10 March 2013

Leadership lessons of the con artists

I love this little snippet of dialogue from David Mamet's movie about con artists House of Games.

The basic idea is this. It's called a “confidence game”. Why? Because you give me your confidence? No. It's because I give you mine.

In Mamet's film, we see how this is trick used to defraud people.

But it is a deeper idea than that. I just recently read a critique of Amanda Palmer's TED talk “The Art of Asking” which cleverly substituted that clip for her talk. When my friend tells me about her work with the kids at her continuation school, where all of the students have dropped out of (or have been pushed out of) ordinary high schools, I think of this.

And it is also the way that you enable people to do great work. Every time I have led a team or trained someone in my work, I have thought of the importance of giving people my confidence.

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