The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Same People Take You To The Same Place …

Yesterday I wrote a post about the 4 mistakes we make when evaluating new ideas.

As you can see from the photo above, I am doubling down on that … except instead of talking about new ideas, I’m talking about leadership.

Well, I say talking about it … but what with Bill Gates quote and the post I wrote a few weeks ago that details what I think Bill is talking about, I think it says all I need to say.

But I will leave you with this.

There are some incredible leaders out there.

I’ve been lucky to work for and with a bunch of them.

But I guarantee you the ones who think they are, generally aren’t.

Not because they’re not clever.

Not because they’re not successful.

But because they place greater importance on how they look than those around them.

They believe only they have the answers.

They believe only they know how to write the deck.

They believe only they have the client relationship and trust.

And while that be true in the short term, that approach rarely lasts the distance.

Not just because clients change and business changes … but because you simply can’t keep moving forward if you don’t let new ideas come to the fore.

To push you. To challenge you. To excite you.

But generally these leaders won’t and don’t allow that.

In fact, they will actively reject and eject other views.

Because they think they know it all.

And know it better.

And did it first.

And while many may interpret this as the behaviour of someone fearful of their future – desperately trying to prove some sort of relevance to those around them – they’re wrong.

Because the leader Bill Gates describes in his quote is someone who thinks they’re a master of the Universe. Someone who is always right. Someone who is better than those around them. Someone who is the only one who can make things happen. Someone who holds the keys to everyone’s success.

And maybe for a time they are.

Until that stops.

And that’s when things get really scary.

Which reminds me of something my Dad use to say about how he chose which lawyers to hire:

“The people who need to show how intelligent they are, aren’t.”

Or said another way, the moment you think you can’t lose. You’ve lost.

21 Comments so far
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Your dad was a very smart man.

Comment by George

Rob’s best quotes are his dads.

Comment by Bazza

Rob should make a list of them. Every one I’ve heard have been great.

Comment by Pete

Very. And mum.
Basically I just quote them to hide the fact I know nothing.

Comment by Rob

You think we don’t know that?

Comment by Bazza

I wonder how many ideas have died because someone at the top thought they didn’t need to listen to anyone else? Likely as many who had no courage of conviction and compromised to such a level it became nothing. Management is hard. I end up evaluating ability by the approach they take regards success or failure. Namely do they take the blame and share the success or vice versa.

Comment by George


Comment by Bazza

Giving the credit/taking the blame is a great way to identify leadership.

Comment by Pete

Yes, I always felt this way too.

And I agree management is hard, I’m just lucky I’ve worked with genuinely amazing leaders who showed me what it should be – which was amazing for education but terrible in terms of revealing how bad some of my managers over the years have been.

But like flying business class. It ruins you because when you go back to economy, you spend the whole time knowing just what you’re missing out on. Hahahaha.

Comment by Rob

When did you last fly economy?

Comment by Bazza

fucking good question baz. for once.

Comment by andy@cynic

When did Rob last pay for a flight?

Comment by DH

Or anything? (Sorry Rob)

Comment by Pete

Pretty sure everyone will have encountered a manager like this.

Comment by Bazza


Comment by Pete


Comment by Rob

I don’t think it is bad some people believe in consistently going to the same place. It can teach craft, rigor and elevate the standards of the entire discipline. Where it goes wrong is when their view goes beyond just values and standards and starts dictating the same outcome, regardless of the times, situation or alternative opinion.

Comment by Pete

Fair. But holding people to standards is very different to holding people to repeating the outcome they demand over and over again.

Comment by Rob

You just described past bosses. Some have been found out but others are still pulling big salaries for presenting old ideas.

Comment by Long time reader first time writer

why the fuck would this post make you break the smartest decision of your fucking life?

Comment by andy@cynic

Awakened the PTSD?

Comment by DH

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