Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

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Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Jan 5, 2010 - Business & Economics - 199 pages
Since its original publication in 2000, Leadership and Self-Deception has become a word-of-mouth phenomenon. Its sales continue to increase year after year, and the book's popularity has gone global, with editions now available in over twenty languages.

Through a story everyone can relate to about a man facing challenges on the job and in his family, the authors expose the fascinating ways that we can blind ourselves to our true motivations and unwittingly sabotage the effectiveness of our own efforts to achieve success and increase happiness.

This new edition has been revised throughout to make the story even more compelling. And drawing on the extensive correspondence the authors have received over the years, they have added a section that outlines the many ways that readers have been using Leadership and Self-Deception to improve their lives and workplaces—areas such as team building, conflict resolution, and personal growth and development, to name a few.

Read this extraordinary book and discover what millions already have learned—how to consistently tap into an innate ability that dramatically improves both your results and your relationships.

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Leadership and Self Deception Essential Reading

User Review  - s7tryon - Overstock.com

I think Leadership and Self Deception is an enormously powerful book because it forces us to look for solutions that are within our personal control rather than simply blame our problems on others. In ... Read full review

Leadership and SelfDeception getting out of the b

User Review  - scdickson - Overstock.com

I was worried this would read like a text book and was pleasantly surprised when it read like a nonfictional story. I enjoyed reading it and found it very thought provoking and informative. I think it should be a must read for anyone in a leadership position. Read full review

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About the author (2010)


It was a brilliant summer morning shortly before nine, and I was hurrying to the most important meeting of my new job at Zagrum Company. As I walked across the tree-lined grounds, I recalled the day two months earlier when I had first entered the secluded campus-style headquarters to interview for a senior management position. I had been watching the company for more than a decade from my perch at one of its competitors and had tired of finishing second. After eight interviews and three weeks spent doubting myself and waiting for news, I was hired to lead one of Zagrum''s product lines.

Now, four weeks later, I was about to be introduced to a senior management ritual peculiar to Zagrum: a daylong one-on-one meeting with the executive vice president, Bud Jefferson. Bud was the right-hand man to Zagrum''s president, Kate Stenarude. And due to a shift within the executive team, he was about to become my new boss.

I had tried to find out what this meeting was all about, but my colleagues'' explanations confused me. They mentioned a discovery that solved "people problems"; how no one really focused on results; and that something about the "Bud Meeting," as it was called, and strategies that evidently followed from it, was key to Zagrum''s incredible success. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I was eager to meet, and impress, my new boss.

Bud Jefferson was a youngish-looking 50-year-old combination of odd-fitting characteristics: a wealthy man who drove around in an economy car without hubcaps; a near-high school dropout who had graduated with law and business degrees, summa cum laude, from Harvard; a connoisseur of the arts who was hooked on the Beatles. Despite his apparent contradictions, and perhaps partly because of them, Bud was revered as something of an icon. He was universally admired in the company.

It took 10 minutes on foot to cover the distance from my office in Building 8 to the lobby of the Central Building. The pathway -- one of many connecting Zagrum''s 10 buildings -- meandered beneath oak and maple canopies along the banks of Kate''s Creek, a postcard-perfect stream that was the brainchild of Kate Stenarude and had been named after her by the employees.

As I scaled the Central Building''s hanging steel stairway up to the third floor, I reviewed my performance during my month at Zagrum: I was always among the earliest to arrive and latest to leave. I felt that I was focused and didn''t let outside matters interfere with my objectives. Although my wife often complained about it, I was making a point to outwork and outshine every coworker who might compete for promotions in the coming years. I nodded to myself in satisfaction. I had nothing to be ashamed of. I was ready to meet Bud Jefferson.

Arriving in the main lobby of the third floor, I was greeted by Bud''s secretary, Maria. "You must be Tom Callum," she said with enthusiasm.

"Yes, thank you. I have an appointment with Bud for nine o''clock," I said.

"Yes. Bud asked me to have you wait for him in the East-view Room. He should be with you in about five minutes." Maria escorted me down the hall and into a large conference room. I went to the long bank of windows and admired the views of the campus between the leaves of the green Connecticut woods. A minute or so later, there was a brisk knock on the door, and in walked Bud.

"Hello, Tom. Thanks for coming," he said with a big smile as he offered his hand. "Please, sit down. Can I get you something to drink? Coffee, juice?"

"No, thank you," I replied, "I''ve had plenty already this morning."

I settled in the black leather chair nearest me, my back to the window, and waited for Bud as he poured himself some water in the serving area in the corner. He walked back with his water, bringing the pitcher and an extra glass with him. He set them on the table between us. "Sometimes things can get pretty hot in here. We have a lot to do this morning. Please feel free whenever you''d like."

"Thanks," I stammered. I was grateful for the gesture but more unsure than ever what this was all about.

"Tom," said Bud abruptly, "I''ve asked you to come today for one reason -- an important reason."

"Okay," I said evenly, trying to mask the anxiety I was feeling.

"You have a problem -- a problem you''re going to have to solve if you''re going to make it at Zagrum."

I felt as if I''d been kicked in the stomach. I groped for some appropriate word or sound, but my mind was racing and words failed me. I was immediately conscious of the pounding of my heart and the sensation of blood draining from my face.

As successful as I had been in my career, one of my hidden weaknesses was that I was too easily knocked off balance. I had learned to compensate by training the muscles in my face and eyes to relax so that no sudden twitch would betray my alarm. And now, it was as if my face instinctively knew that it had to detach itself from my heart or I would be found out to be the same cowering third-grader who broke into an anxious sweat, hoping for a "well done" sticker, every time Mrs. Lee passed back the homework.

Finally I managed to say, "A problem? What do you mean?"

"Do you really want to know?" asked Bud.

"I''m not sure. I guess I need to, from the sound of it."

"Yes," Bud agreed, "you do.

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