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Leadership Lesson: Look Forward by Looking Back

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Did you ever wonder why some people just rub you the wrong way and they can do that to you and never even open their mouths? In the book “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell it is amazing to learn how fast we make judgments and how our unconscious bias shows up.

Many people who drive us nuts are similar to folks who drove our parents and even out grandparents nuts.

Let's take a trip back in time for a moment.

Your boss, Josh, has been handed the CEO position in the big family business you work for. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and lets everyone know how privileged he is; right schools, right clothes, right wife.

Your dad worked for the same company and used to tell you how much he resented the CEO who grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth; right schools, right clothes, right wife.

You remember listening to your dad and granddad talking about “the establishment” and the “robber barons’ and the “ruling rich.”

They talked about them with disdain. They looked over at you when you were five, and then when you were nine, and then when you were fourteen and said the same thing “Be careful of management, they will work you to the bone and take all the rewards.”

Now there are two fathers and two sons who are playing the same roles at work. One is the boss and the other is the worker bee.

Now, Josh is a good guy and so are you. However, that voice in your head keeps telling to be wary, be careful, and stay away.

The big question: are you right to dislike Josh or are you merely listening to the ingrained, out dated voices of your granddad and dad?

Steve Jobs created a majorly successful company and his legacy is one of advice for you right here, right now, today: pay attention to the past and you will find answers to your present dilemma.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
—Steve Jobs

Take his words to heart and ask yourself the question: Is the person in front of me really a nasty jerk or am I being loyal to the voices from the past?

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