Edgewalkers: People and Organizations That Take Risks, Build Bridges, and Break New Ground: People and Organizations That Take Risks, Build Bridges, and Break New Ground

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ABC-CLIO, Oct 30, 2006 - Business & Economics - 208 pages
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In ancient cultures, each village had a shaman or medicine man who would visit the invisible world to obtain vital information, guidance, and healing for members of the tribe. These edgewalkers have contemporary counterparts in today's organizations—those individuals who don't fit squarely into any one box; in their metaphorical travels they interpret trends from the marketplace, translate messages across departments, and envision the future impact of today's decisions and actions. Edgewalking doesn't come without its own risks and challenges; these unconventional people often clash with more traditional, rule-bound colleagues, and they are often frustrated by organizational systems that emphasize quantitative results over creative impulses. And yet in today's fast-changing, diverse, and globalized business environment, organizations must recruit and support these people in order to stay competitive. Featuring colorful interviews and practical tools to gauge and manage your own edgewalking skills, Edgewalkers explores the opportunities that are created by defying formal boundaries and fostering creativity at every level of the organization.

They're the first people to volunteer to head up a new business unit, lead a cross-company initiative, or take on an overseas assignment. They're the glass half-full folks, who are constantly thinking out of the box, forging alliances with colleagues in other departments, seeking out new solutions to old problems, and anticipating challenges on the horizon. And in today's increasingly diverse workplaces, they are often people who have pursued unusual educational and career paths, traveled widely, and speak more than one language. Judi Neal has a term for these people: Edgewalkers.

Literally, an edgewalker is someone who walks between two worlds. In ancient cultures, each village had a shaman or medicine man who would visit the invisible world to obtain vital information, guidance, and healing for members of the tribe. Today's corporate edgewalkers serve a similar function, interpreting trends from the marketplace, translating messages across departments, and envisioning the future impact of today's decisions and actions. Edgewalking doesn't come without its own risks and challenges; these unconventional people often clash with more traditional, rule-bound colleagues, and they are often frustrated by organizational systems that emphasize quantitative results over creative impulses. And yet in today's fast-changing, globalized business environment, organizations must recruit and support these people in order to stay competitive. Featuring colorful interviews with edgewalkers from a variety of fields and practical tools to gauge and manage your own edgewalking skills, Edgewalkers explores the opportunities that are created by defying formal boundaries and fostering creativity at every level of the organization.

 

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Contents

WHY NOW? WHY EDGEWALKERS?
1
WHO ARE THE EDGEWALKERS?
13
THE EDGEWALKER QUALITIES OF BEING
23
THE FIRST STAGE OF EDGEWALKING THE SKILL OF KNOWING THE FUTURE
43
FROM INVISIBLE TO VISIBLE THE FOUR STAGES OF CREATING WHAT HAS NEVER EXISTED BEFORE
67
THRIVING AS AN EDGEWALKER IN A MAINSTREAM WORLD
97
THE EDGEWALKER ORGANIZATION
125
EDGEWALKER INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
145
AN INTERVIEW WITH TONY VISCONTI
147
TOOLS RESOURCES FOR EDGEWALKERS
153
STEVE JOBS COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY
161
SOUNDS TRUE 17 PRINCIPLES
167
NOTES
169
INDEX
181
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Judi Neal is Founder and Executive Director of The Association for Spirit at Work, a non-profit association of people and organizations interested in the study and practice of spirituality in the workplace. She previously served in management at Honeywell and is Professor Emeritus in the management department at the University of New Haven. She is also President of Neal & Associates, a consulting firm that supports enlightened organizations, and, as Founder of the International Spirit at Work Awards, she has helped to increase awareness about organizations that nurture the human spirit. Past Chair of the Management, Spirituality and Religion Interest Group of the Academy of Management and Past President of the Eastern Academy of Management, she organizes and participates in conferences on spirituality in the workplace and has published many articles and book chapters in the field.

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