Monday, August 10, 2009


Recently in Forbes Magazine, there was a series of interviews with several CEO's on leadership. One of the items was Confront Reality covered by Ingersoll Rand CEO Herbert Henkel. He says "always question whether the 'halo effect' of a business or business situation is blinding you to what lies on the horizon."

His point is that in the past year some business leaders ignored or wished away the negative signs of a slowdown in their businesses. Others quickly started to put their contingency plans into effect just in case the downturn was significant.

There are two points that Gail and I stress in our sessions. The first is "Confront the Brutal Facts" on page 67 of our book. Essentially, leaders must accept the facts no matter whether they are acceptable or desirable or not. It is what it is. Pretending the facts are not valid or wishing them away is not acceptable behavior for a leader.

The second point is to protect the downside. Many business people get themselves into trouble by focusing to heavily on the upside and spending much less time on the potential downside. It should be almost the opposite. Leaders protect the downside first and then look to the upside. Often times if one protects the downside, the upside almost takes care of itself.

Cheers, Mike

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