There’s this scene in the wonderful film, The Two Popes, when outgoing pope Benedict asks incoming Pope Francis to take his confession. His primary sin was living in his books and not with the humans that his church is supposed to serve.
I read a lot. I think it’s important, and it teaches and provokes me. But that provocation is against a backdrop of experiences. Books are \*amazing\*, but they’re not enough. Especially if you are in the precarious position of being asked for advice.
Yet I see so many leaders as they grow taking advice in tough times from someone who’s never had to sweat over having to choose between reducing risk by letting people go, or trying to protect their team while risking the whole enterprise. Life coaches who’ve been to every Tony Robbins event but never bled adrenaline or dirtied their hands by changing the nappies of a friend’s child. Agile coaches who’ve swallowed the mantra and certifications, but never had to argue with a client who will only pay you when they see a detailed spec.
If you’re going to pay for advice, make sure it’s from someone who’s either been there or is there now. More reading is great, but it doesn’t make up for smelling the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel. (Good Will Hunting for you film buffs!)
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