Reaching Stardom: How to Identify and Develop Top Performers

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries

INSEAD - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise

September 22, 2010

INSEAD Working Paper No. 2010/75/EFE/IGLC

I have always liked kōans — those baffling, challenging, frequently infuriating, thought-provoking, learning tools that in the Zen tradition are the way to enlightenment — perhaps because, in my role as a psychoanalyst, I see parallels between the master-student relationship of Zen Buddhist learning and the process of psychoanalytic intervention. Zen masters use kōans to guide their students toward enlightenment. For example, one of the most famous kōans is ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’ The response is obvious. And I use material my clients present to me in a similar way, although I probably direct my clients more overtly. In an intervention, almost anything can be used as a kōan, which — taking the essential meaning of that term- is a puzzle or riddle that contains the key to a deeper reality. In Zen teaching, kōans are used to open minds to other alternatives than habitual responses to day-to-day reality.

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Date posted: September 23, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Kets de Vries, Manfred F.R., Reaching Stardom: How to Identify and Develop Top Performers (September 22, 2010). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2010/75/EFE/IGLC. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1680758 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1680758

Contact Information

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries (Contact Author)
INSEAD - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise ( email )
Fontainebleau Cedex, F-77305


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