Leadership & Self-Deception #2
Getting Out of the Box
by The Arbinger Institute 2000 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz 8/13
In & Out of the Box – continued
Over-reaction causes the person “In the box” to create a distorted perception of you or the organization. Of course the very nature of distortion is such that people don’t realize their own distorted viewpoint.
How does one get “Out of the box?” The book is pretty clear on what DOESN’T work: 1) trying to change others; 2) accepting their behavior; 3) leaving; 4) communicating, 5) implementing new skills or techniques and 6) changing “my” behavior.” Oh, oh, that doesn’t leave too many options. Instead, the book leaves the reader slightly off-guard and humbled: “Question your own virtue.” Question how your distorted view of the situation is affecting how you are responding. Question your willingness to see a person in a way that vindicates your self-betrayal, rather than attempting to understand who the person really is.
Live the Life. The book ends with advice about how to “live this material.” For example, it says, “don’t use the vocabulary — “the box” and so on – with people who don’t already know it.” Certainly the book could be considered vague and theoretical, perhaps even far- fetched and easy to criticize. It is it difficult to explain the book’s ideas to others without resorting to personal anecdotes. This makes sense, because the book is designed – I suspect – as a tool to be used to experience personal insight, rather than to be used to convey specific rules and or techniques.
The whole reason to “Get out of the box” is to be able to see “people…as people” which the book suggests is the key to helping organizations operate more effectively. This might seem to be an extreme and perhaps simplistic statement. Yet it is often pointed out that many problems in organizations are usually not due to a lack of expertise, rather, problems arise when competing experts attempt to work together.
Relationships, relationships. “The thing that divides fathers from sons, husbands from wives, neighbors from neighbors – is the same thing that divides coworkers from coworkers as well. Companies fail for the same reason families do. Both are organizations of people.” LEADERSHIP AND SELF-DECEPTION ends with the advice that until we “get out of the box” and the distortions it causes, “we don’t know who we work for and live with.”
Comments: Any other ideas on any of the Principles discussed here?