Good governance? Embrace the Stockdale paradox

How well you steer your organisation today,

will determine its performance tomorrow.


This is our belief. It's evidence-based. And it prompted me to reflect on the story and the meaning behind the Stockdale Paradox.


Admiral Stockdale, was held as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam conflict. In a conversation with Jim Collins, when asked the question, "Who didn't make it out of the camps?"


He replied,


"Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.


This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, which you can never afford to lose, with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."


Good governance requires that, with courage, you embrace the uncertainty of today, whilst at the same time believing that the journey you are on will lead to better tomorrow.


You see the same wisdom in the wonderful work by Pema Chödrön, who so eloquently says,


"If we’re willing to give up hope that insecurity and pain can be eliminated, then we can have the courage to relax with the groundlessness of our situation. This is the first step on the path.


Governance is not about codes.

Governance is not about compliance.


Governance is about courageous, honest and ethical leadership

A leadership, which centres humans around a common purpose.

A purpose, which goes beyond profit.


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"Enhancing performance 

through governance"

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by Perrin Carey®

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