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05.28.20

Leading Thoughts for May 28, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Chief Technology Officer at Better.com, Erik Bernhardsson on ruthless prioritization:

“What I have come to believe is that: prioritization is the most value creating activity in any company. Generating ideas and executing things is of course also important! But what I've seen to set apart great teams from good is a brutal focus on prioritization. This means generating an absurd amount of ideas and throwing 99% of them out of the window, to focus on the 1% that have the highest impact.”

Source: Never Attribute to Stupidity That Which Is Adequately Explained by Opportunity Cost

II.

Alex Kantrowitz on the burden of execution:

“Drowning in execution work, today’s companies devote themselves to refinement, not invention. Their leaders might desire to run inventive cultures, but they do not have the bandwidth. So they deliver a limited set of ideas from the top, and everyone else executes and polishes.”

Source: Always Day One

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:37 PM
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05.21.20

Leading Thoughts for May 21, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

The New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks, on educating yourself:

“The biggest way most colleges fail is this: They don’t plant the intellectual and moral seeds students are going to need later, when they get hit by the vicissitudes of life. If you didn’t study Jane Austen while you were here, you probably lack the capacity to think clearly about making a marriage decision. If you didn’t read George Eliot, then you missed a master class on how to judge people’s character. The wisdom of the ages is your inheritance; it can make your life easier.

My worry is that, especially now that you’re out of college, you won’t put enough really excellent stuff into your brain. I’m talking about what you might call the “theory of maximum taste.” This theory is based on the idea that exposure to genius has the power to expand your consciousness. If you spend a lot of time with genius, your mind will end up bigger and broader than if you spend your time only with run-of-the-mill stuff.

The theory of maximum taste says that each person’s mind is defined by its upper limit—the best that it habitually consumes and is capable of consuming.

In college, you get assigned hard things. You’re taught to look at paintings and think about science in challenging ways. After college, most of us resolve to keep doing this kind of thing, but we’re busy and our brains are tired at the end of the day. Months and years go by. We get caught up in stuff, settle for consuming Twitter and, frankly, journalism. Our maximum taste shrinks. Have you ever noticed that 70 percent of the people you know are more boring at 30 than they were at 20?”

Source: A Commencement Address Too Honest to Deliver in Person

II.

Management consultant and educator Gary Hamel, on seeing the future:

“Companies fail to create the future not because they fail to predict it but because they fail to imagine it. It is curiosity and creativity they lack, not perspicuity. So it is vitally important that you understand the distinction between “the future” and “the unimagined,” between knowing what’s next and imagining what’s next.”

Source: Leading the Revolution

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:57 PM
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05.14.20

Leading Thoughts for May 14, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Kevin Kelly, the founder of WIRED magazine, recently turned 68 and offered 68 lessons on life. Here are six:

“Learn how to learn from those you disagree with or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe.

Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love, keep asking them, “Is there more?” until there is no more.’

The purpose of a habit is to remove that action from self-negotiation. You no longer expend energy deciding whether to do it. You just do it. Good habits can range from telling the truth to flossing.

Separate the processes of creation from improving. You can’t write and edit, or sculpt and polish, or make and analyze at the same time. If you do, the editor stops the creator. While you invent, don’t select. While you sketch, don’t inspect. While you write the first draft, don’t reflect. At the start, the creator mind must be unleashed from judgment.

If you are not falling down occasionally, you are just coasting.

Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist, you don’t have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.”

Source: 68 Bit of Unsolicited Advice

II.

Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour on not comparing yourself:

“You are driven by your heart, you’re driven by your talent, and you’re driven by your instinct. And if you start to question and look at what people are doing to the left of you or to the right of you, you are going to lose that clarity of thought. Listen to the information. In the end it has to come from who you are. Own your decisions and own who you are but without apology.”

