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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fresh Seeds in a Plowed Field – Leadership Again….

Last night I had time to reflect on my experiences and learning from a 2 days leadership training delivered by Mark Hannum. I really enjoyed it especially all the stories from real world examples such as Allan Mulally's first few days at Ford. It also re-emphasized some of the things that I have known about leadership that I wanted to bring up again as well as my favorite leadership guru – Dr Deming. What makes Deming so intriguing is the fact that his statements and teaching is timeless as I describe in another post.

I wanted to point at this specific video about Deming - the real reason I am writing this long post. But there are also some other interesting observation that were discussed during the 2 days with some interesting information sources behind them such as why Management by Objective can be destructive, why do we do it and why there are no heroes. And of course one of my favorite leadership post "Death to the Performance Review" which is tightly coupled with lessons on how not to be a Bosshole.

There is always something new to learn and I guess that much of it was realization or maybe more confirmation that it really is all simple and logical once you wrap you head around. Or maybe its more unwrapping your head from the spreadsheet-centered engineering perspective on life. Mark described the leadership cycles that are core to leadership development, a concept that really hit home. It made me realize that my first leadership cycle was when I was 16 during an outdoor leadership course leading a group of my puberty infested peers on a survival backpacking trip around Mt Kenya (yes that’s the one in Africa).

Mark mentioned that this reflection is very important and with a bit of help from United (no entertainment on the plane) and low battery life I got a chance to do that. As the lights of the Central Valley appeared, I thought it would be a good idea to put some of what I felt in words, hence this blog post. I felt that during the 2 days there was some novel new understanding in our management group and with that maybe some openness or acceptance of these new concepts. It’s as if Mark has plowed the fields, opened up the ground and made it breathe. It is now ready for new seeds. Sorry, but I am a farmer at heart – I can’t help myself with these analogies.