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Red pill, Blue pill

Submitted by on Thursday, 12 December 20133 Comments

We’ve been promising for some time to explain why in the choice between power and leadership, leadership is fundamentally the only option to take. And, to explain this choice in more depth, ladies and gentlemen today we present you…


Red pill, Blue pill

Those of you who have seen the movie The Matrix may recall the scene where the hero, Neo, experiences his awakening. His awakening comes in the form of a choice offered him by his mentor-to-be, Morpheus – a choice between a red pill, and a blue pill.

The red pill will lead Neo to his awakening. The blue pill will leave him in his dream world. For the benefit of those who haven’t seen the scene concerned, here it is again…


More than sci-fi

For us, this movie has its place not only in the realms of science fiction but is central to understanding leadership itself. Leadership, as Kouzes and Posner have pointed out, is fundamentally a relationship.

In authentic / real relationships, truth reigns, whereas in power relationships, illusion reigns.

Yet many of the relationships in the business world are based on power relationships that are probably succoured by the power structures within organisations.

Red pill, blue pill – our inner tension

We’ve seen in a previous post, how there is a fundamental tension in us as to what we want. Here’s that tension again:

The body wants what feels good.

The ego wants what looks good.

The soul wants what is good.

These factors work on each other to create our perception of the outer world. Have a look again (keeping to The Matrix theme, we call this ‘The eyes of the Oracle’):

 Red Pill, Blue Pill

Ego, by our definition, inevitably creates illusion and is also a ‘strange attractor’ to power, in the right eye (as Neo sees it).

Soul creates truth. In the centre, is the interplay between truth and power – which is reality – or fact. But note that reality itself is not truth.

Red pill, blue pill – for business

Those of you who have been following this blog will be familiar with our Strategic Thinking Model that captures all the variables we can possibly face in almost any situation.

It works by following iterative pattern like this: ∞. Strategy is at the centre – as per the model. And as per the ∞ symbol, the process of strategy is infinite.

Following a discipline of using the strategic thinking model helps you avoid the biases created by power and stay, as far as possible, within the cycle of reality and truth – which is critical in business but something that is strangely lacking in the workplace.

After all, ‘the first responsibility of the leader,’ as Peter Drucker once wrote, ‘is to define reality.’ We hope this strategic thinking model helps do exactly that.

Enhance your Leadership Capabilities with this programme…

If you would like to boost your own leadership skills, then why not have a look at The Leadership Challenge Workshop, where the skill described above is brought to life. Or contact us for more details by following the link below…


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