Wednesday 29 August 2012

Are you naming the elephants in your room?

On a plane to Indonesia this week I began reading the book ‘Wilful Blindness’ by Margaret Heffernan.

The author quotes Judge Simeon Lake’s instruction to the jury in the famous Enron case “Knowledge can be inferred if the defendant deliberately blinded himself to the existence of a fact.”

And the author’s comment “Their claim not to know was no excuse under the law.  Since they could have known, they were responsible.”

I reflected much on the half of the book I have read so far and the examples of where ‘wilful blindness’ seems to be at play such as climate change, the GFC and the continuing fall out, and all manner of cover ups. 

There are elephants in many board rooms and blocking people’s way in the corridors of many organisations.  It takes courage to name the elephant, and be transparent and authentic in removing them.  Doing so is real leadership!

These thoughts were in my mind as I began the first of a series of leadership seminars with an interpreter.  I needn't have worried for the openness and willingness of participants to be real was inspiring.  (Thank you Lya for your great work interpreting my thoughts and the thoughts of participants back to me)

Would I find such openness and willingness to name the truth at your workplace?

Saying what you should, naming the elephants, can change everything for the better.  It is what real leaders do. Are you a real leader?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
I work with business owners/leaders and leaders of business units in multi-national companies to lift employee performance by enhancing their gifts.

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