The Critic Must Die

When product lines fail, product managers feel responsible. When children steal, parents often feel like they haven’t taught ethics and self-control well. When a business team doesn’t want to work together, isn’t the leader to blame?

The line from GI Jane: “Remember, there are no bad teams, only bad leaders” reinforces this point.

And as the leader of Rubicon, I failed to build a culture where people co-owned the success of the business entity. So I have been feeling quite the failure. I posted on that a few days ago as part of my catharsis. I realize that when I used the word failure, what I actually mean to say is that I was not able to do for my own company that which I can do for clients and colleagues. And I question why that is so…

Why could I not do for Rubicon what I can do for clients?

The answer: Self-criticism. As in, the finger of blame, pointing at me.

Every time I work on Rubicon, I think of how I have failed, what I “should have known”, how I didn’t manage people to performance metrics, etc. I am perpetually judgmental, and nearly always focused on the failures of the past or the anxiety of the future. I am rarely just in the flow working on the problem fully. This is the opposite of client situations, of course. For a client, I am forgiving, understanding and yet holding the people and company accountable to the task ahead — transforming the situation. In that case I know that fear, judgment, criticism and anxiety have no role in changing the situation. That is the big difference.

Learning, clarity, and quick decisions have everything to do with reinvention. Blame only serves to focus on the past. Learning focuses on the future.

Therefore, the critic must die for business reinvention to happen. Interesting article on silencing the critic:

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