Thursday, June 23

Mind Your Own Business 

Sidney Harman knows a thing or two about business. He co-founded Harman/Kardon in 1953 and wrote a great book 50 years later. Here's a sample:

Time and again, in small companies and large, I have encountered senior executives who live lives of silent terror. They do their jobs, and they believe that they do them effectively, but they do not have a clue about how the whole enterprise works. It seems to them that the company has a life and motion of its own, and they live in fear that they will somehow be found out. That kind of departmentalized thinking-the specialist in the silo-produces paralysis and an absence of innovation and creativity. Coupled with top-down autocratic command, it is the essence of what I think of as old analog management. It can bring a company's growth to a full stop.

I say, "Get me some poets as managers." Poets are our original systems thinkers. They contemplate the world in which we live and feel obliged to interpret, and give expression to it in a way that makes the reader understand how that world turns. Poets, those unheralded systems thinkers, are our true digital thinkers. It is from their midst that I believe we will draw tomorrow's new business leaders.

Excerpted from Mind Your Own Business by Sidney Harman Copyright © 2003

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