Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Without Outside Feedback, People Tell Themselves Strange Stories

It's all too common (and easy) for us to criticize leaders in government and industry for their shortcomings and missteps -- and sometimes they give us ample ammunition!

Of all of the recent talk about President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers for the supreme court post that I find most interesting is that on his selection process. Both conservatives and liberals hark on the limited pool that President Bush drew from in selecting Miers.

What's remarkable about this line of criticism is that they're right about the distortion. And that we do the same thing to ourselves more often than we realize.

Here's an example. 74% of Americans believe that they're above average drivers, according to a 2003 survey by the Journal of Safety Research.

Doesn't that strike even the most mathematically challenged among us as being slightly off kilter?

Only 1% of those surveyed believe that they're below average drivers.

To build a stronger business, we must take a hard, honest look at our current situation -- our customers, our finances, our communications, our marketing, and so on -- and that's easier to do cleanly with expertise that is not part of the company culture that we've created.

I know the truth in this from working inside a Fortune 100 company, as a entrepreneurs who's hired outside lawyers and accountants, and as a consultant to business leaders.

How about you? What are your perspectives and experiences with outside feedback?

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