Why Wisdom Can’t Be Taught
In the pursuit of wisdom, executives may find themselves taking off their masks to become truly authentic and reflective leaders.
“I cannot teach anyone anything, I can only make them think.” - Socrates
The day after becoming the CEO of a company facing turbulent times, David had a dream. In it, while walking on a beach he discovered a bottle. On opening, a genie appeared offering him a wish in exchange for her freedom. Eschewing riches, fame or a long life, David opted for the one thing he knew he needed to help him guide his people in the best way possible. He chose the gift of wisdom.
In today’s hyperactive digital age, attaining wisdom is a challenge. With tablets and phones and their various apps constantly vying for our immediate attention, it is increasingly difficult to find the time and mental space for making meaningful connections or engaging in the deep conversations, reflection, emotional awareness, empathy and compassion, necessary in its pursuit.
Indeed, it is an unfortunate fact for many leaders in David’s position, that while wisdom requires education, education does not necessarily make people wise. As Professor Charles Gragg noted in his classic case study “Because Wisdom Can't Be Told”, the mere act of listening to wise statements and sound advice doesn’t necessarily ensure the transfer of wisdom.
What does it mean to be wise?
People often equate wisdom with intelligence or being knowledgeable; but all too often, it becomes apparent that being intelligent and being wise are quite different things. The world is full of brilliant people who intellectualise without really understanding the essence of things. In contrast, wise people try to grasp the deeper meaning of what is known and strive to better understand the limits of their knowledge.
Wisdom implies more than merely being able to process information in a logical way. Knowledge becomes wisdom when we have the ability to assimilate and apply this knowledge to make the right decisions. As the saying goes, ‘knowledge speaks but wisdom listens’. Wise people are blessed with good judgement. In addition, they possess the qualities of sincerity and authenticity, the former implying a willingness to say what you mean, the latter to be what you are.
Wise people are also humble; their humility deriving from a willingness to recognise the limitations of their knowledge. They accept that there are things they will never know. By accepting their ignorance, they are better prepared to bear their own fallibility. People who are wise know when what they are doing makes sense, but also when it will not be good enough. Ironically, it is exactly this kind of self-knowledge that pushes them to do something about it.
Wisdom can be looked at from both a cognitive and emotional perspective. Cognitively, wise people have the ability to see the big picture. They are able to put things in perspective; to rise above their personal viewpoint and observe a situation from many different angles (thus avoiding simplistic black-and-white thinking). From an emotional perspective, people acknowledged for their wisdom are reflective, introspective and tolerant of ambiguity. They know how to manage negative emotions, and possess both empathy and compassion; qualities that differentiate them in an interpersonal context.
Ironically, what makes wisdom more important than success and riches is that it enables us to live well. Our mental and physical health flourishes when we are congruent with our beliefs and values. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Wise people are attuned to what constitutes a meaningful life. They know how to plan for and manage such a life. This implies self-concordance, behaving consistently with their values, a journey that requires self-exploration, self-knowledge and self-responsibility.
Age doesn’t make us wiser
So, how can we acquire wisdom and can we expedite its acquisition? Becoming wise is a very personal quest. It is only through our own experiences, learning how to cope with the major tragedies and dilemmas embedded within life’s journey, that we will discover our own capacities and learn how to create wisdom.
Setbacks are memorable growth experiences contributing to a deeper understanding of the vicissitudes of life. Overcoming difficult situations contributes to an increased appreciation of life and the recognition of new possibilities. These experiences enable us to rise above our own perspectives and see things as they are.
Unfortunately, wisdom is not something that automatically comes with the passing of years. While older people may be more capable than their younger counterparts, many never put their life experiences to good use. To acquire the required sense of reflectivity may necessitate the help of others. Educators, coaches, psychotherapists and mentors can play a significant role, not only by assisting with the dissemination of knowledge but by helping those searching for wisdom work through challenging experiences and encouraging them to work on emotional awareness, emotional self-regulation, relational skills and mindfulness.
A number of specific steps can be taken to expedite the road to wisdom. In my work with executives I have found that creating a learning community in which participants have the opportunity to tell their stories, not only has a cathartic effect but also helps wisdom come to bear. While written case studies can be helpful, life case studies narrated by participants have a much more dramatic, emotional impact. Telling and listening to personal stories is a starting point for a deeper understanding of oneself and others, and helps participants learn to hear what’s not being said.
Wisdom and authenticity
A learning community is also a great place to practice open-mindedness. Encouraging participants to step out of their comfort zone and to deal with people who are very different from themselves, leads to a deeper understanding and acceptance of the ambiguous nature of things. If designed in a holistic manner, these communities are a great exercise in humility, giving participants a better awareness of their limitations as well as a greater ability to integrate their knowledge and experiences when dealing with the challenges ahead.
