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The New Book From Dr. Foster Mobley
Rethinking the True Path to Great Leading
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Back in 2001, Frederic Brochet conducted an experiment at the University of Bordeaux. He got 54 oenology (the science of wine) students in a room and had them taste two red wines. One, he told them, was a cheap table wine. The other, he told them, was very expensive. The students described the expensive wine as "complex and rounded" while calling the cheap wine swill. The wine in both bottles was the same cheap wine. So, did the students lie? Not really. Brain scans of wine tasters have shown that the expectation of tasting something exquisite can change how the brain's sensory circuits respond to taste. In other words, expectations can fool us. But I also think that many of the students were exhibiting a natural human need to be part of the elite. Nobody wanted to be the one to say that the cheap wine in the expensive bottle tasted like mouthwash; to do so would mean division from the group. What if nobody else agreed? It was more rewarding to insist, along with everyone else, that this particular emperor was wearing fine robes instead of rags. We're all guilty of pretending to like something that we don't in order to be part of the cool crowd. I can't imagine that everyone who raved about Trader Joe's famous "Two-Buck Chuck" (a $2.99 bottle of Charles Shaw cabernet that became a national bestseller a few years back) actually liked it. But while wine tasting is innocuous, conforming to the masses actually has consequences in a company. Quality can suffer, bad strategies can be enacted, laws can be broken. It seems to me that as leaders, we're charged with creating environments where speaking up, standing out, disagreeing, shouting that the emperor is in the buff, is not only safe but rewarded. I don't know about you, but I'll drink to that idea. Where are your people free to dissent and speak their truth? Where aren't they? Read more | 1 Comments
You read the headline correctly. In case you didn't see the story going around the interweb, smooth-cheeked young men in cities like New York and San Francisco have been getting hair transplanted from other parts of their bodies onto their chins. The goal, it seems, is to emulate hipster culture in which the beard plays a central role. I have no idea if such surgery makes a guy crave flannels and Pabst Blue Ribbon. What I do know is that it perfectly captures our belief that by adopting the outer trappings of who we'd like to be, we somehow transform internally as well. The $100,000 midlife crisis hot rod, the breast enlargement, the ankle tattoo... they're all part of this fragile hope that outward change will trigger instant inward change. I see it all the time in leaders at all levels. Their beard transplants are subtler: new titles, new suits, new offices, new branding, new themes. But they reflect the same faulty thinking: the new trappings mean I'm a new person. A leader. But titles, degrees and corner suites don't make you a leader any more than a Harley makes you a Hell's Angel. If the inner transformation hasn't happened, you're just wrapping the same old package in a different way. Why do we feel the need to do this? Is it because real, inward change is challenging and potentially painful? How can we encourage a diminished emphasis on appearances and work to develop the true qualities of leading: wisdom, presence, clarity and humility? What's been your equivalent of a beard transplant? How has that served your leadership, your life? Read more | 0 Comments
3.10.14 The best dreams occur when we are awake.
3.10.14 Experience is the true educator. - Barbara Ann Kipfer