May 2011
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Month May 2011

Disconfirming evidence


 One of my clients recently attended a course urging him to listen for and be attentive to “disconfirming information.” He was struck by that phrase, probably because the head of his organization operates at the other end of the continuum: she only wants to hear evidence that supports her current point of view.

I first learned about disconfirming evidence from Meg Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science, who talks about how living systems grow and change as a result of disequilibrium, not equilibrium. Think about it. When are you more likely to grow: when everything you encounter is just mirroring what you already know, like the woman my client reports to, or when something new and different drops into your world?

A guide by my side …

Last weekend, my son Michael introduced me to a couple of online games. Since he’s a world-class gamer and we’ve talked a lot about the leadership lessons in gaming, I gave it a try.

What a come-uppance! I’m a pretty smart bear … but I fell down the hole of my incompetence as soon as he handed me the control piece.

These games are puzzles that cast you into the middle of a strange world with no idea of what’s happening and no clue as to the purpose or rules of the game. So why play them? He says because they teach your brain a different way of thinking about your surroundings. I say because they can teach you a lot about yourself.

The sacrifice

I wrote this last August as I was heading out of town. I came upon it today and couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I pull into the airport garage, park, and unload my bags. I see a soldier and several kids unloading things from a car a row away. I think of walking over and saying, “Thanks for serving,” but it feels awkward.

I head for the terminal, see the family headed for the elevator option, think again about expressing my gratitude, and continue into the terminal.

Backyard bonanza!

Everybody’s headed for their summer digs, and my back yard is in the flight paths. What a treat!!