Non-western Theories of Leadership LO25644

From: Jan Lelie (
Date: 11/15/00

Replying to LO25603 --

Hello Hanching, you're welcome,

demingtw wrote:

> Thanks Jan reminded us Max DuPree's masterpiece on leadership and Herman
> Miller. I remembered the glory days of the book just publishing.

Years ago i walked into a large unfamiliar bookstore in an unfamiliar city
of a great Western Nation that i happened to visit and i found myself with
a small book: it so happened to be a first impression - by the Michigan
State University Press, of a book called: "Leadership is an Art". I bought
it, read it and carried with me for about five years. Now and then
browsing through it. We ordered a lot of copies and distributed them
among employees and visitors. Did you notice the impact it made in The

> Most
> senior executives of DuPont got a copy.I am wondering why this book could
> not make an impact on the non-western world.Chinese version even don't
> know how to translate many key words( such as 'convenant').

I wonder too.

First of all, i do think that it made an impact, with me, with you, in the
Field book.

Side line: the impact of a book might be the impact of the proverbial
butterfly on the weather. All processes tend to minimize the consequences
of changes. These stabilizing processes have to build and build a
situation that is hyper-critical - like piling up rough stones - and then
a small action - like visiting an old temple complex - might trigger a big
consequence, an avalanche of rolling stones. Was the visit the cause? No.
Was the rolling of stones the effect? No. When this - or any - book would
have made a big impact, the only conclusion i would have drawn, was that
the situation was unstable. Perhaps this was also the reason for the
impact of the "Origin of Species"? Charles Darwin waited for about 20
years to publish, 20 years for tensions to rise.

Secondly, i suppose that we all are poor learners. We tend to think
otherwise, but let's suppose that it is a story the conscious part of our
mind makes up, part of a cover up. To me there seems no apparent reason to
learn after we've had our children. Mission accomplished, shut down
engines. Especially we do not have to learn to change our behavior any
more. Adequate is adequate enough for survival. When i search for reasons
about this poor learning - or poor leadership - i assume that it is the
very cause of learning that causes poor learning. Perhaps the reason we
experience poor leadership, inartistic leadership, comes from the sources
of leadership. In order to survive we must learn to adapt. And in learning
to adapt, we stop learning. Only when the adaptations - learned behaviour
- give rise to a hyper-critical situation THAT EXPLODE, the ability to
learn has to re-appear again. This is an extremely painful process.

> I had some fragmental information about the company and I hope someone
> could help me to update it since 1990, no matter how sad it might be.I
> like to know the story of overcoming various difficulties.

I cannot help you with this, kind regards,

Jan Lelie


Drs J.C. Lelie CPIM (Jan) LOGISENS - Sparring Partner in Logistical Development mind@work - est. 1998 - Group Decision Process Support

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