The #1 Myth of Leadership Development

Over the last decade I have partnered with my son Shawn, and Dan Duckworth on a variety of consulting engagements.  Dan has a gift for instantly understanding the heart of business issues.  I have seen him articulate creative new paths and options and skillfully help others understand.

Occasionally I have a guest author write a blog.  I am grateful to share this one authored by Dan.

The #1 Myth of Leadership Development


A year ago, I created a presentation titled The 9 Myths of Leadership Development. Myth #1 on my list was that “Digital is the future”. Here’s why I didn’t believe it —


Over a 5-year span, Shawn Quinn and I created an electric leadership program. It reaped huge ROI for the company sponsor and transformed leadership performance both at work and at home.


The active ingredient in our secret recipe was community. In fact, the power of community in fostering deep change has been so evident over the years that it’s now the primary emphasis of my work. My job is no longer to teach. It’s to assemble.


And that’s why I doubted digital.


Ironically, I made the Myths presentation after a year of struggling to figure out how to scale leadership transformation. You would think digital would be the obvious strategy for anyone working on a problem of scale.


But in my mind, an authentic online community was nothing but an oxymoron.


Until I experienced it for myself.


I signed up for an online workshop on storytelling. We were there to learn skills, not to be transformed. But as we — complete strangers — worked through our stories and interacted, something inside me shifted. 


Unexpectedly, I started to care. About the others.


It was little, and lasted only a moment. But it was real. And it was enough. And I knew — I just knew — I was going to create an online leadership company. I was going to go all-digital.


And yet, for 8 long months I struggled to make it happen. Only in desperation, I finally launched a beta online workshop. 


My leadership friends were skeptical.


And frankly, so was I.


My dubious hypothesis was clear — that I could get every single participant to a transformational moment in just 4 weeks. Remember, these are strangers. And they’re giving this an hour a week, maybe two. And only for 4 weeks. 


Yeah, not possible.


So when it worked, it literally blew my mind. About halfway in, one by one, they started dropping like flies, until every single participant had reached a breakthrough moment. I watched in shock.


And now, I’m a believer.


I recently shared this story on a podcast. The host concluded, “Obviously, in-person is still the best way, but you’ve discovered it’s possible through digital.”


“I don’t know!” I immediately shot back. “I don’t know anymore. In-person is certainly one way. But I don’t know that it’s the best way!”


Wow, I thought to myself after the interview. I’ve come a long way!


So now we’re doing it. For real. And in spades. We’re launching a new transformational leadership community — online — called The Crucible Life. It starts in January.


If you’re stuck, if you’re looking for leadership transformation, then The Crucible Life is just what you need. 


The best way to explore the community is by attending our free introductory class: The Three Secrets to Leadership Transformation.


(By the way, you now know one of those three secrets.)



Dan Duckworth

Dan Duckworth is the founder of The Crucible Life — an online community of changemakers on the rise. Together, we’re mastering the hidden forces that shape leadership, organizations, and change. Learn more at or


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