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A Little Birdie Told Me!

birdieReflection serves several functions. It can be used on action, in action, and for action. This post examines reflection in action or thinking on our feet in the heat of the battle. Schön’s (1983) ideas on reflecting in action, Simon’s (1987) intuition, Meyers’ (2002) and Gladwell’s (2005)  thin slicing, Klein’s (1998) recognition primed decision-making, Chase & Simon’s (1973) chunking, and Pisapia’s (2010) contrast of blinking and thinking are examples of scholarly and popular work in the area.

The Byrd Effect

Robert C. Byrd the long term senator from West Virginia died on June 26, 2010; he was 92 years old and served in the congress for 57 years.   He was the white haired senator whose hands shook when he spoke on the floor of the senate.  When I met him his hands weren’t shaking, but he was shaking things up!

My first meeting with the Senator came the week after I was appointed as West Virginia’s State Superintendent of School some 22 years ago. I was practicing the strategic leader tactic of BRIDGING – I flew to DC to meet all the congressional delegation and State department bureaucrats who were on my critical path.  You know - the people you must have good relationships with if you want to move your agenda along.The meeting with the Senator began a series of interactions which taught me some valuable leadership lessons. My most vivid recollection is a lesson I call the “Byrd Effect.

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