The name Bruce Lee conjures up many images – not least as the man who pretty much defined martial arts in the common psyche. I used to love his movies, and then gradually realised that he brought wisdom in both his actions and thought.
So here are a 20 quotes which I find particularly inspiring and thought provoking.
“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.”
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
“Choose the positive. You have choice, you are master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.”
“A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.”
“After all, all knowledge simply means self-knowledge.”
“Obey the principles without being bound by them.”
“Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.“
“Simplicity is the key to brilliance.”
“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.”
“Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”
“Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning.”
“To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.”
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”
“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”
“All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.”
“What you habitually think largely determines what you will ultimately become.”
“The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”
“One should be in harmony with, not in opposition to, the strength and force of the opposition. This means that one should do nothing that is not natural or spontaneous; the important thing is not to strain in any way.”
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
I will finish with the longest quote – and perhaps the most profound:
“The biggest adversary in our life is ourselves. We are what we are, in a sense, because of the dominating thoughts we allow to gather in our head. All concepts of self-improvement, all actions and paths we take, relate solely to our abstract image of ourselves. Life is limited only by how we really see ourselves and feel about our being. A great deal of pure self-knowledge and inner understanding allows us to lay an all-important foundation for the structure of our life from which we can perceive and take the right avenues.”
For anyone interested in the use of Big Data to drive change, innovation and transparency – a very thorough report from McKinsey & Company. I particularly like this conclusion from the report:
“Open Data .. enhances big data’s impact by creating transparency, exposing variability, and enabling experimentation; helping companies to segment populations and thus to customize actions directed at them; replacing or supporting human decision making; and spurring innovative business models, products, and services.”
The Report’s introduction:
“Open data — machine-readable information, particularly government data, that’s made available to others — has generated a great deal of excitement around the world for its potential to empower citizens, change how government works, and improve the delivery of public services. It may also generate significant economic value, according to a new McKinsey report. Our research suggests that seven sectors alone could generate more than $3 trillion a year in additional value as a result of open data, which is already giving rise to hundreds of entrepreneurial businesses and helping established companies to segment markets, define new products and services, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations.
Although the open-data phenomenon is in its early days, we see a clear potential to unlock significant economic value by applying advanced analytics to both open and proprietary knowledge. Open data can become an instrument for breaking down information gaps across industries, allowing companies to share benchmarks and spread best practices that raise productivity. Blended with proprietary data sets, it can propel innovation and help organizations replace traditional and intuitive decision-making approaches with data-driven ones. Open-data analytics can also help uncover consumer preferences, allowing companies to improve new products and to uncover anomalies and needless variations. That can lead to leaner, more reliable processes.
However, investments in technology and expertise are required to use the data effectively. And there is much work to be done by governments, companies, and consumers to craft policies that protect privacy and intellectual property, as well as establish standards to speed the flow of data that is not only open but also “liquid.” After all, consumers have serious privacy concerns, and companies are reluctant to share proprietary information—even when anonymity is assured—for fear of losing competitive advantage.
