Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Three Practices to Celebrate Holiday

Take some time to reflect the spirit of the holiday and take a progressive journey to pursue “freedom, independence, and happiness.”

It’s the time to celebrate the 4th of July holiday, it’s a perfect moment for us to revisit the spirit of “Independence Day” via our own lens and experiences. Symbolically, being American means to carry on the heritage defined in the Declaration of Independence and impact. Either individually or collectively, how to develop the best and next practices for taking the progressive journey of pursuing freedom, happiness, and independence?

Think beyond “black and white”: American is colorful. The color of American is not just skin deep, it’s about the color of the character, the color of viewpoints, and the color of taste. In order to adapt to the ”VUCA” digital normal with hyper-diversity, people need to increase their cognitive agility and cultivate curiosity by exploring alternative viewpoints and practicing cross-disciplinary interpretations and communications. In reality, many people with binary thinking mindset focus on symptoms, but lack of systems thinking and independent thinking capability, only catch the conventional understanding of content, not the contextual insight beneath the surface; quantity over quality, etc. They perhaps cause more problems even they intend to solve them. The leaders or business professionals with binary thinking are resistant to listen to the diverse viewpoint; have no intention to understand the other side of the coin. Many times, they become part of the problems which they try to solve. To overcome closed-mindedness, stereotypical thinking or preconceived ideas about how things should happen, you have to practice multi-dimensional thinking processes such as critical thinking, creative thinking, systems thinking, analytic thinking, synthetic thinking, holistic thinking to understand things or people objectively and make decisions effectively in order to solve problems radically.

Lead through both sympathy and empathy: Sympathy makes the world caring and empathy makes the world equal. Sympathy is literally 'feeling with,' compassion for or commiseration with another person. Empathy, by contrast, is literally 'feeling into,' the ability to project one's personality into another person and more fully understand that person. Sympathy is an emotional connection and empathy is evidence of emotional intelligence. Sympathy touches the heart, and empathy connects the minds. Sympathy improves the bottom line of human society; empathy fills the cognitive gap at the top to improve leadership maturity and amplify the collective human potential. Be grateful to understand others and be understood. Sympathy shows the willingness to give and support, Empathy is an ultimate level of human cognition of being wise by active listening, profound understanding, and balancing between tolerance and respect to achieve the ultimate level of harmony and wisdom.

Enjoy the melting pot of cultural diversity: America is a melting pot of people who came from all over the world - a relatively young nation with huge resources and space to spark collective creativity. Culture plays its part but it does not confine us to a single label. American is colorful because every person is unique and every culture has a positive trait and collective wisdom. We can learn a lot from different mindsets (thought processes), cultures and positions so that the organization or the society as a whole can be competitive enough to keep surging further. Having an inclusive culture helps people understand the value of harnessing the differences, and then, giving them the tools and experiences of how to effectively communicate and build trust across these diverse cultures are usually essential and the key to reaping the benefits of diversification. 

From the business management perspective, it is important for a creative team to have people who do not have the same view of the small part of the world that the team is dealing with so that they can complement each other’s viewpoint. In practice, diversity is most common at very low levels of the organization, the higher the hierarchy the more homogeneous the workforce is. The business leaders must work with the right mindset to create an inclusive organization with every dip in the business life cycle, from individual thinking to the collective mind (culture) in order to develop a highly innovative business.

Take some time to reflect the spirit of the holiday and take a progressive journey to pursue “freedom, independence, and happiness.” Think bout interconnections and inter-dependency on the impacts and consequences both on a local and a global level to improve leadership maturity. Being mature doesn’t mean aged; as individuals, being mature means we are experiencing peak stage of life cycle; as fellow citizens, being mature means we are not only perceiving what a great nation looks like but also pondering our own roles as citizens; being mature means our leaders become deeper than louder, make influence not through command and control by winning the hearts and minds to accelerate collective human progress.

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