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The Marketer as Philosopher: by Flint McGlaughlin

"Asking 'how' leads to information; asking 'why' leads to wisdom." This is the essence of Dr. Flint McGlaughlin's book, The Marketer as Philosopher.

After twenty five years of asking "why" to a single question and testing his hypotheses using the web as a living laboratory, McGlaughlin has released a collection of his findings. These 40 brief reflections unfold in a series of layers that suggest a new framework and theory of messaging.

For more information, you can visit www.meclabs.com/mapbook

Latest Observations

On Leadership and the Difference Between View and Perspective

Topic:Leadership Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Aug 23, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

It is useful for a leader to understand or draw the distinction between the term “view” and the term “perspective.” When I was a young man, I had a (flawed) view on most of life’s important questions. As time passed, I gained perspective. It doesn’t matter how good your eyes are (how intelligent you may be), there are some things you cannot see correctly until you have a change in perspective.  

On the Power of the Compass and Lens

Topic:Leadership Topic:Management
Posted on:Aug 17, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Vision is overrated. Indeed, there is a place for this concept, but it is more important that the leader develop two essential tools: their “compass” and their “lens.” The compass helps us know; it gives us a sense of direction. The lens helps us see; it gives us unique perspective. With the world changing so fast, it is sometimes difficult to maintain a crystal-clear vision, but with a transcendent combination of “seeing” and “knowing” the leader can still guide their organization to the right place.

On Leadership and the Danger of the “Almost” Tense

Topic:Leadership Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Aug 8, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Leaders must beware of leading from the “almost” tense. Though you cannot measure this gap in cognitive inches or minutes, the “almost” tense is the furthest you can be from the present. Leaders in the “almost” tense convince themselves that they are just on the edge of a breakthrough. Thus, they remain forever outside of the only zone a leader can truly lead from – the productive present tense.

On Leadership and the Three Elements of Impact

Topic:Communication Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Aug 2, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The artful leader must think of themselves as a construct of impact. In this construct, there is a pattern so fundamental that it may be related to physics, as much as it is to ethics. Indeed, one may represent the way to impact others across three main concepts:

  1. The first is an “enabling concept,” as in developing the power to do it
  2. The second is a “knowing concept,” as in knowing what is right to do
  3. The third is an “ethical concept” (though it transcends ordinary ethics), as in doing this within the right constraints

Thus, the artful leader cultivates the right power, to do the right thing, in the right way. 

On Leadership and the Balance between Aggressive Reflection and Relentless Action

Topic:Leadership Topic:Management
Posted on:Jul 27, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Too many organizations are either paralyzed by excessive discussion or rendered ineffectual through frantic activity. Aggressive reflection requires the leader’s team to think deeply and generate insights. Relentless action requires the team to translate those hard-won insights into results. The artful leader’s job is to strike the right balance between aggressive reflection and relentless execution.

On Leadership and Three Elements of a Healthy Organization

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Jul 25, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The leader must be aware of three elements that contribute to an effective culture. I have noticed in literature various HR experts speak of these elements, but I rarely see all three in proper balance. They are as follows:

  1. Our people need depth; this is, in popular terms, “deep work” and “flow”
  2. Our people need “the charge”; this is an intense execution mode focused on driving essential activity
  3. Our people need community; this is connection and relationship

All three of these elements are necessary for the well-being of the organization. Indeed, as leaders, we must do more than build a “workplace”; we must also build a “think-place” and a “friend-place.”

On Leadership and the Danger of Math

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Jul 13, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The leader must be careful of making decisions via the comfort of math. Indeed, any leader can conclude that (3 – 4 = -1); calculating is not the hardest part. The hardest part is estimating, as in estimating the quantities with which you are doing your basic calculation. This is particularly true about decisions regarding strategy and people. We make the wrong decision not because we add or subtract incorrectly, but because we quantify incorrectly.

On Leadership and Becoming our “Yes-es”

Topic:Leadership Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Jul 6, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

Each time we say “yes,” we are engaged in the predication of our subject (being). “Yes” indicates something about our ontology, in that it actualizes a potential. The further we follow this logic, the easier it is to realize, we become our “yes-es.” As I have said before, “Our ‘no-s’ shape our person, but our ‘yes-es’ form our core.”

On Leadership and the Agenda as Hypothesis

Topic:Leadership Topic:Management
Posted on:Jun 29, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The artful leader approaches meetings with a unique construct. An agenda should not be “a list of things to talk about”; an agenda forms a hypothesis for how the leader will accomplish the objective of the meeting. The leader should ask two essential questions: (1) What is the best objective for this meeting? (2) What is the best hypothesis (agenda) for achieving this objective?

On the Difference between Reason and Excuse

Topic:Leadership Topic:Personal Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Jun 28, 2017
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Flint M

The leader must understand the difference between a reason and an excuse. You can use a reason to explain why you behaved in a certain way without implying that this reason justifies the behavior. A reason is not necessarily a (legitimate) excuse. Sometimes the other side needs to understand the reason, but we need to must be cautious about implying that this reason is an excuse. Never render your apology impotent by confusing a reason with an excuse.