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Simple, Common Sense Philosophies for Leadership Development
on April 27, 2010
I love simplicity and given the myriad books on leadership in the marketplace, this one is a perfect guide for those looking for simple, common sense philosophies and easy-to-implement practices that are sure to enhance your leadership practice. Indeed if you integrate the simple practices, you will become a more conscious leader.
The chapters are short, and deliver practical wisdom. Read it cover to cover or open up to any page and use it as a daily or weekly reflection. Though the book is chock full of gems, I mention 3 that stood out for me.
Reading Oracle of the Obvious reminded me that today's business environment is chaotic and punctuated by sound bites, email and text communications, and organization-wide memos. Indeed it can be overwhelming for aspiring and seasoned leaders at times. Thankfully, this book offers refreshing reminders that a leader's true work lies in having meaningful conversations that matter. Such conversations become meaningful when they are practiced as learning conversations marked by simple guidelines (the authors call them learning conversation guidelines) that allow the conversation to flow easily in a safe setting and encourage each person's voice to be heard and responded to in a respectful manner. This practice sets the foundation for conscious leadership and has changed my personal and professional relationships immeasurably already.
If you are part of an organization, community, or family you are part of a living system, which means it is paramount that one recognizes and honors the interdependent relationships of which they are a part. Jorgensen and Hurst introduce the concept of systems thinking which is an approach to organizational change and sustainability. They unveil systems truths that leaders should reflect on before embarking on their change initiative. Doing so provides them with a holistic and informed picture to consider when making decisions that impact the entire organization; systems thinking is inclusive, thus embracing and practicing learning conversations will help nurture the conditions for change.
Learning is about changing one's behavior, which takes place through thinking, reflection and action. Conscious leaders, those who will continue to make meaningful and sustainable impact in the world, need to take time to reflect and learn from their experiences. The authors suggest taking time each day for a reflective practice. From my perspective, doing so has helped me process conversations, events and my leadership practice more quickly and seemingly more effectively, which has prompted more immediate changes in my practice. Though you may have a personal practice, Jorgensen and Hurst have offered journal prompts taken from Otto Scharmer's Theory U and I highly recommend taking the time to reflect on them thoughtfully and honestly.
If you want to lead a more conscious life, both personally and professionally, this book is a must read!