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Strategic Thinking: Becoming a Know Body

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

                    Here’s an idea to help you integrate various parts of your planning process. Reading time: 3:29

          Imagine owning what one author called a “wonderfully complex machine – an assembling of struts, ties, springs, pulleys, levers, joints, hinges, sockets, tanks, pipes, values, sheaths, pumps, exchanges and filters?”  Now imagine that machine so well designed that it can run 90 or more years without missing a beat.

         You don’t have to imagine it. You own it. Your body.

         As Shakespeare observed in Hamlet: “What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, how admirable in action.”  And how magnificent in composition, according to the Body Almanac by Neil McAleer.

        So magnificent that if the human body’s DNA material could be uncoiled, it would stretch from the earth to the sun –AND BACK–1,000 times.

       So magnificent that your body is honeycombed with 60,000 miles of blood vessels — enough to stretch twice around the world .

       So magnificent your heart will pump 56 million gallons of blood in  72-year lifetime — enough to fill the tanks of more than 2,000 Boeing 747 jets!

      So what does all that BODY of knowledge trivia have to do with leadership? Everything.

      I find that when I am having difficulty trying to integrate various parts of a strategic plan, I pause and pull out a fact sheet I have created for myself over the years on the systems of the human body.

      I marvel at the thought of the body’s 45-miles of nerves. I ‘m in awe thinking that 35 million digestive glands  are now working on the pizza I just ate. I’m amazed at  the single red blood cell that can travel 950 miles in four months —   the equivalent of a human traveling 80,000 times around the earth (two billion miles).

     Wow! I mean if a complex  system like a human body can integrate so well for so long,  I should be inspired just thinking of the strategic integration within the human body to perform a key leadership skill:  integrating the parts into a well designed strategic plan of action.

     After all, the human body is a system of parts and pieces that work together for greater performance. So is any organization a system of parts and pieces working together. Consider the word ORGANization itself suggestion a system of parts comprising a function. So it some ways the systems within the human body can be thought of as a metaphor for effective leadership  Consider the enhanced performance of the human body :


So magnificent  that if all 639 of the body’s muscles were pulling in the same direction, you would have the equivalent of 25 tons of pulling power.
So magnificent that your brain is packed with so many thinking strands it would stretch 8,000 miles—from New York to Tokyo.

72 feet of Nerve Fiber in 1 Square Inch of Skin

     Calculate how many times your heart has beaten and how many breathes you have taken since you were born.  And talk about detail: If you could see below one square inch of your skin, you would find some 72 feet of nerve fiber.

      So the next time you’re struggling  to put the parts and pieces together of your strategic plan, pause for just a minute while your heart continues beating at average of 72 times per minute — en route to 100,368 today — and three billion beats in an 80 year lifetime. Then take a breath– one of the 22,000 today– en route to over 672 million in an 80-year lifetime. Picture your lungs with a surface area larger than a tennis court.

      And marvel at “what a piece of work man is.” Breathe more life into your strategic thinking skills. And become a Know Body.

 Today’s ImproveMINT

Appreciate the systems design of the human body to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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