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Posts Tagged With "History"

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Are You Training Innovators or Elevators?

Dr. Foster Mobley // History, Wisdom Leading

On the day dedicated to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., I'd like to share a lesser-known Dr. King quote: "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education." In building our organizations, are we teaching individuals to think critically and challenge conventional wisdom? Too often, the answer is no. In many training programs, participants learn methods or systems by rote. Such education doesn't cultivate the innovators who can energize an organization with new ideas. It breeds "elevators": people who specialize in narrow, repetitive work. While every organization needs some "elevators," they are not the people to take it to the next level. A true culture of education doesn't fear challenges to established ideas; it welcomes them. Instead of saying, "Memorize this," it asks, "What is your wisdom?" On a day recognizing a man who challenged the accepted wisdom of an entire nation, ask yourself: What can you do to teach your people to recognize and value their own wisdom?

On the day dedicated to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., I'd like to share a lesser-known Dr. King quote: "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education."

In building our organizations, are we teaching individuals to think critically and challenge conventional wisdom? Too often, the answer is no. In many training programs, participants learn methods or systems by rote. Such education doesn't cultivate the innovators who can energize an organization with new ideas. It breeds "elevators": people who specialize in narrow, repetitive work. While every organization needs some "elevators," they are not the people to take it to the next level.

A true culture of education doesn't fear challenges to established ideas; it welcomes them. Instead of saying, "Memorize this," it asks, "What is your wisdom?" On a day recognizing a man who challenged the accepted wisdom of an entire nation, ask yourself:

What can you do to teach your people to recognize and value their own wisdom?

1.21.13 0
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New Year, Same Tired Promises

Dr. Foster Mobley // History, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

This time, every year we are bombarded with messages of new beginnings. With the new year we suddenly have access to new energy, new possibilities, new discipline, new physical condition, new financial success. With a simple turn of the calendar page. I love a good symbol like the next person, and seldom waste them. In the same breath, even wild-eyed optimists like me know the reality - if these exhortations were truly useful, we wouldn't need a reminder every single year. Living and leading from one's wisdom requires shedding ourselves of pretense -the belief or practice that assumes we, or the conditions we face, are different than they truly are. Shiny new year's promises are full of pretense: the belief that we're broken or incomplete and need dramatic transformation the belief that our lives will be better "...if only (insert your most enduring vulnerability)" the idea that what ends up on a goal page is somehow more powerful than what's happening in this moment Want this new year to be better than the last? Shed pretense and shift your thinking about how much your life needs fixing. Marianne Williamson reminds us, "We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world." "There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us." What would it make possible if you focus less on what's missing and more about being fully alive in this moment?

This time, every year we are bombarded with messages of new beginnings. With the new year we suddenly have access to new energy, new possibilities, new discipline, new physical condition, new financial success. With a simple turn of the calendar page.

I love a good symbol like the next person, and seldom waste them. In the same breath, even wild-eyed optimists like me know the reality - if these exhortations were truly useful, we wouldn't need a reminder every single year.

Living and leading from one's wisdom requires shedding ourselves of pretense -the belief or practice that assumes we, or the conditions we face, are different than they truly are. Shiny new year's promises are full of pretense:

  • the belief that we're broken or incomplete and need dramatic transformation
  • the belief that our lives will be better "...if only (insert your most enduring vulnerability)"
  • the idea that what ends up on a goal page is somehow more powerful than what's happening in this moment

Want this new year to be better than the last? Shed pretense and shift your thinking about how much your life needs fixing. Marianne Williamson reminds us,

"We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world."
"There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us."

What would it make possible if you focus less on what's missing and more about being fully alive in this moment?

 

 

12.31.12 1
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How to Make Sense of the Incomprehensible?

