The Stockdale Paradox

One of the best books on leadership in recent years is Good to Great by Jim Collins. He presents six key concepts that, in his view, comprise the gestalt of going from a good company to a great one. I have been addressing the subject of optimism in my recent Minutes, yet even more is required of great leaders. One of my favorite aspects of this book is Collins’ description of what he calls “The Stockdale Paradox.”

You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

Food for Thought ~

Whew! And thus, a great leader must have the capacity to hold the truth of that paradox: to honestly see and accept the reality of the situation, and at the same time, to believe with absolute conviction that a successful outcome will be found. That’s a very highly developed form of optimism.

Question of the day ~

Are you currently facing any situations that require the capacity to hold both sides of this paradox?