Mapping the Mind


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Mapping the Mind explains the concept of stance, tools and experience as discussed by the co-founder and former CEO of Red Hat, Bob Young. The Dynamics of personal Knowledge System is also discussed. Mapping the Mind is a Welingkar’s Distance Learning Division presentation.

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Mapping the Mind

  1. 1. Welingkar’s Distance Learning Division The Integrative Media CHAPTER-5 Mapping The Mind We Learn – A Continuous Learning Forum
  2. 2. Introduction • Let us discuss about Bob Young, the cofounder and former CEO of Red Hat to become conversant with the concepts of stance, tools, and experience. • In the fall of 2003, Young sat down with me at the Rotman School in Toronto in front of an audience of business school students and faculty.
  3. 3. Stance: Who You Are and What You’re After • The way you see the world and how you see yourself in the world is called as stance. • It is your most broad—based knowledge domain in which you define who you are in your world and what you are trying to accomplish in it.
  4. 4. Stance: Who You Are and What You’re After • In the context of the stance that Young has it is a world full of complications and choices which are difficult to make. • At Red Hat, he worked with what he calls the smart guys, all the guys with serious top— heavy IQ. • None of them were business guys, so they didn‘t know what the correct answer was.
  5. 5. Stance: Who You Are and What You’re After • If the world’s problems are so complex that they defeat even the smart guys, it‘s no wonder there are so many mediocre organizations. • They’re the norm, in fact, and the sooner people in business admit that, the sooner their organizations can improve. And don‘t get defensive about it.
  6. 6. Stance: Who You Are and What You’re After It’s not something to be embarrassed by, because the odds are no one else is any good either. The world according to Young can be a baffling and intimidating place.
  7. 7. Stance: Who You Are and What You’re After • Young believes that he does not have a very high intellect though he is extremely rich. • He knows that the only great skill he has is that he is a good salesman. • Young‘s humility is an advantage, because it motivates him to learn what he needs to know, and then learn some more.
  8. 8. Stance: Who You Are and What You’re After • Motivation is a vital force in Young‘s world. • When combined with learning, it‘s a more powerful problem—solving tool than sheer intellect. • Patience is also a key virtue, along with a determination not to jump to conclusions. • Don‘t act until you‘ve mastered what you need to know to carry out your intention.
  9. 9. Stance: Who You Are and What You’re After • Young engages his world, then, as a motivated and patient learner. • By subduing his impulse to go on the defensive and by committing to improving a little bit every day, he can develop a better understanding of a confusing, complex world, in pursuit of his highest goal: to create value for the world.
  10. 10. Stance: Who You Are and What You’re After • It may be better defined than most, because he‘s consciously considered it and honed his description of it in forums like the interviews at Rotman. • But everyone has a stance, whether they realize it or not, and whether it is explicit or implicit. • Everyone‘s actions emanate from their view of the world and their place in it. • Stance has both individual unique elements and shared cultural unity aspects.
  11. 11. Stance: Who You Are and What You’re After • Young saw himself as a member of a community of sales guys who couldn‘t match the top heavy IQs of the smart people, but had accumulated valuable practical experience. • Viewed from another angle, though, the engineers were his comrades, fellow soldiers in the army of open—source software revolutionaries.
  12. 12. Stance: Who You Are and What You’re After • Our stance is often something we take completely for granted. • It is simply ―who we are, and we fail to see how our view of who we are governs our unquestioned assumptions about the way things are which is to say, our assumptions about the model of reality that we mistake for reality itself.
  13. 13. Stance: Who You Are and What You’re After • But even when we take our stance for granted it guides us in making sense of the world around us and taking action on the basis of that sense making. • In fact, because we are so often unconscious of our stance and the assumptions about the world that how from it, its guidance is all the more powerful and all the more difficult to resist or divert.
  14. 14. Tools: Knocking the World into Shape • After the Stance one step down in your personal knowledge system are the tools you use to organize your thinking and understand your world. • Your stance guides what tools you choose to accumulate. • Tools range from formal theories to established processes to rules of thumb.
  15. 15. Tools: Knocking the World into Shape • Young‘s tool set is entirely barren of formal theories—not a big surprise, given his views that learning trumps intellect. • Young did not resent his other intellectual colleagues when they used tools but understood that these tools did not produce the desired results.
