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Published: November 24, 2009
 / Winter 2009 / Issue 57

 
 

Fernando Flores Wants to Make You an Offer

By this definition, has Flores himself made history? Certainly not on the level of a Steve Jobs or a Martin Luther King. But he has made one clear contribution: demonstrating how the deliberate practice of conversation can transform even a hidebound bureaucracy into a network of trust, one speech act at a time.

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Author Profile: 

  • Lawrence M. Fisher is a writer and consultant based in San Francisco. A contributing editor to strategy+business, he covered technology for the New York Times for 15 years.
 
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Resources

  1. Chalmers Brothers, Language and the Pursuit of Happiness (New Possibilities Press, 2004): An accessible guide to using speech acts in the workplace and elsewhere.
  2. Lawrence M. Fisher, “The Ambassador from the Next Economy,” s+b, Autumn 2006: A Creative Mind profile of Joichi Ito, the Japanese “venture activist” who sees World of Warcraft as a model of organizational design.
  3. Humberto R. Maturana and Francisco J. Varela, The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding (Shambhala, 1987): Underlying Flores’s work, and that of many others, is an emerging understanding of cognition as evolutionary and behavior as plastic.
  4. John R. Searle, Expression and Meaning: Studies in the Theory of Speech Acts (Cambridge University Press, 2008): Scholarly, seminal essays representing 40 years of research and insight.
  5. Robert C. Solomon and Fernando Flores, Building Trust: In Business, Politics, Relationships, and Life (Oxford University Press, 2001): Flores’s most recent book, coauthored with philosopher Robert Solomon, on the role of trust in modern society.
  6. Charles Spinosa, Fernando Flores, and Hubert L. Dreyfus, Disclosing New Worlds: Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action, and the Cultivation of Solidarity (MIT Press, 1997): Guide for cultivating strategies and skills to be a more effective participant in larger systems, like businesses and societies.
  7. Abriendo Juego, Abriendo Mundos, www.fernandoflores.cl/: Fernando Flores’s blog, posted entirely in Spanish.
  8. For more thought leaders, see the s+b website at: www.strategy-business.com/thought_leaders.
 
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