Latest Observations

On the Essential Task of the Leader as Leading

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Apr 15, 2014
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:David J

In an organization where a leader must lead other strong leaders, I question as to whether or not his best judgment produces the right way forward. In many cases, I believe that his best efforts produce a way forward. If he is a good leader, it might produce a good way forward. The point is not that the leader's way is best, but rather that the leader's direction is consistent. The principle job of the leader is to lead, not to make perfect decisions. There is something essential in the leading itself that contributes to the integrity of the whole.

On the Importance of Oscillating between Planning and Writing

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Apr 14, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The author needs to know how to oscillate between planning and writing. In my case, I can plan so far (but in great detail), then I need to write my way forward. This calls for a constant shift from the plan to the text. Back and forth I move. The writing itself positions me inside of the reader’s mind, which in turn, enables me to evaluate the contents. Maturity in this process leads to an intuitive sense of when to stop outlining and when to start writing. Never plan beyond your capacity to “feel.”

The Difference Between Category Definers and Category Conformers

Topic:Communication Topic:Documentaries
Posted on:Apr 9, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Austin M

In product driven market places, like publishing, the breakaway successes are category “definers” not category “conformers.” Once the category has been defined, all of the experts come along to make you conform to one of the successful categories.

This is dangerous. You will never transcend or duplicate the success of a category definer with a category conformer approach. But, every expert has every reason (it is in the numbers) to tame, constrain, and shape your work so that it can conform to the category that has now proven successful.

Here is the irony: Had the breakaway success been shaped in the same way it would have never become a breakaway success. The artist must ask himself/herself, “Shall I imitate the imitation, or shall I imitate the radical genius that defied all imitation before he inspired the imitation after?”

On the Combination of Poetry with Aphorism

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Apr 8, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

I wonder if poetry can be combined with aphorism. Perhaps there is a way to use rhythm with insight. I recognize that some poetry suggests without necessarily saying, but this doesn’t preclude the nuance from the aphorism. Can both coexist in the poetic art?

On Being Convinced in the Face of Uncertainty

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Apr 7, 2014
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:David J

What does it mean to say that I am convinced of something? What does it mean that anyone says that they are convinced? I suspect that the limitation of words makes this particular declaration dangerous. It likely means different things to different people. Being convinced might be a state of mind, based on something someone feels in terms of certainty, or probability. It might be a decision made in light of the fact that one cannot establish probability. One man needs a criterion, such as "inference to the best explanation," another, needs a sense deep down in their spirit.

For me, being convinced is a very important statement. It is important because it is distinguished from being certain. I may not be certain, but I can be convinced. All of my life must be lived out of this place. I cannot live out of a condition of absolute uncertainty. Though I recognize my inability to ever be certain, I affirm that I can reach a place where I am convinced. For me, this convincing equates with risk. It is a statement that embraces risk.

I am not certain of anything, but I am convinced of many things.

On Recognizing Artificial Arrangement of Facts

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Apr 4, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Austin M

We must beware of “story-ized” facts. It is our nature to take a series of facts, or data points, and arrange them into a story fashion. This can be useful, but it can also lead to distortion.

Whenever you hear a compelling story, and before truly accepting its implied “moral,” one must deconstruct the story down to its essential data, down to its stand-alone quotes and facts, then the facts must be considered independent of any artificial arrangement.

At this point, one may decide that the facts, taken as a whole, support the conclusion/moral. On the other hand, one may decide that the arrangement of the facts has enabled the storyteller to promote a conclusion which cannot be established. Beware, particularly of inspirational stories. They almost always have a contrived arrangement of facts, even an omission of certain other facts, so as to promote the storyteller’s message.

On the Need to Transfer a Leader’s Spiritual DNA

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Apr 3, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Austin M

The source of the value proposition is typically derived from the spiritual DNA of the founder. An essential mission for the founder/leader is to impart his DNA to the organization. This means transferring the distilled essence of his primary gifting from his person into the "corporate person.” This is an artful procedure that begins most of all with purposeful intention.

On the Difference between a Leader and a Winner

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Apr 2, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:David J

Many large companies are run by men who can be more aptly described as winners rather than leaders. They have obtained the position by winning over their peers. They have built their career on a series of successive wins. These wins have translated into the culminating victory of their focused assignment.

However, there is a significant difference between a winner and a leader. A winner is more concerned about achieving the next personal gain. A leader is focused on the authentic wins of his team. He is empowering their victories. Their gain is the organization's gain. and the organization's gain, is his gain.

The true leader must transcend winning with serving. he must change his focus from goals to mission.

On the Danger of the Blur and the Advantage of Clarity

Topic:Personal
Posted on:Apr 1, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Mediocrity tends to blur and excellence tends to sharpen. Mediocre people tend to blur situations, but excellent people tend to sharpen situations. Beware of the blur. Mediocrity hides in the blur, clarity is the advantage of the excellent.

On Crafting an Argument and Determining the Desired Cognitive Outcome of an Opponent

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Mar 31, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:David J

When arguing for a point, one has to determine what the aim is.  If the aim is to simply win on points, then argue and build strong reasons.  If the aim is to change someone’s behavior, you have to achieve something besides a “win.” You have to move the other party towards a cognitive conclusion that can be can best be described as an “of course.”  When an argument is laid out cogently and done in a way that does not produce a “you win” or “I lose” mentality, but rather an “of course” mentality, then the person is in the right place to alter behavior. The goal of most arguments should not be to achieve a “you win,” but rather, an “of course.” The two are very different cognitive states.