ILA Podcast

What’s Dumbing Us Down?

Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders

with Dr. Henry Mintzberg


Democracies are under threat around the globe. ILA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Dr. Henry Mintzberg joins Scott to discuss democracy and the idea that there are only a few dozens countries that are models of balance. Why can’t we get this right?


“There are 23 countries that are now full democracies. With a couple of exceptions, I think most of those are models of balance, particularly the Scandinavian countries – Denmark, Sweden – New Zealand…Canada’s number five, which is the first middle-sized country…most of them are tiny…you could say that The Economist is claiming that about 175 countries in the world are not balanced in all kinds of ways.”

“The question I keep asking myself is ‘what’s dumbing us down?'”

About Dr. Henry Mintzberg

Dr. Henry Mintzberg is a name known to many. He’s a writer and educator – most of his work focuses on managing originations, developing managers, and rebalancing societies (which is where his attention is currently focused).

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University in Montreal (1961), working in Operational Research for the Canadian National Railways (1961-1963), and doing his masters and Ph.D. at the MIT Sloan School of Management (1965 and 1968), He made his professional home at McGill. He’s had extensive visiting professorships at INSEAD in France and the London Business School in England.

He’s authored 20 books, including Managers not MBAs, Simply Managing, Rebalancing Society, and Managing the Myths of Health Care. He has also authored 180 articles plus numerous commentaries and videos.

He publishes a regular TWOG (TWeet 2 blOG), as “provocative fun in a page or 2 beyond pithy pronouncements in a line or 2” (@mintzberg141 to

A collection has recently been published under the title Bedtime Stories for Managers, and following that will be Understanding Organizations…Finally (a revision of his book Structure in Fives).

He’s also an outdoorsman and collector of beaver sculptures.

Host Scott J. Allen

Scott Allen

Scott J. Allen, Ph.D., is the Standard Products—Dr. James S. Reid Chair in Management at John Carroll University. He is an associate professor and teaches courses in leadership, management skills, and executive communication. He is also a communications coach, consultant, author, podcast host, and entrepreneur. For almost two decades, he’s worked with clients to improve their leadership and communication skills. Learn more about Scott here.

About Phronesis

Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders offers a smart, fast-paced discussion on all things leadership. Scott and his expert guests cover timely, relevant topics and incorporate practical tips designed to help you make a difference in how you lead and live.