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Obstacles to Leadership

Let go of certainty. The opposite isn't uncertainty. It's openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides.

—Tony Schwartz, CEO, The Energy Project1

In Bonn, Germany, we once sat in on a Deutsche Post DHL executive committee meeting and watched a scene that often plays out in large companies: a vigorous discussion between corporate staff and business leaders. In this case, the combatants were top executives from finance and key divisions. They sparred not because they were quarrelsome people, but because they had two professional perspectives, worked in two different areas, and had two approaches to the problem at hand.

CEO Frank Appel had assembled the executives to discuss a key ...

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