Just received from a friend in London.
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Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
• Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
• Why the early bird gets the worm;
• Life isn’t always fair;
• Maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn), and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers:
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I’m A Victim
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
If you still remember him, please do so fondly.
In this series, Bob Morris poses a key question and then responds to it with material from one or more of the business books he has reviewed for Amazon and Borders.
There are so many reasons. Here are three:
1. Common sense. Many business thinkers seem most comfortable developing theories and hypotheses. Although Charan earned an MBA and doctorate degrees at Harvard, he is a world-class pragmatist who focuses on real people in real-world situations. Make no mistake: he fully understands the “what” of major business issues; his much greater interest is on how to respond to them effectively. That is perhaps most obvious in three of his 12 books: Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done co-authored with Larry Bossidy, Confronting Reality: Doing What Matters to Get Things Right, and Know-How: The 8 Skills That Separate People Who Perform from Those Who Don’t.
2. Global Perspective. Born Ramcharan in 1939 in Uttar Pradesh, India, Charan worked in his family’s shoe shop in northern India while growing up. He earned a degree in engineering from Banaras Hindu University, then relocated to the United States to continue his formal education at Harvard. His consulting assignments take him all over the world. He seems to be “at home” almost anywhere, someone such as Benjamin Franklin whom the Europeans viewed as a “citizen of the world.” His most recently published book is Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty: The New Rules for Getting the Right Things Done in Difficult Times.
3. Wisdom and humility. His plainspoken, Socratic approach helps to demolish organizational silos or persuade entrenched executives to change their points of view. All of his business comes by word-of-mouth referrals, usually from one CEO to another. “He is an Indian guru who found that consulting was his life’s calling,” according to Noel Tichy who has worked with Charan for more than 25 years. His counsel and books are all about the companies and people that he is so determined to help, not about himself. Jack Welch speaks to this point when noting, “He has this rare ability to distill meaningful from meaningless and transfer it to others in a quiet, effective way without destroying confidences.” After Jeffrey Immelt succeeded Welch as CEO of General Electric, the first outside person he turned to for advice was Charan.
Comments, questions, requests, or suggestions? Please share them. They will be most welcome and I thank you for them. Best regards, Bob