“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain.
The simple logic of this famous line is the wise advice that good parents have offered to their little treasures for generations. But how important is honesty in building & maintaining valuable relationships? Is honesty always the best policy? And is it natural – or something we have to practice? The answers are far from simple and the truth may surprise you…
A sensible maxim attributed to Leonardo da Vinci is ‘Simplicity, is the ultimate sophistication’. Its common sense wisdom is simple sophistication itself – as befits one of history’s greatest geniuses. And yet so often in business otherwise sensible people, are quick to complicate and add layers of confusion. If in doubt – we add a feature, build more reports and more stuff. I recently took part in one of the excellent Splash events organised by Working Knowledge to engage students in business that was held at Weston College – and one of the things that struck me was their ability to focus on the simple. In large part I think this is because none of the students were tainted with our often misplaced love of complexity… Continue reading “Simplicity Is The Ultimate Business Sophistication”
Albert Einstein once said ‘not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted – counts’. In other words, we are in danger of spending a lot of time measuring and analysing what is not important – whilst ignoring what truly is. The marketing, innovation and sales business is not immune. A great quantity of noise, reports, feeds, briefing, planning – and meetings. Lots of meetings. Yet whilst we have a surplus of texts, emails and data we often overlook what is in real short supply – purposeful, collaborative, open and focused – business conversation.
“You have to learn that you make better decisions through collaboration.”John Chambers, CEO and Chairman CISCO. He leads a global technology business with a $40 Billion turnover and his career spans Wang Laboratories and IBM too. But he is now focusing on building better business – through smarter collaboration
Jonathan Haidt’s latest work The Righteous Mind is a serious piece of heavy reading in every way. The hardback thumped into my briefcase at a sturdy 702 grams. And its 321 pages of erudite thinking is backed up by a further 51 pages of notes plus 17 pages of detailed index. Its sections and sub-headings are seriously crisp and the arguments are summarised and presented as ‘Exhibits’ – to give the book the kind of gravitas that would suit a judge’s chambers. And to be fair, the subject matter and the quality of the work suits it.
It is March 2012 and I am in London listening to Susan Cain, who is a phenomenon in the world of current ideas. How influential is she? Well, in the one second it has taken you to read that sentence approximately thirty-two people have viewed her standout talk at TED. And a further 451 have viewed it on YouTube – in the last hour. Her book ‘Quiet’ – ‘The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking’ – sits in the New York Times Top Five – and her piece in the New York Times attracted an astonishing 241 comments alone.
We’ve had a long love affair with seeing our problems mirrored in triumphs & lives of exceptional people and high achievers. We love their biographies and hearing the secrets of great sports and military leaders. If only we could be respected like Nelson. If ony we could be as challenging as Richard Branson or as driven as Steve Jobs. If only we could manage like Mourinho – or bend it like Beckham. And – this love affair with heroes and leaders has its dangers. There is a danger of cliché and homilies – of group think and the leadership cult. But…
Cynthia McIntryre has just published a great piece in HBR explaining why and how SME’s & corporates need to collaborate. If they want to prosper – SME’s need to form smart relationships with powerful players – and get access to their resources and experience. And likewise, if corporates really want to innovate, its been proven that they need to add the energy, ideas and freshness of SME’s to their mix. Its partner – or perish. So, why do some people still – not get it?
When surveyed 80% of top executives agree their organisations need to innovate differently and 86% say that partnerships and collaboration is the key to innovation. Yet – only 21% say they are developing them. In their latest 2012 Innovation Monitor, General Electric call this – The Partnership Paradox. So why does it exist? And what can we do to change it?
I am not a fan of brainstorming. But I am a fan of purposeful collaboration. And to some this may appear a contradiction. In an excellent article in a recent New York Times, Susan Cain explores the dangers of groupthink and the horrors of noisy, distracted offices. She points out that true genius needs solitude and time to think. Perhaps academia and ideas do. But innovation does not. As Matt Ridley pointed out, ‘ideas have sex’ – and economic and business history is littered with examples of pioneering that was only achieved by the accidental mixing, the casual alliance or the perfect partnership – at just the right time.