Cheryl: On August 12, 2009, over 90 women and men attended the inaugural event of Take Your Brain to Lunch focusing on women’s business topics. We were honored by the positive and insightful survey results at the conclusion of the event and will host these every other month starting in January 2010.
Today we announced our second event in 2009 where we will review 2 relevant business books on the consuming theme of work/life balance. This program is open to everyone, not just women. We will continue to focus on the topics which seem top of mind for today’s women; so guys, come on over and hang out with us to learn the inside scoop! On November 11, 2009 Randy Mayeux will deliver 2 books synopsis over lunch at the Park City Club, Dallas TX. The books are The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz and Getting Things Done: The Art of Stressfree Productivity by David Allen.
While I haven’t read David Allen’s book, I read The Power of Full Engagement a few years ago and have frequently recommended it to coaching clients. When I read books, I use a yellow highlighter. On page 5, I found “To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.” You can tell I was hooked right from the beginning; this truly resonated with my own experience. When I’ve found myself “in the zone” so to speak, these characteristics have been present in spades. Perhaps my favorite toward the end of the book is “When we have blind spots, we can blind side others without even being aware that we are doing so.” How true this has been when I was open to feedback regarding my blind spots, ouch! I loved the stories of “corporate athletes” and found much of the advice regarding changes simple, straight forward, and common sense; and of course, challenging! Simple does not mean easy. Come join us for lunch on Wednesday, November 11 to hear the wisdom in this book along with what Randy will share from Getting Things Done. Networking, good books, dialogue with smart professionals, and lunch, YUM!
Sara is taking some well deserved vacation this week. She will be at Take Your Brain to Lunch!
Click here to register for the November 11 event.
The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking
Harvard Business School Press (2007)
As I began to read this brilliant book, I was reminded of what Doris Kearns reveals about Abraham Lincoln in Team of Rivals. Specifically, that following his election as President in 1860, Lincoln assembled a cabinet whose members included several of his strongest political opponents: Edwin M. Stanton as Secretary of War (who had called Lincoln a “long armed Ape”), William H. Seward as Secretary of State (who was preparing his acceptance speech when Lincoln was nominated), Salmon P. Chase as Secretary of the Treasury (who considered Lincoln in all respects his inferior), and Edward Bates as Attorney General who viewed Lincoln as a well-meaning but incompetent administrator but later described him as “very near being a perfect man.”
The great leaders whom Martin discusses (e.g. Martha Graham, George F. Kennan, Isadore Sharp, A.G. Lafley, Lee-Chin, and Bob Young) developed a capacity to consider what Thomas C. Chamberlain characterizes as “multiple working hypotheses” when required to make especially complicated decisions. Like Lincoln, they did not merely tolerate contradictory points of view, they encouraged them. Only in this way could they and their associates “face constructively the tension of opposing ideas and, instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generate a creative resolution of the tension [whatever its causes may be] in the form of a new idea that contains elements of the opposing ideas but is superior to each.”
This process of consideration is based on a quite different model than the more commonly employed scientific method based on, as Martin explains, the working hypothesis that is used “to test the validity of a single explanatory concept through trial and error and experimentation.” He rigorously examines the process of integrative thinking in terms of four constituent parts: salience, causality, architecture, and resolution. He devotes a separate chapter to each, citing dozens of real-world examples, and then (in Chapter 5), he introduces a framework within which his reader can also develop integrative thinking capacity.
This is a blog primarily focused on business books. And one of the biggest best selling books of the last couple of years is Thomas Friedman’s Hot Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How it Can Renew America. In it, he argues – he is convinced! – that we need a lot, a whole lot, of new green jobs to jumpstart this stalled economy. Here’s an oft-repeated quote from the book:
Green is the new red, white, and blue because it is a strategy that can help to ease global warming, biodiversity loss, energy poverty, petrodictatorship, and energy supply shortages – and make America stronger at the same time. We solve our own problems by helping the world solve its problems. We help the world solve its problems by solving our own problems.
If climate change is a hoax, it is the most wonderful hoax ever perpetrated on the United States of America. Because transforming our economy to clean power and energy efficiency to mitigate global warming and the other challenges of the Energy-Climate Era is the equivalent of training for the Olympic triathlon: If you make it to the Olympics, you have a better chance of winning because you’ve developed every muscle. If you don’t make it to the Olympics, you’re still healthier, stronger, fitter, and more likely to live longer and win every other race in life. And as with the triathlon, you don’t just improve one muscle or skill, but many, which become mutually reinforcing and improve the health of your whole system.
Van Jones, the now former (and very controversial) former Obama green “expert,” described it this way in his book The Green Collar Economy — How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems:
When you think about the emerging green economy, don’t think of George Jetson with a jet pack. Think of Joe Sixpack with a hard hat and lunch bucket, sleeves rolled up, going off to fix America. Think of Rosie the Riveter, manufacturing parts of hybrid buses or wind turbines. Those images will represent the true face of a green-collar America.
From new transit spending and energy audits in inner cities to windmills and biomass operations in our nation’s heartland, green jobs mean a reinvestment in the communities hardest hit in recent decades.
Now comes the argument that there will simply never be enough green collar jobs to truly revitalize the jobs market. Andrew Sullivan blogged about it here in his post Are Green Jobs A Myth?, with a number of links to other articles in his post. (check them out). According to Kevin Hassett’s Hand Over Your Job If You Want to Dream in Green:
The president has promised to create 5 million green jobs. If he succeeds, then it will cost 11 million jobs in other sectors, and the medium-term increase in unemployment will be 6 million jobs.To put that in perspective, the number of unemployed Americans has increased in the past two years by 7.6 million. Creating 5 million green jobs would do almost the same amount of net harm.
The Economist runs a partial response here.
Here’s my two cents worth: I don’t know if the new green collar jobs will provide enough work to revitalize our economy or not. But I remember how much I liked the David Halberstam edited collection of essays: Defining A Nation: The Remarkable Circumstances that Shaped the American Character. It trumpeted the hard work done by this great country of ours, seen in many projects and accomplishments: we built an Interstate Highway system, a car culture, a media golden age. (Look carefully at the picture on the cover — the Statue of Liberty in the back of a pick up truck on some dusty road — spreading across America. Great image!) Some of those projects provided jobs for very many Americans. But today, we simply do not have any Interstate Highway Systems left to build. (And if we did, with modern building machinery and technology, it would provide far fewer jobs). The new projects are going to have to be something – new. Will green jobs provide such a massive infusion of new jobs? I don’t know.
And I do think we are in for a rough time for a while. (See my post about a slip down Maslow’s hierarchy). But underneath it all, as I reflect on Halberstam’s collection of success stories, the more convinced I am that we will build/discover/grow our way out of the current seemingly dire circumstances. Green collar jobs may be part of the solution. And if they do not provide enough, then we will have to find something else. And we will — we always have.