August 26, 2005
Vol. 2, No. 34

Published Weekly on Fridays
By Leadership University

A Note from the Founder – Mike R. Jay, Master Business Coach

  Leadership & Beliefs

Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it.
Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held.
Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books.
Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin.
Believe nothing just because someone else believes it.
Believe only what you your self test and judge to betrue.

~Buddha - Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta

As you might imagine I have mixed emotions when I read
this particular piece from the Buddha. In some ways, I
think or feel at a variety of levels that this may be
pretty good advice. However, when I run it back through
Argyris’ Model of giving advice, it may not meet all
the tests. [ ]

If you contrast this information with the information
from Blink and ‘thin-slicing’, one has to concern him
or herself as a leader with how adept anyone is in
terms of sense-making. I would suggest that the world
may be overly complex, complete with too many choices,
too many alternatives and essentially too many
different ways things may work to use only our own
self-testing and judgment.

In reality, I suspect in many ways that all this
self-testing and judging is getting us in a whole lot
of trouble we don’t even realize.  25,000 year-old
genetics don’t help either. We were made to manage the
four Fs: feed, fight, flee and pro-create. And our
system manages those aspects pretty darned well in my
view, at least until we realize that half the world
must have ED, based on all these commercials.
Jocularity aside, I believe we need to take another
step with belief and that is to test our own beliefs in
view of our judgments.

As a leader, the key issue in my view is to test one’s
own assumptions about how the world works. In doing so,
a number of things are likely to occur, some of which
are enumerated by the Buddha’s quote above. Others
allow us to function with a high degree of uncertainty
and ambiguity and to act imperfectly. To me, perfection
is a result of our beliefs, yet imperfection may be
necessary to actually meet the complex conditions in
most environments in today’s leadership sphere.

It’s not necessary in my view to hold a belief as true,
but to test it for efficacy; of course under the
restraints of morality, legality and ethics. If we
continue to search for the truth, as many do, or
perhaps to view truth as what our own system of
self-testing reveals, we are more than likely to
sub-optimize our relationships. I have this idea, upon
which I’ll write more about later, that principles—much
as Covey states—as possibly the lynch-pin in efficient,
effective and sustainable leadership. And while OUR
principles may be incomplete, flawed or sub-optimal, to
test them for efficacy and note the effects, while
remaining imperfect, may produce greater resilience.

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From the desk of Mike R. Jay, Master Business Coach

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