Finds & Connects - Current
"Finds & Connects" is a continuing log of discoveries, probes, insights, sources, and links on the 15 tenets of Eye of the Storm leadership. Items are selected from the popular and academic presses and updated monthly. Removed items can be found at Finds & Connects - Archive.
I. GUERILLA BRIDGE BUILDING
Chinese Student in U.S. Is Caught in Confrontation. By SHAILA DEWAN Published: April 17, 2008, New York Times. On the day the Olympic torch was carried through San Francisco last week, Grace Wang, a Chinese freshman at Duke University, came out of her dining hall to find a handful of students gathered for a pro-Tibet vigil facing off with a much larger pro-China counterdemonstration. Ms. Wang, who had friends on both sides, tried to get the two groups to talk, participants said. She began traversing what she called "the middle ground," asking the groups' leaders to meet and making bargains. She said she agreed to write "Free Tibet, Save Tibet" on one student's back only if he would speak with pro-Chinese demonstrators. She pleaded and lectured. In one photo, she is walking toward a phalanx of Chinese flags and banners, her arms overhead in a "timeout" T.
But the would-be referee went unheeded. With Chinese anger stoked by disruption of the Olympic torch relays and criticism of government policy toward Tibet, what was once a favorite campus cause - the Dalai Lama's people - had become a dangerous flash point, as Ms. Wang was soon to find out.
The next day, a photo appeared on an Internet forum for Chinese students with a photo of Ms. Wang and the words "traitor to your country" emblazoned in Chinese across her forehead. Ms. Wang's Chinese name, identification number and contact information were posted, along with directions to her parents' apartment in Qingdao, a Chinese port city.
Salted with ugly rumors and manipulated photographs, the story of the young woman who was said to have taken sides with Tibet spread through China's most popular Web sites, at each stop generating hundreds or thousands of raging, derogatory posts, some even suggesting that Ms. Wang - a slight, rosy 20-year-old - be burned in oil. Someone posted a photo of what was purported to be a bucket of feces emptied on the doorstep of her parents, who had gone into hiding. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/17/us/17student.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin (posted April 2008)
Walking to Jerusalem. "While many of us dream of making some small impact upon the world, few risk taking it to this extreme. Author Brandon Wilson and his 68-year-old French friend recently completed an eleven-country, two-continent pilgrimage walk for peace from France to Jerusalem. Their courageous journey traced one marched a millennium ago by early pilgrims, Crusaders, and those who were to become the first Knights Templar.
They found it fittingly ironic that their path of peace would coincide with a trail long used for war. Their odyssey began in Dijon, France where they followed pathways along ancient canals. Once in southern Germany, they connected with the Donau Radweg, or bicycle path, and followed the Danube River through Germany, Austria and Slovakia to Budapest, Hungary. From there they headed south along country roads to Serbia and Bulgaria where they connected with what was once the old Roman road or Via Militaris to Istanbul, Turkey.
Improvisation was their constant companion. Since they were re-blazing a thousand year old trail, everything was uncertain. Carrying only a fifteen-pound pack, Wilson found refuge in simplicity. They traveled 25-50 kilometers each day without a tent, often staying in monasteries or simple hostels along the way.
Time and again they were helped by "angels," strangers who offered food when they were hungry, water when they were thirsty, and often a place to sleep when they could walk no farther.
Nevertheless, the pilgrims faced personal challenges as they trekked 2620-miles (the equivalent to crossing the U.S.) across difficult terrains. Temperatures varied from the near-freezing Black Forest to Turkey's broiling plains. It rained eighteen out of twenty-one days in Austria as they completed a virtual marathon each day. However all that paled in comparison to what awaited. When war erupted in Israel and Lebanon, everything became uncertain - except for their steadfast and perhaps life-threatening resolve.
Asked why he set-off on this unique journey, Wilson explained, "First, it was a personal pilgrimage, a spiritual quest."
"Next," he continued, "I wanted to establish this trail as an international path of peace for people of all cultures, faiths and nationalities, in the tradition of the Camino de Santiago. Walking reduces life to its essentials. At the end of the day, all pilgrims rub sore feet, bandage blisters, take cold showers, and share food around the same table. As we share stories and dreams, we realize how similar we are, our hopes of peace, a homeland, health and security for our families, a better life for our children. Once people realize this, everything else is superfluous."
