Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Leader in Me by Stephen R. Covey 6 July 2011

An excerpt from The Leader in Me,

Until recently, we were living in an era known as the information age. In that era, individuals who had the most information - the most 'facts' in their heads - were the ones who became the fortunate few to ascend to the tops of their professions. During that era, it only made sense that the primary focus of parents and schools was on pumping as many facts into students' brain cells as possible - assuming they were the right facts for the right tests. After all, 'facts in the head' is what allowed students to score high on the right 'fact-based' tests, which got them into the best 'fact based' universities, and that in turn set them up for an accelerated climb up right 'fact-based' career ladder.

But that era is now being transcended as the global economy has entered another phase of speed and complexicity. While the factual information remains a key factor for survical in today's world, it is no longer sufficient. With the massive spread of the internet and other digital resources, facts that at one time were closely guarded trade secrets and only available from the top universities can now be accessed in most every nook and cranny on the globe with a click of a mouse. As a result, many of the so- called elite professions that once required extensive schooling are today being passed on to computers or to people at far lowest education levels and wages across planet. Factual knowledge alone is thus no longer the great differentiator between those succeed and those who do not.

Instead, the individuals who are emerging as the new 'winners'- the new thrivers - of the twenty-first century are those who possess above average creativity, strong analytical skills, a knack for foresight, and suprise, suprise - good people skills. As Daniel Pink and others are asserting, it is the right-brainers who are taking over the present economy. They are the inventors, the designers, the listeners, the big-picture thinkers, the meaning makers, and the pattern recognizers- those who know how to optimize and creatively maneuver the facts, not just memorize or regurgitate them. All this they do while knowing how to effectively team with others. And, in case yu have not noticed, people with such talents are popping up on every continent, even in remote villages. As Larry Sullivan, former superintendent of schools for the Texas Independent School District, points out "Today 's students are no longer merely competing for jobs against students in neighbouring towns, states or provinces, there are competing with students in China, India, Japan, Europe, South America, Madagascar, and every island and continent in between"

Yet while these are the new realities, how often do I hear today's business leaders grimacing about the new MBA or PhD they just hired who has 'no clue' how to work with people, how to make a basic presentation, how to conduct themselves ethically, how to organise their time or how to be creative - much less how to inspire creativity in others?
by Stephen R. Covey

Read more The Leader in Me: How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time

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