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Finkelstein is one of the big names in management/leadership circles. He’s the director of Tuck’s Center for Leadership at Dartmouth College, and a consultant and speaker to senior executives around the globe. So when he speaks (or writes), it’s wise… Continue Reading →
Are you new to your job and feeling out of your depth and overwhelmed? If so, you probably have more to offer than you realize. In a rapidly changing world, being new, naïve, and even clueless can be an asset. According to author Liz Wiseman, the willingness to learn can be more valuable than mastery, and rookie smarts is often more beneficial to an organization than veteran comfort.
Wiseman doesn’t suggest that experience is a bad thing. Nobody wants their airline pilots, or their bridge builders, or their concert pianists to be rookies. But, while experience provides a distinct advantage in a stable field, it can actually impede progress in an unstable or rapidly evolving arena.
At social occasions I hear a similar complaint repeated over and over: “I’m too busy. I’ve got to find some way to cut down on some of my activities.” I recommend the new book Essentialism, by Greg McKeown, as a way to decide which activities to cut and which to keep.
According to McKeown, Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less. It’s about doing only what is essential so you can operate at your highest point of contribution.
by Alan Deutschman. (2010). New York: Portfolio/Penguin. 182 pages.
Reviewed by Diane Byington, Ph.D.
Deutschman starts out with a little-known story about Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1962, King was speaking at a gathering of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and, in the middle of his speech, a white man jumped on the stage and punched him in the face several times so hard that he staggered backward and spun half around. He managed to turn back to face his assailant and then he dropped his arms, refusing to defend himself. The man was pulled away, but King insisted on talking to him privately, and he refused to press charges. King’s speech at that meeting was on nonviolence, but his refusal to fight back inspired his followers far more than his eloquent words.
Deutschman’s proposition is that we need to see our leaders “walking the walk” as well as “talking the talk” if we are going to be willing to follow them through difficult circumstances. As a journalist, he has a suitcase full of stories about leaders who successfully walked the walk, and as a result made significant changes in their environments. The stories were fun, and included tales that ranged from Eleanor Roosevelt to Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and a host of others. Reading these stories was the best part of the book.