It’s always a good feeling when you are at a stage where you cannot possibly be stimulated more. It lets you give yourself permission to stop thinking about things and just experience, learn or appreciate the things around you that make you feel good. After three important events, one community related, one family related/personal and one global (guess which one that is?) was that day for me.
The morning involved participating in something Capital Health called Infusion. I think the idea was that they were looking for leadership that would take themselves from a place of documents, policies, processes and designs to a place of behaviors, values, passions, and truthfulness. The strategy that was attempted is from Otto Scharmer and is called Theory U. Some of the methods included typical unconferencing techniques like Open Space and World Cafe. As someone who was able to look at this process from outside the organization, I think it was easier to push myself closer toward the uncomfortable spaces you need to go when you consider an organizational change. I agree with Ravi Tangri, however, that people were still in their safe zones and needed more time to get beyond the B.S. of their organizational culture to the behaviors and actions that will create a smart organization out of true leaders.
Some of the things I take away:
- there is confusion between the idea of a leader and the idea of a hero. Both are influential and inspiring but the latter, in the end, is mostly a symbol of leadership. To me, a good leader learns to give up the hero role in order to challenge others to be heroes when their special skills or ideas are needed.
- anger can be a resource, if it is understood well and used with intention.
- Ala Harry G. Frankfurt’s On Bullshit, outright lying is better than bullshit because at its core, it is intentional. Bullshit (and a good amount of strategic planning can contain bullshit) is vile not because it is dishonest, but because it is indifferent to honesty. When we are full of bullshit, we are acting as if truth does not matter and this is a lower behavior than that of the con artist who lies simply to take your money away.
A lot to cover in a little space (and I’m only describing a snowflake on the tip of the iceberg). But that was just the beginning of my day.
The evening involved a discussion with my son’s teacher at a parent-teacher interview. I won’t get into too much of this, but it reinforced some ideas I have about the need for people with tech knowledge to get involved in their communities. I see so much need, and so little desire.
Another thing I learned was how some of the very basic skills that a teacher could identify in a 5-year-old were the exact same skills I appreciate in adults. In this case, the teacher said my son was good at taking ideas mentioned early on in a discussion — or even a few days earlier and applying that knowledge and experience to what was being discussed in the present. This is an excellent skill generally, but particularly good for doing effective interviews. Always draw on experience, explaining how you *understand* a problem rather than merely stating the actions you would take to solving it. I learn lots from my son every day. Children are to be recommended. Yes, they are lots of work, but they keep you from deceiving yourself and (as stated earlier) that is something that the world needs more of.
Finally, I stayed up for the Obama victory. There doesn’t need to be much more said about this, except that the more important victory is that both he and McCain together got more people out to the polls. Add Biden and Palin to this victory as well. The reality is that Obama is not going to be a messiah — but he may be the guy to create heroes out of people in the US. Or, heck, even the world. For one, I am really positive that Obama is going to inspire someone in Canada to become the first black/native/asian/indian/disabled/female/uncloseted-homosexual Prime Minister. More than that, that person out there will have a world where those categories won’t even matter.