What inspires you?

Question: What inspires you?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter: What inspires me are people who lift spirits and make a difference.  I don’t know how to put it differently.  I mean, the cofounders of the model for America’s National Service Program – AmeriCorps – the two co-founders who were then recent Harvard Law graduates in the 1980s … Alan Khazei and Michael Brown … they inspired me.  In fact I’ve been on their board for over 14 years.  They inspired me because they had a vision for powerful improvement that would get people excited, make a difference.  I loved that.  I mean that keeps me going.  And from organizations like that, I feel that I get more than I give, even though I have to give a lot.  So I’m inspired by that.  I’m inspired by small acts, small actions that have the potential to make a big difference.  I love small wins.  I think it’s great to have the big vision, and that’s inspiring.  But if you don’t translate it into everyday events, everyday accomplishments, you can’t get to the big vision.  So I’m inspired sometimes by just knocking things off the “To Do” list and say, “Boy!  It is possible to get things done!” and then go on to the next one.

I’m inspired by young people a great deal.  And it’s …  The many reasons I’m at university … I mean I could do other things.  I could consult.  I could have an executive position.  For a while I was on a college president track, but I turned down various invitations and offers because I love the process of generating ideas and teaching.  Well my young people at Harvard Business School are in their late 20s, so they’re already kind of grown up.  But I’m still having the opportunity to influence people while they’re fresh, while they have the energy.  And you know, the power of ideas and vision and inspiration and confidence, it gives you more physical energy.  And so inspiration and the energy to achieve go together.

Recorded on: 6/13/07

 

 

 

 

 

Rosabeth Kantor says small actions can make a big difference.

The 4 types of thinking talents: Analytic, procedural, relational and innovative

Understanding thinking talents in yourself and others can build strong teams and help avoid burnout.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to collaborate within a team and identify "thinking talent" surpluses – and shortages.
  • Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists reactivate cells from 28,000-year-old woolly mammoth

"I was so moved when I saw the cells stir," said 90-year-old study co-author Akira Iritani. "I'd been hoping for this for 20 years."

Yamagata et al.
Surprising Science
  • The team managed to stimulate nucleus-like structures to perform some biological processes, but not cell division.
  • Unless better technology and DNA samples emerge in the future, it's unlikely that scientists will be able to clone a woolly mammoth.
  • Still, studying the DNA of woolly mammoths provides valuable insights into the genetic adaptations that allowed them to survive in unique environments.
Keep reading Show less

Do you have a self-actualized personality? Maslow revisited

Rediscovering the principles of self-actualisation might be just the tonic that the modern world is crying out for.

Personal Growth

Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest.

Keep reading Show less