Ming the Mechanic:
The Power of Words

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 The Power of Words2004-01-22 11:30
9 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

An old, but very inspiring, article in Fast Company about Fernando Flores and his style of working company executives into thinking and acting their job differently. Fernando Flores was Chile's minister of finance -- and, later, a political prisoner. Now he teaches companies how to use assessments and commitments to transform the way they do business. The outcome: executives who speak and act with intention.
Fernando Flores is pissed off. He has had enough of the bullshit. The 55-year-old philosopher, former Chilean minister of finance, former political prisoner under Augusto Pinochet's rule, has flown halfway around the world, from California to Holland, to transform two executive teams -- 32 leaders in all -- of a global construction giant. These are people accustomed to building on a grand scale. But right now, building is their problem, not their business: Their world-class reputation for being brilliantly managed, it turns out, consists only of hollow words -- words that have little power and less value.

Flores knows about words and how they translate directly into deeds. He knows that talk is never cheap -- he often charges more than $1 million for his services, a fee that is linked directly to specific promises of increased revenues and savings. He also knows that talk is the source of these executives' failure. Their words work against them -- which is why they can't get anything to work for them.

Talk all you want to, Flores says, but if you want to act powerfully, you need to master "speech acts": language rituals that build trust between colleagues and customers, word practices that open your eyes to new possibilities. Speech acts are powerful because most of the actions that people engage in -- in business, in marriage, in parenting -- are carried out through conversation. But most people speak without intention; they simply say whatever comes to mind. Speak with intention, and your actions take on new purpose. Speak with power, and you act with power.
Well, read the whole thing. A lot of us could probably use some of his medicine, even if it is doled out a bit hard-handed. The Magic of Transformation as they describe it. Thanks to Bala Pillai for mentioning this one.


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9 comments

23 Jan 2004 @ 06:16 by lugon @195.53.174.19 : thanking by linking
You're thanking Bala by linking to his (really good and powerful) ideas and action.

In brains, those neurons that receive no impulses from the others simply die off. This happens a lot in the first year of each of us lives - apparently half of my neuron population died this way before I was one year old!  



23 Jan 2004 @ 06:40 by ming : People Neurons
Yes, very important to keep the neurons active with people you relate well with, get good stuff from, who stimulate your thinking and action in good ways. Develops a better group mind or world mind for all of us.  


23 Jan 2004 @ 09:39 by martha : Living the way
"Speak with intention, and your actions take on new purpose. Speak with power, and you act with power." Yes ... ming thanks for the article and i especially liked this quote and it is worth repeating.  


26 Jan 2004 @ 17:30 by Roger Eaton @204.250.12.246 : what you don't know you don't know
At the bottom of the article we find the author, Harriet Rubin, previous wrote a book sub titled "Machiavelli for Women". Flores himself is described as raging and spitting. A "bit hard-handed" is right.

Still, I liked the concept of the realm of what you don't know you don't know. It reminds me of the story of Jesus in the {link:http://essenes.crosswinds.net/thomas.html|Gospel of Thomas verse 97}: The kingdom of heaven is like a woman who was carrying a jar full of grain. While she was walking on a distant road, the handle of the jar broke and the grain streamed out behind her onto the road, unnoticed by her. Only when she arrived home and set the jar down did she found it empty. This saying is thought to be a genuine saying of the historical Jesus, btw.  



8 Aug 2004 @ 07:27 by pinkmink : Speaking with Intention
I surely appreciate the mention of this article, and it has inspired me to do a bit of research regarding Fernando and his words of intention.
I fancy myself, at time, to be somewhat of a wordsmith, but if my words have now brought about the action(s) that I have intended, then it would have been better, had I not spoken at all. This too, I will contemplate. I do so hate to be boring and ineffective.
Thanks again for this food for thought.
Mimi  



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