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We are all subjective—it's human nature. We overreact to situations; we judge people too quickly and unfairly; we take something personally when it was not really meant that way. As a result, we lose relationships, reputation, money, and peace of mind. And in our ever-more-complex world, leaders must make decisions faster and with more conflicting information; widespread insecurity makes people territorial and risk-averse; and the consequences of every action are played out on a disproportionately large stage. Imagine how much more prepared Mitt Romney could have been for his landslide loss on election night, if his advisors had acknowledged the facts staring them in the face.
To succeed, we must consciously seek to increase our objectivity—seeing and accepting things as they are without projecting our mental models, fears, background, and personal experiences onto them. This way, we not only avoid costly cognitive errors, but open ourselves to engage new cultures, new markets, and new opportunities. In The Objective Leader, Thornton draws on her original research, as well as her years of experience as a manager and entrepreneur, to offer proven strategies for identifying limiting and unproductive ways of thinking and creating powerful new mental models that ensure continued success.
Elizabeth Thornton is a professor of Management Practice at Babson Executive Education and an Adjunct Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Babson College. Thornton has more than 15 years of corporate experience with institutions such as American Express and Bank One, as well as entrepreneurial experience with clients such as the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Clinton ’92 and the City of Boston. She has been featured in The Boston Globe and regularly blogs for The Huffington Post. She lives in Needham, Massachusetts.