Cordial Deconstruction

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My Reflections on Mark Cuban’s Reflections on the Meaning of Leadership

Posted by Karl Withakay on October 8, 2015

I ran across an article today by Colin Campbell on The Fiscal Times website detailing Mark Cuban bemoaning what he thinks are the problems with the Republican Party right now. In that article are some reflections by Cuban on leadership that I have some of my own reflections on.  Seeing as it’s been a very long time since I updated this blog, I decided use this opportunity to put those reflections on Cuban’s reflections into blog post form since this longer format is more conductive to sharing these reflections than Facebook is.

I’ll quote a Cuban reflection and then put my own counter-reflection following. I’m not calling these Deconstructions since they’re more my opinions than they are fact based take-downs. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on this, so please keep that in mind when reading thanks.


“Leaders don’t conform to the consensus. They create consensus to their vision and goals.”

Leaders must form their vision and goals based on the best available information, which is often determined by consensus. They must not be blinded by their own opinions, desires, dogma or ideology, and they must be open to the possibility that they are wrong, which leads directly into….


“Leaders don’t change their positions mid debate. They welcome scorn from the masses because it creates the opportunity for dialogue.”

Leaders must be reasonably open-minded and willing to change positions based on new, fuller, and better information. They must not charge blindly forward once a path is chosen. “Dialog” implies an honest two-way exchange of ideas in order to reach a consensus, whereas the use of the word “masses” implies its own scorn of those whose ideas are unworthy of consideration.

Consider the opening words of the speech by Ben Franklin on the last day of the Constitutional Convention in 1787:

Mr. President

I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error. Steele a Protestant in a Dedication tells the Pope, that the only difference between our Churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is, the Church of Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong. But though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect, few express it so naturally as a certain french lady, who in a dispute with her sister, said “I don’t know how it happens, Sister but I meet with no body but myself, that’s always in the right — Il n’y a que moi qui a toujours raison.”


Now back to Cuban:

“Leaders don’t look backwards to condemn what has already been done, they look forward to create a better future.”

Leaders must look backwards to learn from the past or be condemned to repeat or continue past mistakes and miss opportunities to sustain and repeat successes. It is necessary to identity past mistakes and successes in order to learn from them. Forward thinking leaders must look backwards.


“Leaders are not dogmatic. They are principled and know that change is never easy, but when it’s necessary, they must lead.”

Leaders should not be dogmatic despite all Cuban’s previous points seeming to indicate that leaders should form their ideology & dogma and stick to them against any and all opposition.  Also, sometimes when necessary, leaders follow or lead others in following someone else’s path. Good leaders are able to do this.


That’s all for now, thanks for reading.


One Response to “My Reflections on Mark Cuban’s Reflections on the Meaning of Leadership”

  1. D. Fosdick said

    What a great deconstruction! I thought it was very insightful. I am most grateful for the Ben Franklin quote.

    P. S.: Today I was listening to a skeptic’s guide podcast from 2013 and I heard you mention your blog. Being a fringe fan I was intrigued and thought I would pay a visit. I’m glad I did! Looking forward to reading some more.

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