Four Words that Define Leadership

March 2, 2010 at 1:38 PM 2 comments

Last week I read a four-word phrase in Business week that knocked me over.

The article, by G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Vitón, was called Knowing vs. Learning. The phrase that put me on the floor: Fearless humility exposes possibilities.

One of the organizations I work with has been trying to create a new model of innovation. Key departments in the organization are filled with what the article’s authors called “knowers” – people who think they know all they need to know, and who are fearful of trying new things. This is the classic problem that knowers create: focused as they are on not looking bad, they look for solutions that allow them to blame others when there’s a problem. The solutions will rarely be good ones. But entire organizations can run this way for years.

Creating a culture of “no” – we can’t do it unless we find someone else to blame – is stifling and deadly. Organizations grow and thrive when the culture allows them to learn and discover as they go. This requires humility -the willingness to admit that there is stuff that can be learned, that hasn’t been tried, or even discovered yet. That’s when unimagined possibilities appear.

The word “humility” is not always well-received in business circles, particularly among the knowers. Learners, however – those who are not afraid to admit they don’t know the answers – get it. And it was gratifying to read that a couple of authors in Business Week get it too.

Fearless humility exposes possibilities. That, in a nutshell, is the wisdom of leadership.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , .

Home and the Range: Why Brand Evangelism is Crucial Working Toward the “!”

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. False Gods of the Dashboard «  |  March 23, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    […] to adapt and grow. Not surprisingly, dashboards are the big thing in companies that embrace a “knowing” as opposed to a “learning” […]

    Reply
  • 2. Where’s the Humility? «  |  July 20, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    […] noted before that humility isn’t exactly a business buzzword, but it should […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Thompson Morrison

Thompson Morrison

About Thompson

As CEO of FUSE Insight, Thompson Morrison uses powerful new web interviewing technologies to help businesses better align their brand with the needs and aspirations of their customers. Learn more at www.fuseinsight.com

 

"The single most significant strategic strength that an organization can have is not a good strategic plan, but a commitment to strategic listening on the part of every member of the organization." -- Tom Peters

Subscribe

twitter

%d bloggers like this: