In Conversation: Dean Hering


Greetings to you all,

I had a couple of long drives this week and listened to David's conversation with Dean Hering. This was an absolutely fascinating interview. Two aspects stood out.

First, Dean spoke at length about setting aside time for focused thought. To cope better with our worlds of busyness and constant interruptions, he had some outstanding advice. If you listen to nothing else, spend some time with Track 5 and hear how this GTD master practices his art of work.

Second, there was a great section (mostly on Track 6) on innovation. Dean talked about the ability and willingness to take risks and make mistakes as one of the keys to innovation. I was reminded of a story that David Garvin told in his excellent book, Learning in Action. At 3M, new employees are educated in the organizational culture which includes the expectation of innovation. Folks going through this orientation were asked to walk a plank about eight inches wide that was placed on the floor for a small reward. Then the participants were asked to imagine walking the same plank again but suspended many stories above the ground. Most were unwilling to take the risk--and were asked, "Why not? You've already proved you can do it."

Hering's insightful thoughts on how risk-taking and failure are the keys to success were deeply inspiring. The main take-home is that you need to make your mistakes rapidly and debrief what occurred rigorously to create innovative success. Cultures, like that at 3M, which foster the mindset that risk-taking is expected and encouraged are the ones that are likely to come out on top.

An excellent and (obviously) highly recommended conversation for your review. A round of applause to David and Dean.

Peace be with you all,