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A message from Executive Leader Coach Dave Kinnear.
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dbkAssociates, Inc. Home of the Executive Leader Coach

July 2019


Dear Friends and Colleagues

My research shows that the English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the word agnostic in 1869. When asked what it meant, he said, “It simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe.” Everyday life is challenging if I apply that definition.

To begin with, I spend much time researching what I worry may have been a casual assumption about what is “true” or “real.” I find I answer questions from others with equivocations such as, “Well, it depends,” or “I’m not sure about that,” and often I respond with, “Well, that is complicated.”

Inaccurate understanding, “fake news,” and outright purposeful lies have been with us forever. Now, however, they exist in media that spread them at the speed of light to billions of people around the world. Mixed in with all of that noise are accurate information, good news, and diverse world views.

Agnostic is a useful word. I first heard it used in a religious context—meaning one cannot prove nor disprove the existence of God. Frankly, I didn’t pay much attention at the time. Then, later, in technology, we used the term for some of our software—as in “our application software is platform agnostic.” Today I try to keep in mind that if I do not have solid “proof” that something I believe is factual, I must remain open-minded and, well, agnostic on the topic. I remind myself that it is my opinion. I try to remember a quotation attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan. I am led to believe that his statement is, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.

Technology is making it even harder to ascertain basic facts. The latest advances in Artificial Intelligence-driven video editing, for example, makes it impossible for the average person to know whether what they are watching is real or contrived. The technology can, quite literally, put words in someone’s mouth. It is here now and has been demonstrated. I’m beginning to believe we might be better off if we assume everything we see and hear doesn’t represent reality.

On to Business
I can promise that what follows is my real opinion on a variety of topics! Also, some of it is factual. In the first article, “The Universe is Indifferent,” I share my opinions on our need for radical adaptability to survive—as a species and as organizations.

The second article, “Different Answers,” is a discussion of how we must remain agnostic because science frequently changes the accepted answers to the same problems. What we accept as fact today may well not be accepted fact tomorrow.

The third article, “These Three Things,” is a discussion on how leadership has a few common traits. I posit that three of them are truth, compassion, and responsibility.

Finally, in the Nullius In Verba column, I share with you some thoughts on “Group Think.” It isn’t always a bad thing as long as the group also remains agnostic, checks assumptions, and is adaptable.

The Economy
Readers of this newsletter know that I trust the folks over at the Institute for Trend Research (ITReconomics.com) for accurate economic trend analysis. In a June blog post, Brian Beaulieu chose the title of, “Three Indications Economic Conditions May Be Worse Than You Thought.” He then goes on to explain that US Profits, Cash, and Profits in China are showing troubling trends.

I’ll let you read the article. Suffice it to say that, in my interpretation, we may be in for near term slow down. It is sometimes hard to remember that the stock market is not the economy.

Enjoy!

Best Regards,
Dave Kinnear
Executive Leader Coach
Vistage Chair

The Universe is Indifferent

Here’s my belief: The Universe is Indifferent. By that I mean it doesn’t care whether I—or my family, or my community, or my country, or even the earth itself—survive or not. It isn’t out to kill me either. It’s just indifferent.

So, I’m not paranoid about this. I see cosmic indifference as the way things are. Frankly, I prefer that indifference to the outright hostility I see from some Homo sapiens. We know that sometimes humans are out to do people not in their tribe, harm or even kill them. 

[Read the full post . . .]

Different Answers

I love the story told about Einstein teaching his class of advanced physics students. It goes like this. He administered an examination to the students. One of his teaching assistants noticed that the exam he handed out was the same exam as the prior year.

The assistant carefully approached Einstein and pointed out the mistake. After thinking for a while, the great Einstein smiled and said, . . .

[Read the full post . . .]

These Three Things

In a recent leadership group meeting, I was prompted to think a bit more about common leadership traits. I have settled on what I believe to be common leadership traits based on the great leaders I know personally. And of course, I added a few leaders about whom I’ve read but who I do not know personally. I came up with three consistent traits.

[Read the full post . . .]

