One to Many, Many to One

” I remember reading about Emerson having a lazy-susan sort of desk built for himself onto which he kept his several on-going projects going, a desk he could swirl around before him as he wished to work on different pieces of writing. I thought that was funny. But I guess that’s no different than any of us having several files available to us to open or close at will.” – Dara Wier, Interview

To let your imagination work, expand the hidden and see what it would like if everything were called. Translate an image of one world to another.

wiki says codes can be used for brevity. Elaborate the code. In software and programming, we use input cases to understand the code. We live in a brief world. Dara Wier expands a not so showery day as..

 

white blossoms 

that lead to nowhere

and nothing.

Half the sidewalks

still wet

with what had been

pitiful spring showers.

The other half

not hot enough 

to steam”

In hardware language, you have to define all the cases. Dara Wier’s poetry is so too with language for every case.

Continuing on

Some areas hazed pink with wilting petals.

Some petals stuck on crosswalks.

Some footprints evaporating

in the dead center 

of spring on this spring

afternoon..

Here the first three lines have been shortened to a line from two for emphasis on the some (something).

At first the focus is on the area with petals and then its on the petals on the area.

This switching viewpoint is a great tool for creativity.

some footprints evaporating.. there were people or living beings and the sun is…

 

 

 

 

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Thinking Creatively

Whats a bicycle or two-halves of bicycle got to do with it?

I was at target yesterday and looked at these halves not in continuity but as its own self.

It can be unsettling at first, but slice and dice the images you see as one whole and let auto pilot run the recognizing things.

Half white bicycle connected to plumbing reminded me of the above bicycle half book ends.

More importantly instead of looking at a thing and relegating it to ‘ya I know, its a bicycle’, each time you see a familiar thing, think of an unfamiliar use for it. This is similar to the divergent thinking taught in many creative writing classes.

Be it the paper clip activity by Tina Seelig or think of as many uses for a pair of coins and other choices by in Creative problem solving Course in Coursera.

 

How good organizations do it..

In my previous statement on leadership, I emphasized on the role of decision making in effective leadership.

Sample too emphasizes decision making and techniques – thinking gray, thinking free, artful listening, delegating authority while retaining ultimate responsibility, artful procrastination for effective leaders.

The most important thing that I have learned about leadership in this course is how to enhance the decision-making skills and the relationship building and how a leader manages to influence many people. “The key contribution of the supertexts is not a set of timeless truths about leadership, but rather some timeless truths about human nature”. The language of these texts has a high probability of resonating with the leaders (Sample 2002). A leader should not engage in two-front war over who has the authority to decide and what the decision should be. By not taking sides, too quickly, a leader can be trusted by all.

A truly effective leader, however, needs to be able to see the shades of gray inherent in a situation to make wise decisions as to how to proceed (Sample 2002). Sample’s thinking gray calls for being open and flexible. To keep things under control, a leader should use the rubric of “open communication with structured decision making” (Sample 2002). A decision tree is a good way to envisage different scenarios that might arise. One will waste many opportunities, if all lessons are to be learned through experience. “A leader must be able to accurately play out contingencies within the arena of his imagination” (Sample 2002).

As you move from an individual contributor role to a manager role, one of the key skills to be a good manager is delegation. Delegation allows managers to get more work done (Suttle). While delegation for managers involves delegating tasks, for a leader, delegation involves delegating decisions. Sample argues for delegating decisions and to never decide yourself what can reasonably be delegated to a lieutenant (Sample 2002).

“For the clear majority of us who aspire to excellence in leadership, artful listening isn’t just an asset – it’s a necessity (Sample 2002)”. Through Toastmasters, I learned of the importance of listening skills, but Sample with his Listening gray brings out the importance of it for becoming an excellent leader.

