I was listening to the Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN Radio last week and heard something that really shocked me. (ESPN is the perfect place for God to speak to you.)
Scott Van Pelt was talking about Jim Tressel and his resigning as the head coach of Ohio State. Over the past several years Tressel has helped Ohio State regain national standing and become a dominant powerhouse. The issue is the past year. OSU was slapped with NCAA recruiting violations and will start the 2011 season with key team members suspended. If Tressel remained at OSU, he would have been suspended for a few games as well. Recently he resigned as head coach.
The shocking part was Scott Van Pelt was flabbergasted that Tressel could teach kids Bible verses in the morning and motivate them to do the right thing and then scam them in the evenings. He had a camp and rigged it where only the best athletes could attend when all kids paid to go (a little confusing, but it was a scam). He also knowingly violated NCAA rules in recruiting..... for the second time. 10 years ago he did this at Youngstown State.
This is an important leadership principle. Self-deception is the ability to be so convinced that you cannot be wrong.... that you are actually wrong and convincing yourself you are right. This happens through justification of compromises.
To Scott Van Pelt- How could Tressel do this? Simple. He was self-deceived.
We have to do diagnostic checks as leaders. We have to guard against self-deception. Remember, self-deception is the ability to live a complete lie while you have convinced yourself that it is the truth.
Here are some checks:
1) What compromises have you made against your conscience recently?
-Maybe you are married and have been flirting with a co-worker. Maybe you have been delving into inappropriate stuff on the internet. Whatever the case... ask, "Where am I compromising?"
2) Do you ask for forgiveness or permission?
-Self-deception happens when we make decisions, knowing they are wrong, and never consult the right people. One way to guard against your blind spots is to get advice. This leads us to the next point...
3) Who do you go to in order to find out if you are deceiving yourself?
-Who do you ask the hard questions to? Questions like, "What are my personality defects and character flaws?" or "Will this decision be a mistake?"
Also look at your past. How have you "crashed the ship before?"
Self-deception happens when you can't see ANY wrong in your decisions and cannot think through logical pros and cons of that decision.
This will now be called, "The Tressel Rule."