Archive for the 'JohnKnights' Category

Go East Young (Wo)Man – to India

I have just returned from Mumbai after an inspiring week meeting with senior business leaders at a conference on ‘Success through Corporate Sustainability’.

In contrast to the UK, Europe and the US, India is optimistic and there is a real buzz where their business people see a huge opportunity for growth. What is most noteworthy though amongst the business people I met is the importance they are putting on ‘the community’. They understand that sustainable growth in India depends on them sorting out the problems of the community where they are active.

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Values = Personal Conscience + Self Determination

Two insights came today while in Mumbai.

I was given a book by Anant Nadkarni (my friend from Tata who is VP for Group Corporate Sustainability) called ‘Power & Love’ by Adam Kahane and later he talked about ‘Integrity and Courage’ as someone’s definition of good leadership.

1st insight is described in the blog; Teachers vs Learners.

The 2nd insight was that these pairs of words offered by Anant fit like a glove with our Transpersonal Leadership definition of Values (as defined in our 8ICOL model) which are broken down into Personal Conscience and Self Determination. Love and Integrity fit into the Personal conscience space whereas Power and Courage are Self Determination characteristics.

So to describe a leader, you do need to have both elements: “Who I am” and “What I am going to do with it”.

John Knights

Teaching vs Learning – not necessarily connected

Two insights came today while in Mumbai.

I was given a book by Anant Nadkarni (my friend from Tata who is VP for Group Corporate Sustainability) called ‘Power & Love’ by Adam Kahane.

The first insight had no direct connection to the topic but was the tangential realisation when given the book that in the debate about enabling people to learn rather than just teaching (transferring knowledge), Teacher is the grammatical ‘subject’ whereas Learner is the ‘object’. We are familiar with the simple description that ‘Teachers teach students’ – basically they tell you stuff, but we have no equivalent concise phrase for who does what with Learners. ‘Enablers enable Learners’, maybe? It doesn’t exactly cascade off the tongue does it? ‘Enablers learn Learners’ would be a new way of saying it where the verb describes the object rather than the subject – if it didn’t sound so uneducated! You see, the ‘teachers’ have basically got it all sown up.

And that is a problem for those of us who believe enabling learners is the most effective way of educating, ie. ‘pull rather than push’. There seems to be no concise acceptable way to describe it. Any ideas?

John Knights

Celebrity Leadership – What do Steve Jobs, Martin Johnson and John Terry have in common?

Part 1: Steve Jobs
More Catch up in my hotel room in Mumbai – can’t sleep.
They all got to the top!! A basic problem is that we humans need very different behaviours, characteristics and conscience to have the talent to get to the top compared with being a great leader once at the top. And no theory has come close to working out how we get the right people to the top!
I don’t know Steve, Martin (England Rugby Team Manager) or John (England Football Captain) personally or their organisations intimately so my views are my intuition from which I will try to eliminate bias and prejudice.

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Rupert Murdoch & Grayson Perry’s Exhibition – a Transpersonal (beyond the ego) experience

Catch up in my hotel room in Mumbai.
As a result of the recent News of the World debacle, Bella (my wife) and I decided not to buy any publications from the Murdoch stall and agreed to stop buying The Sunday Times. I rationally excluded Sky TV from the debate on the basis Murdoch only owns a minority stake – and I love watching sport on the TV. Reasonable don’t you think? After all, his daughter does live near us – albeit separated by their 10 foot wall.

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Is it the end of Superhero Leaders? I do hope so!

The appointment of Meg Whitman as CEO of HP is amazing. She is the former CEO of eBay who then spent a $100m failing to become governor of California (interestingly campaigning shoulder to shoulder with a former CEO of HP – Carly Fiorina – going for the Senate). Whitman flagged badly as CEO of eBay as it became more mature – ie. more like HP! For its first 60 years, HP exemplified everything that is great about Silicon Valley but since 1999 the company has lost 6 CEOs. The problem seems to be that the board has tried to appoint super stars.

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The Fun Theory

The Fun Theory is a Volkswagen initiative dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.

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