Our research sought to quantify the potential value of open data by examining applications in seven fields of the global economy: education, transportation, consumer products, electricity, oil and gas, health care, and consumer finance. For each of these, we identified ways that open data may create economic value, explored potential barriers to adoption, and considered which actions would be required for capturing value with open data. In fact, we found numerous ways it could drive growth and innovation across industries and sectors. In summary, the use of open data:
- has a large potential economic value from its benefits, including increased efficiency, new products and services, and a consumer surplus (cost savings, convenience, better products)
- enhances big data’s impact by creating transparency, exposing variability, and enabling experimentation; helping companies to segment populations and thus to customize actions directed at them; replacing or supporting human decision making; and spurring innovative business models, products, and services
- creates multiple business opportunities, such as the potential to raise productivity, to improve new products and services, and to enable entirely novel lines of business for both established companies and entrants
- benefits consumers even more than businesses, by creating price and product transparency as well as new channels to provide feedback that improves the quality of goods and services (including public ones)
- entails business risks, including reputational issues related to the potential release of negative information; the potential consumer backlash from aggressive open-data use (for instance, in ads that target online consumers by following social-media activity); and the inadvertent release of confidential information, such as benchmarking data
- requires governments to play a central role by developing and implementing policies to mitigate consumer and business concerns about the misuse of open data and to help set standards that will allow the potential economic and social benefits to materialize
- faces barrier
Report by James Manyika, Michael Chui, Diana Farrell, Steve Van Kuiken, Peter Groves, and Elizabeth Almasi Doshi
Download the full report here
Rock and Roll Heart — Lou Reed Documentary (American Masters)
Rock and Roll Heart traces Lou Reed’s career from the formation of the Velvet Underground to rock icon to his more recent artistic endeavors. Includes lots of rare and vintage footage along with interviews with David Bowie, John Cale, Patti Smith, Thurston Moore, David Byrne, Jim Carroll, Maureen Tucker, Suzanne Vega, Dave Stewart and Philip Glass. An excellent documentary (and the only one) about this hugely influential and uncompromising American artist.
Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders for American Masters and screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998.
(This is meant for non-profit commentary and educational purposes. No copyright infringement intended. Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research)
An extract from Mick’s work on the Leadership Implications of Big Data, from the new book “New Eyes: The Human side of Change Leadership”
Long gone are the days of a single genius creating everything.
Edison was indeed a genius – but even he had a research lab. These days, networks help businesses innovate and take advantage of Big Data. These networks speed the flow of new ideas, best practices, products, and services across functions and across geographies.
Historically, innovation came from internal Research & Development groups (R&D), yet ideas can come from anywhere – suppliers, customers, universities and government. Networks are powerful innovation tools.
When Proctor & Gamble’s “Connect & Develop” opened R&D to external networks, results were astounding: according to a Harvard Business Review study [i], R&D productivity increased by nearly 60 percent. Externally created innovations comprised 35 percent of new products (up from 15 percent), and 45 percent of all product development initiatives.
Innovate in technologies to enable network operations
Technology begins with database design made “fit for analytical purpose.” This includes the right data capture systems, storage, processing, and access (Gualteri), and it impacts the entire business.
According to Gartner [ii], by 2017 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) will outspend Chief Information Officers (CIOs) on data and analytics. If CMOs and CIOs develop strategies in silos, a seamless customer experience will be impossible. Technology enables change, but it is the human being that creates insight, conversation, service, and action.
Delegating this to the CIO or the CMO without an overall business strategy across the organization is wasting the investment and missing the opportunity.
Innovate in the right kind of analytics
The literature is awash with talk about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. But usually CRM is focused on customer contact and communication, and it does not automatically drive new insights and action. Nor do such systems allow constructive two-way involvement with customers. Too often CRM systems are about “push” strategies and handling complaints.
Leaders who let CRM stay in this space are missing an opportunity.
Innovate in a common language
Businesses need a common customer language across their organisations, and need to share this with suppliers and other third parties. A connected internal and external network is of no value if different language is used in different parts of the network.
Language and definition is thus a major change effort – and the leader’s focus on the right language is a daily discipline necessary for success.
Innovate with external networks
Innovation networks drive new product ideas and execution.
Online exchanges between “seekers” and “finders” are now everywhere, expanding the group creating ideas, and dramatically lowering cost. Technology, connectivity, rapid data flows and analysis are the keys to success. Open source must be the organisational paradigm.
The mind-set shifts from “invented here = right,” to “invented anywhere = best.”
Research (Harvard Business Review [iii]) has shown that a large number of novel ideas come from “solvers” working outside the fields normally expected by the “seekers.” In other words, new knowledge is coming from unexpected quarters, including customers.
