Times are a changing.
Many of us feel it. After the industrialization is on its last legs, now the service sector is being automated or outsourced or rationalized away. Gunter Dueck has coined the term screen backside consulting in his previous books, a job that gradually disappears. The insurance agent that asks us questions and his computer program calculates the best fare from those will disappear, as well as the travel agent reading out loud from a travel portal reviews about destinations with which she is unfamiliar, or the used car dealers who look not at the car but only at the list calculated value. Seth Godin writes that those engaged in work that can be executed strictly according to instructions, all are subject to increasing strong cost pressure.
It is the industrialization of the working areas, first workpieces, then simple services (but who remain at the site), now consulting. Everything is being industrialized and consistently follows the lowest bidder if there are no significant differences in substance.
(This post is the English translation of my last week’s combined book review.)
Both Dueck and Godin say: extraordinarity matters.
Dueck’s call to every individual is: professionalism is required. This includes social skills as well as can-do qualities, as well as the ability to present something, donate sense and be creative. And finally there is the intrinsic motivation that makes people so-called professionals, not purely extrinsic factors. Dueck speaks of the creation of Arete, a symbol of beauty that everyone recognizes as such.
Seth Godin calls on us to be a linchpin. Linchpin. According to Godin’s, for someone this is possible only by creating her own particular art, taken as a gift to someone, and by listening to her gut feeling. Example is the waiter, whose truly ubiquitous attention and kindness cannot be described by a manual and can not be reproduced by anyone on the base of a manual. This waiter shares his art as a gift to the guests and the restaurant and it is probably happier than his minute counting colleague. Godin writes more of the artist as of the linchpin, and so the artist seems to me as the central concept of his book.
So in the end, Gunter Dueck’s professional is Seth Godin’s artist.
As a mathematician Dueck structured the PQ, the professional intelligence in its different areas (all quotes from the book):
- IQ – “the normal intelligence of the mind”
- EQ – “the emotional intelligence of the heart and cooperation”
- VQ – “the vital intelligence of instinct and action”
- AQ – “the intelligence of sensibility (‘Attraction’) and the instinctive desire and joy”
- CQ – “the intelligence of creation (‘Creation’) or the intuitive curiosity”
- MQ – “the intelligence of the ‘sense of meaning’, that is the intelligence of the meaning and the intuitive feeling (‘meaningful’, important)”
The accumulation of the word “intuitive” is striking, and so spends Dueck some chapters with possible solutions how people can acquire these different types of intuition. It is always about experience guided by a mentor, a professional. Despite the individual engagement of some teachers, this is unfortunately not really existent in today’s educational system. And it also depends not only on the school and university system, but on the ecosystem of parents and social environment. The quality of this environment has serious consequences, as a study on learning conditions in different regions of Germany shows, recently published by the Bertelsmann Foundation.
Thus Dueck’s concrete action is to positively influence your own environment and those of your children, to allow them to grow to professionals, and to train and coach them.
The art of your own work and the work of your own art
Action is in the focus of Godin. Godin sees as a concrete action to decide for oneselve to become and to be one Linchpin, and the act of doing. And if that is not possible in the current working environment, to seek either a new environment, or seek in the voluntary sector to deliver added value. Connected with the concept of one’s own art, he points to obstacles in creating one’s own art – he speaks of “the work” – and to possible solutions.
This art, writes Godin, cannot be precisely priced, but contributes to a culture of giving. Gift giving in turn enriches not only the recipient but the giver herself, because it adds to reputation and this can materialize. In the long run this does not work, of course, with dull commodity gifts, but rather with original art. This can be exceptional service provided passion, or a free advice. In many jobs the creation of art is possible, and anyone who chooses to become a Linchpin, will seek to get into an environment where this is possible.
“Art” is also in Dueck’s book – as Arete, as a term of Outstanding. A professional or just a Linchpin it is able to create Arete. And again, it does not matter, both authors say, whether it is a thing, an intellectual property or the nature of a service.
Professional and Linchpin
Both books are motivational books, however to my perception Dueck argues more extrinsically, while Godin aims directly on intrinsic motivation.
Who is right? I think both. Dueck approaches the problem more from the technical side and brings the emotional part with it, Godin comes more from the emotional side, and brings the technical part with it. This could be a direct result of the former’s history as mathematics professor and chief technology officer at IBM Germany, and the latter’s history as entrepreneur and marketing expert. And yet they are closer than it appears at first glance.
Linchpin, published one and a half years earlier than Professional Intelligence, and yet almost simultaneously with the predecessor from Dueck “Aufbrechen!: Warum wir eine Exzellenzgesellschaft werden müssen” (“Start Out!: Why do we need to become a society of excellence”), focussing more on the macroeconomic fundamentals of the change in the world of work and education.
Both have their critics. In the Amazon reviews of his book, Dueck is criticized, among other things, that he wrote over long distances without really serious justification, and the list of abilities required to be a professional would exceed what a normal person could do today. The critics may be right while indicating that they did not understand the Dueck’s point: life is no more a pony farm (can you say that in English?). The competencies are not meant the way that everyone needs to bring in all to mastery, but a spectrum in which one should be aware of the whole, however, may well set their own priorities. Dueck also explains this.
In Godin is questioned in the discussion on the Wikipedia article about himself where his history provides the authority to write about macroeconomics and globalization. Here, too, critics demand a more scientific development. Even if Godin is more journalist than an economist, does this not detract the ideas he presents.
Applies to both: disrupting changes in history often were not established in the respective areas of expertise from scientists alone but in conjunction with interdisciplinary specialists and out-of-the-box thinkers. The interdisciplinary nature fosters openness for change, simply because everyone brings something different to the table.
Dueck reads like a Dueck and Godin reads like a Godin
Gunter Dueck uses his unique range from bizarre stories and structuring of facts, which to me means more than pleasant reading. The reading itself is no trouble here, the more capacity is to think about what they read.
Similarly, Seth Godin is easy to read for me, respectively to listen to, since I went through the unabridged audiobook version. His style is more of a motivational speaker – after all, he comes more from the marketing side.
I found both books very enlightening and motivating and I recommend both for reading: Professionelle Intelligenz: Worauf es morgen ankommt (Professional Intelligence: Tomorrow’s Demands) and Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Note that unfortunately, there is not (yet) an English version of Dueck’s book, so it’s up to you to create demand. Until then, you can read the English version of Gunter Dueck’s book “Lean Brain Management: More Success and Efficiency by Saving Intelligence”.
This post is the English translation of my last week’s combined book review.