3 Illusions all Leaders Face and Successful Leaders Defeat

“How strange when an illusion dies. It’s as though you’ve lost a child.” Judy Garland

Broken window.

Humility is openness during certainty.

#1. Achievement gives the illusion of success.

Successful organizations experience daily victories at best. Play always continues tomorrow.

Never declare victory before the game is over. Celebrate progress. Focus on the next play.

#2. Mastery gives the illusion of perfection.

Success is hitting the bull’s eye. Mastery is hitting the bull’s eye with predictable regularity.

When you aim for perfection, you always fall short.

Mastery has degrees. You aren’t on the mountain top yet.

The ‘not yet’ of mastery invites constant growth and rigorous development. What are you doing to develop mastery?

#3. Sincerity gives the illusion of being right.

Make a list of the top three things you’re wrong about right now. The danger of being wrong is sincerely believing you’re right.

Wrongness congeals into defeat when you close your mind.

Being wrong feels right until you realize you’re wrong.

Acknowledging wrong and adjusting course requires openness, insight, courage, resolve, and humility.

Learners go further than knowers. Seek wisdom constantly or you end up defending foolishness.

Humility answers illusion:

Humility is openness during certainty and persistent pursuit after achievement.

“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance—it is the illusion of knowledge.” Daniel J. Boorstin

Arrogance has the best ideas and holds the right position on difficult issues.

Humility considers alternatives and seeks input instead of defending its position.

The difference between humility and the need to be right is the pursuit of the best path forward.

Questions to answer illusion:

  1. What do we need to stop doing?
  2. What if they’re right?
  3. What are we missing?
  4. What alternatives might exist?
  5. Who might think otherwise? What would they say?
  6. When was the last time you changed your mind?
  7. What isn’t working anymore?

Illusion is the first step toward delusion.

What illusions do leaders face?

How might leaders answer illusion?

Bonus material:

Why You Think You’re Right — Even if You’re Wrong (TED)