The irony of irony

The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive – Robert A. Heinlein.

Irony - The Leader's Digest

Irony is…

Deciding the market is not ready for a new product and then watching in horror as your competitor launches it only a few months later with resounding success.

Leaving a job because you hate your boss, only to find you are now working for one who you dislike even more, and realising your old boss wasn’t that bad after all.

Spending years trying to change the culture of an organisation, then leaving and hearing through the grapevine that all those changes are finally taking flight – and you are not there to see (or enjoy) them.

Finding yourself in the same situation that you have berated and judged others about.

The customer you fought so hard to win is high maintenance, less profitable and sucking up all your resources.

The ‘small fry’ client you endlessly debated as to whether to ditch or not, ends up being the most profitable and low maintenance client in your portfolio.

The graduate “star” you so lovingly recruited, mentored, promoted, and ultimately predicted a stellar career ahead for, ended up being a psychopath.

Spending your entire working life striving to get to the ‘career summit’, only to find that when you reach it, you have sacrificed your marriage, time with your children and your health. And in the end, it just wasn’t worth it.

Devoting the most time and energy on your poor performers and the least on your highest performers. Think for a moment how different the outcome would be if you applied the reverse.

The thing you keep trying to avoid  keeps popping up in your life, over and over again.

The blogs you thought would fly, flop. And the ones you write in ten minutes over a glass of wine are the most popular.

What’s missing from this list? Add yours.


  1. Carl on July 24, 2013 at 2:52 am

    Businesses that go to great lengths to make claims that they value their employees, are often those that do so the least.

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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