These past few weeks I’ve been so slow at getting through my library books.
I did start reading The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking by Roger Martin (published by the Harvard Business School Press).
Roger Martin has been dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto since 1998 and is also professor of strategic management at the Rotman School focusing his research in the areas of global competitiveness, integrative thinking, business design and corporate citizenship. During his 13 years with Monitor Company (a global strategy consulting firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts), Martin founded and chaired Monitor University, the firm’s educational arm, served as co-head of the firm for two years, and founded the Canadian office.
Martin starts off his book with this appropriate F. Scott Fitzgerald quote:
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
Interestingly, Martin mentions three top selling business books in the first chapter, Choices Conflict, and the Creative Spark:
- Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy and consultant Ram Charan
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by professor-turned-guru Jim Collins.
- Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch, the former super-CEO of GE General Electric Company
Martin appears to mock the ineffectiveness of these books, though he does state:
I don’t wish to denigrate any of th books mentioned. They were best sellers for a reason: businesspeople want to know what makes a great leader because they themselves would like to be better leaders. Each book offers a particular perspective, and each perspective is valuable. But to approach every business problem with the question, “What should I do?” is to foreclose options before they can even be explored.
Sounds to me like he’s just covering himself.