2008 Quought for the Day #8 – Stuart Scott


This is part of the Quought for the Day – 2008 Series.

Quought = Question that provokes thought!

The question I asked thought leaders and my very smart friends is:

What is ONE question that you wish someone had asked you when you were young? And, Why?

I will be posting answers (which will be Quoughts) one by one.This one is from Stuart Scott

Stuart Malcolm Scott, CEO and Chief Conversation Starter at Guinnen MacRath, is an architect of business transformation. He teaches, writes, and coaches on the subject of creating powerful conversations to shape change in organizations. During the last twenty years, he has worked with companies on five continents to redesign their business processes, leadership models, and organizational communication patterns.

Scott graduated from Northwestern University in 1977 with a degree in music. He promptly fell through a rabbit hole and found himself in the software business, where he spent years learning everything the hard way. When he realized that doing things the hard way is standard operating procedure in many businesses, he became a student – and later a skilled practitioner – of business process improvement.

He credits much of his effectiveness as a business transformation leader to Virginia Satir, a 20th century pioneer in the field of family therapy. Satir’s models of human interaction give change leaders powerful tools for bringing out the best in people and the organizations they work in. In 2006 Stuart was elected to the board of directors of Avanta, The Virginia Satir Network.

Stuart’s Quought

What do you stand for?

Stuart’s reason for that Quought

A stand is like a platform we create so that others can stand with us. We all stand for something, in the eyes of others. What they think we stand for is what they see when they see us coming. If we are not clear what we stand for, then others won’t be clear either. So they will make up their own stories of who we are.

I stand for the power of conversation to shape our lives. I stand for creating powerful conversations that connect people to each other.

I didn’t know what I stood for when I was younger. Looking back, I can see that at various times I stood for looking good at any cost; for being right at any cost; for making sure others knew how smart I was. Of course, I never admitted to myself or others that this was what was most important to me. I know now, though, that people saw my stands anyway.

I didn’t know what I stood for, what was most important to me. It was if I hoped that someday something would show up that would be worth dedicating myself to. It was as if I was standing on a corner, waiting for a worthy stand to show up and catch my eye.

Except there’s no department store where we can shop for what we stand for. The only way to acquire a stand is to create one, to declare it. I stand for what I say we stand for.

Lots of people no what they stand against. I find more power in creating a stand for something.

A stand is powerful when it attracts others to share it. When we stand for ourselves, we don’t move others to stand with us, and we stand alone. When we stand for others, they stand with us, and we create the power of many working as one.

More Links Related to Stand

1. Using Emergence to Take Social Innovation to Scale, by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze

2. Thoughts on creating space to host conversations

3. Mark Nepo’s reflections on the art of living