Here are 3 books you can hear us present this week; Diane Ravitch; Joseph Michelli, Conant & Norgaard
This Friday (Aug. 5), 7:00 am, is the First Friday Book Synopsis. If you live in the DFW area, this provides a great opportunity for networking, with a terrific dose of content, quickly delivered…
Karl Krayer will present his synopsis of TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments (J-B Warren Bennis Series) by Douglas R Conant and Mette Norgaard.
I will present my synopsis of Prescription for Excellence: Leadership Lessons for Creating a World Class Customer Experience from UCLA Health System by Joseph Michelli.
Both of these will provide valuable content, with useful, transferable principles. Come join us!, Friday, 7:00 am. (We finish promptly by 8:05). At the Park City Club, near the Tollway and Northwest Highway, in University Park.
Click here to register.
On Thursday (Aug. 4), noon, I will present my synopsis of The Death and Life of the American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education, by Diane Ravitch.
This is an important book, dealing with a genuinely serious issue.
A graduate of Harvard College and Tulane School of Medicine, Edward M. (“Ned”) Hallowell is a child and adult psychiatrist and the founder of The Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health. He was a member of the faculty of the Harvard Medical School from 1983 to 2004. He is considered to be one of the foremost experts on the topic of ADHD. He is the co-author, with Dr. John Ratey, of Driven to Distraction and Answers to Distraction, which have sold more than a million copies. In 2005, Drs. Hallowell and Ratey released their much-awaited third book on ADHD, Delivered from Distraction. “Delivered” provides updated information on the treatment of ADHD and more on adult ADHD. In his most recent book, Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People book (2011), Hallowell draws on brain science, performance research, and his own experience helping people maximize their potential to present a proven process for getting the best from your people.
Here is a brief excerpt from my interview of him during which he shares his thoughts about how to achieve peak performance by completing what he calls the Cycle of Excellence: Select, Connect, Play, Grapple and Grow, and Shine.
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You brain does its best when it is doing a task it can do well. That’s basic brain science. Yet many people persist in the wrong job, trying year after year to get good at what they’re bad at or at what they dislike. Like marrying the wrong person, working in the wrong job is a prescription for a life of toil-and-groan. Put simply, select refers to matching a person with whatever and whoever is right for that person. It could be a job or an assignment, it could be a wife or a doubles partner in tennis. When selections are right, they make people shine because they’re happy, they feel fulfilled, and they are eager to do well.
On numerous occasions, Jack Welch observed that “getting the right people in the right jobs is a lot more important than developing strategy.” That’s what Jim Collins has in mind, in Good to Great, when he urges business leaders to get the wrong people off the bus and get the right people on the bus. Young people beginning a career need to realize that there are lots of “buses” in life. More often than not, selecting which one to be on determines success or failure, joy or despair.
Connection is the golden key to all that’s good in life. Disconnection leads to most of what’s bad in life. “Dr. Shine” [an elderly man s=who shines shoes at Boston's Logan Airport] intuitively knew this, and he dedicated his life to connecting with people, helping them to open up and get past fear. Fear shuts people down. When you feel safe, your brain is free to soar. When you feel in danger, your brain goes into survival mode, not peak performance mode. Too many people feel unsafe at work, under toxic pressures, and stretched too thin. They are literally about to snap. Within an atmosphere of trust and what I call connection, a supervisor can create conditions under which people’s brains can set aside fear and fly high.
By “play” I do not mean the traditional sense of play, what kids do at recess, goofing off. By play I refer to the highest activity of the human mind, any activity in which the imagination lights up and gets involved. This is what we humans can do so well and machines can’t at all. Doing exactly what they’re told, following human or electronic commands, is what machines do best. They can be valuable to our efforts but that as the standard of excellence for humans at work. We ought to do everything possible to get them fully and imaginatively engaged with whatever it is they are doing, just as I am engaged fully and imaginatively as I write these words. In a state of play, of imaginative engagement, people do their best, their most innovative work.
Here, again, the importance of select and connect are obvious. Supervisors must make the right choices and some of these choices will help people to connect with their work, yes, but also with each other and, most importantly, with what they really want to do, with what they enjoy doing most and (I’ll bet) with what they do best. Teresa Amabile expressed the best career advice during a commencement speech at Stanford about 15 years ago: “Love what you do and do what you love.”
Think about it. Some of the most closely connected people are those who play games together. The greatest teams (Walt Disney’s animators, John Wooden’s U.C.L.A. basketball teams, the Manhattan Project, Red Auerbach’s Celtics teams, Lockheed’s “Skunk Works”) possessed exceptional “chemistry” because they loved doing what they did together and could not do alone. They would later exclaim, “We had a ball!” I agree with Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, that play drives creativity. It creates a sense of joy and, in process, helps to generate some of our most creative ideas.
The website of McKinsey & Company’s McKinsey Quarterly continues to feature some of the most valuable material concerning major issues, such as job creation. In the article that follows (first published in February, 2010), James Manyika and Byron Auguste identify and then invalidate five myths about how to create jobs that continue to remain remarkably durable. I urge you to click here so that you can check out the wealth of resources at the Quarterly‘s website, sign up for email alerts, and obtain subscription information.
As you read the article, keep in mind what has — and hasn’t — happened since it was written. “Everything changes, nothing changes….”
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Source: McKinsey Global Institute
With unemployment hovering just below 10 percent, job creation is now priority number one in Washington. But America’s jobs challenge is a marathon, not a sprint.
