Doubt is an emotional state. Skepticism is a thinking process. Skepticism is part of the scientific path of discovery. It can/should be part of your path to leadership success!
We all make simple, honest mistakes all of the time. Just go back and check that the easy stuff got done correctly. Make sure that the obvious stuff didn't get overlooked because it is so obvious. One form of practical skepticism is not to take anything for granted.
A string of successes can make even a good, conscientious leader a bit too cocky. A premature, “I got this,” can lead to a lot of serious heartburn. Sure, you can often fly through the simple stuff and rely completely on your experience. But if there are subtle differences in the new situation and you don't think you need to pay attention, you might be creating trouble for yourself and your team. Use a little skepticism now and then to assure you are on the right track.
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Dr. Meylan: So Doug, help me clarify some things about personal skepticism. It's not really an emotional state of self-doubt, is it?
Dr. Douglas Witherspoon, VP and COO, HyperJet Fusion Corp.: No, not at all. It's just the intellectual activity of examining your beliefs and how they map to reality. Personal skepticism can take a lot of getting used to, and during that time it can often feel kind of odd.
Dr. Meylan: So, what if you hit some kind of emotional roadblock at a time like this?
Douglas Witherspoon: Well, then you may need to look for the rule in your worldview that's slowing you down. But that's OK.
Dr. Meylan: So, we can say that the hidden rule for reprogramming your worldview is just to keep practicing skepticism.
Douglas Witherspoon: Oh, absolutely!
Study the present very carefully
to build possible versions of the future.
Generate strategic options
based on those possible futures.
Work quickly to create long lead times,
and watch events carefully to select the best options.