leadership and self-deception by the arbinger institute

Self-deception is probably the most underestimated phenomenon in the business world; or in any professional settings, for that matter.  The Arbinger Institute published Leadership and Self-deception, Getting Out of the Box as a way to introduce how to overcome issues that may not seem like issues, hence the “deception”.  I finished the book in one setting.  It’s an easy read that reminded me of The Present by Spencer Johnson.  I think he’s the guy who wrote Who Moved My Cheese, something I don’t really plan on reading in the future.  But the conceptual framework of how people are blinded by self-deception is presented through the story of Tom’s life.

Tom, who works at Zagrum Company is unexpectedly called in by Bud, the president’s wingman.  While he’s walking over to Bud’s room, he walks loftily with his head in the clouds believing that he may be getting a promotion, or a compliment of some sort because he had been working surpass his colleagues in his department. Instead, five minutes later, he feels a gallon of blood rushing down from his face because Bud tells Tom that he has issues.  What kind of issues exactly?  Tom is “in the box”.  And basically, the world sort of revolves around this box.  Instead of dealing with situations more rationally from an “out of the box” perspective, many people, according to the story, tend to misjudge and miscommunicate under stressful conditions.  The story indirectly proposes an array of solutions to different types of problems that occur in various social and business settings.  For instance, it’s well known that as manager, you use conference room A to make your daily conference calls.  You don’t reserve the room every time because, well, everybody already knows that you use the space.  One day, your colleague goes ahead and reserves the room and erases all your notes from the white board.  What do you do? Whose fault is it? Do you yell? How do you handle the situation? The book illustrates two types of approaches: in and out-of-the-box solutions.

It’s a tad bit idealistic, if you ask me.  But the story was quite easy to relate to.  I wanted to grasp all the concepts as much as I could when I was done with the book.  Definitely learned some new social tricks.

dee’s recommendation: 3.5/5