[Here are the first two myths that Manyika and Auguste discuss. To read the complete article, please click here.]
With the unemployment rate in the United States lingering just below 10 percent and the midterm elections just nine months away, job creation has become the top priority in Washington. President Obama has called for transferring $30 billion in repaid bank bailout money to a small-business lending fund, saying, “Jobs will be our number one focus in 2010, and we’re going to start where most new jobs do: with small business.” The fund is among several measures—such as tax incentives, infrastructure projects, and efforts to increase exports—that the White House has proposed to help boost employment. As Americans consider the various approaches, we must have realistic expectations. We need to debunk some myths about what it takes to stimulate job growth.
1. Surely there’s a quick fix.
Oh, were that only the case. The scale of the challenge is enormous. Quick action is important, but remember that the US economy has lost more than 7 million jobs in the past two years. The country would need to create more than 200,000 net new jobs each month for the next seven years to get unemployment back to what was once considered a normal 5 percent. Quick fixes focused on 2010 alone won’t be enough.
Of course, the right mix of government policies can help. But even if Obama’s proposals were enacted right away and they accomplished all that he hopes, they would at best represent a good start. America’s jobs challenge is a multiyear marathon, not a sprint.
2. The key to boosting employment quickly is to help small businesses.
New jobs come from both small and big businesses. From 1987 through 2005, nearly a third of net new jobs were created by businesses that each employed more than 500 workers. By 2005, these big companies accounted for about half of the country’s total employment, although they made up less than 1 percent of all US firms.
But a look at the past two economic booms shows that the pace of job creation depends on more than the size of the businesses. During the economic expansion of the 1990s, large US multinational corporations—which employ an average of about 1,000 workers each in the United States—created jobs more rapidly than other companies. This was because they dominated computer and electronics manufacturing, the sector that drove much of that boom. During the more recent expansion of 2002–07, most of the net new jobs came from local service sectors, such as health care, construction, and real estate—which comprise both large and small businesses.
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James Manyika is the San Francisco–based director of the McKinsey Global Institute. Byron Auguste is a director in McKinsey’s Washington, DC, office. This article originally appeared in the Washington Post, on February 7, 2010. Regrettably, there has been little improvement of the job market since then.
For years, I have believed — and often referred to — what may well be a misconception that the Chinese character for ” crisis” has a dual meaning: “peril” and “opportunity.”
Here is an excerpt from an essay by Victor H. Mair, professor of Chinese language and literature at the University of Pennsylvania, with contributions from Denis Mair and Zhang Liqing. © Victor H. Mair. In it, Professor Mair discusses what he characterizes as “a widespread public misperception.”
To read the complete article, please click here.
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There is a widespread public misperception, particularly among the New Age sector, that the Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of elements that signify “danger” and “opportunity.” I first encountered this curious specimen of alleged oriental wisdom about ten years ago at an altitude of 35,000 feet sitting next to an American executive. He was intently studying a bound volume that had adopted this notorious formulation as the basic premise of its method for making increased profits even when the market is falling. At that moment, I didn’t have the heart to disappoint my gullible neighbor who was blissfully imbibing what he assumed were the gems of Far Eastern sagacity enshrined within the pages of his workbook. Now, however, the damage from this kind of pseudo-profundity has reached such gross proportions that I feel obliged, as a responsible Sinologist, to take counteraction.
A whole industry of pundits and therapists has grown up around this one grossly inaccurate statement. A casual search of the Web turns up more than a million references to this spurious proverb. It appears, often complete with Chinese characters, on the covers of books, on advertisements for seminars, on expensive courses for “thinking outside of the box,” and practically everywhere one turns in the world of quick-buck business, pop psychology, and orientalist hocus-pocus. This catchy expression (Crisis = Danger + Opportunity) has rapidly become nearly as ubiquitous as The Tao of Pooh and Sun Zi’s Art of War for the Board/Bed/Bath/Whichever Room.
The explication of the Chinese word for crisis as made up of two components signifying danger and opportunity is due partly to wishful thinking, but mainly to a fundamental misunderstanding about how terms are formed in Mandarin and other Sinitic languages. For example, one of the most popular websites centered on this mistaken notion about the Chinese word for crisis explains: “The top part of the Chinese Ideogram for ‘Crisis’ is the symbol for ‘Danger’: The bottom symbol represents ‘Opportunity’.” Among the most egregious of the radical errors in this statement is the use of the exotic term “Ideogram” to refer to Chinese characters. Linguists and writing theorists avoid “ideogram” as a descriptive referent for hanzi (Mandarin) / kanji (Japanese) / hanja (Korean) because only an exceedingly small proportion of them actually convey ideas directly through their shapes. (For similar reasons, the same caveat holds for another frequently encountered label, pictogram.) It is far better to refer to the hanzi / kanji / hanja as logographs, sinographs, hanograms, tetragraphs (from their square shapes [i.e., as fangkuaizi]), morphosyllabographs, etc., or — since most of those renditions may strike the average reader as unduly arcane or clunky — simply as characters.
The second misconception in this formulation is that the author seems to take the Chinese word for crisis as a single graph, referring to it as “the Chinese Ideogram for ‘crisis’.” Like most Mandarin words, that for “crisis” (wēijī) consists of two syllables that are written with two separate characters, wēi (危) and jī (機/机).
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Victor H. Mair is Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, at the University of Pennsylvania. Denis Mair and Zhang Liqing contributed to this article and Professor Mair also acknowledges his gratitude to Don Ringe and Ralph Rosen. This article was last revised September 2009.