As word of their mission spread, their trek attracted the attention of national television networks and newspapers in major cities such as Belgrade, Nis, Sofia, Plovdiv and Alanya, allowing them to spread an impassioned call for peace to millions of Christians, Muslims and Jews. Without fail, those ordinary people echoed their call to focus on our commonality instead of our differences - and the urgency of resolving our problems.
The peace walker is no novice to these types of journeys. His fascination began when he and his wife Cheryl became the first western couple to walk a 1,000km. Buddhist pilgrimage trail from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu. This world adventurer and "perpetual pilgrim" has gone on to trek five of the world's most important pilgrimage trails: the Camino de Santiago and Via de la Plata across Spain, the St. Olav's Way across Norway, and he was the first American to walk the 1150-mile Via Francigena from England to Rome.
Brandon Wilson's inspiring new book about their historic odyssey, Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace (Pilgrim's Tales, Inc.), stands as a strong testimony to the courage of the human spirit.
The Midwest Book Review calls it "More than the mere adventure of two brave men, it is a grand and noble quest for peace, as well as a spiritual voyage that will leave readers emotionally and intellectually replenished... Reviewer Mayra Calvani goes on to add, "Wilson's writing combines a marvelous sense of Zen with good humor, and his personal style makes you feel as if you were there taking part in it all..."
With 44 photos, maps/illustrations and stages with distances, Along the Templar Trail provides a signpost for those who dream of making a similar journey-on foot-or just in spirit and mind." From http://www.openpr.com. (posted April, 2008)
II. PROTEAN LEADERSHIP
The Meaning of "Protean." "We are becoming fluid and many-sided. Without quite realizing it, we have been evolving a sense of self appropriate to the restlessness and flux of our time. This mode of being differs radically from that of the past.... I have named it the "protean self" after Proteus, the Greek sea god of many forms. The protean self emerges from confusion, from the widespread feeling that we are losing our psychological moorings. We feel ourselves buffeted about by unmanageable historical forces and social uncertainties.... We are beset by a contradiction: schooled in the virtues of constancy and stability-- whether as individuals, groups, or nations-- our world and our lives seem inconstant and utterly unpredictable." From Robert Jay Lifton, The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation, New York: Basic Books, 1993. (posted April 2008)
Flexibility. "The person with the most varied responses ultimately wins. This is true on the battlefield, in business and in life. I firmly believe this. There are all types of leaders and managers. How many managers have you had that can only address a problem one way? Some are shouters, some are planners and some are collaborators. But how many can be all three effectively in three different situations? Any person who is inflexible - who can only operate in one manner - is not likely to survive very long. Problem-solving requires flexibility - and so does career planning. Very few jobs these days offer the security of knowing that you'll be there for 20 or 30 years. In fact, the average time with a company for 20- and 30-year-olds is a little more than three-and-a-half years. Everyone needs to reinvent themselves, and leaving their comfort zone, and constantly, constantly learning." By Kelly at http://takecommand.gaia.com/blog/2006/9/flexibility. (posted April 2008)
Proteus. "Proteus ("PROH tee us") is the sixth of Neptune's known satellites and the second largest. Proteus was a sea god who could change his shape at will. Discovered in 1989 by Voyager 2. Though it is larger than Nereid, it was not discovered earlier because it is very dark and so close to Neptune that it is difficult to see in the glare of the much brighter planet. Proteus is irregular (non-spherical) in shape. Proteus is probably about as big as an irregular body can be before its gravity pulls it into a more spherical shape. The heavily cratered surface shows no signs of geologic activity." http://www.nineplanets.org/proteus.html. (posted April 2008)
III. INTO THE FRAY
Forum attempts to set aside conflict. By Kathleen Gorman, The Oregonian, Tuesday April 22, 2008, 10:12 AM. "Washington County leaders gather this week to talk about one of the thorniest political problems in the region: Who should govern the 200,000 people living in urban, unincorporated areas and the thousands to come? On Thursday, officials will meet and attempt to break a stalemate steeped in pride, conflicting opinions and strong concerns about survival. It's no secret that annexation attempts, failed incorporations and expansions of the county's urban boundaries occasionally test civility among officials --and residents --in fast-growing Washington County. Mark Cushing, a Portland lawyer hired to moderate the discussion, has talked with all 37 officials invited to the forum at the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center in Hillsboro. Microphones will be passed around six tables and the elected or appointed leaders will be encouraged to share opinions and strategies. Although the task sounds unwieldy, Cushing said he is optimistic that a set of agreed-upon policies could emerge from this first forum." http://www.oregonlive.com (posted April 2008)
Conflict Map. "In the course of the 20th century, mankind experienced some of the most devastating wars of all times. Where did these wars take place? Have some regions experienced more wars than others? Who were the main protagonists in these conflicts? This map gives you the opportunity to answer these questions. It displays wars with at least 1,000 military battle deaths. Go to http://nobelprize.org/educational_games/peace/conflictmap/. (posted April 2008)
IV. THE PARADOXICAL ROLE
DIRECTIONS TO THE ARMORER
All right, armorer,
make me a sword--- not too sharp,
a bit hard to draw,
and of cardboard, preferably,
on second thought, stick
an eraser on the handle,
somehow I always
clobber the wrong guy.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Make me a shield with
easy-to-change insignia. I'm often
a little vague
as to which side I'm on,
what battle I'm in.
