"The factory of the future will have only two employees: a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment."
Prof. Warren Bennis

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 367

Estimated reading time:  2.45 minutes


I had a great lunch last week with a friend and sometime colleague, who is a former nurse. We were talking about old habits we have with people and how we can fall right back into them. For example, when you go home for the holidays and find yourself falling into the same routines with your siblings and parents; the same roles (and fights) get played out.


This also happens in work places, especially when people have been working together for a few years; our assumptions and stories about each other and ourselves put us into the same ruts, the same paths.


Part of the issue is related to how our brains work. A way of thinking about our brains is to think of them as having two systems, the first is the fastest, and includes all our emotions, our learned behaviours, our unconscious and our habits. My friend likens this to old logging roads. Even though the forest may have grown over them after a time, they are still there, and can be put into use at the drop of a hat. (Or at the drop of a comment by a parent or sibling, or longtime co-worker)


The second system, and the more expensive in terms of energy, is where our rational, creative, insights and ideas are germinated. This system can over ride the first and faster thinking, but we have to be aware, to make a conscious choice to us it. We have to choose to use this second system. It might help to think of it as a chair lift that goes up perhaps a different route than the logging road. It’s expensive to build (a few lessons learned for example and and few new connections made), and there is a cost in energy and conscious choice to get on the chair lift. But when the comment from a parent, a sibling or a longtime co-worker comes up, we can choose the chair lift rather than the old logging road.



May this week be filled with new insights and possibilities.