Thursday, October 25, 2007

The best Leaders can handle Paradox

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." - Tom Peters and Robert Waterman 'In Search of Excellence'

I love that.

Some of my favourite paradoxes that brilliant leaders seem to manage easily:

*Listen but don’t listen
*Delegate like crazy – work yourself out of a job
*The best way to gain power is to let go of power
*Recruit people who are smarter than you

Any paradoxes you like?

2 comments:

Ruth said...

Those are some excellent statements :-)

Is the overiding factor that seems give them such potency Fear of doing the opposite ?!

Slightly off topic, I thought about Simplicity blog the other day after being recommended The Last Lecture from Randy Pausch, it's a pretty incredible video !!

Apologies if it's been posted before ..
http://www.etc.cmu.edu/global_news/?q=node/42

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Ruth – yes – to do the opposite of what we are logically taught – sometimes for many years - is indeed scary but often in my experience it works brilliantly.

For instance I have written elsewhere how in my health care management career I thought I was the only person who could do certain things – because that is what ‘the system’ and ‘the culture’ conditions us to believe. But when I 'let go' and allowed, indeed encouraged other people do some of those things that were ‘mine’ - not only did they do them equally well and often better … it also freed me up a bit to do more of the things I liked doing so it was a win-win.

Yes it does take a bit of courage I suppose to let go – although 'courage' is not the right word – it is about protectionism I suppose.

I think if more managers 'let go' of more apparent ‘power’ in business then there are endless possibilities to use the talent that is often kept under the surface because it is not on someone job description to do things outside their area of responsibility.

I have not come across the Randy Pausch video but I have glanced at the beginning – it looks fascinating - and I look forward to seeing the whole thing.