A leader need not be an expert to run an organization effectively. A leader must be a deep generalist (Sample 2002). “A leader brings a group of people together who share a common goal, but who have widely varying opinions as to how the goal might best be achieved” (Sample 2002). A leader provides a haven for all variety of thoughts and opinions and builds a consensus among all, to move in one direction. Working with input from employees, one can learn to be a better leader (Colin 2012). Sample and Powell have shown that the leader must grow too.  “The challenge for the leader is to find ways to bring out the best in his followers (and in himself) while minimizing the worst” (Sample 2002).

If there is too much hierarchy, a leader’s vision or message will not reach the follower as intended. “Where should the commander be on the battlefield?  Where he can exercise the greatest influence and be close to the point of decision” (Colin 2012). A leader should be constantly in touch with the followers to understand their needs.

Before the course I looked at a leader from a follower’s point of how a leader brings out the best of the followers. “They want to be the best they can be; a good leader lets them know it when they are” (Colin 2012). With feedback, constructive criticism and encouragement, a leader can engage followers. A leader has a chance to connect to the followers with an agenda bigger than daily tasks, quarterly goals or good annual performance appraisals. James O Toole believed that Leadership is about ideas and values (Sample 2002). A leader can share beliefs and values of self and organization with the followers and inspire them through the ideals or universal emotions.

“Kindness connects you with other human beings in a bond of mutual respect. They will accomplish whatever you have put in front of them” (Colin 2012). By caring for the followers, a leader gets more from the followers without asking. When each follower feels a bigger than themselves unity towards a team, they take responsibility and ownership of their duties and purpose.

“All followers need to feel they belong to a team, a tribe, a band” (Colin 2012). As a tribe, followers are likely to become resilient teams (Comaford 2018). When people have a sense of belonging to a team or tribe, they have harmonious thoughts and work towards better outcomes.

“Effective leaders are able to create, manipulate and exemplify not only stories but symbols, slogans and mantras as well” (Sample 2002). Slogans and mantras are good call to actions and work well in maintaining the integrity of the message when it has to go through many channels and reach many people.

“Leaders don’t really run organizations. Rather, leaders lead individual followers, who collectively give motion and substance to the organization of which the leader is the head” (Sample 2002). This is the Holy Grail I have been looking for. For years, I have been interested in learning how organizations perform well. I should have been looking for the leaders who make it possible.

References

Powell Colin, 2012, It worked for me in Life and Leadership

Sample Steven, 2002, The Contrarian’s guide to Leadership

Comaford Cristine, 2018, Power Your Tribe: Create Resilient Teams in Turbulent Times

From Purpose to Impact

You have found your purpose . How do you translate that to Impact ?

Prompts from the HBR article ‘From Purpose to Impact’

  • What did you especially love doing when you were a child, before the world told you what you should or shouldn’t like or do? Describe a moment and how it made you feel.
  • Tell us about two of your most challenging life experiences. How have they shaped you?
  • What do you enjoy doing in your life now that helps you sing your song?

How to find Purpose?

Recently in a Toastmasters meeting, I was introduced to the concept of reason for being, Ikigai.

I want to compare Ikigai to 5 Questions to help your employees find their inner purpose.

What are you good at is common in both.

What you love of Ikigai is the What do you enjoy at work.

What the world needs of Ikigai is the What feels most useful at work, where the world is the company and it feeling useful to you already factors in that you love doing what you picked.

What you can be paid for of Ikigai is already taken care of in a company setting, when you are the employee of that company.

What creates a sense of forward momentum asks for a long term planning for your career in the office setting, but future in general.

How do you relate to others is to imagine your world both work and beyond.

The infographic in the Ikigai article shows passion, mission, profession and vocation as the intersections of different Venn diagrams of the above concept.

Now you are armed with taking your purpose of being beyond your work into all facets of your life and the world. You can move on to making an impact.

You can use the above framework to find what skills to work on next.

If you have more clarity on your values, you can use values to show the path to purpose.

 

 

 

 

The prime of miss jean brodie

Movie script

“Goodness, Truth and Beauty come first.”

Come Autumn  from Robert Burns poem.

Mercat cross

Not talking the walk

“It is well when in difficulties to say never a word… neither black nor white.

