Copyright © Dr. Stephen H. Dawson, DSL 2021
June 17, 2021
"Do you hear me? Do you care?" Missing Persons
The band Missing Persons released a tune in 1982 called Words. The tune considered the value of talking when no one is listening. The music video craze was starting then, and the audio aspect of the music video was almost unheard by many viewers. The point made by Missing Persons is valid. Society sometimes reaches a place where doing nearly anything without listening occurs by the majority of people. It is this condition where the world now finds itself.
Today, the biggest party in decades is in full swing. It has been in motion for a few months and looks like it will go on for at least another year. The party is about feeling human again. Those alive now endured 2020 by dealing with COVID-19, loss of income, and perhaps the loss of loved ones. The party is epic in scale. Those attending this party do not want to hear any more bad news for a long time. They are happy to have whatever they have now, but they want more consumerism. They want their version of the truth and not much else going into their hearts and minds. The Summer of Love is the closest example I can provide for what we are witnessing in 2021.
This non-listening-to-truth party is perhaps the most dangerous scenario a leader could experience. Life has a way of bringing reality to us all, as COVID-19 did in 2020. A leader who has closed their ears, eyes, and mind to truth will find they are deficient as a leader when truth shows up as it does from time to time. Today, let's look at how you can avoid the pain of this dangerous experience by remembering the pain the world went through for several years after the carefree summer of 1967. Ever notice how these big parties seem to occur after a war concludes?
Let's look at some research. Then, let's look at some of the societal and political pressures compressing folks today. Then, let's look at what can help you to avoid the dangers associated with the impending decompressing. Finally, some considerations of how we can best advance forward together as we say goodbye to one another for now.
I know, there is a lot of material presented today. However, I am not sure when we will meet again. It is best to equip you now with the material we need to address to keep you going forward as a growing leader until we meet again. I will use several examples of imagery during our discussion today to help stitch together the bigger picture. Take your time reading this material so that it will soak into you as deep as possible.
Today, I see a metaphorical spring device compressed under tension below the people of the world. It has been compressed by various forms of societal and political pressures. The global population stands above the spring. The day will come when the societal and political pressures will shift, causing the spring to decompress. Those who are above or beside the spring will be injured by the spring decompressing. Those that are not above or beside the decompressed spring will also feel some form of pain. It is this exact danger a credible leader will assure the people in their organization do not experience or at least experience minimally.
Now, another way to consider this spring is a trampoline. Imagine the trampoline in this video which set a world record for size. The trampoline looks fun until something crucial to the equations shifts and injuries occur. So, take a moment and ask yourself how interested you are in leading your people for a ride on this trampoline.
Molly Baker shared research on what entrepreneurs have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, plan to stay out of danger. Jeremy Howell shared research from the CEO perspective on the same topic, finding the same results. The nonprofit association called Business Roundtable is working the approach to see what is coming in the world of business. They found planning is a valuable contributor to success, as declared in their statement of purpose.
Ron Carucci performed research comprising a 15-year longitudinal study of more than 3,200 leaders on organizational honesty. Carucci found the success factors for building a reputation as a trustworthy leader included making values clear, living up to those values, treating others and their work with dignity, determining when to be open and when to protect confidences, and cultivating a sense of unity across the organization. Remember our discussion about trust? The Carucci findings are supported as credible by this writer.
Harry Dempsey shared the present microprocessor shortage is expected to last until the middle of 2022. Reshma Kapadia stated that Taiwan Semiconductor is the world's most important chip maker, even though its stock share price is down 15% since mid-February. Remember our discussion on the topic of microprocessors? The 47th G7 Summit is positioned to establish a global minimum tax rate on company profits for businesses that operate internationally. Paul Hannon, Richard Rubin, and Sam Schechner reported that member nations have agreed on global minimum corporate-tax rate rules. John Lyons and Frances Yoon considered the bigger picture of companies choosing to leave Hong Kong, finding the perceived need to be in Hong Kong is decreasing by the day for many individuals and companies. Angela Tan shared the G7's global minimum tax deal may nullify any tax advantage Singapore offers. Singapore Financial Secretary Paul Chan shared, "The proposed changes to the global tax regime may affect some of the tax concessions the Hong Kong government offers to various industries."
The action in play now by global governments is to grab big piles of money by way of taxes while the world is having its party. The trend I see playing out is to take money from Asia where the economies are doing great and bring it to the United States and European Union. Things have been down, up, and then down again since 2008 for the US and mostly down for the EU since 2008.
I said recently, "Trust is the connector of evidence and faith." I maintain this position. The trust within society is falling apart by the pressure applied to it from the political position combined with a societal position shifting from national to global in many nations, but not all nations. Nationalism is still a pervasive consideration in the majority of nations.