Dr. Foster Mobley // History, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

Words cannot begin to express the horror and sadness from the incomprehensible December 14 shooting in Connecticut. There is no leadership insight or management strategy that will let grieving parents hug their lost children again. The best we can do is to figure out what this terrible event, and others like it can teach us. One lesson demanding attention from my head and heart the past few days is the importance of mindfulness. Mindfulness means being present in the moment, fully aware of the beauty and wonder that we so often call "ordinary." It means fully experiencing and expressing the love and gratitude we feel in any moment. I'm sure this tragedy caused millions of us to hold our our loved ones a little tighter that night and better appreciate the people who enrich our lives, like teachers, administrators, friends and neighbors. A mindful perspective won't often prevent tragedy. Yet, the knowledge that others know how much we cherish them is a powerful source of comfort. How mindful are you of the angels in your life?

Words cannot begin to express the horror and sadness from the incomprehensible December 14 shooting in Connecticut. There is no leadership insight or management strategy that will let grieving parents hug their lost children again. The best we can do is to figure out what this terrible event, and others like it can teach us.

One lesson demanding attention from my head and heart the past few days is the importance of mindfulness. Mindfulness means being present in the moment, fully aware of the beauty and wonder that we so often call "ordinary." It means fully experiencing and expressing the love and gratitude we feel in any moment. I'm sure this tragedy caused millions of us to hold our our loved ones a little tighter that night and better appreciate the people who enrich our lives, like teachers, administrators, friends and neighbors.

A mindful perspective won't often prevent tragedy. Yet, the knowledge that others know how much we cherish them is a powerful source of comfort.

How mindful are you of the angels in your life?

12.17.12 0
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A Different Take on the Election

Dr. Foster Mobley // Education, History, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

Q: How have you seen hurdles turn into energy sources for change? In the wake of Tuesday night's election, there are as many potential lessons as there were electoral votes. One stands out for me, and it has nothing to do with politics: people are more motivated by passion than they are limited by difficult circumstances. In states like Florida, Ohio, New York and New Jersey, technical problems, confusing laws and the damage from Hurricane Sandy made voting an ordeal for millions of people. Given the supposed cynicism about politics these days, you would think that voters would stay away from the polls in droves. Instead, they waited in line for hours, deep into the night. In leading others to evoke peak performance, great leaders often work to help others eliminate obstacles and difficulties. You've heard me extol the importance of "removing boulders." At the same time, let's not forget that facing challenges can motivate people to overcome and exceed their limits like nothing else.

Q: How have you seen hurdles turn into energy sources for change?  

 In the wake of Tuesday night's election, there are as many potential lessons as there were electoral votes. One stands out for me, and it has nothing to do with politics: people are more motivated by passion than they are limited by difficult circumstances.

In states like Florida, Ohio, New York and New Jersey, technical problems, confusing laws and the damage from Hurricane Sandy made voting an ordeal for millions of people. Given the supposed cynicism about politics these days, you would think that voters would stay away from the polls in droves. Instead, they waited in line for hours, deep into the night.

In leading others to evoke peak performance, great leaders often work to help others eliminate obstacles and difficulties. You've heard me extol the importance of "removing boulders." At the same time, let's not forget that facing challenges can motivate people to overcome and exceed their limits like nothing else.

11.12.12 0
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The Physics of Lift

Dr. Foster Mobley // History, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

Q: Where are you adding lift and where are you just making things heavier for your team? On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright were credited with the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight. A century later, we all know now that planes fly due to lift. Increased air speed over top of the curved wing lowers the pressure and the plane rises. Defying logic, at takeoff a 747-400 can carry 450 tons of weight effortlessly into the thin air. Great leaders provide lift to their teams in much the same way. They increase the airspeed (clarity, vision, coordination, confidence) over a curved wing (the team's apparent and latent capabilities) to lift the team to unexpected, and perhaps unforseen heights. In the weeks ahead we'll explore lift in a deeper way. Lift isn't about new skills or quick tips. It isn't about haranging or charisma. It is about how you show up as a leader.
Q: Where are you adding lift and where are you just making things heavier for your team?