In their pursuit of wisdom, group members will be encouraged to learn from their mistakes, to think before acting and, by taking off their masks, to become more authentic in living their values.
Written by Manfred Kets de Vries, INSEAD Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development & Organisational Change
This article is republished courtesy of INSEAD Knowledge. Copyright INSEAD 2017
Starcom wins BookMyShow media business
BookMyShow brings Starcom on board as media partner
Press Release: Starcom has won the media mandate of BookMyShow. The mandate includes print, television, radio, cinema and outdoor. BookMyShow is India’s largest online entertainment ticketing platform that allows users to book tickets for movies, plays, sports and live events through its website, mobile app and mobile site. Founded in Mumbai in 1999 and launched in 2007, BookMyShow is now present in over 650 towns and cities across India, currently meeting the entertainment demands of millions of customers.
Says Mallikarjun Das, Group CEO, Starcom India, “We are pleased to be working with BookMyShow, a reputed brand and a one-stop destination for entertainment screenings and events in India. The Starcom approach is to drive human actions and thereby business outcomes through transformative experiences and data-driven communication. BookMyShow is expanding rapidly and we look forward to unlocking new consumer connections for them and delivering bang for the buck on their media investments. We will provide them with agile solutions and help them achieve maximum exposure and eyeballs.”
Marzdi Kalianiwala, VP- Business Intelligence and Marketing, BookMyShow said, “We are pleased to welcome Starcom on board as a strategic media partner and look forward to benefiting from their experience and expertise in integrated communication strategies. We have always kept our users at the centre of our universe and as we scale and embark on new and exciting opportunities, we are confident that together with Starcom we will be able to reach out to our users more effectively and efficiently.”
AI Start-ups Set to Disrupt Healthcare Market
A new report from Juniper Research has forecast that annual spending on CAD (computer aided diagnosis) systems will reach $800 million globally by 2022, as AI (artificial intelligence) start-ups exert greater impact on healthcare delivery.
Driven by the improved accuracy and usability of CAD systems, this will result in faster and more accurate diagnoses for patients, as well as reduced pressure on doctors. By 2022, 28.4 million chronic disease scans will be fed into first-line CAD systems annually.
AI Set to Revolutionise Healthcare Delivery
The new research, Digital Health: Vendor Analysis, Emerging Technologies & Market Forecasts 2017-2022, found that AI is increasingly being applied to a varied range of use cases, from powering chatbots to understanding patients’ symptoms or interpreting genomic data sets.
It found that despite emerging use cases, the use of AI for CAD systems was still the most compelling, as it can generate significant cost savings, forecast at $126 million for first-line CAD systems in 2022.
The report found that AI will be utilised in Big Data analytics solutions, allowing the processing of more complex datasets, such as doctors’ notes in an EHR (electronic health record). Juniper believes that AI, EHR systems and analytics platforms will increasingly be integrated into one system.
The key AI start-ups applying AI to healthcare are examined in our free whitepaper: These AI Startups are Disrupting Healthcare in a Big Way. This whitepaper lists and profiles the leading AI Healthcare start-ups, essential reading for stakeholders in the sector.
AI – Trust is Needed
The research also found that AI faces significant challenges. There is a widespread perceived issue with trust, largely resulting from the so-called ‘black box’. Here, AI is unable to demonstrate how it has arrived at a decision, while it is incapable to build trust as a human would (via body language for example). Juniper observed that AI companies should demonstrate high levels of public engagement and independent verification to ensure data is being handled in the correct way.
Adweek Announces Winners of 2017 Brand Genius Awards
Anna Wintour to accept Brand Visionary honor at the gala on Oct. 18 in New York
Classroom Crowdfunding nonprofit DonorsChoose.org to receive Brand Save honor
Adweek, the leading resource for marketers, today announced the recipients of its 2017 Brand Genius awards, the masterminds of marketing, and Brand Visionary and Brand Save honorees. The 28th annual Adweek Brand Genius awards celebrate the best and brightest minds in marketing. The 2017 award show will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at Cipriani 25 Broadway in New York City.
“Adweek’s 2017 Brand Genius class raised the bar on innovation and creativity,” said Adweek Editorial Director James Cooper. “The honorees all brought their [A]-Game and broke through an ultra-competitive marketplace with the highest-quality work.”