The pattern occurring over history for a constructive society is society does whatever it does, then the politics align with the actions of society's majority. This turn of events does not last forever. Germany rebuilt powerfully after World War I, then met its demise at the end of World War II after an incredible comeback from defeat just under three decades earlier. This societal-political flow is like a river. The water flows downstream from society to politics. Today, the politics are trying to drive society to do what political positions want to have happen without widespread support from society. The result is the river is trying to flow upstream. This reversed flow is another form of compression, as gravity is pushing against the backward flow.
We are talking much more than who won the 2020 elections in this country or that country, the origins of COVID-19, or when will be the next cyberattack on a company or country. We are also talking about jobs, kids, schools, and the ability to see loved ones both when and as preferred. These topics are timeless and cross all societal and economic levels. These topics are where things get personal for everyone, where the rubber meets the road, where trust in leaders had better be in place if leaders expect followers to be with them willingly.
The release of this compressed spring device has only one assured outcome: determining who collaborated with those that caused the pain during spring decompression. The spring pops, people are hurt, the masses are upset about the harm, and they want justice for their suffering. We have seen this scenario play out many times in history. The most recent vivid example of these events playing out occurred in 1944.
Germany was losing the war after the invasion at Normandy, arguably earlier. We discussed this topic when we considered evil. Essentially, some of the folks in oppressor-occupied nations collaborated with their enemy. Most notably, the horizontal collaboration events. The people of those occupied nations knew who was collaborating with their enemy. When their enemy ran in fear, those harmed by the collaboration paid retribution to those collaborators. They did so in part by shaving their heads, marking their skin with symbols, and casting them out of their society. The message was simple and clear: you made your irrevocable choice, now you are no larger a part of us. The images and video of this payback experience also occurred in the nations where the Japanese and Italians fell in defeat.
The civil aspect of this retaliation occurred by civilian hands. The military aspect is even more strict. The Uniform Code of Military Justice, UCMJ, is regulated by the United States Congress. UCMJ articles 77-134 define punitive punishment. UCMJ article 103b is the law covering aiding the enemy. The penalty for aiding the enemy is death, much worse than a bad haircut. Many developed nations have similar military laws in place.
Things get worse for society as a whole in terms of payback over the past two decades. The effort comprising institutionalized support of non-heterosexuality by the observance of LGBT Pride Month provides no assurance women will be protected from any form of retaliation repercussions from any topic in the future. The lack of assurance comes from the LGBT premise disregarding assigned sex without ambiguity in favor of gender identity by using the personal sense of one's own gender. The disregard of gender eliminates almost all protection for women from an assault during retribution of collaboration or any other payback reason because there is no female to protect. However, there are still valid reasons for hope.
The LGBT topic is the most significant conflict point between traditional and postmodern culture-based societies. It is the most significant conflict point because of the force applied by each group for acceptance of each worldview through religion, legislation, and commerce to form clear rights. A more concise example of these LGBT events playing out is a storm surge on the boundary of the social groups who hold the propensity for the continuance of the human race versus those who desire to reshape the human race into a form that defies reason for both its survivability and thrive-ability.
The cancel culture phenomenon is not new, but it is unique to our time. It, combined with separation for those who refuse to receive the COVID-19 immunization, are examples of forming distinct groups. The spring pops, people are hurt, the masses are upset about the harm, and they want justice for their suffering. Those targeted by the cancel culture efforts and those who refuse to receive the COVID-19 immunization are further examples of targeted groups receiving retribution.
You see, the spring is more than a single reason. It is any reason that justifies retribution in the minds of the majority who has the power to want their form of justice delivered to them. It is at this point where the rulings of espoused morality occur, rendering whatever judgments they find valid. The members comprising the group named they are those who suffered either perceived or actual harm.
Remember our discussion about love and diplomacy? I made the statement, "Diplomacy without reasoning is lunacy. If there is no room for reason, then there is no likelihood of success in any engagement with people regardless of either using or not using diplomacy." I maintain this position. Remember our discussion about how ambivalence does not help anyone accomplish love? The reasoning I presented in these discussions about loving people being the only viable answer serves to help resolve the conflict between those who disagree with and those who support LGBT rights. Neither hatred nor ambivalence ever did anything productive in life. So, the only thing we can do is love one another as we work together to try and find the means that will somehow help the disagreeing groups live in peace and not attempt to destroy one another.
If the conflict of cultures present today arises to the form of war, then the struggle between person versus person will structure to a clear espoused worldview found in group versus group. There will be little doubt which side, camp, group, or team a person stands with during this conflict. Neutrality by either person, company, or country will not be an option as those who take a side will be the majority of the population, and they will refuse to allow bystanders not to make a choice. We are witnessing this premise play out today in the growing number of calls for resolving supposed injustice to an aggrieved group of either gender, skin color, religion, ethnicity, or some combination of these demographic and psychographic elements. The attributes of conflict, persecution, and payback are again headed to harmful consequences. Just ask those who lived between World War I and II about life during those years. They will tell anyone who will listen the signs of the times then and how they match up to what we are witnessing today.
