Peter Drucker for several decades was the nation’s pre-eminent business educator and author. He wrote over 38 books, and his insights are seering . . . and legendary. Consider this classic Drucker:
“Increasingly, command and control is being replaced by or intermixed with all kinds of relationships: alliances, joint ventures, minority participations, partnerships, know-how, and marketing agreements – all relationships in which no one controls and no one commands.”
“These relationships have to be based on a common understanding of objectives, policies, and strategies; on teamwork; and on persuasion, or they do no work at all.”
Drucker nailed it. Most organizations have insufficient common understanding which, like common sense, seems to be decidedly uncommon.
How fares your organization . . . work, family, charity, philanthropy, church? Is there common understanding, teamwork and persuasion? If not, Drucker predicts that such organizations will have difficulty or fail.
One of my longtime clients changed jobs recently where she is confronted with a new boss who is autocratic, aloof, and completely focused on being the boss no matter what. There’s no room for intelligent conversation to discuss the merits of situations – just, “I am the boss and that’s the way it is.” Sadly, those decisions are often not well-reasoned, and they seem capricious and even aggressive.
This kind of command and control attitude creates huge and unnecessary suffering in organizations – and, frankly, in relationships of any kind. Work, by definition, is collaborative. Even if you work for yourself – by yourself – you are interfacing with people who buy what you produce or make.
Command and control cultures emulate the military model where decisions are made by seniors officers, and those in the lower ranks are given their orders. Given that we live in a democracy outside of work, there is inherent conflict within organizations that are more command and control than collaborative. Younger generations of employees, especially, find working in command and control environments difficult.
How would you rate your work environment / culture? Is it command and control, collaborative, or a hybrid of the two? Do you have any idea why it is the way it is – that is, what models were followed in creating it? What do you think of command and control? Do you have personal experience with it?
Nighttime dreaming sometimes involves events in the future. These dreams can be frightening or delightful – or simply confusing. Daydreaming, on the other hand, is often anticipating wonderful things in the future or dreaming about the past as if it’s the now.
There’s a very powerful argument to be made for living into and dreaming about things that you’re looking forward to as a means of increasing their likelihood of happening.
I frequently recommend to clients to have at least three things to dream about: (1) a vacation or a trip, (2) time with someone(s) you love and who love you, (3) the attainment of a new skill or level of understanding or mastery of a particular subject matter.
What do you daydream about? Are your daydreams sometimes precursors of things to come? Can you see how actively creating your daydreams can be beneficial? How much do you think your daydreams can actually influence your future?
Many people pay close attention to their dreams when they concern issues of significance to the dreamer. Often, we humans will at least pause more carefully before moving forward with something if we have had a disquieting dream about the subject matter.
Have you ever changed your mind about something because of something you dreamt? If so, did you consider your change a rational act or something superstitious? Do you have any evidence that your decision to change something based on a dream was the best decision?
“Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions” writes Edgar Cayce who, as an author and seer, encouraged people to study their dreams.
What were you taught about dreams when you were growing up? Were you encouraged to remember and document your dreams, or were dreams dismissed as irrelevant? What would you or have you taught your children about dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is dreaming while you know you are dreaming. Dr. Stephen LaBerge teaches Lucid Dreaming – a technique that almost anyone can learn – and says:
“Possibly, all you will need to do to increase your dream recall is to remind yourself as you are falling asleep that you wish to awaken fully from your dreams and remember them. This works in a similar manner to remembering to awaken at a certain time in the morning.”
Do you remember your dreams? Have you ever kept a dream journal? How susceptible to dream recall are you? Do you remember details? Have you ever used dreams in therapy and / or to seek to understand your waking life more fully?
Jonas Salk, the scientist who discovered and developed the polio vaccine, said:
“I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.”
If you’re like me, it’s not so much nightmares as it is recurring dreams of working things out in the dream state that don’t appear to be worked out in the waking state.
How much attention do you pay to your dreams? Are there nightmares – or are there dreams that you want to be different?
Do you think that your dreams are sending you information of processing on a deeper level that you can find useful on the level of what we perceive to be “reality”?
What do you think Salk meant when he attributed his success at achieving his dreams to his having encountered his nightmares?
Have you been able to use nightmares to the same effect? Are nightmares “teachable moments”?
Over the weekend, I saw the new Leonardo DiCaprio movie, “Inception” on the IMAX screen. The general topic of the film is dreams – explored in a high-tech, lavish way.
The movie itself is like dreaming: often feeling incomplete, jerky, intriguing and troubling at the same time. Sometimes brilliantly confusing.
Dreams are a universal part of the human experience, yet there seems to be wide variation about how each of us relate to our dreams. Most of us remember that we dream, but some vague recollection is most often as far as we go.
Are you curious about your dreams? Do you remember them? If you remember them, how much significance do you place in your dreams?
Would you like to know more about dreaming and how to access the information and meaning in dreams?
Is dreaming for you more of an unexplored curiosity than a source of insights and ideas for how to live a more fulfilling “conscious life”?
Ambition, as we have seen this week, can be a mixed blessing. Edison said poignantly, “If I had not had so much ambition and not tried so many things, I probably would have been happier, but less useful.”
Is that the tradeoff: Give up happiness for being useful? Do you think Edison’s ambition was for being useful or for fame, fortune, accomplishment itself, or for the challenge of inventing things to solve problems?
Is your ambition useful or counter-productive? Has ambition ever gotten in the way of your happiness? Again, don’t limit your thinking about ambition to power, money or the like.
As with all things, ask yourself the question: “How does this quality (of ambition) both serve and mis-serve me? The winning approach is balancing out those answers to something that works well for you.
Those of us who live in Los Angeles are constantly aware of the city’s draw for those seeking fame. People come from all over the world to develop careers in show business. Their sheer ambition of wanting to become famous is often raw and sometimes scary.
What has been your relationship to fame? Is it something you have ever wanted? Do you understand it? Do you respect it, despise it, pity it, or scratch your head over it?
If there were an equivalent in your life to ambition for fame, what would it be? Do you desire to be known and held up on a pedestal by anyone – even one person or a small group of people?
What happens to people who achieve fame? Do you find their ambition worth their effort? In a culture that holds celebrities up as demi-gods, what are your points of view about a desire – an ambition – to be famous?
Ambition is most often thought of in terms of money and power. Yet, the word itself can accurately be used to refer to all kinds of human goals.
Suppose, for example, that you wanted to pursue a calling of being of service to impoverished people. You are passionate about helping and making a difference. You want to help a lot of people, and you desire to have your work produce meaningful positive change in their lives.
Would you consider that mindset ambitious? Does it fit to think of oneself as ambitious in serving others, or in protecting the environment, or in making the world a better place?
What are your ambitions that are unrelated to power and money? Are you an ambitious spouse, life partner, parent, family member, volunteer or friend?
What kind of thought do you give to the level of ambition you bring to being a friend, partner, etc.? Would you like to be more ambitious in these areas? Would you like to be less ambitious for money and power? Does ambition serve you or mis-serve you?