CEO Coaching: Unlearning

AI developers are struggling with a new challenge: Getting AI to “unlearn.” There are myriad circumstances where you might want AI to unlearn: new privacy laws, intellectual property issues, disinformation from right-wing or left-wing nuts, Krap from the Kremlin, etc. I guess once AI internalizes a “belief” or “fact,” it’s difficult to change—just like humans (e.g., Trump won the election and Hunter Biden is innocent).

After decades of being a leader and now coaching senior leaders, I’ve realized that one of the most important accomplishments is “unlearning.” 

Most of us get stuck when we know something to be true that really isn’t. With the executives I coach, it’s often one of the following:

·      I must get everyone to like me.

·      I must know everything.

·      I cannot make mistakes.

·      We’ll perform better if I control everything.

·      I don’t need to listen to counterarguments now that I’m CEO.

·      Everyone loves and respects me because they do what I say and laugh at my jokes.

·      I need to be strong and never show my mistakes or acknowledge my weaknesses.

·      I must be a fraud because I’m sometimes uncertain.

·      I’ve been successful so must keep doing the same things the same way.

You get the picture.…

In almost every circumstance that a senior executive is “stuck,” there’s an incorrect thought circulating in their grey matter, holding them back. We all have them. We all need to occasionally unlearn something. 

Be honest.… What do you believe to be true that might not be? Get some feedback. Be open to other opinions. Look at the preponderance of evidence. Sometimes you must let go to move ahead!

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