Source: Anna Wintour MasterClass: Anna Wintour Teaches Creativity and Leadership

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:15 AM
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05.07.20

Leading Thoughts for May 7, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Lance Secretan on doing the hard thing and playing to people’s strengths instead of complaining about their weaknesses:

“We cannot guide the brilliance of others by getting everyone to do something the same way; we guide the brilliance of others by playing to their strengths, teasing greatness from them by honoring their gifts, and making it as easy as possible for them to be brilliant at what they do. Sameness and conformity are easier to manage, but their price is mediocrity and demotivation. On the other hand, even though guiding brilliance sometimes feels like putting sock on an octopus, it is a gift to the soul—inspiration.”

Source: Inspire: What Great Leaders Do

II.

English journalist and author Clifford Longley on the purpose of life:

“Western civilization suffers from a strong sense of moral and spiritual exhaustion. Having constructed a society of unprecedented sophistication, convenience and prosperity, nobody can remember what it was supposed to be for. Just enjoying it does not seem to be enough. Indeed, enjoyment as an end in itself quickly turns to ashes in the mouth. Not only is it boringly bland, it is even more boringly purposeless. There is more to human life than comfort, entertainment, and the avoidance of suffering. Or there ought to be.”

Source: From the introduction to Faith in the Future by Jonathan Sacks

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:53 AM
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04.30.20

Leading Thoughts for April 30, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield on the power of knowing what could go wrong:

“In order to stay calm in a high-stress, high-stakes situation, all you really need is knowledge. … Feeling ready to do something doesn’t mean feeling certain you’ll succeed, though of course that’s what you’re hoping to do. Truly being ready means understanding what could go wrong—and having a plan to deal with it. … Being forced to confront the prospect of failure head-on—to study it, dissect it, tease apart all it’s components and consequences—really works. After a few years of doing that pretty much daily, you’ve forged the strongest possible armor to defend against fear: hard-one competence.”

Source: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

II.

Richard P. Feynman on leaving room for doubt so that the door is open to critical thinking and learning:

“A scientist is never certain. We all know that. We know that all our statements are approximate statements with different degrees of certainty; that when a statement is made, the question is not whether it is true or false but rather how likely it is to be true or false. … Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty -- some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.”

Source: The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:13 AM
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04.23.20

Leading Thoughts for April 23, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

John W. Gardner on dealing with the divisions in our society:

“No society can successfully resolve its internal conflicts if its only asset is cleverness in the management of these conflicts. It must also have compelling goals that are shared by the conflicting parties; and it must have a sense of movement toward these goals. All conflicting groups must have a vision that lifts their minds and spirits above the tensions of the moment.”

Source: Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too?

II.

In a tribute to John Foster Dulles who died on May 24, 1959, Walter Lippmann comments on the duty of public servants:

“Perhaps the highest function of a public servant in a free and democratic society is to preserve its oneness as a community while he fights the battle which divide it. John Foster Dulles never lost sight of that. He never forgot, as so many public men do, that after the issue which is up for debate is settled, those who took part in the debate must still live and work together. That is the reason way among his countrymen there is no rancor, and why the sorrow of his opponents and critics is genuine.”

Source: Dulles: A Tribute, Today and Tomorrow, May 26, 1959

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:22 AM
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04.16.20

Leading Thoughts for April 16, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Jack Trout on the simple approach to success:

“Trying harder, believing in yourself, walking on fire, and saying, ‘yes I can’ are not steps up the ladder of success. The surprising truth is that success does not spring from anything inside yourself at all. Success is something given to you by others.

When you focus on yourself, you haveonly one ticket on he race. By expanding your horizon to include others, you greatly incree the odds in your favor. In other words, success is finding a horse to ride. And you only find tha horse when you shrug off your preoccupation with your inner self—when you open your mind to the outside world, when you search for success outside of yourself. The good news is, success is all around you.”

Source: The Power of Simplicity by Jack Trout with Steve Rivkin

II.