  16. 16. Tools: Knocking the World into Shape • He clearly believes they would be better served by a solid grounding in business experience. • The ones he does deploy derive directly from his stance. • The first is his desire for developing products and services by following a process of prototyping refining.
  17. 17. Tools: Knocking the World into Shape • Young‘s learning stance leads him to consult widely before making decisions. • One rule of thumb concerns employee motivation. • It is hard to build a team if people don‘t like to come to work in the morning. • He used that rule of thumb to fire five of the seven subordinates he inherited when he got his first real job.
  18. 18. Tools: Knocking the World into Shape • A second rule concerns asset values and the wisdom, or lack thereof, of crowds • He used that rule of thumb to buy several businesses after leaving Red Hat. • A final rule of thumb concerns personal happiness: • He believes firmly in doing things which make him feel happy.
  19. 19. Tools: Knocking the World into Shape • Theories, processes, and rules of thumb make it possible to recognize and categorize problems, and apply tools to them that in the past proved effective in similar circumstances. • Your browser has crashed often enough for you to recognize that the problem should be solved if you close a few windows and quit the photo program.
  20. 20. Tools: Knocking the World into Shape • As with stance, some of your tools will be yours alone, while others will be community property; as it were. • All the investment bankers at Goldman Sachs may share the same models and spread sheets, and all the derivatives traders across the world may have learned from the same textbook. • But through experience, most of them have developed rules of thumb for negotiating acquisitions or assessing risk that are uniquely their
  21. 21. Experiences: Where Stance and Tools Meet the World • The knowledge that you gain from the worldly and practical situations are called as experiences. • They are a combination of your stance and tools, which guide you toward some experiences and away from others. • Personal touch and client visits will be a part of your business agenda if you see yourself as a people person, skilled at getting consumers to open up about their needs and desires.
  22. 22. Experiences: Where Stance and Tools Meet the World • You will be inclined to do this in order to accumulate experiences talking to consumers. • On the other hand if your stance as a business executive is as a great model builder and your tools for understanding consumers are sophisticated quantitative models, your experience likely comes from analysing survey results in your office, not from talking face toface with consumers
  23. 23. Experiences: Where Stance and Tools Meet the World • Young‘s stance and tools guided him to acquire experience by putting products into the market, gaining feedback from users, improving the product, gaining more feedback, further improving the product, continuing the cycle throughout the product‘s lifetime.
  24. 24. Experiences: Where Stance and Tools Meet the World • Thus we can say that the first type of inclination was followed by Bob Young who accumulated a deep and rich body of experience centered on developing and marketing software products. • Those experiences are consistent with his stance as a learner whose tools are derived from practical experience rather than formal theories.
  25. 25. Experiences: Where Stance and Tools Meet the World • Sensitivities and skills of the trade are enhanced by Experience. • Sensitivity is the capacity to make distinctions between conditions that are similar but not exactly the same.
  26. 26. Experiences: Where Stance and Tools Meet the World • When we learn something new, we‘re acutely aware of features that more experienced practitioners take for granted. • Think of your self-consciousness when you learned a new sport or took your first driving lesson. • This hyperawareness of yourself and the skill you‘re learning does not last long.
  27. 27. Experiences: Where Stance and Tools Meet the World • Over time, practice transforms conscious acts into the automatic habits characteristic of mastery. • Think of your anxiety at stoplights when you first learned to drive using a standard shift, and the unthinking ease with which you now put the car into first and drive off. • The better we get, the faster we forget about what we are doing.
  28. 28. Experiences: Where Stance and Tools Meet the World • Our awareness of what we are doing and how we are accomplishing it quickly becomes as intuitive and inaccessible as the knowledge we use to tie our shoes or ride a bike. • Thus we can conclude by saying that skills and sensitivities tend to become better when constantly put to use.
  29. 29. The Dynamics of Your Personal Knowledge System • The three elements of Personal knowledge constantly influence one another resulting in it becoming developed as a system. • These elements are shown in the diagram in the next slide
  30. 30. The Dynamics of Your Personal Knowledge System Stance plays a role in guiding the acquisition of tools The tools in turn, guides experience accumulation. In the course of gaining experience we also acquire short-cuts of performing activities and cut any undesirably lengthy steps. In the course of performing the same task ten times, you‘ll figure out what steps are essential and which can be cut back or eliminated, and what sequence of steps will produce the desired outcome most quickly and reliably.
