- Leandro Herrero - https://leandroherrero.com -

The Tragedy of the Obvious

Taken from my soon to be released book, Camino – Leadership Notes On The Road 


‘A man was leading a caravan of donkeys and crossing the border
almost every day, coming back with apparently the same caravan.
Each donkey carried two bags of sand, one at each side.
The border guard got progressively intrigued and suspected that the
man was smuggling something, hidden in those bags. Very often he would
stop the man with the caravan and would search the bags, only to find
sand and more sand. Over the years, this practice continued and the
border guard could never find anything in those bags. One day, the border
guard retired. Once he had retired, he went back to the border and saw
the man with the same caravan. “Look, I am not in a position of authority
anymore. I have been watching you, stopping you and searching your
bags. I have found nothing. But I am still convinced that you are smuggling
something. Would you tell me now? What are you smuggling?” To which
the man answered: “donkeys”’.
(The Leader with Seven Faces, 2006)


The obvious (obvious, from Latin ob viam or ‘in the way’) is sometimes unseen. That rather embarrassing stone in the way that you did not see. Ouch! That friend in the street that you did not recognise. OK, it could be worse. Also, the obvious is a rather problematic term in organizational life. ‘It’s obvious’ often implies, I don’t have to think about it too much, it’s clear. Read, a recipe for uncritical thinking.

But I could go for hours here, just to undermine the power of the donkey’s tale. I’ll leave it to their memory. Just see those donkeys in front of you, will you?


My new book coming soon!

Camino – Leadership Notes On The Road


Good leaders are good path makers. For me, a leader is the cartographer in chief who, whilst walking with others, also becomes an architect and a builder. If this is about journeys, and maps, and building, then there is almost no end to it.

On my imaginary journey inside my head, I took notes and articulated ideas. Most became my Daily Thoughts, a blog I have been running for years. This book is a collection of those notes. Don’t look for Harvard here, there are only harbours and other places that have generously adopted the content between them.

In this Camino (road in Spanish) of mine, I have also learnt to spot the real things, the fundamentals, the rocks. This is a collection of warnings, strong views and discoveries that I do not intend to be transferable. After all, the journey is not transferable, nobody can walk the Camino for you. Liberated by the idea that I don’t need to impart universal wisdom to end in a sterile case study and that I can share these notes and ideas, like one shares a meal without having to explain the chemistry of the ingredients, they are here in this book, still full of dust from my journey.  The one I have only just begun.


Pre-orders going live shortly! More information to come.