Wednesday, 6 June 2007

What have The Academics ever done for us?

Ok so, What have The Academics ever done for us?

I have noticed several web searches that have led to this blog about everday things such as, how to stop friends take advantage of you, or how can tell if someone is lying to you. These are clearly issues of practical importance.

The world of academic / management theory it would seem, is a totally separate space that is incapable of shedding any insights on such problems. Is this really the case? What if we can 'lift' ideas and concepts from one area and make use of them in plain language in another. Surely this must be a useful aim for any form of inspiration and education.

Here are three examples:

Prof. Tudor Rickards has a blog called Leaders We Deserve The very fact that he has created this thought provoking title could cause us to think of 'friends we deserve' or 'spouses we deserve' couldn't it? This line of thinking invites us to consider what it is we do that reinforces the relationship. Just because we 'follow' sometimes doesn't necessarily mean we are sub-ordinate.

Bob Garratt talks of directors who think that learning and changing applies to everyone else but themselves, after all now that they have 'made it' why do they need to learn anything new. A vicar I knew used the metaphor of a garden to describe a marriage. It needed tending everyday in order to stop the weeds taking over.

Organisational Learning theory, such Peter's and Watermans's 7 S framework suggests that to be successful managers need to value 'soft skills' and not just think about hard outputs such as number of cars produced, market shares, employee turnover, number of patents secured. This suggests that intentional personal effort in 'soft skills' development might be an essential precursor for any of us to make the changes we want.

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