Jack Welch on communicating simply:

“For a large organization to be effective, it must be simple. For a large organization to be simple, its people must have self-confidence and intellectual self-assurance. Insecure managers create complexity. Frightened, nervous managers use thick, convoluted planning books and busy slides filled with everything they’ve known since childhood. Real leaders don’t need clutter. People must have the self-confidence to be clear, precise, to be sure that every person in their organization—highest to lowest—understands what the business is trying to achieve. But it’s not easy. You can’t believe how hard it is for people to be simple, how much they fear being simple. They worry that if they’re simple, people will think they’re simpleminded. In reality, of course, it’s just the reverse. Clear, tough-minded people are the most simple.”

Source: Harvard Business Review: Speed, Simpicity, Self-Confidence: An Interview with Jack Welch

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:43 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

04.09.20

Leading Thoughts for April 9, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Management professor and social philosopher Charles Handy on the inevitability of paradox:

“We need a new way of thinking about our problems and our futures. My suggestion is the management of paradox, an idea which is itself a paradox, in that paradox can only be “managed” in the sense of coping with.

The more turbulent the times, the more complex the world, the more paradoxes there are. We can, and should, reduce the starkness of some of the contradictions, minimize the inconsistencies, understand the puzzles in the paradoxes, but we cannot make them disappear, or solve them completely, or escape from them. Paradox has to be accepted, coped with, and made sense of, in life, in work, in the community, and among nations.”

Source: The Age of Paradox

II.

John Silber, former President and Chancellor of Boston University, on the role of journalists:

“Like all of us, journalists are subject to the temptations of power. Power tends to corrupt them no less than it corrupts politicians. And as the fourth estate has become vastly more powerful through television, the journalists in the electronic media should be aware of their increasing vulnerability to corruption. Many journalists come to think of themselves not so much as objective reporters but as the loyal opposition. But this is not the proper function of reporters. The adversary relationship is not a relationship of objectivity. To be in opposition may be the duty of a politician or a party, but it is a violation of the responsibility of the journalist, which is to report on what happens as objectively and as dispassionately as possible.”

Source: Straight Shooting: What’s Wrong with America and How to Fix It

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:37 PM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

04.02.20

Leading Thoughts for April 2, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

A philosopher at Oxford University, Toby Ord explains the risks we are taking here on spaceship earth:

“We have done many things to exacerbate the risk: some that could make pandemics more likely to occur, and some that could increase their damage. Thus even “natural” pandemics should be seen as a partly anthropogenic risk. Our population now is a thousand times greater than over most of human history, so there are vastly more opportunities for new human diseases to originate. And our farming practices have created vast numbers of animals living in unhealthy conditions within close proximity to humans. This increases the risk, as many major diseases originate in animals before crossing over to humans. Examples include HIV (chimpanzees), Ebola (bats), SARS (probably bats) and influenza (usually pigs or birds). Evidence suggests that diseases are crossing over into human populations from animals at an increasing rate.

“Modern civilization may also make it much easier for a pandemic to spread. The higher density of people living together in cities increases the number of people each of us may infect. Rapid long-distance transport greatly increases the distance pathogens can spread, reducing the degrees of separation between any two people. Moreover, we are no longer divided into isolated populations as we were for most of the last 10,000 years. Together these effects suggest that we might expect more new pandemics, for them to spread more quickly, and to reach a higher percentage of the world’s people. ”

Source: The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity

II.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt on fear in a time of crisis:

“This great Nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

Source: Franklin Delano Roosevelt's First Inaugural Address on March 4, 1933

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:56 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

03.26.20

Leading Thoughts for March 26, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Bill Welter and Jean Egmon on the difficulty on truly seeing the world as it is:

“Paradigms are wonderful shortcuts as we think about the world, but they are deadly if they are not attuned with reality. All of us are bombarded with increasing waves of data and sensory inputs, and whether we realize it or not, we have become increasingly resistant. It’s not so much a case of having to pay attention to the news of the world as it is a case of knowing when to change our filters so that the important stuff comes in.”

Source: The Prepared Mind of a Leader: Eight Skills Leaders Use to Innovate, Make Decisions, and Solve Problems

II.

