Einstein Light and Leadership

I’m a great fan of business books – not all of them, and certainly not just the conventional ones.

James Suroweicki’s Wisdom of Crowds is one example. Seth Godin’s Linchpin is another. In the more conventional vein Good To Great by Jim Collins and In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters are hard to beat.

But when it comes down to it none of these books will get you through.

One is not enough. 100 is not enough. But what each offers is a prompt to challenge you, to keep you guessing, to add critical tactical and strategic thinking to your range of tools.

And still it is not enough.

What matters is your agility. Your ability to know you don’t have the answers, your determination to find a better way, to ditch what doesn’t add to the business and to keep the organisation in fine mental and emotional fettle.

You’ve probably all heard Jack Welch’s quote that ‘when growth on the outside exceeds growth in the inside’ then it’s game over. Well, here I go again, that is too limiting to me.

Growth on the outside will always be ahead of us, and we have to realise this. We must relentlessly pursue our potential – as individuals, as leaders, as organisations.

Too many organisations go saggy after great success.

It always ‘folds my mind’ to contemplate how Einstein could so readily comprehend that at the speed of light time slows down – we age less.

And perhaps so it is with organisations that the quicker they evolve and develop the longer they live. Perhaps seeing the light is more apt than we think. And to carry that analogy further – those who do best at being agile, change ready, adaptive and quick to market have the light shine on them more brightly for longer. That is the true reward, nothing more.

Yet as soon as they back off the light will fade away.

And so it is for leaders to keep the light shining and ensure it falls on everyone in their organisation and all who come in contact.

But just perhaps it is not the leaders who shine but the energy of the organisation that shines upon them.

7 Replies to “Einstein Light and Leadership”

  1. Imagine a company with gifted, talented people, cool ideas, delighted, fascinated and engaged customers,powerful, purposeful strategy, clear direction and a powerful vision all embedded in an awesome culture. Perfect. Nirvana?

    An organization is a system…isn’t it? I think the trick to achieving the above is to think in systems terms and design and manage and lead organizations accordingly. Playing with the system in one area will elicit a response in another area.You get the idea.

    Peter Senge and Arie de Geuss would support this line of thinking.They were two of the pioneers. My copy of “The Fifth Discipline” was published in 1990. That doesn’t say much for our “adaptive learning” ability does it? So why have we seen so very little change? Good question. I’ve got my ideas. I’m sure you’ve got yours!

    1. What me have a idea Jim! Yes it does’t pay t dwell too much on how much learning is available out there and how little has been adopted.
      Is an organisation a system? Yes I actually think and organisation is a single organism, unfortunately some treat it like they do their bodies – feed it the wrong stuff, tell it lies, ignore vital functions – whoopps there I go again. Sometimes i feeel like my life is analogy.
      Great hear from you the last few days. Hope your project is going well.

  2. Great point Richard.
    We will NEVER be able to know everything out there. We have to be selective and tactical. Heck, there’s 24 hours of youtube content uploaded every minute of the day!
    Good leaders realise that there is always more to learn and that we will never learn it all. Good leadership/management requires the ability to decipher what is relevant and important vs what is a waste of time.
    cheers
    mg

    1. Thanks Mark, nice to have you back. That you tube stat is amazing! My brain is a bit addled at present – does that mean if i had 1440 computer screens to watch then after 1 minute i could ‘see it all’, but by then I’d have another 24 hours of video to watch? That’s more depressing than McDonalds!
      sorry if that wasted your time – which is a great point you make. It has me pondering the optimal accuracy we are able to do that at – that is how often we would only ‘delete’ the ‘waste of time stuff’? thoughts anyone?

  3. Dear Richard,
    All your points about change, survival, competition and evolution are excellent. I would like to make two points here. To remain competitive, one has to be adaptive and flexible to learn and externally to challenge practices and norms with innovative and creative inputs. Secondly and often more important for a leader is to create a culture of collective and integrative development. to learn, one has to remove the layers of knowledge with ego and be more open. And that is the main key to learn and compete.

  4. Dear Ricahrd,
    Wonderful thinking in terms of learning and progressing towards persoanl and organizational goals. I have particularly liked your conclusion saying that it is for leaders to keep the light shining and ensure it falls on everyone in their organisation and all who come in contact. Still more to realize that it is the
    energy of the organisation that shines upon them. This in nutshell defines the role of a successful leader.
    You have been sharing creative thinking in a very simple yet effective way. Keep it up and think of increasing the readers and their participation to your interesting blog.

    1. Dear Dr Asher
      thank you for your kind words on what my blog is bringing out. Thank you also for the nudge on increasing readership – i have been very lax with that, happy with the return rate and the numbers i picked up early on. there are certainly more than we can see in the comments, but as you indicate thier is potential for more. I really appreciate as well that you recognise the thinking as being creative, i try not to stay between the walls too much 🙂
      I’l be flying back over india in about 10 hours my many followers from India (yes, but not enough!) will be in my thoughts. Bless
      Richard

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