Execution of One’s Duties

A new furor in the civil rights landscape has hit Kentucky with the County Clerk’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to anyone but especially to gays and lesbians. After repeated attempts to reason with Clerk Kim Davis, the matter was taken to lawyers with American Civil Liberties Union in order to seek redress. Ms. Davis was stalwart and entrenched in her position, even willing to go to jail rather than violate her religious convictions. The situation calls to mind several similar standoffs from the early days of the Civil Rights Movement.

Resistance to acceptance

An old concept put in a new age

Davis isn’t trying to fend off offensive overtures. Some would say she’s just being obnoxious and it appears she’s trying to gain some traction from the events she’s set in motion. I don’t think she should be rewarded for that. Given that she still has her paycheck of $80,000 while she sits in jail and the storm passes over the country, and given that she’s soliciting funds for her cause from supporters and co-workers (through county office messages), she is definitely being rewarded financially. She has essentially buffered her determination to stand her ground.

Actually (and I can’t remember which class addressed this, Ethics or Civil Procedure or maybe it was Criminal Procedure), if a lawyer has personal issues with representing a person because the lawyer’s beliefs or the crime is in apposition to the lawyer’s to the point that the lawyer cannot provide a zealous defense of the client, the lawyer is allowed to recuse theirself from taking the case. Indeed, one editorialist suggests that the best move for Davis, in light of the fact that she finds herself unable to carry out the duties of her job, is to step down from the position. That doesn’t necessarily mean quit working for the county. It simply means take a change in position so that someone who can fulfill the needs and requirements of the position can do so without undue distress and financial hardship to the constituency.

Similarly, in employment and contract law, a person is not required to do business with someone when there is a misalignment. Now when it comes to the denial becoming viral to the point of discrimination, we have another situation on our hands.

But if we have a Charles Manson or a Jim Jones (mass murders) or a known rapist who has no remorse for his crimes, how much fault could be leveled at having difficulty with bringing full and zealous defense to their case? It would take a judge’s order directing the last-straw lawyer or assistant DA to take the case and put forth their best efforts on behalf of the person.

As phrased in that quote, we see the schizophrenic nature (forgive the editorialization) of Davis’s posture. She has wed church and state by imposing her personal beliefs onto her discharging the duties of her job. And one of the founding principles of this country was based on the strong need for a separation of church and state, that is to say the church cannot rule what is done to the king’s property nor the people in it. It would be the same as having two masters and then attempting to determine which one is the more deserving of obedience. According to recent reportage, she intends to stay in jail until a compromise can be reached in the judge’s ruling compared with her stance. Embodied in that compromise is that she will not resign her position but issue licenses if her name and title were not on them. That stipulation can easily be resolved. Remove her name and change her title to something that does not encompass being a person who has authority to issue a license – of any type. Needless to say, the job description would have to match the duties that she is allowed to fulfill. Ryan Anderson, a research fellow for Heritage Foundation, suggests yet another work accommodation for a religion conscientious objector that is of a similar nature.

There was an article in Thursday’s Yahoo news about Davis’s options and it put forth something that other jurisdictions are using – have the objector step away from that part of their duties and have another take over that desk. A judge asked Davis’s six deputies whether they could put aside their personal beliefs in order to fulfill the duties of their job due to a conflict of interest or a matter of lack of competence in the ability to do the job [without prejudice]. According to one newspaper account, “After ordering her to jail, the judge told her six deputy clerks that they too faced potential fines or jail time if they similarly refuse. All but one – the clerk’s son, Nathan Davis – agreed to end her church-state standoff.”

As for Kentucky and the necessity of a clerk’s signature in order to make a marriage license valid, changes in the state’s civil code will need to be made in order to comply with the recent Supreme Court ruling, as will need to happen in all other states. (See Jailed Clerk’s Attorney wherein it is noted, “Kentucky lawmakers won’t meet until January, unless the governor calls a costly special session, and when they do, they say they will have many changes to make to adapt the state’s civil code to the Supreme Court’s ruling.”)

Another interesting perspective on this situation is whether Davis’s refusal is based on religious convictions or identity objections. If based on religion, again, discrimination based on one’s religion is a First Amendment freedom that cannot be usurped. If the objection is based on identity, we have only to look at the trend toward acceptance and inclusion to see that it will soon be part of our civil rights umbrella.

This situation calls into question the matter of interviewing and screening candidates for a sensitive position. Perhaps one of the questions should be related to whether the person can put aside their personal convictions in order to fulfill the requirements of the job. Another would be whether they fully understand what the duties entail, and then require a discussion of the interpretation of those duties. This should be done in the conversations with the hiring manager. But this type of screening should also take place with the recruiter who is chosen to do the search for qualified candidates.

This makes me wonder how candidates for the position of carrying out death penalties are chosen. It also makes me wonder about the types of values executioners have and whether gang members would actually be ideal candidates for the position of executioner, one who unquestioningly carries out orders without qualms for the consequences. Mind you, that last statement carries a lot of presumption and little to no research; it was editorial in nature.


Sponsored Links:

Land of the Free

July 21 is my birthday. I enjoyed it by reading and responding to the greetings that were posted to my Facebook wall. There was humor, there were faces that turned up from the distant past, there were suggestions about having fun and enjoyable activities, and there were recommendations about making the joy endure. I was humbled by the fact that so many remembered me.

And then there was the surprise phone call from one who grew up with me in my neighborhood. We share many of the same lessons about etiquette and protocols, values, education, and respect. It’s good to have traditions and steadfastness rooted in a reliable system of values and ethics.

Yes, I also read items in the news and I read things that were being posted by colleagues about various matters of the day and season that had nothing to do with me or my birthday. But there was one post that yanked at my attention. It haunts me even now, so I write in order to share the experience. The reason I write is because the item was a video of Dylan Roof’s arrest. Roof is the young man accused of going to a Bible study at an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church with a concealed weapon and the intent to kill the attendees. He spent an hour with the group. At the close of the study, he began shooting and killing nine of the attendees, firing into bodies multiple times to make certain they were dead. The video shows how he was treated by South Carolina police.

That arrest is in sharp contrast to recent videos of others that have been published on Facebook wherein minorities have a confrontation with police and are treated with a great deal of brutal hostility even though they appear to be complying with orders and threats from the officers. The ones who are stopped do not have any weapons nor are suspected of having any.

Especially glaring is the difference in treatment of Roof during his arrest contrasted with the video that captured the arrest of Sandra Bland and dashcam footage of the incident that ensued. The reason for the footage was because Bland failed to make a proper lane change signal.

Roof’s car was approached by five officers who spoke to him in a civil manner. The entire scene was quiet. It was reported he was asked if he was hungry and someone went to Burger King to get food for him. On the other hand, the video footage of Bland shows her being forcibly dragged from her car, threatened, thrown to the ground wherein the trauma to her head was so great that she complained she could not hear, held to the ground under the knee of the officer, handcuffed to the point that she complained it felt as though her wrist was going to break. Was she examined or treated for possible injuries after she was taken to jail? No word. Do we see Roof being treated in a similar fashion? After all, he had just massacred nine people and was fleeing justice.

Roof is still alive and facing prosecution. On the other hand, Bland was found dead in her jail cell three days after her arrest. According to police, she hung herself. Later reportage claims a plastic bag was found over her head and tied about her neck which caused the asphyxiation.

This is in sharp contrast to the other arrests we’ve recently seen where the arrestee is slammed to the ground, pinned to the ground, and brutalized. The difference in behavior can partly be attributed to a different location and different training of officers. But the other videos are of minorities who are suffering abuse and are not being hunted down for mass murders or terrorism.

Someone posted a comment to the video. After reading the incendiary words of the comment, I had an epiphany. It became clear that there is a reason why I sing my song of freedom and equality in my own small space. It’s because it is absolutely mandatory that each one of us sing that song and for all the right reasons. It was clear that this is not a solo. It’s simply a matter of the choir is presently scattered across the nation. Some sing the song of freedom as a solo while others form protests and marches. Some urge action from the Department of Justice through petitions or civil action groups. And although becoming more sparse with each new incident, there are small numbers who resort to rioting. Rioting is not the answer.

July 21 was my birthday and many posted on my Facebook wall with wishes that this be a day filled with joy and the beginning of a promising and fruitful new year of life.

With the number of incidents like Bland and other minorities on the rise, and the more publicity about how these unarmed, minority citizens attempting to conduct themselves in a responsible manner while carrying out normal business affairs, I cannot truly have joy. It won’t happen until I can feel certain that anyone can travel the streets of any town or city without fear for life or limb unless it is an area that is known for its violence.

Even then, I cannot find joy and happiness when there are areas that are so unsafe that you go there at your own risk while also realizing that if you call for police assistance, they will not come. If they do show up, it will be long after the fact of harm having meted out its consequences on your flesh. Or in the alternative, the police will show up promptly in order to protect the one who is causing the harm and peril.

I cannot find joy and happiness when some people are treated as disgusting elements, not humans, and their possessions are treated with even less regard. I cannot find joy and happiness when people are insulted merely for the sake of the color of their skin or the uninformed, low opinion of someone with regard to their abilities, talents, potential, value to their own selves, let alone their community, no matter what the size or location.

The incidents of which I write today are just a sampling of things that have happened in the last six weeks. They repreent Life in America if you are a minority. This is a very sad state of affairs in The Land of the Free. It seems Bob Marley was a visionary when he composed and sang his Song of Freedom, the Redemption song

Sponsored Links:

Not Qualified Anyway

Sometime before 1989, I had the opportunity to read Flora Davis’s notable account of the women’s movement in her Moving the Mountain. She traced the origins of the fight for equality among women and then how it splintered (mostly out of necessity) into the flight attendants’ rights, inclusion of men in those ranks, the struggles of the gay (collective) communities, and then into ethnic identities. After a time, each group had to win their individual battles with their own resources and in their own time.

The battles for inclusion and acceptance are yielding ground. It seems the more air time that reaches the public at large regarding the circumstances, the more likely change evolves. It appears the sympathies of even the staunchest of those supporting closed doors are giving way because the myths are being dissolved.

These 12 months have evidenced accounts of many officer involved shootings (OIS) and deaths across the United States. There have been many charges of excessive force and brutality from citizens. There have been demonstrations across the nation in support of the outrage one community has experienced. Cell phone videos have captured incident after incident of senseless shoot first, then ask questions scenarios that are then concluded with no indictment by grand juries.

The names of victims grows on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Michael Brown, the 12-year old boy who had a plastic water gun (Tamir Rice), the unarmed man who was shot over 46 times are all victims of the mentality that if they are Black and male, they are armed and dangerous – even if they are not armed and are screaming that they can’t breathe. Furthermore, their lives have little value, if any, and they as people have little of any quality to offer society. Furthermore, they have little meaningful education and are incapable of strenuous, critical thinking. Therefore, they are not qualified for high ranking positions and commensurable remuneration.

Mind you, women are among those who have been involved in OIS deaths and injuries. However, the incidents aren’t as publicized and appear to not be as frequent. But there are still incidents such as the woman who was used as a punching bag as the officer straddled her on the freeway and the off duty officer who battered the woman in her car.

I sit here in my SOHO in Southern California wanting to believe that this is one of the equality meccas of the United States. Yet the 1991 memory of my law school dean telling me that the school’s special admissions program (minorities, students with various disabilities, older students, women, gays) was a waste of time because the students weren’t qualified in the first place persists. That attitude seems to be growing. And with it, the size of the disenfranchised population also seems to be growing in correlative size. It brings disappointment that so many believe that Blacks are not entitled to as many rights, access to so many services, and be extended courtesies and respect as any other group of people. There’s an assumption that Blacks are not well educated, sloth when it comes to reading, not capable of difficult thought or reasoning, and only deserving of second- or third-hand services. What they have is not deserving of being handled with care lest it be marred or damaged. They are questioned when it’s discovered they have in their possession items of great value and quality. What contributes to that type of psychology?

However, the Freddie Gray death that brought grand jury indictment of all six officers has offered a swell in the view of spokes people we don’t usually expect to see. Now within visibility are Mayors of cities across the nation who are Black women leading with a firm hand and dignity. The spokes person for the Baltimore Attorney General’s office is also a Black woman. In fact, the commander of the city where Tamir Rice was shot is a Black officer. He vehemently defends his officers and points out that they face great odds with regard to their safety in attempting to defend the populations that depend on them for law and order.

This dichotomy of perspectives is so much like America – inexplicably complex. There is a firm rooting in holding onto the standards of pre-1950 yet media portrayal of many ethnicities in responsible positions is helping to break down the barriers that once prevented representation in meaningful ways in many places.

Cell phone videos are helping to change the times and number of incidents. The move to use police body cameras has also helped in quelling the the cries of brutality because the full scenario of what the officer saw and precipitated their actions is captured.

These dynamics lead me to conclude that positive change is happening at a very slow pace. The spread of diversity and the happenstance of inclusion is not an accident. But it will only continue with the same grease that brought us to this point in history.


Sponsored Links:

Why People Steal

aspects of ethics

Aspects of ethics

On a recent trip to the grocery store, the security alarm went off as a customer attempted to exit the store. My checker was in view of the security guard. She said in a whisper to him (so he could read her lips) that the person had not paid and it was the second time they had attempted to leave the store with goods for which they had not paid. They had an exchange. She explained to the guard (now standing near her) that the activity was repeated; in no instance were the goods paid for.

The checker then looked at me and sincerely asked, “Why do people steal? Don’t they realize God can see them?”

My focus at the time was on several matters not related to being accused of stealing. I still needed to quickly pack the goods into my bags, load them into my cart in a manner that would not cause the bus driver to accuse me of being an indigent. Then there was also being able to manage the cart without causing undue strain on my disability. My focus was on other matters.

Since then, I’ve had two separate instances of having my laptop hacked because of fraudulent downloads masquerading as necessary, harmless software. Unfortunately and unbeknownst to me, they were not from the publisher one would expect and were loaded with malware. And in both instances, the malware were set up to induce the user to purchase increasing amounts of goods while never reaching the product that was expected – that was supposed to be free. In both instances, the customer service and technical service representatives seemed to be (because of their distinct accents) of the same nationality.

My disability is now at a level where undue stress leaves me bedridden for some days. During that time the opportunity to contemplate various matters becomes available. Learning through analysis of the various transactions happens because there’s a safe time to view the cause and effect scenarios. There’s also time to compare the activity being considered to other similar situations to see where the similarities occur. Those situations where it was more reasonable to simply put the matter behind me and move on become lessons of the past that are like puzzle pieces shoved into a corner that will fit together when more of the picture is available.

What I considered were several factors, namely:

  • Who are the targets of theft
  • What are some possibilities for their being chosen
  • Are there any considerations with regard to how the loss will impact the target
  • Is there a particular identity (race, gender, age, ethnicity, position, location) for how the target is chosen

Those were just a few of the things considered with regard to victim identity. But there were also thoughts about characteristics of the perpetrator.

  • Financial status
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Ethics
  • Inclusion in some type of organization
  • Regard for laws and punishment

With regard to any type of theft or crime, the type of crime attracts certain types of criminals. It’s a bit like looking for the right job. And there are instances where extenuating circumstances beg forgiveness. A prime example is the fictional case of Jean Valjean of Les Miserables. He stole some bread in order to feed his pregnant and dying sister. Had it not been for the compelling circumstances (as well as the economic depression of the day), he probably would not have acted in that way. But what about when the priest regaled him and he chose to steal some pieces of silver and then slip into the night, hoping not to be discovered? The priest gave him all of the silver; Valjean changed because his circumstances were vastly improved. He became a pillar of the community.

