The “H” word for leaders – History

“There are defeats more triumphant
than victories.”  Michel de Montaigne

Personally, my past failures are far more useful and productive than my past successes. Of course, we shouldn’t seek to fail. However, I predict that failing and getting up again has made you who you are today.

“Failure changes for the better,
success for the worse.” Seneca

History is useful in that it helps you understand noble values and lasting priorities. This is true because all personal histories are limited and end with death. In this case, the brevity of your history may teach you to take the long view of life.

Although history unveils noble values and lasting priorities it does not uncover relevant methods. History hinders progress when we cling to methods that worked in the past. Furthermore, history’s magnetism is magnified through repetition. Before long you’re saying, “We’ve always done it that way.” If we aren’t careful, history steals present opportunities.

History and Vision

Most importantly, when crafting a compelling vision, history isn’t a platform and it isn’t a teacher. Vision always breaks with history. History’s grip on our thinking is one reason there is so little visoneering in this world. In this sense, history is more a hindrance than a help to vision casting. The value history offers visoneers is showing what not to do.

“…, true vision is never an arrangement or rearrangement of solutions that have worked in previous circumstances, but springs from the immediacy of today.” (Timothy Butler)


What are your thoughts on the value of history in a leader’s life?

Do you have an “H” word for leaders?