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on seeing familiar things anew

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Many times I’ve found myself with a ‘really good idea’ to provide a service, only to be held back by internal limitations. I’m a much better assistant-to than a leader. Give me a task and I’ll do it well and on time; offer me overall responsibility and I wither. Against this background, I read about a new book on organizational transformation. It may be too late for me, but not for you.

In Practically Radical, author William Taylor tells us to “look at … your field as if you are seeing it for the first time,” also to look outside of the familiar to see what works elsewhere. He cites a 90-year old hospital in Seattle where executives went inside a Toyota plant so that, by working alongside front-line employees, they could experience such manufacturing concept as just-in-time delivery, continuous improvement, and worker-initiated quality control. The experiment caused an uproar, as doctors quit and the media complained — but, over time, the hospital flourished. A Taylor principle: where you look shapes what you see. Another: looking at a familiar situation as if you’ve never seen it before.

Taylor names some habits which I might apply in my current projects, even at this late stage: Don’t be a know-it all. Tap into collective genius. Be good at rejection. Be humble and ambitious. Be eager to learn from and to share with others. Click here for more.

Taylor, W.C. (2011). Practically radical: not-so-crazy ways to transform your company, shake up your industry, and challenge yourself. New York: William Morrow.


One response »

  1. Dear Peter,

    I am always amazed at your desire to learn new things and to help others. This seems to be a very interesting book with lots of innovative ideas.

    You are very good at what you do, so keep on keeping on!


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