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Leadership: Lessons From Einstein

Leadership: Lessons From Einstein

Karen Beaman | Jeitosa

June 19, 2009

We are in the midst of the most tumultuous and precarious business times of our careers. Looking to others for advice and guidance is one way to shed some light on our dilemmas. Few luminaries are more often quoted than Albert Einstein, the 20th century German mathematician and theoretical physicist. And much of what he said 75 years ago still rings true today. Here are a few of Einstein’s most illuminating observations and how they can be applied to the modern world of human resources.

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Our business processes and systems have evolved over time. They were probably a perfect fit when we first designed them years ago. But the world has changed, and we now have to do things differently. We have to free ourselves from “old think,” cemented during the industrial, command and- control age and move to more collaborative, self empowering structures and processes, eliminating redundant steps and needless approvals.

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex. It takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage, to move in the opposite direction.” We have to simplify, simplify, simplify. It takes more time, more thought, and more courage upfront to develop simple, straightforward systems and processes. But the payoffs at the end are enormous. So why do we feel the need to “customize” our systems and processes? Best practice approaches can bring greater competitive advantage through simplicity and efficiency.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Change is hard. But continuing as we’ve always done is a sure path to failure, and certainly failure is even harder! If the process isn’t working, then change it. If the system isn’t supporting the business, then swap it out. If the people don’t have the right skills, then train them or replace them. Of course, you probably won’t be able to do it all once; incremental change is more easily implemented, less disruptive and often more effective.

©2009 Yellowbrix, Inc.