Every Single One of You – As You Were

As You Were – looking for connections between the work of Brené Brown and Daniel Quinn as I revisit them in book clubs. See the introductory post for what this is all about. In this post, I look at:

  • Daniel Quinn Book Club — My Ishmael, session 6 reading: The Man from Africa through The Waiting Ends
  • Brené Brown Book Club — Daring Greatly, finishing session 3 reading: Chapter 5: Mind the Gap: Cultivating Change and Closing the Disengagement Divide through Chapter 6: Disruptive Engagement: Daring to Rehumanize Education and Work

(Commissions earned on Amazon links.)

My Ishmael

The Man from Africa


Getting Me Ready

“You’re going to have to trust us on this, Julie,” Ishmael said. “None of this is perfect, but it’s the best that can be done under the circumstances.” A light echo of Brené’s valuing of imperfection.

En Route


Lukombo Owona


Mokonzi Nkemi


Feats of Timing


Farewell, My Ishmael

“I don’t mean a professional teacher,” he said. “All of you must be teachers, whether you’re lawyers, doctors, stockbrokers, filmmakers, industrialists, world leaders, students, fry cooks, or street cleaners. Nothing less than a world of changed minds is going to save you — and changing minds is something every single one of you can do, no matter who you are or how you’re situated.” Echoes Brené’s belief directly below that leadership is something for everyone.

Life Goes On


Alan’s Ishmael


The Waiting Ends

“So the waiting’s over, and I’m two years older and wiser than the girl who wrote most of this book. I could easily go back and smooth over some of the rough spots that I know must be there.”
“But I think I’d better just leave it the way it is.” Another light echo of the acceptance of imperfection.

Daring Greatly

Chapter 6: Disruptive Engagement: Daring to Rehumanize Education and Work

“Before we start this chapter, I want to clarify what I mean by ‘leader.’ I’ve come to believe that a leader is anyone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes. The term leader has nothing to do with position, status, or number of direct reports.” Echoes Quinn’s belief directly above that teaching is something for everyone.

“As a researcher, it was the moment when I started to realize how often the struggles of our education system and the challenges we face in our workplaces mirror each other.” See the earlier chapters of My Ishmael in which connections are drawn between dysfunctional educational and economic systems.

“Make no mistake: Rehumanizing work and education requires courageous leadership. Honest conversations about vulnerability and shame are disruptive. The reason that we’re not having these conversations in our organizations is that they shine light in the dark corners.” Again, see the earlier chapters of My Ishmael that are about rehumanizing work and education and that talk about things that Taker culture doesn’t want people thinking and talking about.

“Blaming, gossiping, favoritism, name-calling, and harassment are all behavior cues that shame has permeated a culture. A more obvious sign is when shame becomes an outright management tool. Is there evidence of people in leadership roles bullying others, criticizing subordinates in front of colleagues, delivering public reprimands, or setting up reward systems that intentionally belittle, shame, or humiliate people?” Look throughout Taker culture to see these things.

“When the culture of an organization mandates that it is more important to protect the reputation of a system and those in power than it is to protect the basic human dignity of individuals or communities, you can be certain that shame is systemic, money drives ethics, and accountability is dead. This is true in all systems, from corporations, nonprofits, universities, and governments, to churches, schools, families, and sports programs.” … and to Taker culture as a whole, which views itself as above all others.

“A daring greatly culture is a culture of honest, constructive, and engaged feedback… The problem is straightforward: Without feedback there can be no transformative change.” Essentially a learning organization, which itself is an evolving entity, all echoing Quinn’s own appreciation of system thinking and learning organizations as well as his explicit focus on the value of participating in rather than denying evolution.

“Luckily, this work has taught me that when I feel self-righteous, it means I’m afraid. It’s a way to puff up and protect myself when I’m afraid of being wrong, making someone angry, or getting blamed.” Compare Taker culture.

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