And listen, make it
a trifle flimsy,
not too hard to pierce.
I'm not absolutely sure
I want to win.
Make the armor itself
as tough as possible,
but on a reverse
worry about its
saving my hide:
just fit it to give me
some sort of protection-
any sort of protection-
from a possible enemy
By Elder Olson, 1959
(posted, April 2008)
VI. ATTACKING STUBBORN PROBLEMS
Introduction to Problem Solving Skills. "These techniques help you conduct a rigorous analysis of the problems you face, helping you look at as many factors as possible in a structured and methodical way. They give you a starting point in business problem solving (and other problem solving situations) where other people would just feel helpless and intimidated by the situation.
We look at the following tools:
- Extracting maximum information from facts - Appreciation
- Understanding problems in detail - Drill-Down
- Identifying possible causes of problems - Cause & Effect Diagrams
- Understanding how a process works - Flow Charts
- Understanding the way factors affect one-another - Systems Diagrams
- Analysing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats - SWOT Analysis
- Making Cash Flow Forecasts with Spreadsheets
- Methods of Risk Analysis
- Understanding where the power lies - Porter's Five Forces
- Understanding the big picture - PEST Analysis
- Identifying what really matters to customers - Value Chains
- Find your competitive edge with USP Analysis
The first half of the section covers general approaches. Appreciation is a useful technique for extracting good information from dry facts. Drill Down helps you to break large, seemingly unmanageable problems down into achievable parts. It also helps you to see where you need more information. Cause & Effect Diagrams are very useful for making sure that you have considered all factors relating to a problem, while Systems Diagrams are hugely powerful tools for showing how factors interact in complex situations.
The second half of the section discusses specific tools for specific situations. SWOT Analysis helps you to work out a survival and success strategy in a competitive environment. Forecasting with Spreadsheets shows you how to make financial models of your organisation or projects. You can use these to work out whether projects are viable and use them to forecast the effects of changes in underlying factors. Risk Analysis provides a formal framework for identifying the risks you face, and helps you to work out a strategy for controlling them." http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_00.htm (posted April 2008)
VII. CREATING/MANAGING PROCESS
Jimmy Carter was right to meet with Hamas. "Former President Jimmy Carter, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for what the prize committee described as his "untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts," is touring the Middle East as a private citizen in a bid to revive interest in a moribund peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. He's doing so at a time when their decades-long conflict is growing in intensity and distrust on both sides is running high.
As a result, Carter is once again under fire from conservatives. Last week, Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., went so far as to call for the former president's passport to be revoked on Fox News.
Carter's crime was to sit down with leaders of Hamas last week to explore the possibility of waging peace in the Middle East. For many Israel-hawks, it wasn't a first offense; Carter is guilty of viewing the Palestinians as human beings and for condemning human rights abuses on both sides of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. "Any side that kills innocent people is guilty of terrorism," he told an audience at Cairo's American University after his sit-down with members of Hamas.
