Leadership and… Conventional Wisdom

Image © Microsoft Publisher

Changing Times, Changing Perspectives

Today we know that the Earth is a sphere, but there was a time when the conventional wisdom held that the Earth was flat.

Today we know that the Earth rotates around the sun, but there was a time when the conventional wisdom held that the sun revolved around the Earth.

What is Conventional Wisdom?

So what is “conventional wisdom” then? Not timeless truths or facts. It’s our current understanding of things. As our research shows us new connections and unravels mysteries, though, we are not always quick to change our conventional wisdom.  Why? Because it has become easy and familiar.

“This inertia is due to conventional wisdom being made of ideas that are convenient, appealing and deeply assumed by the public, who hangs on to them even as they grow outdated. The unavoidable outcome is these ideas will eventually not match reality at all, so conventional wisdom will be violently shaken until it doesn’t conflict reality so blatantly.”

Excerpt from the Wikipedia Definition of “Conventional Wisdom at Wikipedia.com

Sticking to yesterday’s conventional wisdom can make us out-of-date, because it helps us ignore any information that contradicts our beliefs.  It can lead us to make decisions based on out-of-date ways of thinking, and that may result in missed opportunities or even to bad decisions that can harm others.  In this case, even though we do not set out to make bad decisions, the consequences of those decisions are just as real.


Interesting article:   Conventional Leadership Wisdom is Wrong – And Why We Need to Change by Ron Thomas, HumanCapitalLeague.com

Questions for Reflection

1. Where am I still holding on to conventional wisdom that is wrong in my life and work?

2. How could that be impacting my choices and my ethics?

3. How will I rid myself of the conventional wisdom that’s making my approach outdated?

4. How might doing that resolve some of the conflicts that I’m experiencing?



For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?
  7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 


  1. Great post! I love posts that encourage us to challenge our current thinking. Doing so will make our correcy assumptions stronger and erode those that are less than solid.


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