Monday, February 13, 2012

First Class Noticer

W arren Bennis suggests that we learn to observe closely and accurately. To become what writer Saul Bellow calls a "First-Class Noticer." This part of what he considers to be the single most important attribute of successful leaders.

Essentially being a “first-class noticer” means to get out and learn as much as you can.

Primarily we must learn how to learn. This involves some introspection to discover just how you learn and then to get out and do it. Expose yourself to that which is not "common" to you. Be open to experience. Bennis states that “when those who lack adaptive capacity hit a rough patch, they tend to shut down and scar over. The fortunate remain hungry for experience no matter how severely they are tested.”

Look for experiences that are new and different and seize opportunities. Develop relationships with people who are different from the people you ordinarily have relationships with, especially those that come from different backgrounds and age groups. See movies and plays, read books and visit museums. These will broaden your outlook and develop a deeper well from which to draw from.

Above all, Bennis reminds us to stay comfortable with "not knowing ... but finding out." In this world, do we need a better reminder than what happened on September 11, 2001? We have to be at ease with uncertainty, chaos, complexity and not settle for the easy answer and the silver bullet. They don't exist in today's world. Never did, actually.

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