Adweek’s Brand Genius awards honor the chief marketers behind the most inventive, ambitious and successful brand-building efforts across 10 categories. Each honoree will be profiled in Adweek’s dedicated Brand Genius Issue (Oct. 16) and on Adweek.com. At the awards ceremony, sponsored by Presenting Partner NBCUniversal, Adweek will also name the Grand Brand Genius from the 2017 class, whose exemplary achievements rise above all others. The Brand Genius class of 2017, as chosen by Adweek’s jury of industry experts and senior editors, are:
Automotive: Subaru of America, Alan Bethke, VP, Marketing
Social Media: Instagram, Taj Alavi, Head of Brand Marketing
Technology: IBM, Jon Iwata, SVP, Chief Brand Officer
Luxury: Coach, Victor Luis, CEO
Home: Casper, Luke Sherwin, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer
Apparel: Adidas, Alegra O’Hare, VP of Global Brand Communications
Appliances: Whirlpool, Bill Beck, General Manager - Kitchen
Industrial: General Electric, Linda Boff, CMO
Consumer Packaged Goods: Frito-Lay North America, Jennifer Saenz, SVP, CMO
Hospitality: Marriott International, Karin Timpone, Global Marketing Officer
2017 Brand Visionary: Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief, Vogue
Dame Anna Wintour, the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue and Artistic Director of Condé Nast, has been named Brand Visionary for 2017 and will accept her honor at the gala. Brand Visionary acknowledges and celebrates a career’s worth of achievement in creating a world-renowned brand. As the unrivaled arbiter of global fashion, Wintour has made a singular imprint on the business style and design since joining Vogue as its top editor in July 1988. In 2013, Wintour also was named artistic director of Vogue’s publisher Condé Nast, where she has played an integral role in reshaping the media company’s portfolio of platforms, which include publications such as Glamour, GQ, Teen Vogue, and Vanity Fair, as well as entertainment division Condé Nast Entertainment. Wintour, who will be profiled in Adweek’s Oct. 16 issue, joins an elite group of Visionaries that includes 2016 honoree Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with Arianna Huffington, Bono, Russell Simmons and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
2017 Brand Save: DonorsChoose.org
Brand Save commemorates a breakthrough online charity that brings excellence, innovation and ingenuity to cause marketing and the world of charities. This year’s honoree, DonorsChoose.org, is a bicoastal nonprofit organization that since 2000 has fulfilled over 600,000 classroom project requests, with more than $560 million in donations to purchase everything from butterfly cocoons and robotics kits to art supplies. The nonprofit joins past honorees Pencils of Promise, Every Mother Counts and (RED). Accepting the award is its founder, and a former teacher, Charles Best.
BookMyShow customers will now feel like ‘Superstars’
BookMyShow has introduced its first ever benefits programme ‘BookMyShow Superstars’.
As part of this, BookMyShow has identified a base of its most loyal customers and will offer them a wide variety of rewards and benefits.
The red carpet treatment will begin right from the preferred BookMyShow platform (app, mobile site, website) of the Superstars. Once the ‘Superstars’ have logged in, their app wouldn’t just have a slightly different look and feel designed especially for them, but with an entirely new dashboard, these users will now be able to do a lot more on BookMyShow.
Here are some of the key benefits; ‘BookMyShow Superstars’ will:
Receive welcome e-gift vouchers from popular brands including Lenovo, Crocs, StyleCracker, Cleartrip etc.
Be entitled to 10 free MyCoupons (free and exclusive F&B discount coupons) every month, not locked to any movie ticket booking
Get exclusive pre-sale window and discounted ticket prices for major events
Receive 2x credits for Jukebox, BookMyShow’s audio entertainment offering
Be able to cancel their movie tickets right from their app until one hour before the show (T&C apply)
The programme has already been rolled out in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Lucknow, Vizag and Chandigarh and BookMyShow aims to complete the pan-India roll out of this programme over the next few months.
Marzdi Kalianiwala, VP- Marketing and Business Intelligence, BookMyShow said, “Our ‘Superstars’ programme is our way of saying thank you to millions of customers who have chosen us to meet their entertainment needs. Through our initiative, BookMyShow wants to keep giving them more value, every time they transact with us.”
“We are constantly working to include more variety of benefits into our programme. Our ‘Superstar’ customers will soon be able to avail free movie seat upgrades and receive access to exclusive premier invitations for movies”, added Marzdi. BookMyShow will keep including more customers as part of its ‘Superstars’ user base as and when they meet the eligibility parameters.
For the Road to Ultra concert featuring Chainsmokers and many more this weekend in Mumbai, winners will be exclusively chosen from among BookMyShow Superstars to fly to the concert. The winners will get the once in a life time opportunity to fly to the concert on September 7 in an air-conditioned BookMyShow branded chopper from Pawan Hans, Juhu to Mahalaxmi Race Course. Not just this, they will be accompanied by one of the artists performing at the concert. They will also get to enjoy to the aerial view of the venue.