But you did, Miss Brodie. You were in difficulty, and you made up about Flodden.

Sandy, please try to do as I say and not as I do.”

Leadership in Confucianism & Daoism

Paper, ink, gunpowder and so on goes the list of gifts of Chinese civilization to the world. Chinese civilization was the guiding spirit of a very large section of humanity, giving it its writing, its technology, its conceptions of man and of the world, its religions and its political institutions (Gernet, 1996).

Traditionalism of Confucius and the nihilism of Chuang-Tzu (Waley, 1918) have played a great part in shaping the Chinese culture. “There will be discovered to be some natures who ought to study philosophy and to be leaders in the State; and others who are not born to be philosophers and are meant to be followers rather than leaders “(Plato, Republic Book V). Western Culture reserved philosophy for the ideal ruler while the Confucian and The way were for everyone both the leaders and the followers. This unity in thought and guiding principles builds a consensus and harmony which are very conducive to team work and the synergy effect of people working together for common goals.

Long term stability of Chinese civilization has been achieved with the Centeredness concept of Daoism and the virtues of Confucianism. “Confucianism emphasizes ren (benevolence or humaneness) as the primary principle governing leadership. The practice of the(se) virtues and the governance and leadership developed from them aim at achieving harmonious relations and organizational stability” (Gupta & Van Wart, 2015).

The yin-yang concept present in Confucianism and Daoism also can be seen in the creation of Daoism itself. “The word Tao in the Analects means one thing only, the Way of the ancients as it could be reconstructed from the stories told about the founders of the Chou dynasty and the demi-gods who had preceded them “(Waley, 1992). Confucius inculcated the duty of public service. Those to whom this duty was repulsive found support in Taoism, a system which denied this obligation (Waley, 1918).

“It occurred to the intellectuals of China that they would be happier growing vegetables in their gardens than place-hunting at Nanking. They embraced the theory that “by bringing himself into harmony with Nature” man can escape every evil.

They reduced to the simplest standard their houses, apparel, and food; and discarded the load of book-learning which Confucianism imposed on its adherents.” – Arthur Waley, A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems.

Daoism provides a way out for those who do not believe in Confucianism. This is a good transition from the world of rulers to the rulers of the self. A self that is in harmony with the nature. A self that brings out the best of the human nature.

When people are meted out treatment like they expect, then the state of harmony of Daoism continues. “Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no feelings of opposition to you, whether it is the affairs of a State that you are handling or the affairs of a Family” (Waley, 1992).

Western civilization prefers questioning to achieve agreement, while the Eastern begins with agreement. “To most Europeans the momentary flash of Athenian questioning will seem worth more than all the centuries of Chinese assent” (Waley, 1918). Confucianism has the heavy air of learning and self-reflection while the Daoism shows the way of living harmoniously. By having a path for everyone either as a being philosopher or a doing philosopher, philosophy is implemented irrespective of the ruler. With a common philosophy for all, Chinese civilization made all its citizens, self-leaders. The Daoism concept of Empowering the followers is now seen as a great way to engage the employees in the company. Empowering leadership is relatively new, and stresses delegation of responsibility to subordinates (Mills 2005).

See-saw and Turnstile door. Western civilization has a see-saw approach to leadership where one goes up as a prominent leader and brings others down in state of stability, while the yin-yang concept of Chinese civilization acts a turnstile door, where The Two Goats of Aesop’s Fable will have to keep their egos in check, yield and let the other use the door and thereby get to his destination safely.

References

Waley Arthur, 1992, The Analects of Confucius

Waley Arthur, 1918, A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/42290/42290-h/42290-h.htm

Gupta Vipin, Van Wart Montgomery, 2015, Leadership across the globe

Gernet Jacques, 1992, A History of Chinese Civilization.

Aesop’s Fable, The Two Goats, http://www.first-school.ws/theme/fables/two-goats.htm

Mills Quinn, 2005, Asian and American Leadership Styles: How Are They Unique?

https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/asian-and-american-leadership-styles-how-are-they-unique