My wife and I had just moved into a new house. This was the debate over where the TV should be placed in the basement rec room:

My wife: “Let’s mount the TV to the wall in the corner”

Me: “No way! The cords will be showing!”

I have a strong aversion to “cords showing” that defies logical explanation. My wife and I designed and project managed our last home. I planned the location of TV’s and installed conduit in the walls during construction so that cords would not be showing. This time I didn’t have that luxury.

Fast forward a few months later to a Sunday visit at my parent’s house. They had purchased a new TV that wouldn’t fit on their old TV stand. We asked how they were going to deal with this challenge. My Mom responded: “I want the TV mounted on the wall in the corner but your father doesn’t want the cords to be showing.”

I don’t recall ever having a conversation with my Dad about the importance of concealing Audio-Visual equipment cords, but somehow I inherited this value. This inherited value was operating outside of my conscious awareness.

So What?

To be a leader is to be a solid self.

Being a solid self requires a careful examination of value & belief systems. These systems develop in our families of origin and are influenced by important relationships and the social environment.

The aesthetic merits of concealed cords vs the functional merits of a wall mounted tv are not the issue. The issue is the extent to which those values and beliefs have been thoughtfully integrated vs. blindly inherited or adopted.

Blindly inherited or adopted beliefs can serve leaders well in times of low anxiety. They provide an effective rudder for decision making. But when anxiety rises and the seas get rough the strength of that rudder is only as strong as the conviction with which it was developed.

To what extent do facts and reflection support the conscious integration of your values and beliefs?

How many generations does it take for the strength of a great grandfather’s strongly held and thoughtfully developed convictions to dissolve into loosely held beliefs that can’t weather even the mildest of storms?