I recently attended a lecture by one of my favorite authors, Thomas Friedman. He is an incredibly gifted speaker and story teller, and I was under his spell from start to finish. His newest book, “That Used to Be Us” is a fact filled book about how America is slowly sliding into decline and how we have lost our ability to act collectively.
He summarizes it best: “The merger of globalization and the IT revolution that coincided with the transition from the twentieth to the twenty-first century is changing everything—every job, every industry, every service, every hierarchical institution.” He provides good advice on both the global level and for individuals. He suggests we:
Think like an immigrant—work hard, look for the opportunities.
Act like an artisan—like the artisans of old, be proud of putting your name on your work.
Be like the waitress at Perkins Pancake House—give extra fruit. (His favorite waitress would give him a little extra on his plate. It wasn't much, but it was something that she was able to provide from within her realm of influence that really made a difference to customers).
I shared Mr. Friedman’s insights in a recent Sonoma Leadership Systems team meeting and the "extra fruit" really resonated with the group. We asked ourselves as leaders, what is the "extra fruit" we can offer our constituents? Consensus was, it’s the small things we can do like saying “thank you,” and “Encouraging the Heart.”
If we are thinking like immigrants, we can ask "Am I experimenting and taking risks?” And if we are working like artisans, "Are we modeling the way? Are we developing apprentices and enabling others to act?”
Now it's time for you to ask the question: What impact has globalization and the IT revolution had on the way we do business? Then, listen carefully to the answers.
As leaders, we can reverse the decline and start acting collectively. When we do, what a difference we can make in ourselves, communities, organizations, and nation.
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