Getting Out of the Box Paper
November 9, 2005
The Box, Getting Out of the Box, and What it Means to Me
In the book, Leadership and Self-Deception, the author shows us how leadership is affected negatively by something called Self-Deception. Self-Deception is a concept where one blames everyone else for the problems that are going on, where you can only see things from your perspective, you see through these rose-colored glasses that you don’t know are on. In the book they use the example of Ignaz Semmelweis, he was a doctor in the mid-1800s in Austria who couldn’t figure out why so many patients in his ward were dying. He tried everything he could think of to change the situation. He set the standard regulations so that all the wards did everything the same way, still fatality rate in his ward was far higher than any other. Turns out that many of the doctors in his ward were doing research on dead bodies and then coming to examine live patients without washing their hands (hand washing and general hygiene things that we take for granted were not known of at this time). The only difference between his ward and the others was that more doctors partook of the research in his than from the others. Once he realized this he started having the doctors wash their hands before tending to the live patients, instantly the death rate dropped dramatically. The point here is that before Semmelweis finally came to this conclusion he couldn’t figure out what his problem was because of a lack of knowledge. This makes it exceedingly difficult to change, or want to change, it’s called being in the box. You have this problem, but you don’t know it, your trapped in this box where you’re blind to what is really going on around you.
In the case of Semmelweis his being in the box was a lack of technology more than anything else. What the book is really trying to address is how we treat coworkers, friends, family, random people, etc. To be in the...