Release year: 2018

Author: Barry O' Reilly

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Link to my handwritten notes


My favorite quote: “To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”

Félix rating:

⭐ Star quotes

  1. (p. 19) Clarifying your why and your what is the first step in the Cycle of Unlearning. It requires to accept that your own beliefs, mindsets or behaviors are limiting your potential and current performance and that you must consciously move away from them. This allows you to be open to new approaches and get unstuck.
  2. (p. 21) Leaders believe they simply need to tell people to think differently, and they will act differently. For example, “What we really need is to change the mindset here.” This is a fallacy that must, in fact, be unlearned. The way to think differently is to act differently.
  3. (p. 22) Unlearning is not an event. Is it ongoing and continuous, a habit and deliberate practice in itself.
  4. (p. 27) Move from a “know it all” to an “unlearn it all”.
  5. (p. 35) Nothing pleases people more than to go on thinking what they have always thought, and at the same time imagine that they are thinking something new and daring. It combines the advantage of security with the delight of adventure.
  6. (p. 46) The problem with transformation is never a lack of ideas; it’s a lack of a change in behavior.
  7. (p. 49) “Half of the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.”
  8. (p. 51) The first step in the Cycle of Unlearning is identifying what we want to work on to unlearn, and then deliberately practicing to relearn it.
  9. (p. 55) Example of an unlearning statement:
    • I will unlearn decision making in 3 months.
    • I know I have unlearned when:
      • 100% of my decisions are safe to fail
      • 100% of my direction is what is to be achieved with context of why it matters
      • 0% of my direction is how to achieve it, the accountable individuals will decide
      • 0% of teams I lead demonstrate learned helplessness for their decision-making responsibilities.
  10. (p. 63) The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.
  11. (p. 84) We love being busy. In fact, we celebrate and subtly enjoy telling our colleagues, collaborators, and competitors how busy we are. The question we don’t consider is: What is the result of all this busyness? All this motion is mistaken for progress, but it’s not, like hamsters in their wheels.
  12. (p. 95) Great leaders get better answers because they ask better questions. They ask them in ways that increases the rate at which they unlearn, relearn and break through.
  13. (p. 102) One person can’t know all that each member of his or her team knows.
  14. (p. 103) Knowledge workers can’t (and shouldn’t) be supervised or managed in the same way that workers in factories used to be. To make the right decision the knowledge worker must know what performance and results are needed. He or she cannot be supervised. They must direct, manage and motivate themself, and they will not do that unless they can see how their knowledge and work contribute to the whole business.
  15. (p. 103) While it may seem counterintuitive, the breakthrough that every manager needs to discover and practice is that you become a better and more effective leader when you let go, relinquish control, and empower the people you lead to take control and make their own decisions.
  16. (p. 105) A favorable situation will never be exploited if commanders wait for orders. The highest commander and the youngest soldier must be conscious of the fact that omission and inactivity are worse than resorting to the wrong expedient.
  17. (p. 116) The management innovation to unlearn is to stop making decisions and let other people make decisions. First-line employees can be more than cogs in a soulless manufacturing machine; they can be problem solvers, innovators and change agents.
  18. (p. 122) The reason many companies are slow and languid is because employees aren’t allowed to make decisions.
  19. (p. 127) As a leader, respond to negative outcomes and critical feedback as an opportunity to improve the system (instead of as an excuse to blame the individual).
  20. (p. 135) “Thanks for your feedback. We are going to fix that. That’s not the way we want our products and services to be delivered, and that’s not the way we want out customers to be treated. You’re helping us build a better product, so thank you again.”
  21. (p. 147) Waiting for failure events to prompt action is the definition of failure to unlearn and innovate your organization’s system of learning.
  22. (p. 151) ⭐ Remind leaders that scaling yourself does not work; scaling your lessons learned does.
  23. (p. 151) Having a safe space for team members to share mistakes and be vulnerable in front of one another is the number-one indicator of high-performance teams.
  24. (p. 167) ⭐ You get what you reward for.
  25. (p. 204) ⭐ To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.
  26. (p. 205) Unlearning is not forgetting, removing or discarding knowledge or experience; it’s the conscious act of letting go of outdated information and actively engaging in taking in new information to inform effective decision making and action.