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Leaders stuck on stupid

If you remember Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré (Ret.) from the Katrina disaster, you might also remember his admonition to the press swarm of that time – “You’re stuck on stupid”. You can of course watch that video here.

Well, no point letting that well worn phrase go to waste, here he is again talking about a rather related issue in Leaders stuck on stupid.

Are you a-buck-stops-here leader? Do you secretly look forward to making the call when a crisis has stakeholders demanding action? If so, then please be advised that some of the world’s toughest leaders are not at all impressed. In fact, as far as Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré (Ret.) is concerned, you don’t have the right stuff to lead any organization in today’s complex world.

and

He thinks, for example, that most organizations need to tear up their crisis plans. Simply put, if you are not prepared for a total loss of power and communications, not to mention a scenario that involves body bags and the need to break a few laws, then you are not thinking bad enough. To really prepare for a crisis, Honoré, who recalls having to order airline authorities to forget about screening procedures while evacuating New Orleans, insists you must seriously imagine your worst nightmare. And then you must prepare for your plan to fail, “because the first casualty in any emergency is the disaster plan.”

Having been part of a few Disaster Recovery Plans which were nothing short of disasters in and of themselves, I can say this that we do pay excessive lip service to “disasteration” or disaster preparation. However, what I took away from all of this was – do we need a disaster plan to be able and willing to do the following.

According to Gerard Seijts, executive director of Ivey’s Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership, the general’s message is simple. “The U.S. Army revolutionized how it makes decisions because technology-enabled collaboration is superior to centralized decision making in today’s complex world of interconnected risks, opportunities and challenges. And other organizations, including corporations, should do the same because collaboration across boundaries leads to bottom-up information flow, which may have saved a few U.S. banks during the financial crisis.”

Why not make it the norm?

Oh yes, today is Friday. Not TGIF but TGIWTF – Thank God It’s Wishful Thinking Friday.

The ‘zen’ of Kaizen

Awakening today in a rather satori-al mood – the title of this blog post is what popped into my mind. Don’t ask me why or how but that’s what happened. I’m a stickler for etymological cleanliness – not in the sense that I’m always cleaning up my words after myself but that I like clear and clean concepts.

However, as I alluded previously about my satori-al disposition at waking time, I find myself essentially in the midst of a paradox – the paradox of Clean Play. There is no such thing as ‘Clean Play’ except perhaps in the mind. And it is to that mindful playfulness that I invite you.

If anything Kaizen is the putting on of a mindful attitude to one’s surroundings and systematically and continually improving specific streams of work and information flow all around you. And therein is the rub – It all sounds so booooring!!!

Clean Play…, remember Clean Play. A curious thing happens when one is attuned to the systematic tick tock – discontinuities begin to appear.

The way I see it, the truth of the matter is quite different – like true false. Or false true if you insist. One would think that – Systematics brings order out of chaos. It does no such thing. I think of Systematics as laying a thin sheet of knowing on a rippling chaotic ocean of unknowing. The knowing is only maintained by expending energy.

This thin sheet – the Systematic, is for us – a map through the unknowing, a steadying hand in the Chaotic. But my intuition tells me that we have the basic ingredients to be Chaotic riders rather than Systematic riders. That is if we learn the ropes of the Systematic correctly, you’d do much better setting it aside and riding the Chaotic. As you may well surmise, this transition is also vectored i.e. you can go from the Systematic to the Chaotic but there’s little of value in going from Chaotic to Systematic.

Clean Play folks… you’ve got to get to Clean Play.

Enjoy!!!

About me

I am Chris Jacob Abraham and I live, work and blog from Newburgh, New York. I work for IBM as a Senior consultant in the Fab PowerOps group that works around the issue of detailed Fab (semiconductor fab) level scheduling on a continual basis. My erstwhile company ILOG was recently acquired by IBM and I've joined the Industry Solutions Group there.

@ SCM Clustrmap

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