Leading by Looking Back

Conventional wisdom teaches that leadership is about looking forward. We are all taught that leading means creating a compelling vision for the future and inspiring others to follow us into that future. While I fundamentally share this view, I believe the past plays a critical role in how we lead. Leaders must be able to look back. We must learn lessons from our own experiences and from the experiences of those who came before us.

Philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” His words are especially true in the context of leadership. Either we can learn from the past, or we can continue to commit the same blunders. Many leadership “experts” argue that the problems and challenges facing today’s leaders require new leadership attributes. I contend that the attributes never change. How we use them may change, but the attributes remain constant.


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About the Author

Doug Moran has more than twenty-five years of leadership experience in a variety of industries. Doug is the author of the forthcoming book, If You Will Lead: Enduring Wisdom for 21st-Century Leaders. He founded IF YOU WILL LEAD, LLC to help leaders and organizations reach their fullest potential. The firm focuses on leadership development, organization excellence and information technology. His book, speaking, and consulting leverage the power of story-telling and enduring wisdom to help leaders and their organizations excel and grow.

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