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Looking Up, Looking In
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Forward by Jeffrey K. Zeig, PhD, Founder and Director, The Milton H. Erickson Foundation, Phoenix, Arizona.
If a conductor of an orchestra wants a perfect concert, she brings out the music inside each musician.
If a comedienne wants to prompt someone to laugh, she offers a joke.
If a football coach wants a winning game, he elicits the excitement in each player.
But how would you elicit the realisation of leadership?
Just like in the first three examples, the idea is to offer an experience that orients toward the attainable target. A simple example: To elicit leadership, you might assign a task like giving a tour, that would require an individual to lead rather than follow.
Why do we need to orient toward in these cases rather than offering someone information? Because a concept is best realised by experience, not by absorbing information. In such cases the target is a by-product of an experience.
Therefore, to prompt a realisation or a concept, evocative communication is needed, not informative communication. Informative communication is used in mathematics and science-when there is something to compute and the result will be concrete. For example, when summing the cardinal numbers from 1-100, the result will always be 5,050. Similarly, in physics, the equation F=ma explains the concrete relationship between force, mass, and acceleration.
But if the target is the conceptual realisation of leadership and its concomitant state and identity, then it would take an experience to elicit it. And it might require a series of evocative events that entail experiencing components of leadership, including focus, vision, motivation, connection, responsibility, empathy, and positivity, the sum of which could elicit a synergistic amalgamation that would prompt the realisation of leadership.And because there is no linear path to leadership and the goal is not concrete, we choose heuristics over an algorithms when communicating this concept. An algorithm is a set of logical steps that leads to a tangible result. A heuristic is a simplifying assumption that targets a realisation, such as leadership or one of its components. And there are since there are many dimensions to leadership, it is intangible and not concrete.
When eliciting a concept like leadership there may be a progression of evocative steps: Idea/Concept/Realisation/Orientation/State/Identity.
Now if someone does not understand what leadership is as an idea, you can offer its definition, but this will not lead to any of the other steps in the progression. To realise any of one of those steps an evocative experience is required. And ideally, a dynamic experience of leadership would eventually prompt someone have a new identity - "I am a leader."
If someone offers you information, it is absorbed in the left hemisphere of the brain. We could call that learning process the "top-down" approach. However, realisations that are elicited through lived experience, could be considered the "bottom-up" approach, where knowledge is not required to understand something.
With Looking Up, Looking In, Graham Andrewartha has created the perfect leadership book that can stimulate into play the realisation of leadership. There is a balance between information and case examples and exercises that will prompt realisations. Andrewartha also backs up his propositions with current neurobiological research.
This is a foundational book on leadership written by a renowned and highly respected expert. I passionately recommend it.
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