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Self-Deception & Leadership Results

Man with mask onResults in life are inversely proportional to the level of self-deception (affiliate link).

Hardly anything amazes me more than the self-deception levels obtained by would-be leaders.

In a desire to protect their fragile egos, potential leaders would rather destroy their businesses than confront the facts.

If business is going poorly, the first step is to confront the facts. Most people, when they read this, are quick to say:

“Yes, I confronted the facts and it is everyone’s fault but my own.”

The only problem with this answer is that if everyone else is to blame, then how can YOU change to get better?

Yes, bad business partners can hurt you, but they cannot stop you as only you can choose to quit your leadership journey.

Let’s walk through a couple of key points to keep you from self-deception.

First, always look at the data. If the data is not available then you must design a reporting mechanism to get the data. Any business that plans on succeeding must have a scoreboard.

How do you score points in your business? How do you know if you are winning or losing if no one is keeping score?

I know this sounds basic, but the amount of times I have studied business issues to find out the alleged leader was not keeping score is legion!

Can you imagine going to a football game where there was no scoreboard? Every team would claim they were the best and demand pay increases –plus signing bonuses — if there wasn’t a scoreboard to keep them from their delusional thinking.

I love the statement, “In God we Trust — all others must have data.”

You claim to be a great leader? Back it up by your results. If you have no results, then you are the proverbial “Emperor with no clothes on,” suffering from self-deception.

Second, no matter how bad the facts are, there is always the potential for a turnaround as long as you do not blame others or self-deceive yourself.

I have never seen a hopeless situation, but have seen many hopeless leaders in situations. I believe one of the strongest attributes of any leader is his undying optimism to push through no matter what the odds are against him.

By accurately confronting the data, it will force you to assign blame to yourself and generate action plans to get better.

Only people who assess the facts as they actually are and develop game plans to improve will become the leaders they are capable of becoming.

Self-deception is an immediate cancellation of the growth process and must be avoided at all cost. Anyone claiming to be a leader should be judged by his scoreboard and not by his self-proclamations.

Third, be a producer, not an exploiter.

I love the Texas saying, “Big hat and no cattle.” No matter how big the hat you wear, if you have no cattle, you have no results.

The internet age has allowed people with little or no results to make beautiful websites and exciting videos, and network with big names, but none of this determines the quality of the individual’s leadership.

Leadership is a function of who you are and what you do, not what you wear, the names you drop, or how pretty your website is.

There are only two ways to produce results in life: First, by production and second by exploitation.

Producers go out into the world and serve people to produce results for themselves and others. Exploiters cannot produce results, so they quickly flock to producers to exploit part of the harvest from them.

Producers and exploiters come in all shapes and sizes and in many different fields.

Producers row the boat while exploiters are along for the ride. Exploiters can be in any field but usually seek positions where the scoreboard is non-existent or nebulous like government, management, churches, etc.

Producers and exploiters have been in a constant battle since the beginning of time.

Producers attempt to set up scoreboards to evaluate the true performance while exploiters attempt to self-deceive by flocking to jobs without scoreboards, –or even eliminating the scoreboard!

If America is going to return to greatness, we must end the reign of self-deception and bring back true competition by keeping score, regardless of how politically incorrect this thinking may be today.

China, India, Japan, and the rest of the world, do not care a lick about our self-esteem and will destroy us in business if we do not compete. The beginning of all competition is to keep score, therefore I emphatically encourage all businesses to start keeping score and evaluating results.

Exploiters will run from your company, but if all businesses will do this, they will have no place to hide outside of our government.

Are you a producer or an exploiter? Don’t tell me by your words, don’t self-deceive yourself by your thoughts; show me by your results on the scoreboard.


Orrin Woodward is the co-founder of Team, a leadership development and training company, and the New York Times best-selling co-author of Launching a Leadership Revolution.

Named by the International Association of Business as a Top 10 Leadership Guru, he is dedicated to building leaders and entrepreneurs and promoting freedom and prosperity.

Orrin blogs regularly at Orrin Woodward. He lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida with his wife and four children.

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  1. Harold L.Lamma II says

    This must be where i need to be!



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