As leaders, we confront challenges on a daily basis.

To confront these challenges, I often find myself discovering nuggets of truth in VASTLY different areas of my life. A Scripture will hit me and dramatically change my perspective on a tough situation. A children’s story will give me a fresh and creative take on the world around me. A business book will offer me wisdom from great leaders who have gone before me. “Keys” are everywhere, waiting for leaders with eyes to see them! 

I’ve found three vastly different stories (“keys”) that will act as a springboard for leadership discussion in the upcoming weeks.

1. “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two tailors who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, no one dares to say that he doesn’t see any suit of clothes until a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”

2. The Stockdale Paradox comes from Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. It is named for Admiral James Stockdale, who developed the paradox while he was a prisoner in a Vietnamese POW camp. Mr. Collins summarized the paradox as follows: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

3. Noah’s obedience preserved mankind, but he was not perfect. As recounted in Genesis 9:20-23 (TLB), after the flood waters receded, “Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard, and he made wine. One day as he was drunk and lay naked in his tent, Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and went outside and told his two brothers. Then Shem and Japheth took a robe and held it over their shoulders and, walking backwards into the tent, let it fall across their father to cover his nakedness as they looked the other way.”

These three stories come from widely different genres and sources—a fairy tale, a non-fiction business book and the Bible. However, as leaders we can find important clues about how to perform a critical role: confronting difficult situations.

We will explore these lessons in detail in the blogs ahead.


Greg Wallace is the Chief Operating Officer for HRock Church in Pasadena, Calif. He loves teaching and helping others pursue their life’s passion. He is passionate about developing leaders, building organizations and helping people and groups thrive in the midst of change.

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