The American entrepreneur and investor Sam Altman on persistence and luck:

“A big secret is that you can bend the world to your will a surprising percentage of the time—most people don’t even try, and just accept that things are the way that they are. People have an enormous capacity to make things happen. A combination of self-doubt, giving up too early, and not pushing hard enough prevents most people from ever reaching anywhere near their potential.

“Ask for what you want. You usually won’t get it, and often the rejection will be painful. But when this works, it works surprisingly well. Almost always, the people who say “I am going to keep going until this works, and no matter what the challenges are I’m going to figure them out”, and mean it, go on to succeed. They are persistent long enough to give themselves a chance for luck to go their way.”

Source: How To Be Successful

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:19 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

03.19.20

Leading Thoughts for March 19, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Erik Larson commenting on Winston Churchill’s belief that leaders should make people feel “loftier, stronger, and, above all, more courageous:”

“Recognizing that confidence and fearlessness were attitudes that could be adopted and taught by example, Churchill issued a directive to all ministers to put on a strong positive front. ‘In these dark days the Prime minister would be grateful if all his colleagues in the Government, as well as high officials, would maintain a high moral in their circles; not minimizing the gravity of events, but showing confidence in our ability and inflexible resolve to continue the war till we have broken the will of the enemy to bring all Europe under his domination.’”

Source: The Splendid and the Vile

II.

Jared Diamond on dealing with a crisis:

“Typically when one is first plunged into a state of crisis, one feels overwhelmed by the sense that everything in one’s life has gone wrong. As long as one remains thus paralyzed, it’s difficult to make progress dealing with one thing at a time. Hence a therapist’s immediate goal in the first session—or else the first step if one is dealing with an acknowledgment crisis by oneself or with the help of friends—is to overcome that paralysis by means of what is termed ‘building a fence.’ That means identifying the specific things that really have gone wrong during the crisis, so that one can say, ‘Here, inside the fence, are the particular problems in my life, but everything else outside the fence is normal and OK.’ Often, a person in crisis feels relieved as soon as he or she starts to formulate the problem and to build a fence around it. The therapist can then help the client to explore alternative ways of coping with the specific problem inside the fence. The client thereby embarks on a process of selective change, which is possible, rather then remaining paralyzed by the seeming necessity of total change, which would be impossible.”

Source: Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:49 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

03.12.20

Leading Thoughts for March 12, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Erich Bühler on the persistence of old mental models:

“We generally stick to old mental models until new ways of thinking appear. During the change process, however, we tend to see the new only through the old lens. When the first motorized vehicles were built in the nineteenth century, cars looked more like carriages than automobiles. This was because people imagined them as an extension of horse-drawn transport. New ideas, concepts, and words were introduced, but old ways of thinking continued to be used to analyze and solve problems.”

Source: Leading Exponential Change: Go Beyond Agile and Scrum to Run Even Better Business Transformations

II.

Betsy Myers on leadership is self-knowledge:

“Leadership is self-knowledge. Successful leaders are those who are conscious about their behavior and he impact it has on the people around them. They are willing to examine what behaviors of their own may be getting in the way. Successful leaders understand that it we don’t lead consciously, it’s easy to repeat patterns that could be keeping us from achieving the results we are hoping for. The toughest person you will ever lead is yourself. We can’t effectively lead others unless we can lead ourselves.”

Source: Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:11 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

03.05.20

Leading Thoughts for March 5, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Robert E. Quinn on the connection between changing a system and understanding it:

“Kurt Lewin argued that we cannot really begin to understand a system until we try to change it. He understood that individual as well as collective scripts would stay hidden until the normal way that the organization operates is challenged. As soon as a change agent introduces a variation to that system, he or she will quickly learn about the scripts that are holding that system together. Once the scripts are brought to the light they tell us a lot about how that system handles variations.”

Source: Change the World: How Ordinary People Can Accomplish Extraordinary Results

II.