Carter rejects the short-sighted idea that negotiating with one's enemies legitimizes or rewards them for their actions. According to the same logic, when a police department sends a hostage negotiator to talk down a gun-toting lunatic who's barricaded himself in a house somewhere, that department would be guilty of "legitimizing" armed lunatics. It's a ludicrous idea on its face, but one that's essentially embraced by much of the American foreign policy establishment when it comes to the international arena.
It's an ideological construct that defies both common sense and the "best practices" that have been developed in the field of conflict resolution -- best practices that were born of hard experience. What Carter seems to understand, and his detractors appear unable to grasp, is that there is absolutely no chance of establishing and implementing a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians without offering Hamas a seat at the negotiating table.
One of the most obvious lessons from the international community's efforts at conflict resolution is that getting signatures on a peace deal is only half the battle (if that much). Implementing peace treaties is much more difficult, and recent history is littered with wreckage of agreements that didn't hold.
One of the ways to almost guarantee that a peace agreement will be impossible to implement is to negotiate it without bringing all of the combatants to the table. Israel and Fatah (the faction of Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority) can negotiate a deal, but if Hamas isn't invested in it, then it'll have no incentive to comply with its terms.
One doesn't need to have warm feelings towards Hamas to recognize this reality. The idea that one can choose one's negotiating partner, as opposed to negotiating with all of the parties to a conflict, is a fantasy. The fact that Hamas won a decisive victory in the 2006 Palestinian elections and is the legitimate voice of a majority of the Palestinian people reduces the notion to a bit of right-wing idealism that's thoroughly divorced from historic experience." By Joshua Holland, Alternet at http://www.alternet.org/audits/82936/. (posted April, 2008)
VIII. WORKING TOGETHER
Applying Surowiecki's "The Wisdom of Crowds" to Car Design. Leadership, please meet teamwork and sustainability! James Surowiecki's thesis is this: under the right conditions, the many are smarter than the few and groups will usually do better than individuals if diverse information comes to the table, discussions are coordinated, and opinions can be aggregated. For an interesting application of these principles to the design of a next-generation car that achieves high mileage with low emissions, see "The Amazing race" in the April, 2008 issue of Fast Company at http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/124/the-amazing-race.html (posted April 2008)
Teamwork successful in resolving mining issue. By Tammy Hall. Florida Representative. "There have been many comments and opinions offered with regard to the pending bills in Tallahassee on aggregate mining. One comment that I can agree with is that intrusion of state and federal government into local government's home rule is not right. Each of us whether elected for local, state or federal offices is elected by the same voters. Therefore, I would like to think with that in mind our ability to work together on behalf of our residents would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. It isn't even the case here in our own county.
The sport of politics is certainly a sport of major competition and certainly you need to be in shape and have the ability to maintain the pace. But if we believe in truly making a difference then you have to be able to work with your elected colleagues in a manner that will result in a positive solution. In other words, it usually takes a team to move an issue to result in a positive solution.
So does the public want us to pound on the desk in indignation over the issues of pre-emption or do they want us to provide the statesmanship to ensure that we don't have pre-emption? I refuse to believe that reaching out and offering the opportunity to communicate in a professional manner is a willingness to compromise to the detriment of local government. I believe a process done with respect for each individual that provides a dialog on the facts of the issue will provide our residents with an outcome to ensure their voices are heard. These issues should not be part of upcoming campaigns and politics of who can one-up each other.
