Practice Comes First
Decision makers need to factor into their present decisions the “future that has already happened.”
Decision makers – in government, in the universities, in business, in the labor unions, in churches – need to factor into their present decisions the future that has already happened. For this they need to know what events have already occurred that do not fit into their present-day assumptions, and thereby create new realities.
Intellectuals and scholars tend to believe that ideas come first, which then lead to new political, social, economic, psychological realities. This does happen, but it is the exception. As a rule, theory does not precede practice. Its role is to structure and codify already proven practice. Its role is to convert the isolated and “atypical” from exception to “rule” and “system,” and therefore into something that can be learned and taught and, above all, into something that can be generally applied.
ACTION POINT: Are the premises that you base your decisions on obsolete? Do you need a new intellectual framework to win in the market, as it exists today?
Management and the Liberal Arts
Management is a liberal art.
Management is what tradition used to call liberal art – “liberal” because it deals with the fundamentals of knowledge, self-knowledge, wisdom, and leadership; “art” because it deals with practice and application. Managers draw upon all of the knowledge’s and insights of the humanities and social sciences – on psychology and philosophy, on economics and history, on the physical sciences and ethics. But they have to focus this knowledge on effectiveness and results – on healing a sick patient, teaching a student, building a bridge, designing and selling a “user-friendly” software program.
ACTION POINT: What is your plan to develop yourself in the humanities and social sciences? Develop such a plant today.
“You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.”
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
“Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you, – and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you!”
“What a weary time those years were — to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.”
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
“There is no Them. There are only facets of Us.”
“We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.”
“Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.”
“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”
“If you’re in trouble, or hurt or need – go to the poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help – the only ones.”
“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.”
“I had noticed that both in the very poor and very rich extremes of society the mad were often allowed to mingle freely.”
“Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.”
“Poverty is the worst form of violence.”
“There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher.”