Exercising Muscle Groups

…as our world continues to devolve in so many ways, more than anything, it will be integrity that empowers one to personally minimize participation in and the consequences of that devolvement.

recent article by Dr. Gary North on his website referred to Harry Hobbes’ posted contributions to the forums on that website as the focal point to advise members of the need to develop and publish information on their own websites, and eventually to sell that information.

The specific passage within Dr. North’s article is:

There is a site member who goes by the name of Harry Hobbes. His answers are detailed. If he were to collect all of the answers that he has posted for free on this site, he could begin to produce the outline of a textbook in either management or followership. Maybe he could produce a textbook that would be half management, half followership. You have to be a good follower before you can be a good manager. On the other hand, to be a really good manager, you had better follow a good manager for several years.

Dr. North has a valid point, but further commentary is appropriate. Quoting Dr. North…

His answers are detailed. If he were to collect all of the answers that he has posted for free on this site…

Nothing personal and no hard feelings, but those answers certainly were not “for free;” each and every post came at a cost, usually significant, over and above the nominal price of entry. (I.e., the subscription fee to access GaryNorth.com.) I pay for the privilege…

This begs the question: why pay for the privilege on www.GaryNorth.com when one can publish on one’s own website?

The answer is, in a word: exposure; as in exposure to a readily-available and qualified audience that has real, non-contrived business, personal development, and management issues.

Another answer is, in a phrase: practice with a live, qualified audience, with real issues.

Still a third answer is: prototyping the argument (which occurs in the context of, but is distinct from the practice with a live audience).

Nonetheless, whatever the objective, from a process perspective the original contribution to each and every post is collected, collated, and archived in a personal library (in the GaryNorth.com section), with a file naming convention applied that is designed for ease of reference and retrieval. The original content of the “Harry Hobbes” posts are archived into 970 files (i.e., a file being associated with one “thread”).

(The GaryNorth.com archive now exceeds the size of my NewRider.com archive collected 15 years ago; they are both quite large.)

All authoring (comments, posts, threads) is accomplished with a state-of-the-art note taking application that also serves as an additional referenceable repository for other published material. (Microsoft’s OneNote to be specific.)

Said “data base” is requisite not only for reference within a current discussion (i.e., “see …”), but is critical to exercising and maintaining integrity of concept and argument over time and differing contexts, which brings us back to “management” as a discipline…

To quote Drucker’s closing remark in his last chapter of The Practice of Management (“The Manager of Tomorrow”):

No matter what a man’s general education or his adult education for management, what will be decisive above all, in the future even more than in the past, is neither education nor skill; it is integrity of character.  (Emphasis added.)
– The Practice of Management. Peter F. Drucker. Harper Business. 1954.

In a very real sense, the archive enables the exercise of the “integrity muscle” over time and throughout various discussions. Presented concepts and arguments must be consistent throughout the archive if the results are to be consistent over time and varied contexts. This is very much an issue of integrity.

It should also be noted that regular “exercise of the integrity muscle” is critical to building and maintaining integrity, which is something that is present (or is lacking) in all of one’s activities and pursuits. But more to the point, as our world continues to devolve in so many ways, more than anything, it will be integrity that empowers one to personally minimize participation in and the consequences of that devolvement.

…he could begin to produce the outline of a textbook in either management or followership. Maybe he could produce a textbook that would be half management, half followership.

The THEME (i.e., The High-level Essential Message) of said work would be that the essence of management is that they are one in the same. (Assuming Drucker’s description of management as the standard of performance.) This enables the emergence and merging to that other intangible: leadership.

…to be a really good manager, you had better follow a good manager for several years.

Concur.

AND many good managers in aggregate, over time.

But to my mind it is equally important to explicitly NOT follow anything less than an effective manager: one’s selection of “influences” is critical to forming one’s character; other “managers” are merely tolerated until one’s character is at risk of being jeopardized. (“Alpha” take note.)

In addition, Dr. North advises…

Over a period of 10 years or 20 years, a person who answers questions on a regular basis will be able to put together sufficient information to guide him in writing a really good introductory book.

Concur, whether or not the predetermined objective is a marketable information product.

However, it should also be noted that the road travelled to arrive at that objective will be an exercise in many “muscles” over time.

Personally, I’m convinced that the true value in said effort is the journey; the destination—the predetermined objective—merely being “gravy” (as King advised Chris, in the conclusion to Oliver Stone’s Platoon.) Or as “Chambers” might posit in another context: “the evidence.”

But my valuation more than anything results from coming to terms with the Concept of Death, a concept many readers will not personally encounter for many years to come. Hence, others may realize a different valuation.

Nonetheless, once one develops the capability (“muscle groups”) to journey forth, one may target myriad destinations.

So…

The point is, if you’re going to contribute good information to others…you ought to be able to rewrite this information in a few years to be marketable.

Point taken.

Nothing personal, and no hard feelings…

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