Each semester, when I introduce persuasion to my speech students, I show the excellent video The Business of Paradigms by Joel Barker. (Bob has an interview with Joel Barker on our blog here). It is a terrific video, capturing the challenge of “paradigm shifts.” Barker gives full credit to Thomas Kuhn and his seminal work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. At the end of the video, Mr. Barker shares the six lessons about paradigms:
1) Paradigms are common.
2) Paradigms are useful.
3) Don’t let your paradigm become the paradigm.
4) Outsiders bring new paradigms.
5) Shifting paradigms takes courage.
6) You can choose to change your paradigm.
Each time I watch it, I realize all over again that actually changing someone’s mind, attitude, or behavior — actually persuading someone– is a truly daunting task.
And of the six on his list, the one that I consider to be most important is this one: Outsiders are the key for a true paradigm shift. He demonstrates this in his video, and it boils down to this insight: it takes a true outsider to even ask the questions that need to be asked to bring about true change.
God save this country if that is truly the wave of the future. We will then have become a nation that makes nothing but hamburgers, creates nothing but lawyers, and sells nothing but tax shelters.
Andrew Jorgenson, fictional CEO of New England Wire and Cable, in the movie Other People’s Money (played by Gregory Peck) (a transcript of Jorgenson’s speech is here).
What do we make? This is not a small question. Our country has continued to move away from growing stuff, to making stuff, to now primarily trafficking in ideas. This is the premise of the new column by David Brooks, The Protocol Society.
In the 19th and 20th centuries we made stuff: corn and steel and trucks. Now, we make protocols: sets of instructions. A software program is a protocol for organizing information. A new drug is a protocol for organizing chemicals. Wal-Mart produces protocols for moving and marketing consumer goods. Even when you are buying a car, you are mostly paying for the knowledge embedded in its design, not the metal and glass.
Economic change is fomenting intellectual change. When the economy was about stuff, economics resembled physics. When it’s about ideas, economics comes to resemble psychology.
Brooks stated that these ideas were prompted by a new book entitled From Poverty to Prosperity, by Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz. This is just a short post to raise this question: what are the key ideas that drive your thoughts, your hours, and your economic engine?
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Women CEOs: Why So Few?
Herminia Ibarra and Morten T. Hansen
Editor’s note: Check out the Top 100 CEOs slideshow created by these authors, please visit http://hbr.org/web/extras/100ceos/1-jobs.
When we studied the leadership of 2,000 of the world’s top performing companies, we found only 29 (1.5%) of those CEOs were women, an even smaller percentage ime, presumably because long-term growth depends on deep industry- and firm-specific knowledge. Do top women have to go outside to move up? Our results suggest women are less likely to emerge as winners in their own companies’ internal CEO tournament.
is Remarkably, this paltry showing by females actually represents some progress. A decade ago only three women headed large public companies in the US; today 15 make the Fortune 500 list. With many of today’s female chief executives of public companies appointed only in the last few years, women have had little time to build their legacies. Of our list of 29, 19 of the women were appointed on or after 2002.
A common explanation for so few women reaching the top is the “glass cliff” theory, whereby women are more likely than men to be appointed to top jobs in poorly performing companies. This was not true in our data: women were no more likely than men to be named CEO in times of tumbling share prices. Moreover, the best performers in our study, male and female, were precisely those who took over troubled firms. Witness Kate Swann, who achieved an impressive turnaround of WH Smith by focusing the troubled bookseller on airport and railway stores.
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Ibarra is the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, Professor of Organizational Behavior, Faculty Director of the INSEAD Leadership Initiative and a member of the INSEAD Board. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University, where she was a National Science Fellow. Prior to joining INSEAD she served on the Harvard Business School faculty for thirteen years. She is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Councils and the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Business School. Hansen is Professor in Entrepreneurship at INSEAD and also at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to INSEAD, he was a professor at Harvard Business School, Harvard University, for a number of years. His new management book is Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results, published by Harvard Business Press.
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