Dancing at the Edge: Competence, Culture and Organization in the 21st Century

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Maureen O'Hara;Graham Leicester

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In his 1980 essay, The World of Tomorrow and the Person of Tomorrow, the psychologist Carl Rogers contemplated the future. He described those who would usher in this new era as people with the capacity to understand, bring about and absorb a paradigm shift. He added: I have an uneasy feeling about this chapter... It is a beginning, an outline, a suggestion... I believe that what I am saying here will some day be fleshed out much more fully, either by me or someone else. Maureen O'Hara and Graham Leicester are uniquely qualified fleshers-out. They draw on their own extensive research and practical experience observing some of today's most successful cultural, political and business leaders to explore the competencies that can best help us navigate the 'blooming, buzzing confusion' of the 21st century. They conclude that these are innate and within reach of all of us - given the right setting, plenty of practice and some gentle guidance. But they are seldom seen because they are routinely undervalued in today's culture. That must change, the authors insist, and this book is intended to begin that change. Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus of Notre Dame University, once said that leadership demands certainty: You cannot blow an uncertain trumpet. On the contrary, argue Leicester and O'Hara, we must all learn to play the uncertain trumpet like virtuosos. It is an image that conveys the subtle discipline required of 'persons of tomorrow.' They are the people already among us who inhabit the complex and messy problems of the 21st century in a more expansive way than their colleagues... They dance at the edge.


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