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Wednesday, 22 August 2012 09:31

Are You in the Box?

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As a business leader, many people approach me with well-meaning book recommendations. There seems to be a book for every situation under the sun. Who has the time to read all of them? I know I don’t.

In a meeting months ago, one of my employees recommended a book called Leadership and Self-Deception by the Arbinger Institute and actually handed me a copy. Life has happened and I have been unable to turn a page in any book. I invited her to write my blog about this book. So I introduce you to Stephanie, our guest blogger for this week:


•    Have you ever been in a hurry to get to work and found that every car on the road was taking liberty to cut in front of you?
•    Have you ever noticed that your car needs gas but then decided your spouse could fill it up next time?
•    Have you ever cheated your child by turning more than one page while reading a book and thought, “She will not even know”?
•    Have you ever felt completely frustrated with that one person who just seems to know how to push your buttons?

After reading the book Leadership and Self-Deception, I will never look at these situations in the same way again. This fictional, almost-parable style book follows a conversation between an Executive Vice President and his new Manager regarding the fact that the Manager has a problem. This is a lot to swallow since the Manager is an over-achieving employee. The VP knows the problem because he’s experienced it himself.

He states, “I was stuck because I had a problem but I didn’t think I had, a problem I couldn’t see. I could see matters only from my own closed perspective, and I was deeply resistant to any suggestion that the truth was otherwise. So I was in a box—cut off, closed up, blind.”

Being in the box is the coined term for self-deception in the book. Not only can this be devastating in our personal lives but the books states, “Of all the problems in organizations, self-deception is the most common and the most damaging.”

How do you rid your company of self-deception? The key is developing a culture that sees people as people. I know that sounds elementary; however, when you really dig into the “why” of how we treat people, you will discover many layers. This book helps you uncover the layers, change your point of view, empower you to care, and benefit from the results—making your life and work place a more productive and happier place to be.

The VP describes their company's success by saying, “I’m not minimizing the importance of, for example, getting smart and skilled people into the company or working long and hard hours or any other number of things that are important to our success. But notice—everyone else has duplicated all of that stuff, but they’ve yet to duplicate our results. And that’s because they don’t know how much smarter smart people are, how much more skilled skilled people get, and how much harder hardworking people work when they see, and are seen, straightforwardly—as people.”

I am honestly not a person who picks up books on leadership or even self-improvement. I don’t think it’s because I believe I have it all together, and it’s definitely not because I don’t want to work on my leadership and interpersonal skills. I think it’s just time and energy. I know I’m not alone. All that aside, I do highly recommend you take the time out of your schedule to read this quick and impactful book, Leadership and Self Deception. It’s packed with “aha” moments and makes you view the relationships in your life in a completely new way—almost as if blinders have been taken off your eyes.

Read 4394 times Last modified on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 09:34
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