The anomalies of the world fascinate me and raise fundamental questions that I ponder far into the night. For example, why is it that a team of experienced senior executives with individual IQ's
above 130 have a collective IQ of 71 when they are asked to solve a problem or to be the least bit inventive or creative?
We know that groups of individuals can - and do - learn. In fact, there is convincing evidence that the competitive advantage almost inevitably will go to those groups who learn to make their collective "whole" greater than the sum of their individual parts.
We see it in sports, in the performing arts, in science, and occasionally even in the workplace. In Asia and Continental Europe, for example, we find a deep-seated belief that real learning takes
place in groups. "Break-It!" thinking understands that knowledge accumulates within organizations and between individuals who understand how to share information, pool resources, and creatively collaborate.
Here are the basic premises of my new paradigm - my "high five," which I offer to those among you who are committed to continuous innovation and rethinking - for "Break-It!" Thinkers.
1. Today, the rate of change is exponential, not incremental. This is a crucial starting point. The world changes so fast that it is difficult to use conventional modes of thought, measurement,
2. Things will never get "back to normal." This is normal! The so-called glory days of the bygone past have gone.
3. Plan as we may, the future has plans of its own. Because exponential change is here to stay, we have to look down the road with 20/20 vision, focusing on the next 20 minutes and the next
20 years, simultaneously. The bad news is that the number of senior executives and key managers who possess 20/20 vision is small. The good news is that this is a learnable, cognitive skill
that a few training programs, including my own, can teach you.
4. Organizations that "learn how to learn," that ask the right questions, and "find out how to find the answers," will thrive in a global economy. Astute organization theorists, such as MIT's Peter Senge, are absolutely correct in proposing that a continuously learning organization is healthy and highly productive. In my new paradigm, the organization's "verbs" will supplant its "nouns." That is, diverse methods and responsive processes will be more powerful than "tried and true facts" and "off the shelf systems." And asking the right questions at the right time will determine the most sustainable and viable answers.
5. Productive organizations that will excel in the '90s will be those that value flexibility, diversity, integrity, cooperation, and innovation. It is no longer sufficient to "add value" to products. We have to add values into the process and the product. Customers, creditors, consumers and our conscience now require it.
In my work with top management, I find my "high five" premises extremely useful. They stimulate dialogue, raise provocative questions, and, at the very least, increase the collective IQ over the century mark!
Where do you agree and disagree on these premises? What would you add if you were to make your own list?