Posts tagged

The Power of Introverts /

Notes from Susan Cain’s talk, “The power of introverts,” at TED2012:

  • Introverts have gotten the message that a quiet style of being is not right
  • Many introverts, like Susan Cain, adopt self-negating lifestyle choices to pass as extroverts
  • But it’s everyone’s loss
  • We need introverts for creativity and leadership
  • Introversion is about feeling most alive and capable in quiet environments
  • It’s about stimulation, not shyness (a fear of social judgment)
  • Modern classrooms and workplaces promote “groupthink” as the source for creativity and productivity, instead of solitude, despite research
  • Introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes than extroverts (Adam Grant research) because they let proactive employees run with their ideas
  • Introversion/extroversion is a spectrum (and those in the middle are ambiverts?)
  • Groups need a balance
  • Solitude is a crucial ingredient to creativity and revelation
  • Groups, on the other hand, tend to follow dominant or charismatic people, though there’s no correlation between being the best speaker and having the best ideas
  • Western societies used to value people for character, a strong inner life and rectitude, but now it’s about personality and proving oneself
  • Of course social skills are important, but introverts need to be given freedom to come up with solutions to today’s problems
  • When Susan Cain’s grandfather died — he was a rabbi who read, taught and loved his people quietly for 62 years — the streets were blocked with people who came to mourn him
  • We are on the brink of changing our attitudes to introversion, quiet and solitude, so,
    1. Stop the madness for constant group work
    2. Go to the wilderness and have your own revelations (get inside your own head a little more often)
    3. Take a good look at what’s inside your “suitcase” and why, and open it up for other people to see
What New Power Looks Like /

Notes from Jeremy Heimans’s talk, TEDSalon, June 2014 (in TEDTalks Business podcast)

[Heimans is a self-described “movement builder.”]

Indian activist Anna Hazare fought corruption by inviting the public to give him a miss call. He collected 35 million phone numbers and was able to mobilize 100,000 to protest in Delhi.

What is new power? It’s the deployment of mass participation and peer coordination to create change and shift outcomes.

Consider occupy politics, Airbnb, Kickstarter. There is commonality in these systems.

Old power New power
Currency Current
Held by few Made by many
Downloads Uploads
Commands Shares
Leader-driven Peer-driven
Closed Open

What new power isn’t. Not your Facebook page. New power isn’t inherently positive. New power isn’t the inevitable victor.

We’re at the beginning of a steep curve. Garage ideas are disrupting industries. New power feeds on itself. This gives rise to a new set of values:

New Power Values

  • Transparency
  • Do-it-ourselves
  • Networked governance
  • Participation
  • Speed
  • Collaboration
  • More affiliative
  • Fickle

If you’re old power… occupy yourself (before others do). Ask yourself the hard questions: if others could see inside your organization, would they like what they see?

If you’re new power… learn how to use institutional power without being institutionalized. Don’t be an island; turn your energy and power to public goods problems.

“Teach them to yearn…” /

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

From Paul Boekell at Story Warren.

Leadership’s First Lesson: Read It /
Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey
Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey

God gave his people a written record of his instruction before they entered the promised land. He said that any future king should make a copy of this instruction for himself and read from it every day:

When [a king] sits on the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself in a book a copy of this instruction, approved by the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read in it all the days of his life. Then he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this instruction and these statutes, and doing them, and his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he and his children may continue long in his kingdom in Israel. (Deut. 17:18–20)

This lesson — the Bible’s first direct word about both reading and leading — teaches one thing a king should do. There are other first things the people are told concerning what a king should not be or do (he should not be a foreigner; should not amass wealth or wives; and ultimately, should not lead his or anyone’s heart away from God; see vv. 15–17). But a king should do God’s Word. And to do it, we’re told, he first must read from it every day.

This lesson is not about the king’s ability as an orator, administrator or strategist. The king’s greatest qualification as a leader is that he is a follower of God’s Word (compare this to the similar qualifications for church leaders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1). God’s Word will go to work in the leader who believes it. Then he’ll know his place before God, the One who set his love on the people, rescued them from slavery, made them into a feared nation, and is awesome among them. He’ll know his place in the kingdom, among his brothers and sisters, as one among equals. He’ll know that God has granted in the Word everything needed for the task. And he’ll know this first lesson is also the final: a leader should pass on this legacy to the next generation so that they may “continue long in his kingdom.”

I have worked under men on the mission field who reflect this lesson in their leadership. I’ve traveled abroad with them and watched them speak God’s Word to others with confidence and love. And I’ve also seen them, on the same day, take up their copy of the Book and check their teaching against it. They don’t go back to lessons from leadership gurus, experience or research first. They say instead, like Paul, “bring… above all the parchments” (2 Tim. 4:13).

I’ve disagreed with these men also. But we can and should work together. Why? Because they uphold God’s Word above all, not their hearts above their brothers. The basis of a working relationship in the kingdom is God’s Word, and speaking it’s truth in love. Without this we have no way to keep from turning aside, “either to the right hand or to the left.” May God keep these leaders in the Word and give them the reward of spiritual children that continue in it.

Are you preparing to serve in ministry? Seek out leaders who keep God’s Word first of all. And keep it with them. Are you leading? Keep your copy of the Book close, every day. And make this evident when you speak. Lead by following God’s Word so that your legacy may last long in the kingdom.

Energize Your Team: “At the end of the day, everyone is a volunteer” /

Highlights of Michael Hyatt, “6 Ways to Energize Your Team.”

As a leader, you have an effect on people. When you leave the room, people either feel taller or smaller. This is an almost super-hero power, but, unfortunately, leaders are often unconscious of it…

[A]t the end of the day, everyone is a volunteer. People will only go so far in the performance of a duty. If you want their very best, you have to have their hearts. You can’t demand this or even buy it with a paycheck. You have to earn it.

In my experience, there are six ways to do this:

  1. Assume others are smart and working hard.
  2. Listen intently and ask thoughtful questions.
  3. Acknowledge the sacrifices others have made on your behalf.
  4. Express gratitude for their effort and their results.
  5. Remind them why their work is so important.
  6. Put slack in the system.

… [C]onsider, How do I want people to feel when the meeting is over? Begin with the end in mind.