Re: Seven questions for leaders

The following is my email response to Seth Godin's blog post: Seven questions for leaders which he posted today. Seth is a world-famous marketing professional and business owner, who has appeared on TED Talks several times.

Hi Seth,

I've been an avid follower of your blog for about a year now, since I saw one of your TED talks. I follow it because I believe it provides crucial information to what I do, ie. organizing the Energy Art Movement. Your last blog entry I felt spoke to me directly, clutching my conscience and dragging it in front of a mirror. So I felt that I must write you, because though you say there are no textbook answers, I kind of feel there should be moral solutions to these riddles. I'd like to ask for further clarification from you, as to what your opinion is on the "right" moral answers.

At the same time, it also felt like being tagged, so here are my replies (I'm an INTJ, Myers-Briggs):

> "Do you let the facts get in the way of a good story?"

I'm not sure if I understand this question. I don't embellish stories, I always try to give the precise facts. I usually don't resurrect negative events, and leave them out of stories, unless they significantly affected the rest of the story. They can be very harmful to group motivation.

> "What do you do with people who disagree with you... do you call them names in order to shut them down?"

Depends. I have had members of the Movement disagree with me, and then I discussed it further with them. I did have to shut down ~3 people in the past (we have just over 100 members, and were founded in 2008). All three happened because they undermined the interests of the group - they caused significant trouble - not merely disagree. But as a consequence, that also meant they disagreed with me, since I always try to look at the interests of the group as a whole.

> "Are you open to multiple points of view or you demand compliance and uniformity? [Bonus: Are you willing to walk away from a project or customer or employee who has values that don't match yours?]"

I'm open to multiple points of view, but as it usually happens, I have already considered other viewpoints and discarded them, even before others have raised them. I tend to look at things from various angles when I'm planning something.

As to the bonus question: it depends on the magnitude of the dissonance. Sometimes dissonance can work beautifully (Beethoven), often it's annoying and must be turned off. In general, I mostly put values/principles first.

> "Is it okay if someone else gets the credit?"

No, always the correct person(s) should get the credit. For instance, media has tended to mention me as the founder of the Movement, even though there were five. I try to set it straight the best I can, but you know the media...

> "How often are you able to change your position?"

You mean whether I ever allow myself to be convinced? I'm open to other ideas, but I only change my position if the other idea is the correct or better one, and then I definitely change it.

> "Do you have a goal that can be reached in multiple ways?"

All my plans or goals are like that. I only keep the destination in view, and have a couple of vague routes in mind to get there, which crystallize as I get closer.

> "If someone else can get us there faster, are you willing to let them?"

Yes! As long as it doesn't mean trampling over the group's values and other interests.

Thanks for writing your blog!


I've written him the above as an email, looking for his opinion, though I was aware the questions were meant to be rhetorical. In any case, his reply was: "it was rhetorical, you're on your own". Thanks man, that helps!


acrylic on canvas, 20" x 30", 50.8cm x 76.2cm

A Being of Light connects with one lost in Darkness, not without risk to herself. Their multilevel Bond floats in dynamic stillness on the Astral Plane, engulfed by the turbulent exorcism. Can the Enlightenment of another be accomplished without peril to oneself?

The painting invests in realism, impressionism, surrealism, expressionism, abstraction, visionary art, dark art, and energy art, striving towards an ideal combination for the theme.