Quote of the Week: Creating New Choices
Roger Martin, Dean at the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto, gave an interesting presentation at the Opening Plenary at the Skoll World Forum today:
Whether or not Barack Obama is your President or, as is the case for me, another country’s leader, most of you, I suspect, watched the President’s inauguration speech and did so with rapt attention. It was certainly a lovely, inspiring and motivating speech. I cried a few times, even though guys aren’t supposed to do that. I suspect each listener took away something special and unique to you from the speech. For me, one sentence grabbed my attention; that riveted me:
“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.”
I study and write about leadership, which of course makes it a privilege for me to be among all the great leaders in this room. And in my study of highly successful leaders across a wide variety of organizations, I found the most common theme – the most universal characteristic – to be a form of thinking exemplified by President Obama’s quote.
That common theme was when highly successful leaders are faced with an apparent choice between two opposing and unsatisfying options, they show the inclination to refuse to choose and the capacity to instead engineer a course of action that is superior to each of the apparent options.
...In my work, I found that great leaders harness the inherent power in the tension between opposing ideas, options or models to forge a new better model. That is the Power of Paradox.
From an article in the New York Times quoting George Dyson: Somehow the genius quants — the best and brightest geeks Wall Street firms could buy — fed $1 trillion in subprime mortgage debt into their supercomputers, added some derivatives, massaged the arrangements with computer algorithms and — poof! — created $62 trillion in imaginary [...]
Following on the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling’s IF, and the message, Don’t Give Up, Senator Clinton spoke today with the same tenacity as she displayed during her campaign, yet somehow with more passion, sincerity and inspiration than any time before: To those who are disappointed that we couldn’t go all the way, especially the young [...]
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. -Barak Obama, Feb. 5th speech
It is a paradox that every dictator has climbed to power on the ladder of free speech. Immediately on attaining power each dictator has suppressed all free speech except his own. -Herbert Clark HOOVER 31st President of the United States (1874-1964) This, indeed, is one of the paramount challenges faced by democratic systems. Democracy cannot [...]
Richard Stengel summarized Nelson Mandela’s eight leadership lessons – Madiba’s Rules (Mandela’s clan name) in TIME Magazine: All of them are calibrated to cause the best kind of trouble: the trouble that forces us to ask how we can make the world a better place. No. 1: Courage is not the absence of fear — [...]