On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright were credited with the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight.  A century later, we all know now that planes fly due to lift. Increased air speed over top of the curved wing lowers the pressure and the plane rises.  Defying logic, at takeoff a 747-400 can carry 450 tons of weight effortlessly into the thin air.
 
Great leaders provide lift to their teams in much the same way.  They increase the airspeed (clarity, vision, coordination, confidence) over a curved wing (the team's apparent and latent capabilities) to lift the team to unexpected, and perhaps unforseen heights.  
 
In the weeks ahead we'll explore lift in a deeper way.   Lift isn't about new skills or quick tips.  It isn't about haranging or charisma.  It is about how you show up as a leader.  

5.7.12 0
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Showing up Receptively

Dr. Foster Mobley // Business, Education, History, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

Q: Where would you go if your world were bigger? Years ago a small group of designers and engineers thought everyone should have their own loom to make their own fabric. Most of their colleagues insisted that even if they could make it, nobody would want one. Looms are machines for big business, not individuals. Nevertheless, this small affiliation of creators kept making prototypes until people started actually buying them. Eventually most of America had one. Of course, all this is true except for the loom part. Instead of the loom the personal computer is the real invention. But, the struggle was the same, and the critics weren't wrong. There was no market for a home-based computer. Gates, Jobs, and others who created the personal computer market had what we call a Receptive Worldview. Where most saw no market they saw opportunity; where most saw walls they saw break through. Having a Receptive Worldview means releasing your judgments and limits on situations and people. It feels risky, but with out it we may never really break though.
Q: Where would you go if your world were bigger?

Years ago a small group of designers and engineers thought everyone should have their own loom to make their own fabric.

Most of their colleagues insisted that even if they could make it, nobody would want one.  Looms are machines for big business, not individuals.  Nevertheless, this small affiliation of creators kept making prototypes until people started actually buying them.  Eventually most of America had one.

Of course, all this is true except for the loom part. Instead of the loom the personal computer is the real invention.  But, the struggle was the same, and the critics weren't wrong.  There was no market for a home-based computer.

Gates, Jobs, and others who created the personal computer market had what we call a Receptive Worldview.  Where most saw no market they saw opportunity; where most saw walls they saw break through.

Having a Receptive Worldview means releasing your judgments and limits on situations and people.  It feels risky, but without it we may never really break though.

 

4.9.12 0
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Recognition of a Special Leader

Dr. Foster Mobley // History, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

Q: What breakthrough can you imagine and engineer for your life? Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s contributions to a free America -- a country that he guided in a new direction, with a new set of possibilities. It was Dr. King who imagined America as a place where a person is judged by their character's content. The power of Dr. King's personality is undeniable. Even when people had trouble believing in the dream, they believed in Dr. King. People certainly knew where he wanted to go, a new America with a new level of freedom for everyone. And, the possibility would have seemed unattainable had he not consistently believed in it himself. Dr. King imagined and engineered a breakthrough.

Q: What breakthrough can you imagine and engineer for your life?

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s  contributions to a free America -- a country that he guided in a new direction, with a new set of possibilities.  It was Dr. King who imagined America as a place where a person is judged by their character's content.
 
The power of Dr. King's personality is undeniable.  Even when people had trouble believing in the dream, they believed in Dr. King.  People certainly knew where he wanted to go, a new America with a new level of freedom for everyone.  And, the possibility would have seemed unattainable had he not consistently believed in it himself.
 
Dr. King imagined and engineered a breakthrough.

