Home Case Studies Public & Government Sector In Search of Islands of Sanity

In Search of Islands of Sanity

19 min read

After 50 years of Organization Development coaching, consulting and training of high level leaders in companies and government agencies, it’s my opinion that the quality, mental and moral character of leadership is normally distributed, with 20% at the bottom, 20% at the top, and the rest somewhere in the middle. Sometimes, I think this comes from the fact that the professional and financial success of senior leaders comes from paying attention to strategy, growth, structure, cost, quality, schedule, and profit. Attention to the humanity of human beings is subsumed within that primary role.

Some of the finest people and talents I’ve known are CEO’s, Presidents, VPs and Managing Directors of corporations, and heads of government agencies. I’m also aware that Oxford researcher and psychologist Dr. Kevin Dutton found that, “CEO is the profession with the most psychopaths.” Early in my career, a wise consultant in a global consumer goods company told me, “The only way to explain what really goes on here is that it’s all designed to keep the people in power.”

At this point, I don’t think so much about why things are the way they are, but focus on what it’s going to take to have business and government operate successfully, consistent with the ways human beings really are.


We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we
used when we created them. Albert Einstein

Fr. Richard Rohr distinguishes “metaphor” as a way of revealing new insights and engaging with concepts that are beyond our intellectual grasp. He goes further in saying that many of the Christian “mysteries” such as the Trinity are designed as metaphors to encourage us to engage with them by exploring possible meanings and intentions, rather than attempting to work out the actual substance of the idea or even believe in something we don’t understand.

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