order for them to allow new transformational ideas to arise. The ironic thing is that the largest risk to a business is to become too stagnant in terms of change. This can lead to commoditization. This usually leads to reduced pricing, profits and compromised business integrity. What can often result is a struggling or failed enterprise. The way to overcome this is to provide outside stimulation to the process. This usually comes from a board of advisors or other third party sources. The leader can also intentionally stimulate it through strategic transformational discussions. Either way without transformational change the long term viability and health of the enterprise is at risk.…

Accelerated Growth – Focus on the Pie instead of the Slice

I get involved in many different new business opportunities with my clients. Most of the time they want to know how to ‘divvy up’ the pie among the stakeholders. In order to help them optimize their opportunity I try to help reframe the problem from the ‘slice’ to the ‘pie’. Taking full advantage of any new business opportunity requires one to focus on ‘PIE’ building vs. ‘Slice’ taking. Both are important but a focus on the PIE first will lead to maximized returns. This requires one to move away from a transactional to a value building perspective. This is what Transformational Thinking is all about.…

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