The Business of Wisdom in Global Affairs—A Fable
About 50 years ago, my father told me a fable. I don’t know its origin. I believe it may have originated in Turkey or in the Middle East.
No doubt, he’d heard it from someone much older than he was when he heard it. And older and wiser when he shared it with me. Thank you, Dad.
A long time ago, there lived a powerful king. He ruled vast lands with firmness and fairness. However, the many city-states and principalities were ruled by selfish and greedy men. They were constantly fighting wars over petty grievances to disguise their true motive—greed. Therefore, the king issued an edict banning such unjust wars. If they defied the edict, he would send his troops in to vanquish the offender and seize his lands.
In one of the small countries, the young people had gathered to come up with a plan to better the lives of the people. They concluded that the old people were a burden and that they should all be put to death.
One young man, unable to allow his father to be killed, led him from the city in the dead of night and hid him in a cave on the outskirts of the city.
The word spread to a neighboring land where a greedy prince called his advisors together to discuss a plot to wage a war against the other land to grab their wealth. They wrote the following letter:
Five generations ago, our people lent to your people 25 units of rope woven from sand which you promised to return. Yet with each passing generation, your promise has gone unfulfilled. Therefore, we must demand return of this rope or we will be forced to send our armies to your land to retrieve it along with just restitution.
When the leaders of the council received and read this letter, they panicked. None had ever heard of the rope woven from sand nor knew anything about it.
The man who’d hid his father in the cave outside of town asked for the letter and said he would return with a solution to the problem. He went to see his father.
His father said, “Write back. Say to them, we have many coils of rope. Some are woven from sand but each is different. Send us a sample of your rope so we may match it up with the rope that is yours and do justice by returning your rope.”
The young man returned to the council and they sent just such a letter.
When the evil prince received the reply, he turned to his advisers and said, “There is still one old man left in their land. We will wait until he dies and try again.”
Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview
A WHITE HORSE IS NOT A HORSE
That is what is known as “an old Chinese saying.” I learned it from my finance professor. I was too embarrassed to ask him to explain what it meant. Soon, I would figure it out for myself.
A few years later, my wife and I moved out West. What happened? Something that almost never does. I got a craving. A food craving. A food craving for for something I never crave. A salami sandwich on rye and a bottle of beer.
We drove to the supermarket. Beer, no problem. Salami, no problem. Then, we went to buy the rye bread.
I found, pumpernickel rye; marble rye, low-sodium rye; diet rye; California rye; I found every kind of rye bread except rye bread. Then I understood. A white horse is not a horse.
Solution. I had a baloney sandwich on white bread and a glass of chocolate milk.
How many white horses do you have in your stable?
Mail Slim firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright, © 2011 Slim Fairview
Then: “Remember, class, you may not agree with what they have to say, but they have the right to say it.”
Now: “Don’t let them forget, class. They may not agree with what you have to say, but you have the right to say it.”
Then: The right to accommodation.
Now: The right of infliction.
Unforeseen management involvement:
When the supervisor can't do the job and the OM or the VP must step in to make an adjustment to the supervision.
a. When the manager doesn't really know what he is doing and imputes his deficiencies to his subordinates.
b. When a manager has foist upon him by his boss a process that he knows won't work and tries to cover himself by micromanaging the person he will blame for the failures of the process which is considered viable by his boss.
Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview
Project Management of the future is the ability to embrace change quickly. People who will be a part of the team will access information faster from better-informed sources than can be imagined.
It doesn't matter whether you are in IT or construction or in portfolio management.
Whatever the task, whatever the goal, the team will be able to leverage technology at a very rapid rate.
While one company is looking to complete a project, it will be obsolete before it is launched because another company launched the product yesterday.
Some companies will shoot themselves in the foot by launching a product too quickly with limitations while another company will release a product that not only can perform the function but also has additional bells and whistles besides.
There must be a massive shift in the paradigm. You can't hit the ground running. You can't hit the ground at all.
In IT, it is all about tech-talk. The team will know the language, will be clutching to their p-pads, twittering their thumbs, and coming up with answers before the manager finishes asking the question. And those answers will make the next question unnecessary.
People will know what needs to be done before they get their assignments.
Meanwhile, upstairs, the boss is waiting to get a one page summary while the company across town will have his updates tweeted to him. One page, 140 characters. Your choice. Let's move on to the next item on the agenda.