A Note on Premise #3

| October 29, 2015
Leadership / Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Premise #3 states the following. A good leader knows that he or she can never know everything, and is therefore always making decisions in a state of being “mistaken,” in a state of imperfect or incomplete knowledge. Operating with this self-knowledge, the leader is always expanding to include and appreciate more ways of knowing, being, and feeling, in a never-ending process of improvement.

Effective leadership, especially leadership in a complex organization involves developing the sensibility of a good investigator. In detective fiction, movies, and television, the expert investigator must often resist the urge to “close a case.” Instead, the investigator tries to distinguish valid clues from false leads, keep everything observed and heard in mind, and raise new questions along the way – all while continually evaluating the credibility and motives of those who provide information. In order to emphasize this extensive process, several prominent television dramas take the “long form” approach: In The Killing, The Wire and True Detective among others, a single case occupies a full season of plot twists, faulty conclusions, and layers of new information that continually alter our understanding and assumptions. Every individual’s life, and every human situation, is like this: full of twists, mistakes, discoveries and competing interpretation and points of view. Accepting this, we give ourselves the gift of patience, and the space to come to judgments that are never perfect, but always better than those reached through the urgency to close the case.

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