Welcome Sarah Palin!

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     What a breath of fresh air some people bring along with them (instead of baggage) when they come into a new setting.  I remember the electrical charge that accompanied student interns who came to work with me in my early days as a professor.  Bright, young, eager faces with spunky “let’s-try-this-instead-of-talking-about-it” attitudes. 

     I knew in my heart that these inexperienced young people were mostly wrong in their expectations, but I always acted receptive and challenging anyway.  You know what happened?  Being open-minded to their naivety was like putting booster rockets in their pockets!  The result –more often than not– was that the energy and enthusiasm each brought to the task was enough to put some less-than-realistic ideas over the top, and make them work. 



     Speaking of “over the top,” I’ve had some maverick neighbors, business partners, and clients who give that expression its definitive clout.  People who could never be held back from pursuing what they believed in, even when others around them were convinced that their parachutes (if not their heads!) had holes in them. 

     And guess what?  The less open-minded that those who surrounded these outspoken, step-up-to-the-plate people would act, the less likely that innovative thinking would ever surface in that neighborhood, business or relationship.  In fact, the over-the-top folks would simply skip merrily off to another more receptive neighborhood, business or relationship. 

     Worst of all, those who were affronted by the “outlandish” thinking and behaviors would quickly retreat to their closets, satisfied at having invested (though often unhappily) in maintaining –actually cultivating– the status quo.  It’s hard to imagine feeling so threatened in life that investing in stagnation produces some sense of security. 

On the job or in the neighborhood, stagnation is as stifling, burdensome and nonproductive a death-watch as are unrealistic attempts –nationally– to impose change based on hope. 

     Perhaps these approaches work for some neighborhoods, some businesses and some relationships, but — at a world leadership level– there’s positively no place on this volatile planet for anything less than fresh, innovative thinking balanced by the wisdom of great on-the-job strategic management experience. 

Welcome Sarah Palin!                          


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