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Japanese High School and University Students Challenge the status quo

Last year (2016) I was given the opportunity to offer several mini-MBA, Critical Thinking, and Leadership courses to both High School and University students who were part of the Preparatory Network for Toshin High School – a pioneer in the field of motivation management and ICT (Information and Communication Techonology) solutions for education. Based on the success of the 2014 university entrance exams, Toshin High School sent 668 students to the University of Tokyo -Japan’s premier Ivy League-like university.

This year, I was asked to return for a follow-up course. Many previous students enjoyed my course and requested I return. However, I found myself deeply contemplating how to refine, simplify, and alter many parts in order to keep returning students engaged. I was able to put it all together under the Dr. Edward de Bono “Six Thinking Hats.”
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“Walk Away”​: the Most Overlooked Negotiation Resolve

Walk away. “It’s a powerful statement that displays confidence, courage, and integrity.
– The Huffington Post (02.24.17)

I recently had a situation at work with a colleague. We had been asked, by a program coordinator, to work together on an important project that had been pitched by my peer. However, after 60minutes (or what seemed like longer) of attempting to come to terms; and my utilization all of my negotiating conflict management know-how… I realized that there was no end in sight. The meeting had turned from open dialogue to being saturated with confrontation; it was no longer a negotiation. I made the decision to respectfully walk away from the opportunity to work together with that person. Some would call it ‘running away or giving up’, yet in true negotiations it is a wise alternative.
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How the Mighty Fall: Resurgence of Past Habits and Mistakes, a Short-Term Memory Dilemma

Nasty Gal is bankrupt and everybody is asking why
– Fast Company (02.24.17)

Certainly most of us are familiar with Jim Collins’ Stage 2: Undisciplined pursuit of more, as described in his infamous leadership book, “How the Mighty Fall.” I recall this textbook as required reading in one of my leadership courses during my MBA studies. I have since passed the baton to my own students in leadership courses which I sometimes facilitate. My point is that good habits are worth spreading, while bad habits seem to re-emerge with vengeance. The question is…. why?

Reflecting on my past medical experience, I synopsize the dilemma of leadership failures not as a disease or symptom but rather a consequence. It would be easy to dismiss short-term memory loss (amnesia) as ‘selective memory’ or a fault of simple human nature. However, I see it as part of capitalism, greed, and personal survival; all are conscience decisions.
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