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Learning from Ancient Asian Wisdom
I just had shoulder surgery and have been reading a lot. I am finally feeling well enough to type a little and wanted to thank Bijan for reminding me of a project I started but failed to complete.His post yesterday talked about balancing urgency with thoughtfulness and I agree that it is both important and difficult. I summarize his post as advice to respond, not to react.
Here is why:
When I worked at AND 1 as the Creative Director for Footwear, I spent a lot of time in Asia at our development facility in Taiwan and our production facilities in China.
It was typical for us to exchange small gifts with our partners (books, plaques and other trinkets with meaning, but little monetary value) around holidays and business achievements. At some point along the way I was given a copy of the I Ching as a token of appreciation. Upon leaving AND 1, I started a company and spent three years dealing with legal and other challenges that ultimately resulted in failure. In one of many moments of duress I began to read the I Ching and believe the writing describes a framework to support better decision making in a start-up environment.
There are 64 verses in the I Ching and over the next couple months I am going to try to publish (or re-publish) my interpretation of how each verse could have been written if it had been written for start-up founders.
The fist verse:
RESPOND. DO NOT REACT. You always have more time to make a decision than you think. Do not allow decision points to be forced upon you. When a decision is required, use your strength as a leader to create the time and space you need to gain perspective, to be thoughtful. Make a habit of consulting with people you respect and admire. Be a conscientious observer and a student of your craft. Take time to recall the advice of your mentors, to draw out their insight and evaluate your position. When you have settled on a decision, respond with confidence.