The Organizational Development Muse

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

Organizational Leaders should choke down at least one epic

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Feb 12, 2014 5:30:00 AM

Organizational leaders need to read an epic every once in a while. It doesn't have to be all that dry or joyless an expeierence. They could read Colleen McCullough's multi-volume work of historic fiction surrounding the life and times of Julius Caesar. They could work through a James Michener take on some part of the world (my favorite was Texas).  Or, it could be an historical work like The history of private life, How the Scots invented the modern world, or the current one I'm reading, Pagan Britain by Ronald Hutton.

pagainbritianThe benefit of slowing down to read a book that encapsulates generations, centuries or even millennia, is a reconnection to the flow of human history, of which the organizational leader is just a part, a moment, a blip. An impactful blip, certainly, but a blip nevertheless.

We live in a time when a great number of leaders have consumed the legacy they were handed, spent all the resources they themselves generated, and took on obligations they will pass to those who follow. They operated without respect for what came before and what will come after. It has been about them and their cronies.

We need organizational leaders who operate differently.

An alternative to reading a great big book is to replay the story of your family history--warts and all, carrying it forward to the generation(s) you have influenced. Even if your family of origin was broken--even if you have no offspring of your own--good and awful were handed to you, and wonderful/yucky proceeds from you. It is important for you, as a leader, to see yourself in a position to mitigate the awful and maximize the wonderful as it flows through you to others.

That is when you lead.

Otherwise you are just an obstruction. Our culture celebrates obstructors who accumulate and consume, rather than celebrating those who create and share. We even confuse accumulation with creation!

We have terms for places where everything flows in and nothing flows out. We call them bogs, swamps and Dead Seas.

-mark l vincent

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Topics: process consulting, Process consultation and design, Organizational Leadership, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, organizational wisdom

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