Two types of graduates

It’s the wrong time of year, but I am reminded of the college graduation ceremony, where the president took a minute or two to talk to the graduates as they were admitted.  He asked each one, “What will you do next?”  One young man said, “I’m going to become the world’s best brain surgeon”.  The next young woman said, “I’m going to move to left, go down three steps and leave the stage”.

Both of course are absolutely right.  The first was working in the HBDI quadrant D. The second was working in Quadrant B. I’ve just come back from a conference where both the big picture and the processes were heavily discussed.  Since the focus was on governance, we tended to get more involved with the latter.  My own presentation focused on a bigger picture where we were trying to deal with the future role of the organization’s leader.

Between meetings I happened upon a really interesting article in a New Yorker issue at the end of August. It observed that we are all prone to the “endowment”  factor, – we put a higher value on things that we already have, as opposed to something that we might have in the future.  Examples included the gift of college mugs to one group of students – and a question to another group that were not given them.  The first group was asked what they would sell them for – and the second what they would pay to buy them.  The sellers named a price that was twice as high as the buyers.

In other words, we value what we have more than what might be. So if we want to move forward, we often have to buy into Einstein’s contention that “Imagination is stronger than knowledge”.