Dear Friends & Colleagues,
One of the very best things about what we do at Basadur Applied Innovation is that we get to meet and collaborate with special people, people who in their own way make the world a much better place. Garry Gelade, our dear friend, colleague and mentor, who passed away on July 5th, 2020, is one of the best examples of this fact. Beyond our sadness over his passing, it has been difficult to write this because of the myriad different ways in which Garry was so special.
He was a truly unique individual whose varied accomplishments and interests made him more fascinating as relationships deepened and the longer you knew him and the more you found out about him. This may be the best succinct description of him: “An amazing, positive and interesting person.”
He was a devout Buddhist who believed that it is important to “understand the nature of the world, otherwise people will be wanting and expecting things that are just not in accordance with the way things are, and they won’t be able to understand why.” It’s fair to say that this belief guided his work as a master statistician, in that he wanted his work be useful to people trying t make an impact. He also had a very curious nature and applied his expertise in whatever endeavors appealed to him, so his impact was made in some very different fields.
Early in his career in psychology, Garry co-authored with Anne Treisman foundational research on human perception that continues to influence the field of cognitive psychology. Later, in 2010, Garry argued persuasively that the Journal of Occupational Organizational Psychology become more relevant to practitioners by focusing more on research questions of interest to practitioners and to increase the analysis of practical implications in the discussion section.
Beyond the field of psychology, Garry played a pioneering, seminal role in sports analytics for Chelsea Football Club, and later consulted with Paris St. Germaine and Real Madrid football clubs, and was considered by many to be the elder statesman of football analytics. In each of these examples Garry’s goal was to make clear through data the way things actually are so that those involved could make a real positive impact.
We like to think that this, the desire to make a positive impact, is why Garry reached out to us in 1994 and remained a colleague, collaborator, mentor and friend until the very end: That he believed that our training and facilitation truly makes a positive impact on the creativity and innovativeness of the people and organizations we work with, and that the data bears this out.
As a colleague and collaborator, Garry contributed greatly to Basadur Applied Creativity’s development and scientific foundation, and to our ability to explain the underpinnings of what we do and how it works to make individuals and teams more creative and innovative.
As a friend and mentor, the memories and stories we have of Garry and how much he meant to us are too many to mention (despite their typically being an ocean between us!). We spent many days writing and collaborating on research in his flat in St. John’s Wood, right near Abbey Road in London (we even ran into Paul McCartney once, in a restaurant one Sunday morning pushing a baby carriage!), or in London, Birmingham or Wolverhampton or Florida at training workshops, or even in Oklahoma City presenting a paper on the predictive validity of the Profile at the Southwestern Academy of Management (Garry figured out how to analyze all of the data we collected from the “Like to do/Don’t Like to Do” Profile quadrant exercises in our workshops). There isn’t a single instance during these times that was not fun, no matter what we were doing.
We had a chance to talk to him in his last days. He made it easier for us being a devout Buddhist and his belief of “living in the present” was always at the forefront. He will be greatly missed and with heavy hearts we bid him farewell.
Please see below the login details of the webcast of his funeral.
Also attached is his obituary. Min & Tim Basadur
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The recent protests in the streets show us that people really want to be heard and included in how we run things. These desires can’t help but spill over into organizational life. Leaders will now need to hear the voices of those who before now have not felt empowered to speak.
So what can effective leaders do?
Creating awareness that minority employees feel marginalized is an important first step. In the past, these employees have experienced some voices being listened to more than others. They have also experienced being excluded from decisions which often seem to be made by a select group of people who are not very diverse.
But creating awareness is not sufficient according to research by the Neuroleadership Institute on Diversity and Inclusion. If training focuses only on what people should or should not say to be culturally sensitive or politically correct, this can backfire. People may feel threatened and worried that they may say the wrong thing, retreat, and become disengaged,
A different approach is to create diverse and inclusive teams who are given important meaningful problems to solve with common objectives with their different perspectives. Research has found that teams that lack diversity are more comfortable working together but teams of diverse members perform better, despite having a less comfortable experience. But research also has proven that they need a common process to guide their problem solving as a unit. This is because each individual has their own unique process of tackling a problem, without understanding their teammates’ approaches. They have to synchronize their approaches using the process to collaborate effectively and begin creating a culture of diversity and inclusion
For the last 40 years, Basadur Applied Innovation has successfully brought its Simplexity Thinking methodology to create diverse experiences, perspectives, and cognitive styles to solve organizations’ most pressing problems. A simple example is their Fact-Finding process in which all team members offer their answers to these six questions. All answers are accepted without judgment and evaluation is applied afterwards.
1. What do you know, or think you know about this fuzzy situation?
2. What don’t you know, but you’d like to know?
3. Why is this a problem for you? Why can’t you make it go away?
4. What have you thought of or already tried?
5. If this problem were to be resolved, what would you have that you don’t
6. What might you be assuming that you don’t have to assume?
Team members almost always report that these questions open up new ways of looking at the problem they are trying to solve and important perspectives they hadn’t considered. In essence, they are also dispelling some biases they may have had based on limited experience.
After all the answers are exhausted, collaborative evaluation begins. The team proceeds through a “telescoping” process in which each member chooses the few answers seen as most important. Then each member gives voice to why they made those choices. Finally, the group works together to select the critical few answers to explore further. In telescoping, everyone shares the options they most prefer and explains why. Everyone actively listens with an open mind and asks for clarification as needed. Often people say things like “Oh, now I understand what you meant and why you picked it!”. This leads to brand new options emerging even while evaluation is underway. Another good thing about telescoping is that everyone believes their views received a good hearing. This creates consensus and commitment.
Simply using this process in meetings can lead to the possibility of more innovative solutions and a sense of arriving at them together.
How might you try this out with your own teams and see what can happen?