Monday, January 11, 2021

What is Courage & What’s It Mean for Strategy?

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Strategy entails answering two questions: 1) Where are we going?, and 2) How are we going to get there?

Last time I talked about how we might create a pull for achievement, and thereby transcend the limitations of the carrot & stick.

Today I’d like to talk about how we stay the course. Achievement is hard, achievement hurts. How do we sustain our drive in the face of hurtles, hassles and hammerheads?

The ancients defined Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Temperance, Justice and Courage.


Courage is the most admired, and rightly so. (Marcus Aurelius called in Fortitude). Breakthrough – transcendent, enduring achievement – requires all the Cardinal Virtues, and courage most of all. In fact, Courage makes the other virtues possible.

So what is Courage? It is not fearlessness. Courage is the capacity to overcome fear.

Courage, like True North, entails head and heart. [Getting the Right Things Done]

Courage without the head is simply foolhardiness. Courage means you understand the risks, and do it anyway.

Is courage a virtue under any circumstance? I'd say not. Is a courageous terrorist admirable?

Courage is only admirable when exercised in the service of others, of the greater good, of True North.

So what does this all mean for the practicing manager? Define & communicate Purpose clearly. Seek to develop Courage in yourself and your team.

Courage is our fuel. Understand that achievement hurts, and that you will fall down many times.

‘Fall down seven times, get up eight times…’

Best regards,

Pascal




In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

"How Will You Motivate Your Team, Pascal-san?"
What is a Good Life?
To Learn Corporate Strategy, Study the Military Masters
Why is laughter important in business?

Monday, December 28, 2020

"How Will You Motivate Your Team, Pascal-san?"

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

An elderly Japanese asked me this question a long time ago and it has stayed with me. How, indeed, do we motivate people to do extraordinary things?

There are many schools of thought. The carrot & stick is perhaps the oldest. "Do as I say or I'll do bad things to you!" There's no denying it works – to a point.

But the carrot & stick is a classic ‘push’ system. Is there any pull? Does it motivate creative work, breakthrough work?

Did Steve Jobs motivate his designers to want to create the IPod, IPhone, IPad by threatening them continually? No doubt there was an element of fear. "Don’t want Steve hollering at me again!"

But there was much more. Transcendent achievement requires connection to a deeper purpose – to a ‘Noble Goal’.

Jobs' celebrated hoshin (motto) is a good example. Let's put a ding in the universe.

Subtext: Let’s kick butt & take names! Let’s shoot the moon! Let’s give it everything we’ve got! And why? Because we’re human & we only live once. So let’s let the universe know we were here, that we lived to the fullest and left our mark.

Despite his idiosyncrasies, Jobs touched the heart. His 2005 Stanford commencement speech gets me every time.

‘Something for the head, something for the heart’, I’ve suggested Getting the Right Things Done.

And so, to motivate a team to strive for the transcendent, define and commit to a Noble Goal. Our hoshin here at Lean Pathways is Laughs, Learning & Lucre! – which reflects our purpose & priorities.

We often get it wrong. But by articulating our Purpose clearly, we can see abnormalities and are usually able to get back to a good condition.

Next time: How do we sustain our activities in the face of hurtles, hassles and hammerheads?

Best regards,

Pascal




In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

What is a Good Life?
To Learn Corporate Strategy, Study the Military Masters
Why is laughter important in business?
Practical Problem Solving – Proving Cause & Effect

Monday, December 14, 2020

What is a Good Life?

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Plato, Socrates and Aristotle asked this question 2,500 years ago. Both eastern and western philosophy is largely the search for an answer.

Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator's Dilemma, Harvard professor, and classic hyper-achiever is raising the same question.

(Quite a conversion, no? Master of the universe to philosopher. Good on you, Clayton.)

In a recent interview, Dr. Christensen remarks that he is struck by how badly the lives of his fellow hyper-achievers have turned out.

Messy divorces, estranged kids, and even, in some cases, fraud and imprisonment.

Can Lean principles help to answer this most important question? I believe it can.

Lean thinking is anchored in standards -- images of how things should be.


Values are standards. Integrity entails adherence to one's personal standards.

Those of you kind enough to read my books may have noted an emphasis on the Cardinal Virtues.

Prudence, Temperance, Courage and Justice, are, of course, standards of behavior.

Low-down, miserable, tricky, treacherous beings such as us have a hard time living up to them.

But we have to try, and in doing so we partially succeed -- and that makes all difference.

So what is a good life? I'd say a good life entails having good values, and trying to live up to them.

Thanks Dr C. for raising the question.

Best regards,

Pascal




In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

To Learn Corporate Strategy, Study the Military Masters
Why is laughter important in business?
Practical Problem Solving – Proving Cause & Effect
Lean Means Don’t Be a Dumb-Ass