Dylan Ratigan Show   |  December 02, 2010

Free your mind and think great

In an age when politicians are more concerned with paybacks than productivity, is it time to rethink what greatness and good leadership could be? Author Tony Schwartz discusses.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> paybacks than productive. tony short is here to talk about just that. president and ceo of the energy project and blogger for hbr.org. you come to me with a list and impressive list of words that represent personality characteristics and behavioral characteristics. the title is redefining greatness, basically. it's interesting because one of the lists seems to be all the characteristics of the modern, sort of aspirations of american political theatre , american corporate theatre et cetera . confident, kour ranlgs courageous, discerning, strong. sounds pretty good. the other list is humble, prudent, gentle, compassionate, gentle, playful, vel neshl.

>> that's the problem, is that basically what we've got is a world in which we choose upsides and one set of qualities gets dismissed or under valued and george w. bush was famous at one point for saying, i don't do nuance. his loss and our loss. we're in a complex world and we need people who can hold both of these opposites. you want a person who's courageous, but not without prudence. we need in this -- to navigate in this world, we need the capacity to move between opposites.

>> how do you overcome the optical perception that humility humility, gentility, compassion and vulnerability are signs of weakness?

>> a couple of weeks ago, i was asking you, what's your big, best quality. you said strength --

>> i said i'm a bad ass , tony.

>> i said what's it look like when your overuse it?

>> obnoxious as all hell.

>> will you be quiet? any strength overused is a liability. the way to overcome that perception that one way of being works, you recognize even as you ask yourself a question, put the list back on. you recognize that if you don't have one of those qualities, if you on the -- right and left side, you know that there's going to be a circumstances in which it's going to get you in trouble. every person ought to be looking at what's my strongest quality and what's the opposite because if they think about the opposite, they're going to think about what they need that they don't have. it's not about developing strengths. it's about developing entailed virtues.

>> i love it. real quick. i got to wrap this up. tom peters sent out a tweet this morning. it says -- is he right?

>> he's right because laughter is humility.

>> that's it. tony, a pleasure.