Some of the most intellectually stimulating conversations used to occur on my morning and evening commute. I had about 30 minutes in the car to and from my office. That was one hour of the day to engage in questions, observations, and reflections on life. Many discussions centered on current events, such as the troubling events in Egypt and other parts of Africa. We discussed the latest technology news, much of it stemming from recent articles from Popular Science and Fast Company. One particular day I remember discussing new business models and how it was disrupting various industries. Conversations covered several different technology companies’ business models, particularly as they are discussed in the book, Business Model Generation (a book I highly recommend). We even discussed pop culture.
Learning from Bob Dylan
For instance, one particular day we started out discussing the musical genius of Bob Dylan as we listening to his songs on an Ipod for the entire commute. We discussed the various genres’ he has worked in through his musical career. The conversation included the various artists who he has influenced. Much of our conversation was around the larger context from which Dylan drew his inspiration. His lyrics were a authentic reflection of our lives, both socially but also individually as well. Dialogue often centered around several of the more recent articles in the Harvard Business Review and the Blogs on their IPad app.
That is to say, as a professor of management and OD consultant, I found these conversations intellectually stimulating. I was often challenged to defend and/or rethink my long held beliefs. This was both in terms of myself but also my beliefs around organizational functioning. Much of these commuting discussions make their way into my teaching. I am currently teaching graduate courses in Leadership and Organizational Development and Change. It also informs how I approach my consulting practice,
Overall, our conversations were particularly refreshing because we are in different “professional fields” and are not in the same generational demographic. It was these differences that infused a certain amount of dynamic tension in our conversations. We came at our daily discussions from different and unique perspectives.
I forgot to mention that my commute was spent with my 15 year old son who at the time was a freshman in high school.
Keeping an Open Mind
Who in your life and your organization could you learn from? Who could you be engaging in conversations that might reshape your thinking? Look beyond the obvious, get out of your normal circle of peers who have your same experiences and same perspectives. Be open to learning from those you least expect it!
If you find yourself pondering similar questions around your own unique adaptive challenges, connect with me here or find me on LinkedIn. I would love to explore how you and or your organization can experience life to the fullest and engage in positive, transformative change.