What is the emotional side of complexity and how can it help us understand and manage complexity? John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor and expert on leadership and change, said this year that managing change is about understanding the human condition of fear that is inherent in all change. Change, he added, is managed through deeds that generate credibility. How leaders generate credibility is not a lightweight change plan. It involves depth and honesty; it is transformational rather than transactional. Fear is often made worse...
One of the best tips I ever got came from journalism school. The tip involved assumption-making and it was offered in the form of a question-and-answer. Do you know what happens when you make assumptions? The journalism professor asked my undergraduate, database research class. The first three letters of the word "assumption," that's what you make of yourself. He was right. I just didn't realize how much. As a no-nonsense journalist-in-training, I was taught not to take things sources told me at face value. I was taught to...
There are probably as many ideas about leadership as there are leaders. Leadership is a subject that has been explored and documented by academia and practitioners alike. Numerous models have emerged and are taught at colleges and organizations across the world. Most aim at identifying the actions of good leaders so that new ones can replicate them. Leadership is viewed as a necessary commodity across every organization. Without it, we feel our organizations could not be successful. In our culture, the hero and the leader are very closely tied...
I tuned into CNN this morning the way I typically do before breakfast when a quotation on the screen immediately grabbed my attention: "shock to the system." The quote belonged to New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman who was discussing how he believes that a third-party, presidential candidate could deliver the systemic jolt—the "shock to the system"—America needs to make the country a global leader once again. Friedman's quote struck me more than his theory did. Having only caught the tail end of his...
What?! More breaks for Big Oil and manufacturing at the expense of our health and natural environment? I thought we were moving beyond bottom-line resolutions. What happened to systemic, holistic approaches; sustainability; and corporate social responsibility? Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama withdrew an EPA air-quality standard for Big Oil and the manufacturing industry that was meant to reduce ground-level ozone down from 75 parts per billion to between 60 and 70 parts per billion. Most states presently have an air quality...
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