5296 Slices
Medium 9781609949815

5 Status, Rank, and Role Boundaries as Inhibitors

Edgar H. Schein Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

How we relate to another person, whether we tell or ask, whether we want to build more trust and openness, whether we just want acknowledgment or something more, is best thought of in terms of situations. In every culture children are taught how to behave and feel in a variety of situations. These situations are defined by the mutual intentions of the people coming together and, within a given culture, most of us know what is situationally appropriate—the rules and the etiquette governing the situation. Most of us are so thoroughly acculturated that we are unaware of these rules and how scripted we are. This is true especially in situations in which the participants are of different rank or status.

In order to understand some of the inhibitors of Humble Inquiry, we have to examine particularly the rules pertaining to behavior between people of different status or rank. From the subordinates’ points of view, these rules can best be thought of as the rules of deference, or how subordinates are supposed to show respect for their superiors; from the superiors’ points of view, they are the rules of demeanor, or how superiors are supposed to act in a way that is appropriate to their status. For example, when the superior is speaking, the subordinate is supposed to pay attention and not interrupt; the superior is supposed to make sense and behave in a dignified manner.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781609940041

Stop Worrying

Charles C. Manz Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these…. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matt. 6: 25–29, 34)

Do you make a habit of worry? Do you dedicate a great deal of attention and energy to worrying about failures of the past or concerns of the future? What is your honest appraisal of what you accomplish when you worry? What are the fruits of your worry labor? If the first step to becoming an effective leader of others is to become an effective self-leader, is being a persistent worrier the mark of a good leader?

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576751275

Six Diversity

Tachi Kiuchi Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


IN THE RAINFOREST, diversity brings choice, and choice brings resilience and sustainability. Each diverse species is designed to excel in a particular niche—to carry out its functions there more efficiently or effectively than any other.

IN BUSINESS too, diversity gives a company a greater choice of tools and capacities—just what it needs to grow more efficient and more effective, to get more from less.

In our jump from the airplane, we each had only one kind of technology at our disposal. If this technology didn’t work, we would have been out of luck.

But what if we could have chosen from any number of technologies: a parachute, a hang glider, an airplane, or even learning to fly?

Diversity promotes sustainability simply because diversity is choice. The more diverse the organisms in an ecosystem, the more types of resources are available to deal with any challenge and the greater the likelihood of success.

W. Ross Ashby articulated that view back in 1958, when he studied gene pools and biological adaptability and composed his Law of Requisite Variety. Ashby’s law states that “the survival of a system depends on its ability to generate at least as much variety within its boundaries as exists in the form of threatening disturbances from its environment.” In other words, the survival of any system—organism, person, company, or community—depends on its ability to adapt to challenges. If the number of challenges that it faces is even one greater than the variety it can overcome, then when faced with that challenge, it cannot survive. But while diversity is fundamental in the long term, it can involve conflict in the short run, especially when diverse elements are first thrown together in the same niche and before they have been integrated to create new wholes.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576751275

Seven Succession

Tachi Kiuchi Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


IN THE RAINFOREST, to create all kinds of value successfully, nature follows a simple management strategy. Through the process of succession, every complex system cycles through four phases: innovation, growth, improvement, and release.

BUSINESS also cycles through these phases and in the process creates the same types of value. Breakthroughs begin the innovation phase. That leads to growth by replication, which, at its limit, triggers continuous improvement. And that creates the surplus needed to support new breakthroughs, renewing the cycle.

The act of skydiving is, in a way, a high-speed metaphor for the phases of a person’s life. Stepping from the plane, for example, is like birth: One is “thrown” out there, into the air, into life. The free fall is a bit like childhood and adolescence—a time of freedom to explore in comparative safety, while you’re far from the ground. Preparing and opening the chute is adulthood—assuming responsibility and thinking and planning, in increasing detail, for the speed, path, and manner of your descent. Now—to avoid the sudden onset of the fourth phase—your competence really does matter.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781609947132

12 Whatcha Gonna Do?

Richard A. Swanson Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

WE ASSUME YOU HAVE READ Chapters 1 through 11 and have now landed here at Chapter 12—our closing effort. Our minds rang with the regular refrain offered by our mutual Italian-American friend: “Whatcha gonna do?” For sure, “What are we going to do?” was exactly what we thought as we approached this concluding chapter.

• Provide an emotional appeal? No!

• Summarize the book? No!

• Look to the future? No!

• Give some solid advice for your next steps? Yes!

Our goal for this last chapter is to offer some practical advice for moving ahead with your theory-building endeavor.

The General Method of Theory Building in Applied Disciplines Developing (Figure 12.1) has been detailed for the purpose of advancing both theory and practice. This method for assessing and developing sound theory in applied disciplines is meant to fill voids. Both scholars and practitioners have input into this successful methodology. Fusing information from both perspectives can yield a complete and accurate understanding of the realm being investigated.

See All Chapters

See All Slices