In Dickens’ famous story, A Christmas Carol, Scrooge must face his past, present, and future. As he travels through his life, we experience a story of scornful failure followed by undeniable redemption. We see early on that Scrooge has lost touch with what really matters; because he has accepted a cynical world view, he is left old, alone, and bitter.
During his time with the Spirit of Christmas Present, Scrooge is confronted by two of the most intense characters in the story. When the Spirit opens up his cloak, sitting at his feet are two dirty and frightened children; the boy’s name is Ignorance and the girl’s is Want. When queried by Scrooge, the Spirit provides some clear direction: “Beware of them both and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!”
While up to interpretation, it appears that from the Spirit's viewpoint ignorance and denial are two sides of the same coin. If you deny reality and claim ignorance, suffering is a certainty. For anyone in business, this advice should resonate loudly.
The business world is strewn with the bodies of leaders who chose to deny reality and paid the price. We all want to hear good news. We don’t like the trouble and emotional angst that comes with problems. However, not facing reality can cost you dearly. Competitors that are underestimated will eat your lunch; under-performing executives left in place hurt morale; questionable ethics that aren’t challenged have painful consequences.
However, even Scrooge found redemption! By facing the impact of his denial and ignorance, his spirit rose from the ashes. It is never too late to ask the tough question and to challenge your own actions. This is what great business leaders do and their companies thrive.
The good news is we can all learn from Scrooge.
By accepting reality and doing something about it we can achieve great things.
My blog has been designed as a full, rich and constructive conversation about leadership: What it means, how it's developed and how it's applied. I hope a healthy and robust exchange will result in practical leadership refinement for all participants. Postings will include my viewpoint on leadership, decision-making, collaboration, communication, pressure, and more--within the context of "real life" business and a "current event" environment. I hope you'll join in the conversation!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Accept Reality---and do something about it....
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