Leading with Optimistic Skepticism

November 21, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

I attended a Young Presidents’ Organization event last week that featured Denver Post columnist and CNBC analyst Dave Maney who spoke on the current economic revolution.

I liked his observation that we are are in the midst of a whole-sale economic shift that comes once every few hundred years or more. He pointed out that the economic conditions or hope for change that we associate with past and current US Presidents are small symptoms of much larger shifts caused by changes in how work is organized and performed, the dying model of “employees” receiving steady paychecks, the use of Big Data to influence business decisions, etc.

Maney addressed how we need to prepare our kids to survive in this new economic structure. For example, they will need to know how to save and manage money because their income may become lumpy and inconsistent.

The life skill I most liked was teaching our kids how to be “optimistically skeptical.” This a way to process information–especially from various forms of media. The term is self-explanatory but what I got was teaching my kids to question, to think critically, to check the assumptions behind the information they receive. I tell my kids to notice the appearance of the screen, the looks of the “journalist,” the  volume and language of the talk show host, and to separate these things from the base content. This increases their emotional intelligence in order to make decisions based on fact not fervor.

I also don’t want to raise negative or cynical kids. This means maintaining their belief in the goodness of life and the abundance that is always evident when we look deeply into the present of the moment.

Optimistic skepticism may not be a bad place to lead from, regardless of economic change.

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About the Author (Author Profile)

Executive coach, top team facilitator, author and speaker. I work with individual leaders and their teams to help navigate personal and professional transitions and to increase leadership capacity and improve communication and relationship skills. I founded my coaching firm in 2001 following 12 years asa CEO. Check out more on me and my coaching process in my book "The Business of Wanting More: Why Some Executives Move from Success to Fulfillment and Others Don't"

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