Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stray thoughts for a Wednesday

…along with some photos from local art galleries

* DSC05266 I haven’t had a vacation in far too long.

Last summer we were closing the company, the future was uncertain, I needed a new situation by September, so it didn’t happen. Then autumn was filled with the move; early winter with business travel and the holidays.  ‘always something, as people close to me are known to sigh.

So, I settled in with airline route maps and SkyScanner, looking for cheap flights to paradise.  The places that are cheap (Venice, Sardinia) look cold and shuttered, while the places that promise sunshine (Madeira, Tenerife) are astronomic.  Driving is the most practical way to take a city break, but offers little scope for finding warm hills and beaches.

So, nothing yet, but I need to find a break this month.

DSC05262 Stitch * “Talk as though you know you’re right; listen as though you know you’re wrong.”

I’m midway through a class  Stanford’s Center for Professional Development, online access to their regular business school classes.  Courses yield credit towards specialty certificates, and the quality is really good.

My Organizational Theory class is a gem: Prof. Robert Sutton postulates that most business theories and books are poorly grounded, and that evidence-based logic is as relevant to management as it is to medicine.  He debunks the conventional wisdom that drives thoughtless leadership, and takes a research-driven approach to developing more effective strategies.

I love being a lifelong learner, keeping up with changing technology and medical knowledge and putting my experiences into context and perspective.

DSC05265 * I discovered that our division president, running a 1.5 billion dollar organization, is 41 years old.

There are generations spread across the layers of most large companies.  The Board is typically in their 60’s, business unity leadership is in their 50’s.  Up and coming leaders take on product or development leadership roles in their 40’s, while project managers get seasoned in their 30’s.

Jumping the queue either sends a message of  ‘change’ into the organization, or tests someone with exceptional promise.   In this case, I think that there was an intent to promote  new thinking, different faces, and to ‘shake things up’.  The dangers are that sharp analytic skills don’t get honed with real experiences, rapid rotations don’t accumulate relationships, and the consequences of actions aren’t given time to fully develop.

I think that they know this: outward confidence is accompanied by actions that hint at insecurity.  There is a tendency to belittle specialist knowledge, to trumpet their ability to make ‘hard decisions’, and to foster a relentless competitiveness for both organizational and market supremacy.

DSC05264 * 25 steps back / 25 steps forward

I’ve been finishing my year’s personal goals,and have been tagged for a “25 things about me” list on Facebook,  I suppose that they are two sides of the same reflection, I’ll hope to get that posted by the weekend.

‘Off on a business trip to Poland, with limited Internet connections.  It’s my first trip to Eastern Europe: I’ll try to bring back some good photos and impressions.

No comments: