Just Say “No”

There are times when it becomes so easy to swallow the social acid of society’s platitudes and sophisms. The logic sounds so valid that it’s only natural to follow the line of reasoning. Just like a ball of string, it just keeps winding onto itself. But if put to the test, it would fall apart like a watermelon dropped from four feet in the air onto concrete.

Church

Some people go to church. They are certain that the fact of their following that ritual has saved them from going to Hell. They are much more righteous than others. Besides that, they are ever so anxious to do Christian acts toward those who are so pitiful and needy – people in need and not at all like the pious ones. When the pitifuls come to the sacred doors in order to become one with the congregation, they are treated with various forms of politeness only to be sent on their way. There is no invitation to return and become part of the congregation. Why? Because they are merely the ones whose existence and bedraggled state provides a reason for bestowing gifts of food, used clothing, temporary shelter because without the generous donations, these pathetics could not do anything for their own selves. The visitors are a reason for feeling superior to someone else. And besides that, they simply don’t belong in the same company as the congregants. Unfortunately, the congregation is oblivious to their hypocrisy.

Protection from Violence

When one who has been beaten (like the traveler on the road to Damascus) and calls for assistance to escape the dangerous environs, it would be expected that there’s comprehension that wounds make the victim less able to care for their own self. But if the one who is called for help doesn’t comprehend the dynamic, they will rise to superficial gestures of accommodation such as taking the victim to a food pantry. But they simply do not comprehend that the victim’s life is at risk. The sacrifice of time that could have been devoted to going to the gym has far more value and they are not hesitant to express their dissatisfaction with the waste of their time and preferred activities.

Likewise, police will sometimes show up for a domestic violence call. But if it is not a matter of “intimate partners” and the perpetrator files a false cross report, the victim will no longer get protection nor assistance in escaping the environment. The false report(s) will follow them.

Brainwashing

One of the tools of the abuser is creating fear in the mind of their target. It can be fear of failure, fear of loss, or whatever is meaningful and will spell a setback if it comes to fruition.

This is also a tool of de facto racism. Keep the minority marginalized through lack of access, poor or no education, persuading them that they are not qualified or that their input is lacking (if not useless) and not worth being explored. Another aspect of racism is finding reasons to reject input from the minority with objections of one type or another. Meanwhile, alternatives to the already offered information or ideas are developed in the background, then published as the new agenda. There have been no objections to the agenda put forth because few to none were aware of them.

Yet counter statements to observations about the backwater actions deny the repression of the original contributions and denial of participation of the entire group. Everything is fine; everyone is making valid (and validated) contributions.

Evidence of Negative Intent

Sometimes those who bar the door of opportunity in order to create a class of disenfranchised unwittingly expose their folly. They will express their desire to exclude to another. Many times the speaker has some instrument of power – a title, money, status or position, influence over others with absolute power – that causes them to wield their scepter with integrity.

Historic Ways to Overcome the Bar

There are many instances in history when these various forms of repression have been handled through alternative avenues. Some have been breakaway organizations. The difficulty is that those fledgling organizations start off on skimpy budgets of finance and available talent. Sophistication about various types of markets and networking are also challenges. These can result in diminished expectation and poor brand identity. It takes a lot to move forward with low credibility. Still, it’s necessary to realize that Life is about growth, not remaining stagnant. So one important step is to face the challenges, learn as much as possible, develop good alliances, and see each obstacle as an opportunity to either succeed or learn a new way to address opening the locked door.

The Manifesto

All of these situations converge onto our lives and build to an explosive averment that begins to sound like a manifesto. However, the manifesto may be the answer to rejecting the unacceptable.

I no longer . . .

I no longer . . .

by Jose Micard Teixeira

Sponsored Resources:

About Thought Leaders

We had a teachable moment back in May when thought leader Keith Halperin put forth his ideas about why some individuals should be discounted and not considered recruiting thought leaders. There were assertions about various characteristics of people he considers unqualified. Perhaps it was more an opinion piece than it was actual fact. Still, his words predominate the opinions of many in the recruiting space. For those who struggle against these opinions and find their efforts are suppressed or repressed while others avail themselves of taking credit for the innovations, let us look at the factors that create the foundations for being considered a thought leader.

getting direction for being a thought leaer

Getting direction for being a thought leader

“Becoming a thought leader is about making money and making history.” “[A] thought leader has earned his or her title because that person’s ideas have gone viral.”

There are those who, like the unethical used car sales person, will make disparaging remarks about the competition in order to promote their own wares. Sometimes those are just as flawed and lacking (or more so) that the alternative. Just as an abuser uses circular reasoning, those who ‘do not’ qualify for the designation of a desired title will use their form of persuasion to cast aspersions and persuade others to come to their shop. It seems Keith is exercising that tactic to promote his theory.

In “What Is a Thought Leader?” the attributes of a thought leader are examined. Brilliance is one of those attributes that can be hard to pin down at certain times. According to authors Prince and Rogers””, “Brilliance is a function of acclaim, created where others bestow the accolades.” That is true. However, that type of brilliance is very transitory, here today and gone when you leave the auditorium. It is also as valid as how well the lead blankets are at repressing the “voice” of the leader. For example, how many women (or people of color, for that matter) throughout history truly were/are thought leaders but because of their position in society, their voices are muted or their words were stolen by others who could not measure up to the concepts? The source of those tactics is typically akin to what drives an abuser: fear, envy, awareness of inadequacy, lack of knowledge about how to learn, unwillingness to take direction from someone who is deemed subservient, manic need for control. When those propensities are made manifest, the logical path is to spend as little time in the acid pit as possible. Is it any wonder then, that those who could be considered deserving of being called thought leaders are sparse? And there is another tactic that has a lot of popularity in the more competitive industries (as well as abuse). Discourage others from associating with the source of the jealousy. If that isn’t effective, threaten financial harm or even exact it.

Let’s consider Carly Fiorina who started her career as a receptionist. But she used that position to gain the knowledge necessary to network (in a very subtle way) with the people she needed to know while also working her way through the jungle that ultimately led to her being the leader of a publicly-traded Fortune 500 corporation. She was an exception but she also had tenacity, which is also a mark of a thought leader. How many others are not and is there room in the leadership space for them to stand in the limelight?

Martin de’Campo talked with the industry through a series of articles he wrote about recruiting luminaries, the first of which appeared in 2002. He took the time to outline what in each person’s character made them unique and deserving of recognition. What is fascinating about the profiles he presented is that he found aspects about the people that did not duplicate the others yet they exemplified practices to aspire to claim as one’s own. (You’d probably find yourself in a very enjoyable milieu if all of them were present in the same room at the same time.) He cited accomplishments that denote an exception to being among the throng and that tend to distinguish for positive reasons. The practices are enduring and good. People walk away from conferences and other industry confabs with the names of these people on their lips and in their minds, striving to deliver their business card into the hands of the “leaders.”

The interesting thing about being a thought leader is its transitory nature. It means the “leader” inspires. Once the inspiration is reduced to implementation and execution, there is no longer leadership because it has become managing the execution and practice of the concept. “[L]eadership is about the initiation of new directions. Implementing them is a managerial undertaking.” The interesting thing I’ve noticed about many industries, and especially in the recruiting space, is that there are so many who are avid to claim ownership of the ideas generated by others so that the practice of those concepts can be executed by the envious wannabes. As with plagiarism, attribution is late or never arrives; evidence of the source is quick to be destroyed. It’s worth pondering how many more-than qualified individuals are passed over in deference to the lesser candidate because of the unrecognized abilities, suppression, or even repression of the former’s viability. Censorship can rob us in many ways on a social level because the ideas and advancements that can lead to a better life are not allowed to emerge. The flimsy, purloined imitation fails and is then discarded as worthless.

Authors Prince and Rogers offer a two-part definition of thought leadership that is quite telling and supports the notion of unattributed source of ideas. Part one of the definition explains: “what we’re talking about . . . is “brilliance.” What’s essential to understand is that brilliance doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it’s a total waste of time to debate whether it’s authentic or not. Brilliance is a function of acclaim, created where others bestow the accolades.” The second part of the definition holds some provoking concepts and a possible reason for the suppression of those who actually originate the innovative ideas. “A thought leader is an individual or firm that significantly profits from being recognized as such.” Being able to “profit” from something doesn’t always mean financial gain. “Profit” can be derived in many ways. But the imitators seek the wealth – especially in lean times. They will quickly abandon what requires time and nurturing in deference to the quick payoff.

“Whenever you advocate a new idea to your colleagues or boss, you show thought leadership.” Self proclaimed thought leaders are full of flushable content, eh? To the extent that others want to claim ownership of the ideas and credit for the innovation, bespeaks the fact that the idea has merit enough to encourage adoption. To disparage the practice, especially because another didn’t come up with it or misunderstood, failed, and didn’t ask for guidance from the originator shows the fraud. Self-proclaimed thought leader? I don’t think so. Incidentally, what happened to all those articles and other things that mysteriously got deleted or lost? Who’s the “Cinderella” in your space?

Resources:

Sponsored Links:

Re-electing the Convicted

I’m upset.

Meet the Press featured a special segment about former legislators who served prison terms. Their convictions involved fraud and racketeering, among other matters. Now that they’ve been released, they’re running for office again (Published October 19th 2014, 10:43 am).

The former Governor of Louisiana is among those who served at least five years in prison for racketeering.

There’s also a clip of him on the campaign trail. He talks with an elderly Black woman. She expresses her favorable impression of him and promises to support his election because she’s aware that he’s focused on the good of the people and wants to help them. Perhaps she isn’t aware of his on-camera quip elsewhere: He’s just fine under the sheets. And there he’s a wizard. The implications of that statement are frightening.

It hints at his private life activities. It seems to forebode a return to old-style practices that seem to be budding throughout all of the Obama administration and especially in light of the anti-Obama tactics being used to put Republicans into office. Collectively, there is a presage of socially returning to practices of a national historic nature.

What is unclear is why these three men are eligible to run for office. They have been convicted of felonies and served time for their crimes against society. At least one has admitted he believes he’s above the law and cannot be caught at involvement in his activities. Again, the former Governor says he can’t be caught unless he’s found with a dead woman in his bed or with a young boy and neither, he says, is likely. Do the others have similar attitudes? It would be good for the Press to devote more focus on these people, to investigate the legitimacy of the candidacies. Usually, one loses their rights of citizenship after being convicted and serving prison time.

Is anyone aware of these previously convicted legislators who appear to still have the same intents and propensities?

Sponsored Links:

More Than Being the Female Candidate

The District 3 Supervisor debate between Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver just aired on ABC television.

Based on what I heard and understood, this is going to be a close and difficult race. There are very few issues on which the candidates differ. Both come from backgrounds that have built these leaders. Both understand the processes and systems that need to be used, modified, or operated in order to serve the needs and interests of the population.

Both emphasized service to the population.

As I listened to the debate a particular thought struck me that was never an observation before. We have a woman running for a County leadership position. There were no histrionics, no wailing or weeping, no seeking sympathy for whatever feminine shortcoming (or status).

Both candidates were in a flatfooted race. Both were surefooted. They were well researched on their subject areas. It was obvious that when issues arise that are outside of their platform, they will have the vision to adequately address those concerns or be aware of the tools that can be used to address them.

Each knows how to talk with people in order to reach consensus and solutions. Each knows how to carefully listen to what’s being said. This was an extremely civil debate. There were occasional barbs and citing of questionable interpretations that occurred in the past. But there were not aggressive attacks. There were no efforts at character assassination.

Both cited the portions of their career histories that provided them with their strengths that make them qualified to receive the constituents’ votes. They respected the time limits and judiciously used their time allocations.

There was a comment in closing statements that asserted that Kuehl is from Sacramento. In other words, she is not closely affiliated with Los Angeles County (local) issues but is instead more attuned to the broad state government perspective. Both candidates live in the same city, Santa Monica. Kuehl countered the “not local” comment by asserting for the fourth or fifth time that both of them are from Santa Monica. She also pointed out her close affiliation with Los Angeles County throughout her work in film, law, law school professor, and local city college instructor. In other words (and within 15 seconds) she put herself back on a par with being closely attuned to local issues and concerns. As I said, there were no attacks.

Most significantly, it was a woman going toe to toe with a man. And it wasn’t a question of whether a woman is the better candidate. It was a question, pure and simple, of who is the better candidate.

Yes, this will be a very close race. It is not about whether we put a woman on the Board of Supervisors instead of a man. It’s about which candidate can serve well.

The midterm election is on Tuesday, November 4, and also encompasses election of a new Sheriff, as well as other officials and measures.

These candidates also had a radio debate on KCRW on October 15 that can be found on the station’s website.

Learned and Hard to Prove

Bias is an interesting facet of life. It leads to prejudice and, in some cases, discrimination. Some people think of discrimination as a horrible social ill. But it’s good to be discriminating about things, depending on what they are. You can use judgement to not choose a style that does not flatter your figure. You can choose not to live in a place that incorporates materials to which you know you have an allergy. You can (sort of) choose not to eat peanuts if you have an allergy to them or some food that causes you to be ill.

I’ve highlighted certain segments of the definitions of these terms below for the reader’s convenience and to facilitate this conversation.

We tend to think of prejudice in the negative when we hear the word as it stands on it’s own. In that state, it’s considered to indicate bigotry. And we all know that being a bigot is a horrible state of existence.

It’s Taught

How many of us are aware that it’s taught? It can be taught by practices in one’s culture. It can be used for the sake of preserving safety or even heredity. The first lessons come as we are small children taking instruction from parents or care providers. At these tender ages, there is no questioning of the trusted “adult” in our lives. The concepts and practices become deep rooted with practice. As they are put into daily practice, there is little need to consider what is done or said; there’s little to no questioning of the psychology. After a time, choices that are made almost on an instinctive basis.

But some children are a little more precocious than others. They will eventually consider why they are taught to be courteous and considerate of some people but others who are treated with less respect than the neighbor’s pet. One poignant example is the story of the multiracial child. The mother was White, the father a mixture of Black and French. Both parents carried several Native American heredities. One day the mother told the child, “I don’t like people with blonde hair. I think it’s ugly. People with blonde hair aren’t nice.” The child determined from those words that they should feel the same about people with blonde hair.

Of course, the mother had green/hazel eyes and some of the family members had grey and even blue eyes. The lesson avoided disdain for people with certain eye colors. But of necessity, there was some inclusion because it is more likely to find a blonde with blue eyes. But this was a thinking child who learned from others as well as from reasoning out situations and problems. The child realized that they actually liked the look of blonde hair. They admired the fact that pictures of blonde models showed them wearing black ribbons in their hair. The child wanted to emulate the models but was told they could not wear black ribbons. The reason was because no one would be able to see the hair decoration. And the child resented the restriction based solely on the fact that their hair was black.

The child was also taught to dislike people who speak with a Southern accent. The lesson with that was that people from the South did not like Negroes and treated them in an unkind manner. That lesson was reinforced at every turn, in movies, in most of life, in books.

Eventually both lessons were cast aside when the matured person who was then responsible for developing their own value system began to work and associate with many types of people – even blondes with Southern accents. It was discovered that many of those people were not unlikeable. The lesson that replaced the childhood training was that you need to take each person on their own merit and their own proclivities. But no matter what, it is imperative to treat each person with courtesy and respect.

Instintive

Prejudice and bigotry are taught. They can become so ingrained that the reason for the bias becomes obscured. It takes inclusion and association with others to dismantle the myths that strain to maintain their hold on social values and opportunities. Because the manner of dealing with others in a biased manner becomes so fundamental in our dealings, when the one suffering the unfair treatment objects, they suffer further punishment. Their position is further compromised and made even worse than before speaking. In fact, they can face the very real consequence of being barred from the opportunity – or worse. These days, the phenomenon is occasionally referred to as retaliation.

The Rise of Civil Rights

Is it any wonder that our nation heaved a heavy shoulder at the practices that excluded the talents and recognition of those who were not White? The age of the Civil Rights Movement arrived. Movements and demonstrations to advocate for equality in all things. By the 1960s, the Civil Rights Act was born. It’s most commanding aspect are Title VI (having to do with businesses that receive federal funds for the services they provide and under the purview of the Department of Justice) and Title VII (having to do with matters relating to employment with oversight from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Although the Act has changed much of how we behave toward one another in our daily lives and business dealings, although its initial impact was significant in opening doors that were barred, many have either forgotten the basis for its enactment or have never learned about the opportunity it provided for us to flourish because of our many attributes, both instinctive (derived through specialized, repetitive training) and innate (occurring in one’s makeup naturally by birth).

Definitions:

  • Bias: A particular tendency or inclination, especially one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; prejudice. Also defined as: mental tendency or inclination, esp. an irrational preference or prejudice.
  • Bigotry: stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.
  • Discrimination: 1. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit:
    2. racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
    3. the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment.
    Archaic. something that serves to differentiate.
  • Discrimination: 1. unfair treatment of a person, racial group, minority, etc; action based on prejudice
    2. subtle appreciation in matters of taste
    3. the ability to see fine distinctions and differences
  • Prejudice: A hostile opinion about some person or class of persons. Prejudice is socially learned and is usually grounded in misconception, misunderstanding, and inflexible generalizations.

Resources:

Sponsored Links:

Cost of War cf Education

Americans are tired of being thrust into having their troops sent off to foreign wars. There are many reasons for the fatigue. Some of it is the toll it’s taking on lives lost and lives (as well as future opportunities) forever changed once the troops return home. And part of the frustration is that going to war could ease economic pressures and buoy the cost of living. No more.

The Cost of Education

Americans are also frustrated with the downward spiral of quality education, much less affordability of advanced education. The cost of education seems like a space shuttle on its way to a new solar system. If there has been no saving years before entering university, it’s necessary to seek student loans to finance one’s education. And those student loans leave an individual in deep debt for longer than it takes to pay off a mortgage.

The Protests

U.S. warfare cost in scholarship dollars

Cost of military hardware in scholarships. from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, Zach Weiner.

Many cartoons and other symbolic protests against the war and decrying the quality of education, as well as comparing the cost of each in dollars, have been cropping up through social media sites. But the one posted by my author colleague struck a chord.

Patriotism and War

Who remembers what it meant for Americans to go off to war during The Great War or World War II? What amount of patriotism existed during the Korean War? Ah, those were times when economies were still strong and it was entirely possible to live on minimum wage with the realistic expectation that there would be a timely increase in salary (within 3 months) that stayed ahead of the cost of living increase.

Eventually, we Americans started joining other countries that took up the noble causes of foreign wars where it was difficult to identify the allies from the foes. We became embroiled in civil wars. We had to pick and choose which side represented what was right and good.

And now we find ourselves thrust time and time again into religious and cultural wars. We now have civilian aid emissaries and The Press putting their lives in jeopardy in order to report on what is happening or to provide assistance to those who are the resident bystanders caught in the midst of the chaos. That’s just one of the costs of being involved in the war arena.

The Quality of Education

The cartoon compared the military costs in terms of scholarship dollars that could be used to educate our emerging workforce. That, in turn, evoked certain thoughts about the quality of education that is provided to our youth, nationwide. These days we have people “learning” but hard pressed to show evidence that they actually captured and are capable of applying the principles their degree announces they have earned.

At one time, earning a certain grade was indicative of the level of competence one had achieved in a particular subject. It was a time when grading consisted of learning more than 90% of the lesson in order to earn a grade of A. Performance on a test equivalent of *comprehension* of 80-90% of the content constituted earning a grade of B. Lower than 80% meant performing at merely an average level, but passable.

Evidence of Education

And those grades meant when put to the test in real world situations, being able to apply the principles could be called up by the “student” immediately and competently. The worker had incorporated the concepts and principles into their lives. They became articulate about what they were doing and why. They understood how to convey that information without becoming overbearing or having the need to defend their ego at the risk of being shown to be inadequate. They were hired based on the fact that they competently demonstrated a sample of their knowledge and abilities during brief one-hour meetings and conversations with a range of people at many levels of the organization. Once hired, the previews of their abilities proved to be accurate and they continued in their career progress. They got promoted.

More importantly, they maintained their positions and drove their own career progression by remaining up to date about innovations and new principles. They stayed aware of trends that affected the market.

The Cost of War

The cost of military tools has changed the way we do things and how being involved in warfare affects the economy. It’s changed the rate of unemployment – in the negative. It no longer means taking the pressure off of a jobless economy. Instead and for the last eight years, the cost of war has turned into a situation of throwing one set of poorly conceived economic principles in the air with one hand and then another set with the other hand. And this is done in such rapid succession that the rhetoric even becomes blurry.

The cost of war becomes a nation disjointed and dysfunctional. And all of that is compounded by a fractious Congress bent on partisan politics rather than serving the welfare its constituency.

Sponsored Links:

Tobacco Travails

On NewsConferenceLA this morning, one of the discussions related to ‪‎tobacco ‪‎companies and their lobbying Congress and legislators via ‪contributions to ‎political ‪‎campaigns thereby, influencing ‪‎elections and legislation.

Tobacco and ‪‎smoking have been taken to excess in relation to their original purposes. They’ve become an semi-acceptable vice. In protest to the negative effects of tobacco products, CVS no longer sells ‪‎cigarettes. I haven’t researched this move to ascertain whether CVS has stopped selling all tobacco products nor what the PR basis for this move is.

These matters make me remember a long-held consideration about the issue of tobacco. What are some beneficial ‪‎alternative‎‪‎uses‬ of the product? Would it take a lot of effort to implement those efforts?

The Indigenes did not add ‪‎nicotine to the plant. It was smoked for ‪‎religious and political ‪‎rites‬ (the solidification of treaties), to cement agreements as a sign of unified effort. (Think peace pipe, But the dangerous additives were not part of the cultivation of the product. It was not addictive. It was the 20th Century commercialization of the product that brought about adding chemicals that would cause craving for more.

So maybe tobacco companies can lose the tarnished reputations their signature products and their brand now own if they stop adding the chemicals to the products. (Just a thought.)

But that still leaves us with the troubling matter of election influencing with campaign contributions and lobbying that surpass the usual abilities of the average voter.