That process of communication did work last week when Senate bills 774 and 2406 were not passed out of Senator Saunders Environmental Committee. Working with the Florida Association of Counties I was able to meet with stakeholders and bring together state departments as well as local officials to discuss the differences and concerns that we all shared with these two particular bills. From that end we were able to work through the elimination of pre-emption and our local voices not being eliminated in this extremely important siting of mining. http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080423/OPINION/804230343/1015 (posted April 2008)
IX. ARTFUL COMMUNICATION
Must We Talk? (By John Tierney, passed along by Sarah Alexander). Have you been trying to ignore this election? Do you avoid talking politics with friends? Do you tune out right-wing talk shows and stay away from left-wing blogs? Do you change channels as soon as you hear the words "Pelosi," "Foley," "cut and run" or "macaca"? Then you owe it to your country to vote today. It's the rest of us who should stay home. We've lost our bearings because we've followed the old advice to discuss this amongst ourselves. Democracy, we've been told, is best served when informed citizens deliberate the issues of the day, pooling their wisdom to reach a judicious consensus. But what really happens when people discuss politics? Consider an experiment last year, when groups of Coloradans convened separately in Boulder and Colorado Springs to discuss global warming, affirmative action and civil unions for same-sex couples. Before the discussions, the people in Boulder were on average more liberal than the ones in Colorado Springs, but there were also moderates in both places whose opinions overlapped. After the group discussions, the people in Boulder moved to the left, and those in Colorado Springs moved to the right. The researchers - David Schkade, Cass Sunstein and Reid Hastie - concluded that "the major effect of deliberation was to make group members more extreme than they were before they started to talk." This effect hasn't been studied much in politics, but it's well documented in other arenas. When jurors deliberate how much to award in damages, they often end up giving more than the average juror originally thought was fair - and sometimes more than anyone in the group originally favored. The more they talk, the more they reinforce one another's indignation. Group polarization is less of a problem if the people start with a wide range of opinions - even if they tend to shift in whatever direction the majority favors, they'll at least be exposed to other views and become more tolerant. There's some evidence that if you purposely assemble a diverse group of discussants and systematically educate them about an issue, some of the people will moderate their opinions. But when people informally discuss politics, they often don't hear a range of views. As in Boulder and Colorado Springs, they may be surrounded by like-minded people in their neighborhoods, churches and offices. During local elections, they're much more likely now than in the past to hear one-sided rhetoric because gerrymandering has produced so many one-sided districts, making it impossible for moderate candidates to survive. Thanks to cable television, talk radio and the Internet, it's easier than ever for people to have their opinions validated around the clock. As the media audiences segregate themselves ideologically, they become more extreme in their views - and more convinced than ever that they represent the sensible middle. When conservatives have their views reinforced daily on talk radio and Sundays at their churches, they start to believe the "mainstream media" is a bunch of wacko traitors. When liberals spend their days reading lefty blogs, or working on campuses surrounded by ideological soulmates, they start convincing themselves that most "corporate media" are right wing, and that Fox News is pure propaganda. In fact, most journalists do try to be objective, but as a group they, too, can become polarized by spending most of their time talking to fellow journalists and experts with similar views. One of the cleverest demonstrations of this effect was a study published last year in Harvard's Quarterly Journal of Economics. The researchers, Tim Groseclose and Jeffrey Milyo, devised a scale for measuring the slant of news reports by keeping track of which think tanks - liberal or conservative - were quoted most often. The researchers found that The Washington Times and Brit Hume's evening newscast on Fox fell on the conservative side of the scale, while all the other news media outlets they studied fell on the liberal side. The surprising result - to liberals, at least - was that Fox was closer to the ideological center than the Big Three evening newscasts as well as all the major newspapers and newsweeklies. Of course, these ideological divides are small compared with the ones in the blogosphere, which is one giant version of the Colorado experiment. You can always find a group online to affirm your brilliant opinions. It's immensely satisfying, but it can also make Election Day a miserable experience. Tonight, you can't help noticing how many ignorant people out there disagree with you." (posted, April 2008)
X. JOINT FACT FINDING
Pebble Partnership brings in Keystone: Series of public discussions expected to generate independent assessment of mine. By Naomi Klouda, Homer Tribune, April 9, 2008. "In an effort to keep lines of communication open between the public and Pebble Mine project players, the Pebble Partnership hired a Colorado public policy institute to hold a series of talks this spring on the Pebble Mine project. The Keystone Center began making stakeholder assessments in February with the purpose of gathering impartial data.
But for now, meetings in Kenai on Tuesday and in Homer today were closed and unadvertised. The meetings were reportedly held in order for the assessment team to talk with those representing various perspectives on the proposed gold mine project.
The chambers of commerce in each town, city and borough, as well as tribal leaders, are apparently the target for this phase in the study. Keystone lead associate Todd Bryan said for now at issue is "whether or not to recommend it is beneficial to the Pebble Partnership to continue to engage the public in a dialogue. If we recommend togo ahead, then we'll want to have a lot of input."