  31. 31. The Dynamics of Your Personal Knowledge System • But developing or acquiring new tools isn‘t just a matter of refining a known process. • Experience might also guide you to seek new tools from an outside source, and in the process learn a new process, which will then in turn be refined with practice.
  32. 32. The Dynamics of Your Personal Knowledge System • Perhaps as you work in the lower ranks of an engineering firm, you conclude that your undergraduate engineering degree hasn‘t prepared you to take on the work that most interests you. • So you decide to return to school and pursue a master‘s in engineering, or perhaps an MBA, if the work that most interests you is management or product development.
  33. 33. The Dynamics of Your Personal Knowledge System • In Young‘s case his recognition of patterns became the tool that was central to his stance he was a sales guy whose experience enabled him to solve problems by recognizing their characteristic patterns. • Thanks to his experiences, he grew more and more confident that lie could see what was likely to transpire and to make bold decisions on the basis of the patterns he recognized—including the decision to give away Red Hat software over the Internet.
  34. 34. The Dynamics of Your Personal Knowledge System • The late Sumantra Ghoshal, a London Business School professor, made a similar point in his critique of MBA education. • He argued that the economic and gametheory tools that are staples of the business— school curriculum teach students to play zero—sum games—in other words, to see only trade—offs in the universe of possibilities.
  35. 35. The Dynamics of Your Personal Knowledge System • Their experience using those tools, Ghoshal argued, eventually shapes them into executives who know only how to play zero-sum games. • Exposure to different tools and experiences, he maintained, would have shaped their stances much differently, producing executives who were not only capable of playing and winning positive—sum games, but able to recognize them in the first place.
  36. 36. Your personal knowledge system
  37. 37. Beneficial and Detrimental Spirals • As Ghoshal‘s argument suggests, personal knowledge systems are highly path— dependent. • When a person starts in a given direction, that direction is likely to be reinforced and amplified, not diminished or altered. • This can happen for good or bad; that is, the spiral can be beneficial or detrimental.
  38. 38. Beneficial and Detrimental Spirals • Operating at their best, the three elements of the personal knowledge system will reinforce each other to produce an ever—increasing capacity for integrative thinking. • By the same token, though, stance, tools, and experience can conspire to trap perfectly intelligent and capable people in a world where problems seem too hard to solve and mere survival is the only goal.
  39. 39. Beneficial and Detrimental Spirals • A narrow and defensive stance will lead to acquisition of extremely limited tools and extremely limiting experiences. • Those experiences then feed back into the acquisition of even more limited tools and the formation of an even narrower stance.
  40. 40. Beneficial and Detrimental Spirals • In stark contrast is the use of tools by Michael Lee—Chin. • His story shows how a different stance can set a person on a far different path. • Although Lee—Chin grew up a mixed-race child from the mean streets of Port Antonio, he saw the world as full of opportunities and himself as an achiever motivated to succeed. • His outlook motivated him to apply to colleges in North America, confident that he could obtain the financial aid he would need to attend.
  41. 41. Beneficial and Detrimental Spirals • The spirals proceed powerfully in opposite directions. • Lee-Chin's positive spiral made it obvious which tools he needed to acquire and which experiences would deepen his sensitivities and skills. • His experiences, in turn, reinforced his desire to invest in acquiring further skills, enhancing his view of himself and his place in the world, and sharpening his motivation to shape his world for the better.
  42. 42. Beneficial and Detrimental Spirals • The negative spiral of the hypothetical young man from the inner city, by contrast, generates defeatism. • Beginning with image of the world as a miserable place, his stance, tools, and experience conspire to confirm his original view of the world as a place where the best you can do is second best.
  43. 43. Beneficial and Detrimental Spirals • Each person has a variety of choices as to how to develop a personal knowledge system. • Changes in the genetic make-up may not be possible, but as long as you can change your stance, you can change the tools and experiences you use to develop your thinking capacity especially your integrative thinking capacity. • Neither spiral is pre-set. • Your personal knowledge system your stance, tools, and experiences is under your control.