Monday, July 6, 2015

Tactics Lead to Action


Tactics are what you do when there is something to do.

Strategy is something you do when there is nothing to do.

Chess Grandmaster Savielly Tartakower

Image attribute/source: Aron Nimzowitsch, Savielly Tartakower and Egil Jacobsen / chesshistory.com

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Love is the Last Frontier


Do you want to join the Navy or be a Pirate? (Steve Jobs)

I’ll let you be in my dream if I can be yours.  I said that.  (Bob Dylan)

Love is the Last Frontier.  (Tom Russell)

I love the Wild West.  I have a place in the Arizona Desert in Carefree.  I saw Tom Russell recently in a tiny café in Austin.  Listen to his new concept album The Rose of Roscrae.  It’s Glenn Ford’s Stagecoach for 2015.

Image source: youtube.com

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Out of the Driver’s Seat


For those who haven’t seen it, Driving Miss Daisy was a 1989 film based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, telling the story of an unlikely friendship between Miss Daisy (Jessica Tandy) and her driver (Morgan Freeman). Brilliantly cast. Despite its charm, it’s a film that may never be resurrected, according to Andrew Shanahan.

It’s one of ten things that driverless cars could possibly “eradicate from the face of the Earth.” Other things include the savage, intuitive joy of man and machine (it’s undeniable), rubbernecking (will your driverless car enable your gawking?) and car parks (will they become obsolete, if your driverless car can simply turn around and take itself home?).

Shanahan certainly provides food for thought. Humorous, yes, but also somewhat of a reality check, with driverless cars expected to be part of our lives by the end of the decade. One thing for certain is that they will be a game-changer, but not before we see a significant psychological and cultural shift.

Psychologically, many of us have a strong bond with our vehicles. How much of this bores down to our position in the driver’s seat? And will we be able to relinquish control and allow ourselves to be taken for a ride? An article on The Atlantic sparked a question – can we still call it ‘driving’ when we’re riding in driverless cars? Perhaps a more appropriate term would be ‘conducting’, as suggested by Daimler.

Culturally, the introduction of driverless cars will have a considerable impact on society. Will we see the demise of driver stereotypes, or perhaps a heightened sense of judgment regarding different types of cars and their driving habits? What about road rage – where will people direct their anger, and will they need to? What about getting a driver’s license as a rite of passage for teenagers, and the sense of freedom and responsibility that comes with it? Will our daily commute become any less of a monotony, with the ability to concentrate on other things if we’re not driving, or will we simply feel even more useless when we’re stuck in traffic?

And will driverless cars reduce the nearly 1.3 million road fatalities worldwide each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day? Or the additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled?

Now that’s something to rage about.

Image source: govexec.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Imagination Running Wild


Imagination is what inspires the creation of ideas, and the possibilities therein are boundless. Being told to ‘let your imagination run wild’ isn’t just a euphemism; it truly is a place where you can let loose without being inhibited by the past or the present. Imagination is about the future. Ideas are the future.

As children we were told to use it (‘use your imagination’) or asked whether we’ve misplaced it (‘where’s your imagination?’). On the contrary, we were also told as children to ‘stop daydreaming,’ when in fact, daydreaming is one of the key elements of imagination and creativity, according to Scott Barry Kaufman, scientific director of the Imagination Institute. It’s no wonder there’s confusion about how wild we should be letting our imagination run. As Kaufman says: “We feel as though imagination is a very neglected, yet very valuable skill in the 21st century.”

The mission of the Imagination Institute is to stimulate the field of imagination. A laudable and necessary mission indeed. Necessary because we’re in an age where we’re constantly distracted and information is freely available. Sometimes we need to stop going in search of distractions and information and to instead put our minds to work or simply let our minds wander. Kaufman says there is an environmental element to imagination, with those who are considered to be more imaginative having experienced greater resources and encouragement to imagine and create.

Reading or listening to someone tell a story is a good form of training for our imagination, as we’re required to conjure up an entire world in our mind. What makes it so special is that it’s also entirely unique; you can try, but you can’t really share your imagination with anyone else. Which is why it’s also our responsibility to nurture and use it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Leadership: A Perennial and Millennial Issue


Leadership is one of the most pressing needs of our time. As the world we live in becomes more complex, and the diversity we represent uncovers a plethora issues needed to be addressed, we need people who can navigate us through the challenges and inspire us to greater things.

Identifying leadership is an art and a science. There many who may claim to possess the traits of a leader, but few who have the actual ability to lead. It is a unique mix of empathy and confidence; the ability to know yourself and understand others. A leader acts with courage in spite of fear. A leader steps up to the plate when they sense uncertainty in others. They call it as it is when no one else has the guts.

Adam Canwell makes a point that companies typically see leadership as something possessed by a select few. It’s usually a term used to refer to people at the top of the organization and “star players” who have been identified as having potential. But in my experience, leadership applies to everyone, at every level of an organization.

Anyone and everyone is capable of being a leader. These were two of the key findings from Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends survey report.

We should be ecstatic that 53 percent of Millennials aspire to become the leader or a senior executive at their organization. People want to be their best and motivate others to do the same, and the world will be a much better place because of it. The challenge is how we, the leaders of today, guide them towards this achievement. Leadership is teachable, and learnable. There are many different paths.

My advice to aspiring leaders is to become familiar with the approaches, dive into them, and choose the path that best suits your personality and emotional make-up. A great place to start is Bob Seelert’s book Start With the Answer: Wisdom for Aspiring Leaders.

Image source: trustworks.com

Monday, June 29, 2015

Searching for Peter Drucker


I recently contributed a blog to the Drucker Society Europe, about what I learned and carried with me over the years from Peter Drucker, the man Business Week said “invented management.” As I explained in that article, I’ve been channeling from Drucker for 40 years, ever since I encountered his book The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done (1967) while working at Mary Quant’s fashion house in London. Drucker’s revelations about managerial philosophy became embedded in my own thinking and operating framework.

While Peter Drucker is well-known in certain academic circles and business press, he remains largely unfamiliar to a new generation of managers and business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. Peter Drucker’s management philosophy has not dated at all since it was first popularized in the 1960s—in fact, his work is more prescient and relevant today than ever. This is the man who phrased the term “knowledge worker”—and presaged how information would become the world’s greatest currency—in the 1960s.

It’s time to reinsert Drucker’s thoughtful, strategic, and profoundly humane voice into the present conversation about the workplace and executive leadership. I’d like to help by bringing attention to “The Global Peter Drucker Challenge” essay contest for students and professionals from the ages of 18 to 35. The theme of this year’s competition is “Managing Oneself in the Digital Age”; essays are asked to be between 1,500-3,000 words and the submissions deadline is July 15, 2015. Winners will receive free registration to the Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna this November (a $2,000 EURO value all-access pass, with a priceless opportunity to hobnob with some of the world’s top executives and business thought leaders) with first-prize winners in two categories also receiving $1,000 EURO prize money and a one-year subscription to the Harvard Business Review.

For the uninitiated, the world of Peter Drucker and his humanistic management philosophy is an inexhaustible treasure trove that awaits discovery.

Image attribute/source: Peter Drucker / buildingpharmabrands.com