How Leaders Become Real – Lessons from Pinocchio

Pinocchio was a block of wood until Geppetto shaped him into a marionette that eventually become a real boy.

Pinocchio was alive but he wasn’t real.

Becoming real:

#1. Guides.

You never become real by yourself.

Pinocchio is first shaped by Geppetto. The cricket tried to guide Pinocchio, but Pinocchio killed him.

The Dolphin appeared and pointed Pinocchio in the right direction.

#2. Distraction.

We don’t become real as long as distractions seem like advantages.

Evil guides distract puppets with promises of ease, pleasure, and wealth.

On his way to wealth in the ‘Field of Wonders’ the path gets dark, “He walked on, not knowing where he was going,” pg 33.

When Pinocchio arrives at the Island of Busy Bees he says, “This is no place for me! I was not born for work.” (pg. 66) But the path to becoming real is never about ease.

Pinocchio heads to the ‘Land of Toys.’ But instead of becoming real, the pursuit of superficial pleasure turns puppets into jackasses. (pg. 91ff)

If you need ease, pleasure, and wealth to be real, you’re probably a jackass.

#3. Offense.

Don’t kill the cricket.

Reliable guides offend puppets. The cricket calls Pinocchio a wooden head. Pinocchio kills him with a hammer. (pg. 11)

The thing you don’t want to hear may protect you from becoming a jackass.

Advice that confirms makes you more of who you already are. Disconfirming advice reflects who you might become.

Someday a wise person will offend you. Don’t silence them with a hammer.

Becoming real:

Pinocchio becomes a real boy only after he saves his father from the belly of the shark.

While Pinocchio served himself, he was a jackass. Genuine service turns puppets into real girls and boys.

Who has helped you along the path of becoming a real boy or girl?

How do leaders move from blocks of wood to becoming real?