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Archive for Management Rewired

Feb
26

Management Rewired

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Recently I picked up and read Management Rewired by Charles Jacobs. While I confess I don’t know much about business or what’s trendy in business management, I did find this book interesting and helpful, primarily due to the fact it is different than some of the other books I’ve read on the topic. Using some of the latest research on brain science and neurology, Jacobs offers some insights as to why leaders and organizations do what they do and how they can do them better. I thought I’d share a few of the notes I took from the book that I found to be insightful.

· Leadership is primarily concerned with ideas. Good leaders get the big ideas right. When they do, a lot of other things will fall into place. Jacobs elaborates by saying that the power of an organization is in its ability to generate ideas.
· Jacobs argues that leaders cannot change organizations, but they can change people who change the culture of the organization.
· This transformation is accomplished through the power of storytelling.
· Much of our thinking is organized in stories. Stories and metaphors help us to organize our experience of the world. The more we tell the story, the more the story shapes us.
· If you want to know what’s going on in your organization, you have to figure out what story the people are telling themselves.
· You change your environment by changing your story. It is important to craft the story with a predictable outcome that promotes the change you want to see.
· Rather than emphasizing organization, leaders should work on shaping the culture that shapes thinking. Culture is a convenient way of thinking about patterns in behavior in a organization that isn’t hardwired by policies, procedures, or structure.
· The right hemisphere of the brain sees “wholes” and is responsible for our emotions. The left hemisphere of the brain is the center of logic. It delays immediate gratification. The power of story is that story unites the two hemispheres.
· One of the reasons organizations make poor decisions is their unwillingness to delay immediate gratification.
· Leadership isn’t about forcing people to do one’s bidding. It’s about telling a story so that people can do what they need and want to do.

In the final pages of this monograph, Jacobs’ lists five characteristics that mark Transformational Leadership. They are summarized as follows.

1. In order to shift the paradigm, leaders have to change the way people think within the organization.
2. Any successful paradigm shift must be a participative process. For example, Plato influenced thinking by asking questions.
3. Leaders can influence paradigm transformation by conveying an aspirational but credible view of the future.
4. This view of the future is communicated through story. Leaders have to tell a better story than the story the people are currently telling themselves.
5. Finally, transformational leaders use the story to create focus and urgency on what’s critical for success.


Jacobs’ book is an excellent read. While I only touched on some of the great stuff I found, there’s plenty more that’s helpful, even for pastors like me who continuously communicate the greatest story ever told.

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