The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking
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What We're Saying
The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking by Roger Martin, Harvard Business School Press, 224 pages, $26. 95, Hardcover, December 2007, ISBN 9781422118924 Most leadership books teach readers how to become a better strategist or a successful manager or how to get things done. "In recent years, the dominant question addressed for the would-be leader is 'What should I do? READ FULL DESCRIPTION
I've been reading the Opposable Mind by Roger Martin. We humans have long been distinguished from other animals by our opposable thumbs. Yes, we're born with the ability to hold something with the tension of our forefinger and thumb. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
There has been quite a run in the blogosphere in the last two weeks with people recommending business books. Josh Kauffman may have started this tidal wave with his updated 2008 version of The Personal MBA. His list is 77 books long with the mantra "skip b-school and the $100,000 loan: you can get a world-class business education simply by reading these books. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
If you want to be as successful as Jack Welch, Larry Bossidy, or Michael Dell, read their autobiographical advice books, right? Wrong, says Roger Martin in The Opposable Mind. Though following best practice can help in some ways, it also poses a danger. By emulating what a great leader did in a particular situation, you'll likely be terribly disappointed with your own results. Why? Your situation is different.
Instead of focusing on what exceptional leaders do, we need to understand and emulate how they think. Successful businesspeople engage in what Martin calls integrative thinking, creatively resolving the tension in opposing models by forming entirely new and superior ones. Drawing on stories of leaders as diverse as AG Lafley of Procter & Gamble, Meg Whitman of eBay, Victoria Hale of the Institute for One World Health, and Nandan Nilekani of Infosys, Martin shows how integrative thinkers are relentlessly diagnosing and synthesizing by asking probing questions including: What are the causal relationships at work here? and What are the implied trade-offs?
Martin also presents a model for strengthening your integrative thinking skills by drawing on different kinds of knowledge including conceptual and experiential knowledge.
Integrative thinking can be learned, and The Opposable Mind helps you master this vital skill.