Avoiding the Traps of Like-Mindedness in Leadership

As a smart leader, you’re likely familiar with the success philosophy of connecting with “like-minded people.”

If we want to soar to greater heights as a business leader, connecting with like-minded people is a must. It feels good to be surrounded by those who share a common goal, vision or purpose, and who will constantly challenge you to raise your standards to achieve greater things.

In fact, I’m sending this to you from a Conference of an Association I’m proud to be a Board member of, and where 100% of the speakers, attendees, volunteers and staff are ALL committed to the same cause, and supporting each other.

It’s exhilarating!

While the delegates come from diverse backgrounds, there is a common, even unspoken, language of connection to purpose…of serving.

What an opportunity convenings like this offer!

And yet…

When you’re with like-minded people, what do you notice?

Do you bond and commiserate over the things that are wrong, or difficult? Do you choose to discuss all the factual data and trends that make doing what you want to do, really hard (or even impossible)?

It can be important to assess, certainly. But if our goal is to advance, make a difference, improve… then looking at all the reasons why something cannot be done – and then inadvertently finding the evidence to support this – can be self-fulfilling. Author Benjamin Zander refers to this as the “Downward Spiral.”

It’s normal and human to gravitate towards like-minded people’s viewpoints. It makes sense and it feels great! It’s invigorating and validating. However, it can also become create a “vacuum of agreement” that may lead to the unintended consequence of stagnation – and worse – put our mission-driven organizations in a position of decreased relevancy and sustainability!

So, today I challenge you to actively seek out the evidence of possibility – even in the face of “industry data and best practices.” Seek out people who seem to be “bucking trends,” and learn more about what they are doing, and how. Spend time interacting with those who may have views different than you, and learn more about their why.

Being curious can both re-frame our mindset and open us to new possibilities, or can confirm and re-affirm our existing views with increased vigor and commitment! Let’s use our time with colleagues and friends to acknowledge the meaningful impact they are having, celebrate their commitment to uphold high standards, and reveal new ideas and practices that are (or have the possibility of) working and advancing ourselves and those around us.

Let’s be mindful of the language we use, and be purposeful in the use of phrases on negative trends, the industry, and our work. Let’s choose words that will set us on a course of success and increased impact, rather than keep us locked into status quo and potential failure.

Watch for phrases like these that can pop into our meetings and send us down an unproductive path if we’re not careful:

  • Classical music audiences are dying.
  • My Board is not a fundraising board.
  • My boss doesn’t value me.
  • No one is hiring right now.
  • In non-profits, executives are underpaid and overworked.

Conferences, staff meetings, family gatherings, social media…all are opportunities to choose our thoughts, choose to see possibilities… all so that you can have the impact you are meant to achieve, and that those you serve, need you to have.

What you do matters, and creates a ripple of impact! The world needs you more than ever to make your impact a positive one, so choose your language, feelings, thoughts and actions wisely!

Lead those around you.

Listen to and observe people who who think and do things differently than you, and if you can see a new path… speak up!

Be the voice of possibility! Enroll and engage others in your cause!

To your success,


P.S. – Are YOU bucking trends, and forging new paths? Are you leveraging your success in ways that will help others? And if not… would you like to? Either way, let’s get on the phone and talk about how to create the impact you want to achieve! Click here to schedule a complimentary clarity call with me!

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