Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out Of The Box by The Arbinger Institute


This is the second book I have read this month that has taught profound principles through a ‘story’. The first book was sent to me by Thomas Nelson Publishers for review of a book published this month – and I will post that review in 10 days time.


Both books read like a short novel. In this book Tom Callum has only been at Zargrum for a month. He is a senior manager. All of a sudden he is called into his bosses office, Bud Jefferson, for a meeting – a meeting which lasts a day and a half, and is undertaken by all new mangers. It is a meeting which transforms Tom Callum – a meeting where he is told that he is in the box, as is everyone – and being in the box was a problem – and he needed to learn to be out of the box.


What is the box? How do we get in it and how do we get out of it? That is what this whole book, 171 pages, unpacks.


Briefly and extremely simply, the box is us when we look at others as objects – people who can be used, or abused, shouted at or blamed for failures. When we are in the box we focus on ourselves – and we blame others; we betray and deceive ourselves. Being out of the box is when we look at others as people – when we try and help them – support them, view them as collegues in a company all working towards the same goal. Interestingly, the book argues that we cannot get out of the box by ‘doing anything’ – but only when we stop trying and start acting differently towards others.


We are too often in the box and we need to be aware that we are.


This sounds very simplistic but believe me – its not. The book is EXTREMELY profound – and it is not a Christian book – it is a business leadership book. And yet it teaches Christian principles – it teaches about sin – being in the box – (although the book would never use that term – in fact it uses the term self betrayal and self deception) and I speaks of a Christ centered, self sacrificial love which cannot be manufactured (again, the book never uses this term).


Bud Jefferson takes Tom Callum on a journey of self discovery – it is a challenging journey for the reader – and for the Christian reader / leader, it will challenge how we do leadership training. This book lays out the issues of working in an organization better than almost all (notice the word almost, not all, but close) the Christian leadership books I have read.


One thought on “Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out Of The Box by The Arbinger Institute

  1. Pingback: Leadership & Self Deception « lukefourteenthirtythree

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