Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Poetry and management - finding a vision

"We shall not cease from exploration.
And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time." T.S Eliot

On our last day in Rome 10 days ago we had two really interesting lectures from Jim Urquhart and Christine Anderson. I've only just begun to revist what we did that day - the little black book I took notes in was posted back to me yesterday, the course was in English but I took my notes in French and lent my scribbling to one of the francophones. It's good to go over it again now after a while and particularly to look again at the line from T.S. Eliot's Little Gidding. I think the idea behind using poetry as a starting point in looking at management was to try and find a new door into, a new inspiration for a problem or issue. Using a new way in can also help in developing a vision for the way into and through the problems.
When I was a child my mother was teaching T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets to her A level class at school. I seem to remember that she struggled to understand what Eliot might mean and I can see why. Yet he is eminently quotable and these small phrases from his verse somehow make real sense.
Anyway it was fascinating to use poetry as a way into, and introduction to, rather more prosaic and jargonistic management terminology - even if in the past I've said I think concentration on poetry might sometimes be theologically suspect. However the density of poetic language sometimes says things so much better than prose.