Susan Cain, author of QuietINCOMMN started its Mindful Entrepreneur series of workshops and discussions with our Northampton 21st Century Business Round Table of January 22, 2013. We’ll kick new series off in Greenfield, Easthampton, and Springfield in the next few weeks…. check dates, times, and locations in the weekly InCommN newsletter In Northampton, we considered how different entrepreneurs review their recent past business activities — what measures do we each like to use? which measures really help us understand our businesses or organizations? and which do we want to use going forward? All this is in the context of understanding two aspects: planning and preparing. They’re related, but they’re not the same thing. Both address how we need to and want to use the four essentials every venture requires: human resources (talent, skill, knowledge, behavioral patterns…), time, money, and information. When we’re short on one, we tend to overuse the others. But if we’re inventive in how we work with others — collaborate, cooperate, partner, contract, hire —- we can actually expand resources for maximum mutual benefit. The issue of collaboration raises some very interesting challenges. What arrangements work best to foster creativity, critical thinking, and good leadership? The answer tends to be active, participatory collaborations. Picture open-area shared office space: there are lots of interactions, constant engagement, continual conversation. As an introvert, too much of this can be counterproductive for me. I now find support in the work of Susan Cain, reported on the TED website:

“At TED2012, Susan Cain asked us to stop the madness. That is: the group work madness. At offices and schools around the globe, the desire for collaboration has led to an onslaught of open floor plans and group projects where individuals aren’t given much space to think on their own. And this is a big problem, Cain explained, because a third to half of people in the world are introverts. They thrive on their own and feel at their best in quiet moments, without over-stimulation. While our culture tends to laud extroverts—people who are outgoing, social and high on charisma—Cain stood up for the introverts of the world in her talk. “Our most important institutions, our schools and our workplaces, they are designed mostly for extroverts and for extroverts’ need for lots of stimulation,” says Cain. “This is our loss for sure, but it is also our colleagues’ loss and our communities’ loss. And at the risk of sounding grandiose, it is the world’s loss. Because when it comes to creativity and to leadership, we need introverts doing what they do best. In the past year, Cain’s talk has been viewed nearly 4 million times. Meanwhile, her book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking,” became a New York Times bestseller. With the paperback of the book now on bookstore shelves, the TED Blog spoke ‘softly’ to Cain about the experience of the past year.”

Go to the TED site to read more about this, and watch Susan Cain’s wonderful, illuminating and – yes, mindful – presentation.

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