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Reflection – John Tulinsky

by on November 30, 2007

Several blog posts have been devoted to Wednesday’s class; when we listened to Mr. Ramani speak. I’d like to add another one. When one considers the variety of topics covered by blog posts, book reports, case studies and class lectures throughout the quarter it’s clear that change management is much more than just one discrete thing. It seems that regardless of one’s specific job description it will be encountered. Not only will it be encountered, but it will be encountered multiple times and over the course of our careers we’ll experience it in different ways. In one case we may be making the hard choices associated with downsizing; the next time we may be the one who is laid-off. And this brings me back to Mr. Ramani’s lecture. Many of the things that he said were reminiscent of the Fast Company article that I reviewed early in the quarter. The article was an interview with Peter Koestenbaum, a philosophy professor turned management consultant. One of his arguments is that in modern business too much focus is given to technology and technical change. Attempts to improve processes through rigorous, technical practices such as Six Sigma are commonplace, even when they are inappropriate for a particular business. Like Mr. Ramani, Koestenbaum recommends that the best preparation for leadership is to study the classics and look to history’s great people (I won’t just say “great men” 😉 for inspiration. Since we can expect to experience change in many different forms over the course of our lives and careers we must be able to adapt our thoughts and actions to many different situations. A classical education emphasizes the ability to think critically, clearly express our thoughts, and support our arguments; all are skills that will serve you well regardless of your specific job description.

Another one of Mr. Ramani’s points was the importance of hard work, even that hard work is more important than raw talent. Scientific American published an article last month reviewing a large body of research that supports this very point (Dweck, 2007). When children are continually complemented on their intelligence they tend to give up quickly when they encounter a difficult problem because they believe that they have the ability to do it. At its worst, this can lead to the condition of learned helplessness. In the workplace this can manifest itself as an employee who requires constant praise. Instead, when a person views a mistake as a problem to be solved they are much more likely to eventually succeed.

As Rachel said in her blog post, at this time of year it’s easy for our motivation to waver. However, for this quarter at least, the hard work is nearly done. 😉

References

Dweck, C.S. (2007, December). The Secret to Raising Smart Kids [Electronic Version]. Scientific American Mind. Retrieved November 30, 2007 from http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-secret-to-raising-smart-kids

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One Comment
  1. In oriental countries, great men are supposed to drive the society progress. As we know, there are thousands of men who are worth worship. We can emphasize the importance of leaders. However, I suppose that everyone has the right and the responsibility in change management. Everyone is a great man in changes. More people are involved, more power we have in change management and less barriers are created during changes. What do you think?

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