This is an article by Umair Haque from Harvard Business Review worth reading. Exerpt:
The most disruptive, unforeseen, and just plain awesome breakthroughs, that reimagine, reinvent, and reconceive a product, a company, a market, an industry, or perhaps even an entire economy rarely come from the single-minded pursuit of the busier and busier busywork of “business.” Rather, in the outperformers that I’ve spent time with and studied, breakthroughs demand (loosely) systematic, structured periods for reflection – to ruminate on, synthesize, and integrate fragments of questions, answers, and thoughts about what’s not good enough, what’s just plain awful, and how it could be made radically better.
The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. Author Oliver Burkeman argues that we’ve created a culture crippled by the fear of failure, and that the most important thing we can do to enhance our psychoemotional wellbeing is to embrace uncertainty.
Last night I watched two exciting orchestras in an awesome playoff at the Melbourne Town Hall MSO 2102 Season. One was, of course, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted, for the first time, by Sir Andrew Davis. The other orchestra was the Melbourne Grand Organ, the largest in the southern hemisphere, played by the freaky genius, Cameron Carpenter, who’s been called a ‘Mozart’. Wow!
They played together a thrilling and overpowering concerto by Poulenc. One orchestra was played by 100 of Melbourne’s most gifted musicians. The other orchestra was played by one young American organist.
Guess which orchestra kicked the other orchestra’s ass?Â A-mazing!!
These sayings represent his 40 years of international experience in the field of cognitive science and his personal philosophy and attitudes towards thinking, innovation, change, risk-taking and the development of intellectual capital across the business enterprise …
I often ask business leaders, “Why did you lose sleep last night?”. They reply that they worry about everything from “meeting quarterly targets” to “retaining good people” but there is a much bigger problem behind all of these. It’s the quality of the THINKING across their enterprise!
The most productive thing that any business leader can do is to ensure that all employees on the payroll are skilled thinkers about better ways to do their job.
Since Darwin explained the reasons 150 years ago, we know that it’s not the strongest or the largest that survive but it’s those best prepared to cope with change. Because business is about survival it must be about change. Because business is also about growth it must also be about continuous change.
Google searches for the keyword “downturn” have quintupled and 2009 will be a world of tight budgets. Two of the biggest costs will be: payroll + marketing. So, two of the biggest returns will need to be: 1. return on payroll, and 2. return on marketing. In 2009/10, to survive brutal economic conditions and grow their business, senior management will be focusing on payroll optimisation and marketing optimisation.
What are your strengths? Take some time to explore your strengths and what you can do to build on them.
The thousands of knowledge-workers already on the payroll represent the greatest asset of the enterprise, it’s intellectual capital. When the doors close these assets go home. They return the next day to open the doors and do the company’s business. Every day, their most valuable output across the enterprise is: decisions.
Each one of these decisions has consequences which directly impact on the bottom-line. Each decision either costs the company a dollar or makes the company a dollar.
On a postcard or deluxe writing paper (not email), write a short personal note of encouragement (around 10 to 100 words) to someone who sees you as their leader. Your note will make a big and instant difference.
When it comes to the productivity of an enterprise, two heads are better than one. That means communicating and collaborating on the internet via emailing, blogging, peer2peer sharing, googling and the clever use of tools like Wikipedia, Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, Twitter, Linkedin and Second Life.
The clever company must have a sense of humour. It must have a culture that encourages surprise, experimentation, risk-taking, mistakes, learning and the never-ending quest for quality.
Quality is better. Quality is improvement. Quality is excellence. The habit of quality is the habit of searching for a better way, a better possibility, a better view, a better choice, a better alternative, a better outcome, a better attitude, a better opinion, a better life. It’s also fun to do.
In life there are two kinds of theories and two ways to accept them. One kind of theory is supported by evidence and can be accepted through observation. The other kind is not supported by evidence and must be accepted on faith. The traditional theory of selling (which I have called ‘oldsell’) is based on a long-held fundamental belief about selling/marketing that is unsupported by evidence. It can be summed up in one simple sentence: The salesperson closes the sale.
There is no evidence to support this theory so it is accepted on faith and taught to young salespeople in Australia, the US and many other countries around the world.
For 30 years I have been spreading what I call the ‘newsell’ option. Newsell is an alternative theory of selling/marketing that can be measured so it can be accepted by observation.
Newsell works on the following premise: The customer closes the sale.
What today we can call “English Thinking” has really evolved over the past 2500 years.
Starting from the Greeks on to the Roman Empire and the Roman Church through The Enlightenment/Scientific Method/Darwinian Evolution, and then on to World War II, with the rise of cognitive machines and the world wired web of the internet.
In tough economic times, our exploratory science programs — from space probes to the LHC — are first to suffer budget cuts. Brian Cox explains how curiosity-driven science pays for itself, powering innovation and a profound appreciation of our existence.