Handling confusion

It was American management guru Tom Peters who said, "If you're not confused, you're not thinking clearly." He may well have had today's rapidly changing society in mind. We are not living in an A to B world. It is much more likely that we will go from D to H via Z—and that we will be confused. The rules seem to change so rapidly that where one style of marketing is acceptable one day, the next week it is apparently not.

Perhaps it was always like this, as a statement by the sixteenth-century Englishman Sir Francis Bacon suggests: "We rise to great heights by a winding staircase." I suspect that learning has always involved messiness and confusion. In fact, my hunch is that those who are most at ease with uncertainty or confusion are the best learners.

If you have a set of rules, you need people who are good at following rules. But, the game of learning has a number of wild cards in its pack. Like Chance cards in Monopoly, they suddenly change the rules. What do you do when all the computer systems fail and you only have your presentation in electronic form? What do you do when you suddenly find yourself without a piece of equipment on which you normally rely? Can you cope when a senior colleague becomes ill and you have to stand in for her? It is in these situations that the ability to learn how to learn is essential. These are the really important learning experiences.

British management guru Charles Handy reminds us that when you ask most senior executives to remember their most important learning experiences, they will talk "of the time when continuity ran out on them, when they had no past experience to fall back on, no rules or handbook. They survived, however and came back stronger and more adaptable in mind and heart."

How To Accomplish More In A Fraction Of The Time

How To Accomplish More In A Fraction Of The Time

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave several of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce and check off items on our to-do list by each day’s end seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us.

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