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Deadly Viper Character Assassins

I once knew a business superstar whom everyone loved to hate—let’s call him “Jake.” Jake successfully applied his smarts, charm, and schmoozin’ skills to advance his company’s goals. Management loved him. So did many of the local movers and shakers.

Anyone below him on the corporate ladder had a different opinion, though. Jake’s “me-first, you-last” attitude undermined their efforts, and his co-workers went out of their way not to help him. Slowly more and more people saw through Jake, and despite all his talent and accomplishments, the mention of his name now triggers eye rolls and grunts. Funny how character trumps talent and smarts.

I’d been thinking about this when I stumbled upon the Deadly Viper, an initiative designed to develop purposeful, transparent leaders by engaging them in a “strategic conversation on the issues of radical integrity and radical grace.” The Deadly Viper crew describes the following character assassins:

The Assassin of Character Creep
This stealth assassin is all about undermining our long-term success. Often a lifetime of work can be greatly impacted by a few quick, careless decisions. Leaders often engage in “character creep” as they subtly and slowly cross lines.

The Assassin of Zi Qi Qi Ren
This assassin gets its name from a Chinese term meaning “self deception while deceiving others.” Subtly we can begin to shade the truth, refuse to face reality and deceive ourselves. A leader begins to live with lies and travels down a slippery slope until this assassin takes you out. Due to our emerging digital age, the internet, and because everyone who has a blog is a reporter, secrecy is officially dead. Effective leaders embrace transparency, honesty, and a willingness to admit mistakes.

The Assassin of Amped Emotions
Too often we either ignore our emotions on one extreme or we let unhealthy emotions guide our decision making on the other. Either way, our emotions can have deadly impact on meaningful leadership. To avoid this assassin, a leader must focus on emotional health for sustained success.

The Assassin of the Headless Sprinting Chicken
Ever felt like you’re sliding into a meltdown? On a bad roller coaster ride headed for the crazy farm? Ever felt like the demands on your life are simply unsustainable? If so, you just might have booked yourself an appointment with the Assassin of the Headless Sprinting Chicken. He’ll beat you to a pulp, lop your head off, and take nunchucks to your loved ones all the while you buzz around from one manic appointment to another.

The Assassin of Boom Chicka Wah Wah
Most people in leadership will get the opportunity to hop into the sack with someone inappropriately. You will have the opportunity to cross a line sexually. You will be faced with a situation that looks like you just can’t pass up. It’s not if, it’s when. So unless you want to be plundered by the Boom Chicka Wah Wah Assassin, we need to be prepared to make good decisions in the area of sexuality and relationships.

The Bling Bling Assassin
Our culture teaches that we are what we have. Materialism can drive us for more and more money all the while our contentment and fulfillment level is dropping. Warrior leaders have healthy views on generosity, giving, and how to make a living and not make a dying.

The High and Mighty Assassin
Often leaders do what they do in an unhealthy pursuit of proving one’s worth. Ego reveals itself in a devaluing of others to inflate oneself or in believing one’s own press reports. The long-term effect of this behavior is a life that comes up short and meaningless. Leaders must train and fight for a centered perspective while maintaining respect for others. Otherwise the steely blade from this assassin may be pressed against your throat.

What are some of the character assassins you come in contact with in your daily business dealings?


One Response

  1. I actually recently got this book, and I planned to start jumping into it very soon. It looks great, and I love how creatively it was put together.

    One assassin the I struggle with, and it may be sort of a sub-set of the Zi Qi Qi Ren assassin, is simply sloth or laziness. The team that I work on is all remote from each other, and it is easy to let some things slide when I should be putting more effort into them. Then when it is time to deliver, I feel inadequate and unprepared.

    I am winning the fight against this one, but it is difficult sometimes.

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