You would recall that our definition of leadership is that, it is unrelated to roles. That is to say that a street cleaner might be a leader and the CEO on the other hand might not. In our definition, defined roles like CEO are hierarchical definitions with job descriptions, where-as leadership is something that comes from the inside. It is not what we do, it is how we do it. It is not about promotions as much as it is about promoting the leader (the essence) that lies within each and every one of us.
OK enough about the definition of leadership which we very emphatically explain, display and embrace in our various articles here. This is about Dogmas, Myths and Traditions that might be blocking our natural ability to lead.
I am a car enthusiast and specifically, in the last 5 years an EV (Electric Vehicle) enthusiast. This is for many reasons not the least of which is my concern for what we are doing to our own environment we live and breathe. So for those of you that are not aware, Tesla has just launched what should be the straw that breaks the petroleum industry’s back. It is called the Model 3.
Why am I telling you all this, you might say in an article about Myths. Well, give me a minute to use this as an example to make my point.
Five years ago, when I started talking about EVs, 99.9% of my friends thought I was going mad or wondered what the hell I was talking about because, after all:
Electric Cars are boring
Electric Cars are just a pipe-dream for greenies
Electric Cars are slow
Electric Cars do not go far enough
Electric Cars cost too much
Electric Cars are ugly
Nobody wants Electric Cars
Electric Cars take too long to charge
I am sure most of you remember these and maybe many of you still do believe some or all the above.
Myths are very powerful tools in Marketers hands. They protect the monopoly or oligopoly. Like legends and traditions, they are passed down the generations and with little effort by the beneficiaries, the organisations behind that marketing, protecting their turf. The problem with myths, dogmas, traditions and legends, is that they usually are so embedded that we believe they are our own thoughts. However, I ask you (especially if you are not a car nut like me), if these are your thoughts, how did you come to these conclusions… Well, you must have heard them somewhere. And the beauty of Myths, for these marketers, is that they are so subconscious that we never question them because we cannot separate them from ourselves; in fact we defend them.
However, did you ever ask yourselves what is behind the power of most modern trains or in fact ocean liners… Well yes, the same electric motor technology that is inside an EV, an electric car. However, I still hear; yes, but!
So along comes Elon Musk a great engineer with a lot of money and a genius and he dispels the myth and the dogma. He had slowly over the last 5 years or so, almost annihilated all 8 points above and many more and with the launch of the Model 3, 3 days ago, finished them off offering an accessible EV that people want; in fact in just 24 hours Tesla received almost 200,000 orders for a car that few have seen and almost nobody has driven. In fact nobody really knows the exact price or even the features offered. What they know is that they cannot get one for about 2 years!
The best part about the above is that Tesla did not even invent anything new. The technologies have been available for decades! Their product and marketing packaging however has been formidable.
Even so, a dear friend of mine (a driver of a luxury car) who is hell-bent on the notion that there is nothing like an old oil burner, 2 days age refused to test drive a Tesla Model S offered to him. My guess is that he is afraid that he might actually love it.
So, I ask you, as a leader, what dogmas, myths, legends and traditions are you holding-on to, that are derailing you. What are those thoughts in the way of your essence. Are they in fact yours; are they helping you. A Coaching Client recently asked me, so how do I know if these are my beliefs or learned myths. Well my first answer is, does it matter; if it is holding you back, just break it, break through it and see what happens. What’s the worst thing that can happen. However, it is easy to understand if it is our essence or external myths. Well (strangely) if you hold on strongly to the belief, then it is probably a myth.
You see, our essence is childlike. Children are programmed to learn and willingly change their minds based on new evidence. As we get older, we start a process of protection (for understood reasons, not the scope of this article – contact me should wish to learn more). We harden our beliefs and leverage subconscious cues to protect our position. So as a leader, if you find yourself inflexible, then you are probably dogged by a dogma.
Be a real leader. Free yourself.
Last modified: April 12, 2018