Bryan said he left it up to the communities - in Homer, the chamber of commerce - to give private invitations to those taking part in this section of the study. "The hope is that those taking part are truly representing the various perspectives," Bryan said. "We're not assembling a list of people's positions. We don't need to talk to too many people at this point. We can identify the issues based on fewer people." Keystone's questions for Pebble stakeholders include:
- What issues are of most concern to you?
- What is occurring now that influences your opinion?
- Are there uncertainties, questions or challenges you would like to see addressed through additional studies?
- Do you favor a dialogue with Pebble and others to determine whether there is common ground from which solutions may emerge? Why?
Pebble spokesperson Sean MaGee said developing the Pebble Mine's gold and zinc deposits created a polarized debate. And often, opposing scientific data leaves the public confused about whose "facts" are credible. "Our thinking is that this is stakeholder outreach," Magee said. "We have been sharing our project and tried to seek public feedback and understand priorities. We've had some success, but realized we are at a point where we want to foster a more meaningful discussion with people. There is so much polarity that it can be difficult to have meaningful public dialogues."
The Keystone Center, employed largely by government entities or nonprofits, has accumulated 36 years of experience in mediating studies on environmental, energy and health issues. One of its tasks includes generating a report explaining the mine's potential impact on the environment. The center is working independent of the Pebble Partnership - without its input at the meetings and compiling its own data, MaGee said. The effort of analyzing environmental data and listening to opposing views is called "joint fact-finding." One recent Keystone project focused on climate change, and participants in the dialogue included everyone from BP America to Toyota to the Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. A conclusion paper from the project is published online at www.keystone.org, and outlines how to plan for a lower CO2 output.
"Their job is to assess our project - what are issues and how can we go forward to design a process that is more beneficial and positive to communities and the project," MaGee said. Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively began his new position last Wednesday. He too will not be involved in the stakeholder discussions.
"None of our people are involved because this is to be an independent assessment," Shively said Monday. The Keystone assessment is likely to wrap up in June. http://www.homertribune.com/article.php?aid=2809 (posted April 2008)
Excerpts on Governance-related terms and definitions from The Devil's Dictionary by Ambroise Bierce, 1890.
Compromise: n. such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.
Controversy: n a battle in which the spittle and ink replaces the injurious cannonball and inconsiderate bayonet.
Decide: n. to succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another.
Deliberation: n the act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.
Executive: n an officer of the Government, whose duty it is to enforce the wishes of the legislative power until such time as the judicial department shall be pleased to pronounce them invalid and of no effect.
Harangue: n a speech by an opponent who is known as a harangue-outang.
Idiot: n a member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.
Impartial: adj. Unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage from espousing either side of a controversy or adopting either of two conflicting opinions.
Indecision: the chief element of success. " For whereas, there is only one way of doing nothing and diverse ways to do something, whereof, to a surety, only one way is the right way, it follloweth that he who from indecision standeth still hath not so many changes of going astray as he who pusheth forward."
Influence: in politics, a visionary quo given in exchange for a substantial quid."
Insurance: n An ingenious modern game of chance in whih the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.
Lawyer: n. one skilled in the circumvention of the law.
Litigation: n. a machine in which you go in as a pig and come out as a sausage.
Litigant: n. a person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.
Logic: n. the art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of human understanding.
Peace: n in international affairs a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
Politics: n. a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles
Quorum: n a sufficient number of members of a deliberative body to have their own way and their own way of having it.
Reasonable: adj susceptible to the infection of our own opinions.
Reconciliation: an armed truce for the purpose of digging up the dead.
XI. HATCHING PLANS
On Strategy by Fred Nickols.
- Strategy has been borrowed from the military and adapted for business use. In truth, very little adaptation is required.
- Strategy is about means. It is about the attainment of ends, not their specification. The specification of ends is a matter of stating those future conditions and circumstances toward which effort is to be devoted until such time as those ends are obtained.
- Strategy is concerned with how you will achieve your aims, not with what those aims are or ought to be, or how they are established. If strategy has any meaning at all, it is only in relation to some aim or end in view.
- Strategy is one element in a four-part structure. First are the ends to be obtained. Second are the strategies for obtaining them, the ways in which resources will be deployed. Third are tactics, the ways in which resources that have been deployed are actually used or employed. Fourth and last are the resources themselves, the means at our disposal. Thus it is that strategy and tactics bridge the gap between ends and means.
