January 18, 2014


Just because I've added a few posts about silence lately, here's something I wrote on another blog in 2010—

At Twitter, Michelle James points the way to Emerson

RT @swichman: "Real action is in silent moments." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tue Jul 06 02:27:30 via web
Michelle James

I especially like this because it puts me in mind of my favorite passage from Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline.

At one of our recent Leadership and Mastery programs, I talked to a manager who was born and raised in India, and who has worked in both United States and Japanese firms. She said that when a person in a Japanese firm sits quietly, no one will come and interrupt. It is assumed the person is thinking. On the other hand, when the person is up and moving about, coworkers feel free to interrupt.

"Isn't it interesting," she said, "that it is exactly the opposite in American firms? In America, we assume that when a person is sitting quietly he isn't doing anything very important."
Senge draws the point out: "How can we expect people to learn when they have little time to think and reflect, individuallly and collaboratively?"