[i] Huston, Larry & Sakkab, Neil – Connect and Develop: Inside Procter & Gamble’s New Model for Innovation, HBR, 2006
[ii] McLellan, Laura – By 2017 the CMO will Spend More on IT Than the CIO, Gartner, 2012
[iii] Lakhani, Karim R. & Lars Bo Jeppesen, Lars Bo – Getting Unusual Suspects to Solve R&D Puzzles, HBR, 2007
Tom Miller is the President of Symbolist, and a colleague from the Change Leaders Community
Here’s a recent post that caught my imagination.
“Humanize” is becoming a popular term to use these days when talking about corporate cultures. I think it will be sticky. It’s like the term “employee engagement” – who wouldn’t want more engaged employees, right?
More human? Sure – I’ll take all I can get.
So how do you get a more “human” organization?
First of all we have to define what that means.
MORE THAN WHAT WE SEE
At first blush we may think that being “human” is about the physical – the DNA. You’re human and I’m human because we share the same number of chromosomes and we look relatively the same. But we know that being “human” isn’t just physical. There have been plenty of “humans” who have walked this earth that were less than human – that were monsters. They weren’t human because although they looked and seemed human – they lacked the things you can’t see that make us truly human.
And I believe those things can be present in an organization as well.
When I look at my own company and our client’s organizations I’m looking for three things that make an organization human.
3 ELEMENTS OF ORGANIZATIONAL HUMANITY
A company is human when it loves…
(Don’t get creeped out – hang on – I promise we’ll get through this.)
We all like to think of the emotional part of love and the warm feeling we get when we think about another person or thing we love. We recognize the emotion of love based on a basket full of experiences accumulated over a period of time.
When I consider my basket I find it contains the outcomes from consistent actions that demonstrate care and concern. I find reciprocal relationships where each person wants the best for the other. I find experiences that major in laughter and minor in sadness. I find it contains things that have changed me.
If you think of love in that context is it a stretch for a company to offer an environment where care and concern are foremost? Can a company create a basket of experiences that mirror the personal one? Can a company want the best for the people that work there? Can an organization be a place where laughter and learning happen at the same time? I think the answer to all these questions is a loud, “YES!”
A company is human when it trusts…
Trust works a lot like love – it’s shaped and developed over time by a consistent set of experiences. It is also proactive. I think this is where many businesses get in their own way. They want employees to trust them – but aren’t necessarily ready to trust the employee.
I think trust has to start with the company first.
Read the rest of Tom’s post
Why do companies need to manage the entire customer experience? New analysis reveals that the entire customer journey – the series of interactions with a brand – is more important than any single touchpoint experience. Leading companies identify and effectively manage a few “key journeys.”
When companies perfect managing the entire customer journey, they reap significant benefits — including enhanced customer and employee satisfaction, reduced customer churn, increased revenue, lower costs, improved organizational collaboration, and competitive advantage.
From Kevin Eikenberry’s blog, October 14th
“Today in 1947 John Glenn broke the sound barrier – going faster than any human had ever gone up until that point – about 768 miles per hour or a mile in five seconds. And it seems that since then speed has played a bigger part in all areas of our lives, including at work.
As a leader it is our responsibility to be aware of and think about all things that have a significant impact on our teams and their success. That list would have to include speed. Speed is a complicated topic when we think about it in terms of human and group dynamics, and so this article is relevant and useful for us as leaders.
In the pursuit of speed, let’s get on with the principles of speed and how we harness them for ourselves and with our teams.
Environmental speed is building. Ok, I already made this point and you get it. By most all measures the world is moving faster than ever and unless you are going to shun society and move off the grid to a cabin in the mountains, you can’t change that. Since you are reading this from a leadership perspective that likely isn’t an option you are considering. The fact is speed is prevalent in our worlds, and as leaders we must help people cope/accept/deal with it – especially since we are seen as (or are seen as the representative of) the source of some of that change.
Speed is relative. 30 miles an hour on a bicycle seems really fast, but that doesn’t seem so fast on a freeway. Have you every driven your car on a freeway at 70 mph, then had to reduce speed for construction, but it is a weekend and there is no one around? Doesn’t 50 now seem slow? Two people join a team or organization at the same time and one thinks things move really fast, and the other thinks it is as slow as molasses. Which is right? Both are, based on their past experiences and expectations. Speed in all situations is relative – which means if you have a team that thinks things are too fast, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are lazy, but it does mean you may have to help them grow accustomed to a new, faster pace.
Speed has style implications. There are many personality and behavioral style tools and models, and each of them (at least those I am familiar with) acknowledges that different people have a different internal pace. Some people talk faster, walk faster, think faster and are generally more action oriented. Others think before they speak, step back more, draw energy differently and are more patient. All of this means that not everyone on your team has the same innate speed setting. Neither is “right” or “wrong”, but those styles will impact how people respond to the general pace and rate of change in your organization. If the thought of styles seems a bit esoteric to you, think about them as habits – some of us just like more speed in our life than others. Your job as a leader? To recognize and harness those styles to improve your team’s overall results.”
Read the rest of Kevin’s post
I enjoy leadership biographies, as I believe we can all learn a lot from leaders from all moments in history. LeaderValues carries a big collection of such biographies.
This new one caught my attention, reviewed in the Spectator Magazine by Jasper Becker, as it also addresses the re-writing of history for political reasons.
It is “Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China“, by Jung Chang, published by Cape. Jung also wrote the fascinating (and best selling) books “Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China” and “Mao: The Unknown Story“.
It seems Jung is on one-person mission to correct the mistruths spoken about Chinese leaders over the years, both good and bad … and she does a well-researched and fascinating-to-read job.
Here is an extract from the Spectator review:
“For susceptible Englishmen of a certain inclination — like Sir Edmund Backhouse or George Macdonald Fraser — the Empress Dowager Cixi was the ultimate oriental sex kitten, an insatiable, manipulating dominatrix who brought the decadent Manchu empire to its knees.
While all seems lost, as foreign troops burn the Summer Palace in Peking, she is to be found, thinly disguised, in the pages of Flashman and the Dragon, locked in our hero’s rugged embrace. More recently, it has suited communist historians to concur with Flashman that she was ‘a compound of five Deadly Sins — greed, gluttony, lust, pride and anger — with ruthlessness, cruelty and treachery thrown in’.
In present-day China her rule is blamed for half a century of foreign bullying, humiliation and decline. Every visitor to the Summer Palace is shown the beautiful lakeside pavilion in the shape of an elegant marble pleasure boat and told how Cixi spent funds destined for the imperial navy on such extravagant fripperies — which ultimately led to Japan’s victory over China in 1895 and the loss of Taiwan.
Between 1860, when an Anglo-French expeditionary force sacked the Summer Palace in the Second Opium War, and her death in 1908, this half-literate, eighth-rank concubine somehow ruled China from behind a screen. She governed first through her only son, the Emperor Tongzhi, and after his early death through two adopted children. In 1911, the last emperor of China, Puyi, abdicated, ushering in the chaotic warlord era and then the dictatorship of Chiang Kai-shek.
Our image of Cixi and her court has been heavily influenced by the ardent nationalist Kang Youwei, who fled abroad in 1898 after a failed conspiracy. Kang, having been a close associate of the Emperor Guangxu, claimed he knew all about the debauched goings-on in the Forbidden City. His stories of Cixi’s nightly orgies were subsequently picked up and recycled by China hands such as J.O.P. Bland and Backhouse.
Cixi did execute six of Kang’s associates and imprison the Emperor Guangxu on an island in Zhongnanhai, the current headquarters of China’s leaders. These men are now officially regarded as heroic martyrs, prevented by the Empress Dowager from pushing through the first comprehensive package of modernising reforms. And Cixi’s subsequent support of the fanatical Boxers, who besieged the Foreign Legations in 1900 and massacred diplomats and Christians, has lent further credibility to the lurid tales about her. It was certainly a mysterious episode. The Boxers could have destroyed the Legations’ defences at a stroke had they used the artillery available.
And why, in the middle of the mayhem, did Cixi send the starving defenders baskets of fruit and vegetables?”
Read the rest of Jasper Becker’s review