The Smart Work


Call to Action

The Pit




From the Preface:

What is the point of the journey? Why do we have to take a journey? And why is it that so often we start the journey intending to somehow change the world, yet we rarely do, but instead change ourselves? I could only think of one answer: the actual point of the journey was to grow up, to mature. We must gain not just knowledge, but wisdom. Ultimately, the goal is to become a wise elder.

Since this was to be a book about leadership, I began by researching the literature on leadership maturity. I found, however, that, there was very little to explore. Most of the many books I read on leadership consisted of one or two chapters that listed leadership attributes (behaviors leading to meaningful action) and nine chapters on management (behaviors leading to effective action). As the leadership attributes seemed to fit Hitler and Gandhi equally well, such lists did not strike me as terribly useful. They certainly did not answer the questions I had about grown-up leadership.

For the most part, the assumption seemed to be that leadership capability was kind of a preset switching mechanism; either your switch was set to “on” or it wasn’t. No one asked why or how that switch was activated. And even the books that purported to discuss leadership development never offered a maturity model, or described any kind of developmental progression that a thoughtful leader could expect to experience. I assumed I was just missing the real stuff and kept reading and asking colleagues in the field until I realized: there was almost no literature to be found on leadership maturity.

In fact, while there is enormous attention paid to leadership development, we have almost no public conversation in our society about the end point — mature, “developed” leadership.

Realizing that there were no guidelines for what constitutes mature leadership and that I would have to invent some was entering the Pit for me – and discovering the Monsters that hid there. While the pit may sound like a scary place, it’s actually a great opportunity to explore your motivations, change or reverse course, invent something new and/or learn a great deal about yourself or your organization.