The book that keeps giving… Exploiting Chaos @jeremygutsche

A recommendation from Jon Corippo (one among many in our #leadwild Voxer group).  Books, video, articles… the resources just keep coming.

I’m a book hoarder.  They are everywhere in my house, my office, my car.  I carry them like a child carries a well-loved blankie or stuffie.  And they become just as road worn: dog eared corners, markings, post its, coffee stains.  Signs of love.

I read Exploiting Chaos the moment it arrived.  “Mom, you got a book today!” one of my boys greets my return.  The smiling Amazon box waiting on our door immediately signals Book Purchase to my kids.  It’s an easy read, clear illustrations, tidy categories, almost PSA style take-aways, but here’s where it doesn’t stop with one read.

You just can’t dog ear every page of a book.  Sheesh.  What good is that?!  And how much post-it fringe is too much?  It was a dilemma.  So I stopped those habits and just keep it close.

As I’m knee-deep in school transition, meeting staff, talking with parents, getting my bearings around the campus…. I decided I needed another does of Exploiting Chaos.

Here we go.  The nuggets.

Nugget #1:

Be careful to look beyond your own hill of competency.

That’s exactly what I needed to hear this week.  I was competent at my former school.  But now, I need to look beyond that to this new situation.  I’ll need to build back up to competency with the myriad of differences I’ll experience: culture, values, priorities, personalities.  It’s overwhelming.  But then again not when I remember that I don’t have to come in with all the answers.  FullSizeRender (2)

Gutsche’s example here was the Smith Corona innovation team that couldn’t innovate beyond a typewriter.  Great typewriters but they could see beyond their hill.

“…find a new place to climb.”  I like that.  See me there?  Smiling and standing on my new hill.

Nugget #2:

Don’t ask, “Do you like it?” Ask, “What’s wrong with it?”

Guetsche’s point here is that we hear mostly the positive and even edit out the critical responses within our own speech and what we allow through our own ears.  Self-validation, echo chamber, whatever you call it.  It’s no good.

And it’s hard to hear.  And sometimes people aren’t gentle.  And sometimes they are wrong.  But, “you are more likely to get a truthful, critical answer.”  Yes, indeed.

You’ve probably got books like this on your shelf (or in your bag or car) that you just come back to again and again.  This is one for me.  And for this time in my career, at this crossroad, these two nuggets really go hand in hand.  One hits my heart and head: look beyond your own hill.  And the other helps me look to my new community and how I can elicit real input and feedback as we move forward together.

Thanks Jon.  And Jeremy.  Good stuff.

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