- Establishing the aims or ends of an enterprise is a matter of policy and the root words there are both Greek: politeia and polites-the state and the people. Determining the ends of an enterprise is mainly a matter of governance not management and, conversely, achieving them is mostly a matter of management not governance.
- Those who govern are responsible for seeing to it that the ends of the enterprise are clear to the people who people that enterprise and that these ends are legitimate, ethical and that they benefit the enterprise and its members.
- Strategy is the joint province of those who govern and those who manage. Tactics belong to those who manage. Means or resources are jointly controlled. Those who govern and manage are jointly responsible for the deployment of resources. Those who manage are responsible for the employment of those resources-but always in the context of the ends sought and the strategy for their achievement.
- Over time, the employment of resources yields actual results and these, in light of intended results, shape the future deployment of resources. Thus it is that "realized" strategy emerges from the pattern of actions and decisions. And thus it is that strategy is an adaptive, evolving view of what is required to obtain the ends in view.
http://home.att.net/~nickols/strategy_definition.htm (posted April 2008)
XIII. TURBO-CHARGING NEGOTIATIONS
The Kellogg School of Management. From the war room to the board room, negotiations are a part of everyday life. Successful negotiations demand a clear understanding of one's opponent. But what approach should one take to achieve such an understanding of one's opponent in everyday negotiations? Psychologist Adam Galinsky from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and colleagues William Maddux (INSEAD), Debra Gilin (St. Mary's U.), and Judith White (Dartmouth) asked a similar question and found that success in negotiations depends on focusing on the head and not the heart. In other words, it is better to take the perspective of negotiation opponents rather than empathize with them.
Perspective-taking, according to the study published in the April 2008 issue of Psychological Science, a publication of the Association for Psychological Science, involves understanding and anticipating an opponent's interests, thoughts, and likely behaviors, whereas empathy focuses mostly on sympathy and compassion for another. "Perspective takers are able to step outside the constraints of their own immediate, biased frames of reference," wrote the authors. "Empathy, however, leads individuals to violate norms of equity and equality and to provide preferential treatments." From http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/it-pays-to-know-your,361218.shtml (posted April 2008)
Would John Wayne Negotiate? "Many might dismiss John Wayne (or, more accurately, his screen personae) as a mere celluloid fantasy, but at their peril. As Gary Wills noted in his book, John Wayne is more of a cultural icon which institutionalized the American belief in the lone individual against the forces of corruption, and the value of fighting for principle over negotiating in resolving conflict. Wayne's roles in virtually all his movies (by his design, says Wills) are the personification of standing-up for what you believe in. His metaphoric voice is heard in every political debate and is echoed in many, if not most, disputes, whatever the context, family/divorce, business, and landlord-tenant matters. For Wayne, negotiation is tantamount to, at the very least, compromising your principles, and at worst, may even be sinful or immoral. I've written in greater depth about how negotiation is viewed with suspicion in our culture, and how over the centuries negotiation is aligned with evil and the belief ingrained that it is not just bad but immoral. Simply put, Satan, the archetype of evil in the world, uses as his modus operandi, negotiation---He negotiates for your soul. John Wayne is case in point of the resistance to negotiation." From "The Movies - Constructions of Reality and Sources of Metaphors" by Robert Benjamin at www.mediate.com. (Posted, April 2008)
Methods of Peacemaking. "Article 33 of the UN Charter specifies, "negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, [and] resort to regional agencies or arrangements" as modes of peaceful intervention in violent conflicts. Articles 41 and 42 of the Charter also allow for sanctions, blockading, and violent intervention in order to restore the peace between warring states. It is important to note that all U.N. Charter justifications for peacemaking were based on the concept of sovereign states. That is, there is no support for intervention in civil wars in the U.N. Charter itself. However, the Agenda for Peace, written under the auspices of former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, changes the conception to allow for intervention in civil wars. Other modules have explored negotiation, mediation, and arbitration in depth. The following sections will look at some of the methods of peacemaking not discussed in other modules." From Peacemaking by Jean Oulett at http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/peacemaking/. (posted, April 2008)
XV. BEYOND GRIDLOCK
For the Children
The rising hills, the slopes,
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
In the next century
or the one beyond that,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.
To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
learn the flowers
- Gary Snyder, from Turtle Island
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