From pandemic to protests, it has been a volatile couple of weeks. In a recent WSJ/NBC poll, a startling 80% of Americans feel that the country is spiraling out of control.

In their book, Lifestorming, Alan Weiss and Marshall Goldsmith highlight the dynamic between internal control and external control. The chart below shows the relationship. People who believe in a high internal locus of control and discount the effects of external control (as is advocated in books like The Secret) feel they just need to visualize success and it will be “attracted” to them. People who believe in high external control and discount individual power (like Calvinists and the idea of predeterminism) feel they have no control and simply float along the current of fate. Both are false. There ARE forces bigger than ourselves, but we still have an awful lot of things that we can control.

Often leaders have a lot more control than they realize. Areas that leaders may have more control over can include things like team dynamics, speed of execution, direction of the organization, the kinds of initiatives they are working on, performance of individual team members, and even maintenance of performance habits so they can stay healthy and work in a sustainable way over time.

So while at times it may feel that the world is spiraling out of control, if we look to what is inside our own boat, we have a lots more control than we might be taking advantage of.


…one proven way to gain more positive control is by reducing the amount of time on “Success Theater.” Watch the VIDEO more about success theater and how it can impact innovation.