Why should you read, follow, and contribute to this blog? Why should you care?
The purpose of this work is to improve the personal and professional success of the participants by enhancing their understanding and broadening perspectives.
I have been described as and criticized for being a contrarian. The most influential mentors in my development as a leader were contrarians. One of them intentionally took contrary positions in discussions or debates about ideas and concepts just to argue the other side of an issue. Another, who was more subtle, seemed to have an alternative view of almost everything. Most of the time, Brian’s perspective exposed facets of an issue that no one had thought of or an approach to addressing a problem that no one had considered. This experience led to my embrace of Mark Twain’s lament on knowledge, “It is not what you know that will get you in trouble. It is what you are absolutely certain of that is just not right that will get you into trouble.” ‘Surprises’ encountered in practice have shown Twain to be accurate and have sensitized me to be looking for what is not right in a situation. All too often, when a skeleton falls from a closet, it makes the ‘experts’ among us look like fools for missing signs that trouble is in the offing.
The goal of this blog and my sometimes acerbic style is to challenge dogma and conventional wisdom. Knowledge and wisdom and are not necessarily accumulative. That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow. As we learn, we see that some of what we accepted as dogma is subsequently proven to be wrong or even destructive. For example, medicine no longer practices bloodletting to treat infectious disease. Similarly, it is or should be well accepted that the practice of evidence-based medicine or leadership will lead to improved results.
A goal of this blog is to ‘Rock Your World.’ Your perspectives on vital leadership issues are broadened by considering alternative views. If your ‘established dogma’ view of issues are challenged enough to cause you to think differently about your challenges and opportunities, you benefit even if we may not agree. At times, I will argue a counter-point to get people thinking. This is analogous to playing ‘crap’ golf where the captain’s choice is the worst lie of every shot. You learn a lot more in challenges than you do from self aggrandization. Rather than wasting time practicing what you already know, why not spend some time and effort on the skills that could make or break you in a competitive or high stakes situaiton? Everyone learns in school that you do not fully understand or honestly believe anything that does stand up to a rigorous academic challenge. One of the biggest problems with leadership is that those around us tend to want to tell us what they think we want to hear. Too few have the audacity or courage to engage in Socratic argument and dialog. Time after time, I have seen staff allow a leader to drive their tricycle over a cliff without lifting a finger to stop them. As a result, the C-Suite of a lot of places becomes an echo chamber devoid of new ideas and soon oblivious to threats and destruction occurring in its midst.
Your thinking about leadership will be sharpened, and your perspective widened by the material in this blog, and at times, you may be provoked by something you see. That is when I want to hear from you. I am not always right, and everyone should agree that they to learn more from mistakes than successes, so I need your help to learn and grow as well. This is the point where you can contribute value not only to yourself but to me and the rest of the practitioners reading this blog.