Nullius In Verba

Groupthink

We all use groupthink, whether we admit to doing so or not. I hear groupthink used as an epithet — “Avoid groupthink” or “That’s just groupthink.”

I gather that the point of the warning to avoid groupthink is to make sure that I do think. And question not only my assumptions but the assumptions of others. I don’t just follow along with the group only because I want to “belong.” So, how do we make groupthink a positive experience? And how do we put it to work in our businesses?

[Read the full post . . .]
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Leaders are
Readers


Here's what's new in the reading stack! Well, the stack is definitely increasing. I've been spending time learning about writing, doing a bit (a tiny bit) of writing, and what little time I've spent reading has been to read On Grand Strategy by John Lewis Gaddis. 

That hasn't kept me from buying more books though! Recent additions are: Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed, The Conservative Sensibility by George F. Will, Conscious by Annaka Harris, and Every Tool's a Hammer by Adam Sava.

Now all I need is about five more hours in every day.
 

Local Events


ENP Institute


Golf & Strategic Connections: ENP & Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation

July 17, 2019. 3pm Check-in | 4pm-6pm Golf | 6pm-7:30pm Reception

Monarch Beach Golf Links
50 Monarch Beach Resort North
Dana Point, CA 92629

Best Ball Scramble- Golfers and Non-Golfers Welcome!

[Register Here]

Tech & Employment

Want a Job in the Future? Be a Student for Life, Knowledge@Wharton

New digital technologies are expected to take away many jobs. They will also create several new ones. However, to grasp these new opportunities, everyone must continuously learn new skills. “We will now have to move to a continuum of lifelong learning, which essentially means we have to be lifelong learners,” says Ravi Kumar, president at Infosys, the digital services firm.

Kumar sees two big shifts on the jobs front. The first, he says, will be from repetitive tasks to non-repetitive tasks. And the second will be from problem-solving to problem-finding. In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton in the company’s New York City offices, Kumar discusses how the emerging world of technology will shape the jobs of the future and what it means for individuals, industries and countries.

 Audio, video and an edited transcript of the conversation are here.

Articles

from the leadership and business gurus
via the
ELC_CA Twitterverse!
In this post, Mary Marshall continues the serialization of, How (Not) to Be a Leader Volume 1. http://bit.ly/2NmesVb
We know that workplace coaching is linked to positive outcomes, such as improved performance. That’s good news considering that organizational spending on coaching is going nowhere but up. http://bit.ly/323hMrh
Seeing situations through the eyes of others may be the most crucial skill you're not working very hard on in your professional or personal lives. http://bit.ly/31XkS00
She was the sixth executive assistant to leave in the past year, and her boss—Lolly Daskal's coaching client—had no clue why he was losing so many employees. http://bit.ly/2NkJeO4
We like to put leadership on a pedestal. We like to think of it as grand, heroic acts. Most of the time, though, most of us who lead do it day-by-day and over and over again. http://bit.ly/31Wt94h
When people are willing to sacrifice their principles to take shortcuts, when they’re willing to bully or cheat or lie to get more status, we are understandably disdainful. http://bit.ly/2KCmRkf
In this post, Mary Marshall continues the serialization of, How (Not) to Be a Leader Volume 1. http://bit.ly/2NjaxrT
Of all of the monsters lurking in the dark and keeping us from moving forward or onward to new career adventures, fear is the most potent. http://bit.ly/3203ffX
Traditional universities — including Ivy League schools — fail to deliver the kind of learning that ensures employability. That perspective inspired Ben Nelson, founder and CEO of the six-year-old Minerva Schools in San Francisco. https://whr.tn/2KDg8Xo
Who’s the best hire? Where does the best talent come from? Who will stay the longest? Who’s thinking about leaving? http://bit.ly/2WMxdAq
A company’s performance during and after a recession depends not just on the decisions it makes but also on who makes them. http://bit.ly/2WFN43O
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Dave Kinnear, Executive Leader Coach
Dave Kinnear
Vistage Chair, CCE-Board Certified Coach, Certified Veteran Development Coach, and
 Executive Leader Coach
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