July 8, 2005
Vol. 2, No. 27

Published Weekly on Fridays
By Leadership University


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A Note from the Founder – Mike R. Jay, Master Business

Be Anything You Want To Be?

I guess in some ways I belabor this point of blank
slate (that people can learn anything and behave in
anyway they choose), but to me it’s woven its way into
the fabric of our leadership and our society.
Unfortunately, we are going to suffer greatly as a
result. Both as individuals and as a collective.

Let me explain.

Because we place emphasis on learning and our ability
to learn, we are losing sight of alignment, synergy and

I was listening to one of my Trend Reports this morning
on the way to town and they were talking about how over
the past 30 years that education has focused on
self-esteem issues rather than on performance. Research
is now telling us we are paying a huge price for this
over-indulgence in blank slate—that if people have high
self-esteem that they will perform better. Research is
flat showing this is a flawed set of assumptions.

There is little if any correlation between self-esteem
and performance, so we have a lot of people who feel
good about themselves, but can’t perform. In times like
these, we’re in deep trouble in many ways because
people complain about leadership continuously opting to
send jobs overseas, or outsource. Yet, the problem is
that we have a lack of qualified people in the U.S. I
would guess that 1 in a 1000 is ready for the digital
world we now live in…and perhaps I’m too optimistic
with those numbers.

People are so busy trying to be anything they want to
be, that they are forgetting this country and society
was built on the backs of people who performed
marvelously over the past 200 years.

You can be anything you want to be…but why would you?

Just understanding that if you try to be anything you
want to be, you will, in a lot of cases, end up
pursuing often very sub-optimal goals. What is key is
to be what you can be. This requires a serious
sea-change in leadership in this country and around the
world. Because of an over-dependence or over-reliance
on people learning to do things—and in some ways,
because we can learn, we have created inefficient,
ineffective and unsustainable leadership.

In order to get the cart back on the road, we have to
begin to value people as they are, and not as we would
wish them to be. The same goes for our self. It seems I
hear people always talking about what they want to be
instead of identifying what they can be. Perhaps in my
fear of idealism, I’m too pragmatic, but I’m quite
frightened of our future because of the blank slate
policies most of the people in the developed world have
been lulled into over time.

While a swing completely back into pragmatism is not a
good idea, I believe that what the current rips in our
countries politics are revealing is a no-person’s land
because of a lack of leadership that can lead in
uncertain times.

It’s not about having gray-area leaders, who are
wishy-washy. It’s about leadership under uncertainty
and the ability to apply both pragmatism and idealism
to solve very complex problems. It is neither, this way
or that, but both/and…and we best come to grips with
the difference.

From the desk of Mike R. Jay, Master Business Coach
Founder, http://www.leadershipuniversity.com

P.S.  Please visit my blog at
http://generati.typepad.com/mrj/ to comment on this and
other articles about leadership.

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W E E K  O F  J U L Y  1 1

HOME OFFICE WELLNESS: How to Ensure that Your Home
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Tuesday, July 12, 2005
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CoachCertified™ System - $1,000
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Managing Depression - $19
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005
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Customer Relations - $19
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W E E K  O F  J U L Y  1 8

Time Management - $19
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Does Your Niche Make You Rich?
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Managing Change - $19
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