"I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I donÕt know."
Mark Twain

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

Word count this issue: 447

Estimated reading time:  3.00 minutes


Good morning from a sunny and warm(ish Vancouver. I’ve been reflecting while writing my book about how we live in a binary time. We are stuck in binary thinking about ecology or economy, liberal or conservative ideals, old school or new school. I believe there is a different way forward. A challenging and difficult way forward, but a better way forward.


The reason we may have not been able to ‘solve’ the daily problems of working with each other is because all too often we fall in to the binary trap or either or, this or that, right way, wrong way.


If we look at the world and our actions in it in a more quantum perspective, we see other possibilities. Here’s a link to the Canadian Prime Minister describing quantum computing: http://globalnews.ca/news/2641108/pm-justin-trudeau-gives-reporter-quick-lesson-on-quantum-computing-during-visit-to-waterloo/ to give you a brief overview of how quantum thinking works. And yes, this is a political explaining quantum computing!


As you’ll see in the link, binary thinking is 1’s and 0’s; everything is either yes or no. While there are many aspects of life that can be addressed by yes or no, anyone who has worked with other people knows there is much grey between yes and know, 1 and 0.


I’ve been working on leadership thinking that is more quantum, that is thinking that seeks to include that which is between the yes and no, and around the yes and no; the information between and around the 1 and the 0.


Here are three ideas to increase your quantum thinking as a leader:


  1. Reach out to people you likely disagree with and rather than debating, work at understanding their point, you’ll expand your own thinking more.
  2. Avoid asking “what’s the bottom line” too early. That kind of thinking is reductionist and forces you and others into smaller and likely binary thinking. 
  3. The first thoughts you have on a subject in a meeting are likely coming to your mind from habit, from experience. To expand your thinking, and your team’s give your people quiet time in the meeting to write down their answers, and to think for themselves before hearing from everyone. That way ideas and thoughts that are different, and not our of habit will come to the fore more often. The collection of those ideas, especially in a diverse group of people will be more quantum. 


May this week be filled with quantum thinking for us all.