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13. Life Choices

Korten, David C. Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

Chapter 13

Life Choices

Life and livelihood ought not to be separated but to flow from the same source, which is Spirit. . . . Spirit means life, and both life and livelihood are about living in depth, living with meaning, purpose, joy, and a sense of contributing to the greater community.

— M AT T H E W F O X 1

To you the earth yields her fruit, and you shall not want if you but know how to fill your hands. It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied. Yet unless the exchange be in love and kindly justice, it will but lead some to greed and others to hunger.

—KAHLIL GIBRAN2

we stand at a critical point of choice between two stories—two paths to contrasting futures. One is the story of a universe that begins and ends in death. The other is the story of a universe that begins in life and unfolds as an expression of life’s creative force.

Envisioning the path of life requires that we know what we truly value, that which in our more reflective moments we identify as the essential elements of good living. Alisa Gravitz, the executive director of Co-op

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4 The Startup Corporation the New Kid on the Block

Tony Davila Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

GOOGLE WAS FOUNDED on the benefits of a better search engine algorithm, and its search engine is still its largest business. But Google hasn’t just sat back on its haunches, content to be a leader in search. On the contrary, the company has added numerous new businesses, most of them derived from the ingenuity of its people. (Of course, the company has also leveraged ideas from the outside with acquisitions such as Double Click, AdMob, Keyhole—the initial insight into Google Earth—Grand Central, and Motorola.) Gmail, Google News, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Car, Google Glass, Android, and Chrome are some of the well-known innovations to come out of Google.

How does Google foster an environment ripe with ideas like these? To start, the company gives its engineers 20 percent free time (one day a week) to pursue their own projects—a concept shared with 3M but originally begun at universities, where faculty members traditionally have had one day per week to interact with outside organizations. The objective of giving engineers regular free time is to allow them to be exposed to new ideas, and to encourage curiosity-driven work. Free-time projects are exploratory adventures not necessarily tied to the business model, and Google believes that letting people pursue their passions makes them both more productive and more innovative.

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7 There Are No Failures in Life — Just Feedback

Hawkins, Terry Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The title of this chapter is one of the most helpful phrases I have ever heard. Many of us go to the Pit when we receive feedback that we don’t like. Throughout my many years of studying human behavior, I have found that the only time people really stretch themselves beyond their current level is when they receive feedback on what they’re not doing right.

Professional Pit People don’t know how to handle feedback. They interpret constructive criticism as a personal attack, which sends them spiraling deeper into their Pit. What kind of feedback do we like? Positive feedback, of course, such as “Gosh, you’re gorgeous!” And what sort of feedback do we hate? We hate the negative stuff, such as “I wouldn’t date you for practice!” Now, I’m being playful here, but there’s truth at the core of this joke. As a society, we’ve become conditioned to want only the positive feedback. We tend to perceive anything negative as unhelpful, yet the reality is often quite the opposite.

Positive feedback is wonderful, and we all need to become much more generous at giving positive feedback. However, positive feedback only reinforces what we already know about ourselves. It’s only when we’re shown the gaps that we’re able to grow.

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CHAPTER 5: Five Basic Keys

Marshak, Robert J. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Clearly, organizational change can be thwarted by the fears, untested assumptions, unconscious reactions, and under-the-table dealings of its members. Yet change can be facilitated by unleashing hidden creativity, removing unspoken blocks, altering mindsets, and giving voice to “unspeakable” visions of greatness. To prepare for dealing with hidden dynamics, this chapter presents five keys for engaging covert processes. I have found these basic building blocks to be essential. If I neglect to follow them carefully, I am much less effective. The five basic keys are:

First and foremost, in all work with covert processes, is to establish enough psychological safety to allow hidden dynamics to be revealed. 70It’s worth noting that early meanings of the word covert included “sheltered” and “protected.” In those meanings of the word, covert processes exist to protect against the risks associated with putting something on-the-table that is considered to be inappropriate, illegitimate, or unacceptable. Perfect safety is too high a standard, but “safe enough” for people to put things on-the-table and openly engage them is the prime directive of covert processes work.

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5. Intentions, Actions, and Reality

Harris, Gerald Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

52

THE PROBABILITY OF WHERE A PARTICLE is actually located is reduced when you observe it. This law of quantum physics about observation collapsing probability into reality truly amazed me. The idea that the very fact of observing something is related to its being there was a shock! It is not that something doesn’t exist when you are not observing it (your car is still in the driveway even though you are not looking at it), but even on the very tiny scale of the universe there is a large range of probabilities.


One way to see what I mean by “collapsing” is to stand directly in front of a large mirror and and note what you see. Then move sharply to the right or left and see how the reflection changes. Those things you saw on the right still exist on the right, but your change in position has thus led to the reflection’s “collapsing” into your new frame of reference.

Chapter Overview


Idea from Physics
The probability of where a particle actually is gets reduced when it is observed. Measurements are real only at the point from which they are observed. Observations influence what is measured at the point and the time of the observation.

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