So today we still have bank robbers, car (instead of chickens or horse) thieves. People now steal mail in search of some parcel that has street value or various types of checks still sent through the mail. And there are now protocols for making online orders and payments. What I came to realize is that if a hacker gains access to an account where the user has made a purchase, the hacker then has access to the user’s personal identification information, online profile for social media, and a whole series of opportunities to visit mischief on the victim.

What I also came to realize is the typicals of criminals. They have little to nothing and few to no resources of their own that are available to get what they want or need. Whatever is stolen provides them with more wealth in order to gain what they want or to add to their coffers. They do not care about the status of their target. What they realize is the target has more than the perpetrator has, even if it’s minuscule. The access to the item is relatively easy. With proper planning, avoidance of punishment should be easy or attainable. Consequences to the victim are of little consideration; in fact, consequences to the victim are not important at all. The only afterthought is whether they may still be a ripe source in the future.

These are just the beginnings of the thoughts about why people steal. There’s more to say.

Sponsored Links:

Censorship: Balancing the Interests

It doesn’t matter what type or what size it is, an organization needs a leader. It needs a person who will develop a vision that ignites a fire in the hearts of others who want to be part of that vision. And the person who carries that flame of inspiration also needs to develop a plan about how to make that vision a reality.

Censorship as a barrier

Censorship as a barrier

A vibrant organization has a free flow of communication – talking, reasoning, listening, making recommendations and suggestions, responding to input, and encouraging input. A dictatorship has one-way communication, from the top down, sans feedback or comments about where a plan has a flaw or suggestions that can make the plan even better. It’s as though the members of the group merely exist for the sake of their numbers, not for what they’re able to add to make the plan not only a reality but the best outcome for all under the leadership of the organizer.

Sometimes a twist in circumstances arises when things are done out of order. It can appear that one of the team members is pushing forth their own agenda. That happens when they’ve not had a private conference with the leader about their ideas. Perhaps that missing, private conference was because the team member feared reprisals for saying something that goes contrary to the expressed ideas of the leader. That’s a pity for many reasons. But embarrassing the leader before the world is not a good idea. Expect that there will be no further input from that member, no matter what the quality or the abilities of the one who spoke out of turn and at the wrong time.

Some people simply don’t know where they are and don’t recognize that others take the meeting place with the discretion they would expect in their own home. Certain types of speech are acceptable. Desecrating the venue with distracting content that isn’t at all related to the mission can cause more than discomfort. It’s obvious that a rational person would not do such a thing but what would cause a person to feel it is appropriate? In a professional gathering, it will seem out of place to begin screaming expletives and threats at all those present. It also sends a message to the rest of the group when one person begins publicly ranting about inappropriate behavior by the leader when the information isn’t true. In these scenarios, is outright censorship appropriate?

No matter how egregious the sin, it’s a good idea to use due process, that is, tell the person what they’ve done that is an offense to the group, to the leader, to their own self, or to all. At least they will go forward with an awareness. If the offending conduct is repeated, it can be deemed that it was repeated with knowledge and was deliberate. They’ve already been advised that the behavior is not appropriate and will not be condoned.

But what if the conduct that urged insurrection is a belief held by more than just one? We go back to the logic of private counsel. A delegation of one or as many as three will want to talk with the leader and explain that the group is dissatisfied and wants to see certain changes. The changes can even be outlined in order to show where the group would like to be led.

Some people are authoritarian, others are focused on the good of the group. The authoritarian will not hear good counsel or new ideas, no matter how they are structured, no matter how courteous or compelling the conversation. A leader who is focused on the good of the group will see the areas where they need to accede and either do so or will negotiate a new position.

Censorship is a tool. It needs to be used judiciously and the circumstances dictating its use need to be carefully evaluated. It’s helpful for warding off negative behavior that can lead to the demise of the group. It can only make things worse if it’s used without good judgment.


Sponsored Links:

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.


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.


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?


Sponsored Links: