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Weekend Imagination Igniters: Learning – Wally Bock

ImaginationAnother great insight from Wally Bock

For most of us, the weekend is less agenda-driven and more relaxed than our usual weekday.

You’re more likely to slip into that state of relaxed alertness that psychologists call “alpha.” That’s when you’re most likely to have creative thoughts.

This week I’m thinking about how we learn from those who work “for” us, thanks to a marvelous post by Michael Schrage titled “Do Your Employees Make You a Better Manager? ” It’s a question I never thought of before and the post is worth reading in full, but here are three examples of how that can work, from my own life.

Sometimes people tell you what you need to hear. Bob used to talk about growing up on a farm where his job, as a boy, was to feed the horses. His lesson went something like this.

“It didn’t matter if it was snowing or if you were tired or even if you were sick. It didn’t matter if all of the above were true. Every morning you got up and went to the barn and fed the horses. Every place you will ever work has chores like that.”

Other people teach you by their example. Annie worked for me several decades ago. She was an immigrant, without much education. She had an invalid husband whom she cared for. But she never missed a day at work and she was always, always the person who set the standard of quality for everyone else.

For some it’s a combination of what they say and what they do. Art worked for his organization for more than thirty years and never made it to the top ranks. But he was such an example of the way things should be done and he said so many wise things that for years after he retired, people higher than he on the org chart used the “Art test” on any new idea.

People came up with ideas and made their case. Then someone would look at the others in the room and ask, “What would Art think of this?

This weekend, in those quiet moments, think about what you’ve learned from the people who worked for you. Have you thanked them?

I have to go now. I have some thank-you notes to write.”

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