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Chapter 3 Debunking the Myths

Polk, Betsy Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We, as in human beings, all carry myths. They’re dusty little boxes wedged deep in the closets of our brains, where they brim over with the truths, messages, fables, warnings, stories, and innuendos gathered throughout our lives. The sources for these myths might be lessons from parents, teachers, or role models; gossip by friends, enemies, or celebrities; messages from books, movies, advertising, or the Internet—they can come from anyone, anywhere. Over time, memories and meanings shift and grow tangled, real experiences slide into wished-for narratives, and we fill gaps with our own explanations and stories, creating and recreating our personal myths. This interwoven, barely examined part of our thinking nonetheless contributes to the fabric of who we are, casting a powerful influence—consciously or unconsciously—on our assumptions, expectations, decisions, and behavior.

When it comes to partnership, the myths that influence women’s collaborations have taken root over a complex history marked on one hand by intense competition with other women for limited resources, power, access, and men, and on the other hand by the comfort women draw from the support, connection, and familiarity provided by other women in our families, communities, networks, and workplaces. From this confusing mix of facts come myths that are alive, well, and evident all around us today: queen bees and catfights, the false promises and dangers of women working together, and why it’s just easier to work alone.

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Medium 9781576751534

Boundaries are Guidelines for Action

Blanchard, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

AS THEY strolled along, Elizabeth began to explain how various kinds of structure take on a new meaning in an empowered organization.

“Once people have the information to understand their current situation, boundaries don’t seem like constraints but rather guidelines for action. Within our agreed-on boundaries, we have complete autonomy and responsibility to get things done. Take roles and goals, for example. I’m sure Janet Wo talked to you about developing the big picture into little pictures.”

“Yes, she did.”

“That’s important to us, because when it comes to defining roles and goals, our process is like a two-way street. Management and informed people throughout the organization (that is, all of us) work together to develop the big picture, as well as our little pictures. When the vision is clear, everyone knows where their job and their work on individual tasks fits into a bigger perspective.”

“Can you give me an example?” asked Michael.

“Have you ever returned to the store a pair of shoes you have worn, and only then discovered they made your feet hurt? The store clerk tells you the best the store can do is give you a store credit for the current price of the shoes, which are now on sale?”

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Kevin Cashman Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I once heard a poignant story about a priest who was confronted by a soldier while he was walking down a road in pre-revolutionary Russia. The soldier, aiming his rifle at the priest, commanded, “Who are you? Where are you going? Why are you going there?” Unfazed, the priest calmly replied, “How much do they pay you?” Somewhat surprised, the soldier responded, “Twenty-five kopecks a month.” The priest paused, and in a deeply thoughtful manner said, “I have a proposal for you. I’ll pay you fifty kopecks each month if you stop me here every day and challenge me to respond to those same three questions.”

How many of us have a “soldier” confronting us with life’s tough questions, pushing us to pause, to examine, and to develop ourselves more thoroughly? If “character is our fate,” as Heraclitus wrote, do we step back often enough both to question and to affirm ourselves in order to reveal our character? As we lead others and ourselves through tough times, do we draw on the inner resources of our character, or do we lose ourselves in the pressures of the situation?

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6 A Drop of Vinegar: Solutions for Infectious Diseases

Bing, Eric Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

On the surface, David was no match for Goliath. Just a small boy in a tunic, armed only with a slingshot, yet this small boy killed a giant of a man. And so it is with infectious diseases. Minute microbes one cannot even see with the naked eye are able to kill beings much, much larger and, seemingly, more powerful than themselveshuman beings like us.

Most often, however, the people they kill are poor and living in developing countrieslike the Angolan soldier who contracts HIV and gives it to his wife before he dies of AIDS. Or like the baby from Zimbabwe who is bitten by a mosquito that transmits a parasite that causes a fever, then a seizure, before killing her of malaria. Or like the Indian schoolteacher who contracts HPV (human papillomavirus) on her cervix, which turns into cancer and spreads throughout her body before consuming her life. Despite the tremendous advances that have been made in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, people in developing countries like Angola, Zimbabwe, and India continue to fall like Goliath.

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David Cooperrider Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

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