Notes from the Road: Charles Handy & I

Courtesy our mutual friend, Warren Bennis, I've known Charles Handy for years. But yesterday in Manchester, England, I had the privilege (& delight) of co-presenting with him, for the first time, at an all-day seminar. Put simply, he is one of the most decent & thoughtful & profound people-professionals I have ever known. We agree on many-most-almost all-virtually everything when it comes to the "important stuff." (Unlike me & Peter Drucker, Jim Collins, Michael Porter.) But our presentation styles are polar opposites—he's quiet and penetrating. I'm noisy.

One area where Charles & Warren have got me dead to rights is the critical axiom that in order to lead effectively one must know oneself—not navel gazing, but the idea that your core values must not be left unexamined and that you simply must understand how you are understood by others. This is fully half of Charles's presentation. (And will become a larger part of mine.)

(I flatter myself, or resort to wishful thinking, when I say that Bennis & Handy & I might be called "three peas from the same pod.") (The only hole in their humanistic thinking, to my mind, is their failure to vocally focus on the women's issues—both are true believers as I am—but neither choose to make their beliefs on this subject a centerpiece of their writing or presenting.)

At any rate it was a lovely day, and feedback suggests that it worked for our "customers." It sure as hell worked for me.