1.16.12 0
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And the Walls Fall Down

Dr. Foster Mobley // Business, Education, History, Quotables, Sports, Wisdom Leading

Q: What about you are you both afraid and eager for others to know? Theologian and philosopher C.S. Lewis once said that our greatest fear and our greatest desire is to be known. To really be known we must break down the walls separating our "outside" selves and our "inside" selves. So, what would that look like? Well, it might look something like Roberto Benigni on Oscar night in 1998. Benigni won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for Life Is Beautiful. When his name was called, Roberto's walls fell away: he jumped on seats, shook strangers' hands, hopped up the stairs like a little boy and, in heavily accented English, spoke profusely about joy and gratitude. Everyone watching him immediately knew Roberto Benigni inside and out. Letting our walls fall away to be truly known can be scary. But, the less we hold our true selves back the better others can know us and the better we can know ourselves. And, we get even closer to real breakthough leading. (Want to see falling walls for yourself? Watch here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cTR6fk8frs)
Q: What about you are you both afraid and eager for others to know?

Theologian and philosopher C.S. Lewis once said that our greatest fear and our greatest desire is to be known.  To really be known we must break down the walls separating our "outside" selves and our "inside" selves.  So, what would that look like?
 
Well, it might look something like Roberto Benigni on Oscar night in 1998.  Benigni won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for Life Is Beautiful.  When his name was called, Roberto's walls fell away: he jumped on seats, shook strangers' hands, hopped up the stairs like a little boy and, in heavily accented English, spoke profusely about joy and gratitude.  Everyone watching him immediately knew Roberto Benigni inside and out.
 
Letting our walls fall away to be truly known can be scary.  But, the less we hold our true selves back the better others can know us and the better we can know ourselves.  And, we get even closer to real breakthough leading.
 
(Want to see falling walls for yourself?  Watch here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cTR6fk8frs)

12.26.11 0
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The Brand Called "You"

Dr. Foster Mobley // History, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

Q: What do your authentic actions reveal about you to your team? What comes to mind when you think of Clint Eastwood? Tough, steely eyed guy you don't want to mess with, right? Well, screenwriter William Goldman tells a different story in his book, Adventures in the Screen Trade. Goldman was on the movie set for a film Eastwood was directing. During the lunch break most folks get in line for the craft services, while big stars, directors and producers often have lunch catered in for them. However, the man famous for being Dirty Harry grabs a tray and gets in line with the rest. Surprised, the crewmembers in front try to usher him forward. But, he'll have none of it. It's lunch, and he's just one of guys. One simple, sincere action revealed Mr. Eastwood's Brand to be quite different from his public image. The way we act with those around us, with our team, has a great impact on our Personal Brand. Knowing that brand and seeking to positively and authentically influence it is a major part of breakthrough leading.

Q: What do your authentic actions reveal about you to your team?

What comes to mind when you think of Clint Eastwood?  Tough, steely eyed guy you don't want to mess with, right?  Well, screenwriter William Goldman tells a different story in his book, Adventures in the Screen Trade.
 
Goldman was on the movie set for a film Eastwood was directing.  During the lunch break most folks get in line for the craft services, while big stars, directors and producers often have lunch catered in for them.  However, the man famous for being Dirty Harry grabs a tray and gets in line with the rest. Surprised, the crewmembers in front try to usher him forward.  But, he'll have none of it.  It's lunch, and he's just one of guys.  
 
One simple, sincere action revealed Mr. Eastwood's Brand to be quite different from his public image. The way we act with those around us, with our team, has a great impact on our Personal Brand.  Knowing that brand and seeking to positively and authentically influence it is a major part of breakthrough leading.

12.5.11 0
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Choice - The Powerful Act

Dr. Foster Mobley // History, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

Choice is one of the most powerful concepts for living and leading.  Choosing a path in life is fundamentally different, and more empowering than a life at the mercy of events.

To choose is to put your worldview in action. Consider that the act of expressing your choice as less an obligation and more a powerful act of living in a democracy.

Choose powerfully to express your highest aspirations and deepest values.
 

 

11.7.11 0
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Dr. Foster Mobley

Trusted advisor and coach to admired executives globally for 3 decades, Thought leader on wisdom-based approaches to breakthrough leading, "Lead Coach" for Deloitte's experienced and high potential leader development, Team performance advisor to two NCAA championship teams