Change consultant David Jones on the challenges to expect when initiating change:

“Once you get past the novelty of a change, you’ll find that every system in your organization is set up to reject it. You’ve got to have the resolve, the courage, and the fortitude to see change through that part of the process, because it’s the most difficult part of the transition. You’ll only accomplish that if you’re able to successfully communicate why you’re changing, how it will be measured, why it is critical, and why people need to get on board and make it successful. It’s easy to get out of touch with the emotions of the people most affected by change.”

Source: Decade of Change: Managing in Times of Uncertainty

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:21 AM
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02.27.20

Leading Thoughts for February 27, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shares his love of learning:

“The one thing that I would say that defines me is I love to learn. I get excited about new things. I buy more books than I read or finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can actually finish. But the thing about being able to watch people do great things, learn new concepts, is something that truly excites me.”

Source: Steve Clayton, Microsoft’s chief storyteller, interviews CEO Satya Nadella. YouTube (4:44)

II.

Jon Gordon on leading with optimism, positivity, and belief:

“Ultimately, being a positive leader is all about leading with faith in a world filled with cynicism, negativity, and fear. We all face this battle between faith and fear. A leader’s job is to fill your people with faith. How we respond to our world depends on the stories we tell ourselves. When you face adversity you can tell a positive story and then work to create a positive outcome. It’s always your state of mind and your thinking that produces how you feel and respond. When you see that the world has no power over you, you will lead more powerfully in the world.”

Source: The Power of Positive Leadership

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:43 PM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

02.20.20

Leading Thoughts for February 20, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Porter Moser, head coach of the Loyola University Chicago men’s basketball team, on how to find success:

“How you think is how you feel, how you feel is how you act, and how you act is what defines you. I believe completely in the progression of these three statements. If you’re thinking good thoughts, you’re going to have a bounce in your step. You’re going to act in a certain way. Likewise, if you’re thinking negative thoughts, if you have a ‘poor me’ attitude, that’s how people will perceive you.”

Source: All In: Driven by Passion, Energy, and Purpose

II.

Jeffrey Hull on being a beta leader:

“Beta is a shift in mind-set from a goal-oriented, top-down figuration to a growth-oriented, process-based one. When we live in beta, we are in flux, always improving, and always aware of the need to disrupt the status quo. Beta means being comfortable in a state of constant growth, not aspiring so much to ascend the hierarchy and dominate from above, but to lead from anywhere, anytime.”

Source: Flex: The Art and Science of Leadership in a Changing World

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:48 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

02.13.20

Leading Thoughts for February 13, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Rachel Botsman discussing trust issues that revolve not just around trust and technology, but trust issues around size:

“I think so much of what we need in our lives are smaller systems, where you can really serve people’s best interests. I am a huge supporter of local news, I’m a huge supporter of community practices, all these things are very important touchpoints where people can say “that thing is really there for me” versus “this massive system in the world that I have no control of” which I think is really tied to the huge rise in anxiety that we’re seeing in the world today.”

Source: 6 Things 2020 Holds for Us According to An Expert

II.

Economist and professor John Kenneth Galbraith on how seemingly hopeless situations invite scoundrels who promise by magic to put everything right:

“Men who are desperate for a solution are easy to persuade because they wish desperately to be persuaded.”

Source: The Age of Uncertainty

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:10 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts

02.06.20

Leading Thoughts for February 6, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Samuel R. Chand, a leadership author and consultant, on disruption:

“A fighter pilot knows he's in the right spot when he's getting anti-aircraft fire. If you're not catching flack for your disruptive idea, you're not over your target yet. Keep flying.”

Source: New Thinking, New Future

II.

Michelle King in stressing that gender equality is not about fixing women, but fixing workplaces, says:

“Gender equality is not about raising women up at the expense of men. It is not about making men feel bad or listing all the ways than men need to change. Quite the contrary. It is about creating a workplace that values men and women equally and gives everyone the freedom to be themselves.”

Source: The Fix: Overcome the Invisible Barriers That Are Holding Women Back at Work

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:19 AM
| Comments (0) | Leading Thoughts



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