My heart breaks considering the events of collaboration with an enemy, as the payback occurs based on long-held anger. Those who collaborate with an enemy make irrevocable choices. Those who provide retribution also make irrevocable choices. The spring pops, and people are harmed.
I am an optimist, but I am also a realist. If love does not take hold of our hearts on a global basis, then I cannot help but believe the conflict we will force on one another will be quite harmful. Again, there is hope. Another spring pops, people are hurt, the masses are upset about the harm, and they want justice for their suffering. However, their justice will be peace and not continued conflict. We have also seen this scenario play out many times in history.
The societal and political pressures compressing this spring device each cry out for qualified leadership. Together, they demonstrate the clear need for qualified leadership. The qualified attribute is the key to this calling. Not everyone will lead, wants to lead, or is even capable of leading. We are in a watershed moment of history now. The future of the next century is being shaped before our eyes, as the traditional and postmodern culture-based societies decide what they will and will not concede for their beliefs. Whatever the answers are from each of these societies will determine how much overlap there is between them. Then, things will be more definite for how they will either coexist or live apart.
Anyone willing to serve in a leadership role at this point has their work cut out for them. How about you? Are you up for serving in a leadership role? Do you need further leadership development? Leadership is not easy, but I never said it was easy.
I shared last week the most controversial topic I handle in my work is the concept of truth. I also said last week, "Truth is realized by reason. Reason is manifested in process." The majority of my work involves helping people see and embrace truth. This understanding of truth is the basis of our work going forward.
I have learned, painfully, there are three states of reality for awareness of truth. I use the term reality as the part of truth that a person realizes, not whatever is or is not true but has no bearing in their life. Remember our discussion on the topic of assessing? Truth is a singular term.
The first reality state is the worst for everyone involved. The second reality state of truth is the scariest for everyone involved. The last reality state of truth is the most difficult for anyone to do, but it is also the most beneficial.
The first reality state of truth awareness is avoiding truth. This condition is practiced by both the ignorant and the sophisticated. The ignorant are unaware of what they do not know. They grab the hot clothes iron with the hope they can learn why the iron makes the fabric flat. The sophisticated is a thespian who practices their avoidance of truth with polished eloquence. This reality state brings those who attempt to lead by way of reason nothing but pain. It is best to not be with anyone in the first reality state, as they are dangerous to all they encounter both directly and indirectly.
The second reality state of truth awareness is indifference to truth. This person is not sure what they feel, think, or believe about a topic. So, they are unable to arrive at understanding the truth of the topic. They are like the animal standing in the road that is killed by the oncoming vehicle. They do not move. They do not do anything. They are scared at the moment before their death. Their fear causes you to be in danger. It is best to put this person to the side of you in a safe spot, if they will go there and stay there, while they hopefully figure out whatever it is they feel, think, and believe about truth.
The final reality state of truth awareness is wanting to know truth. This person has been harmed by both the first and second reality state. They have no desire to live in any condition that will prevent them from holding reason to know truth. This reality state is difficult for them as they work tirelessly to know truth.
Now, it does not matter what the topic is or is not, the aspect of the topic, or the truth about the topic. It does not matter if the topic is understood completely or even at all. What matters is the harm and benefit combination you experience from the topic. Remember our discussions about looking and reading? Those points were made early in our time together to help you mature those skills so you can use them as soon as possible.
I do not broker in sensationalism. I refuse to listen to fearmongering. I spoke against fear several weeks back. My intention now is to help develop you as a leader to avoid the spring device underneath the global society now decompressing as an outcome of musical chairs, considering no one knows either when the spring will decompress or who will be harmed by their not having a chair.
We would be wise to cover many more topics to develop you as a leader further, regardless of your mastery of each topic now. The need for this additional work on our part is formed by your need for more power as a leader. Remember our discussion on power sourced by servitude? Remember our discussion on power sourced by humility? I will now share a list containing some of the items we need to cover to further develop you as a leader and address each item briefly. There are many more items on the list, but here is a glimpse of what we have for the work ahead of us.
The quest for any status is an example of evil. Remember our discussion about the excusability of evil? Remember the story of Michael Hingson from last week? The way to overcome the need for a particular status is to serve humbly. Your actions will assign you the status you need for the moment.
There is endless preparation work involved in any aspect of leadership. A plan may hold a good idea, but it is not a plan without a schedule. A plan is matched with a schedule. All talk without supporting evidence is cheap, and so is a plan without an executable schedule.
There is endless work involved in data management. Remember our discussion several weeks back about leaders not having sufficient data analysis skills? The ability to understand the lifecycle of data in your organization is paramount for any leader, particularly those at the executive level. Understanding and accomplishing calculations by hand, spreadsheet, or any other mathematical tool is non-negotiable for a successful leader.
Truth is absolute, not relative. Remember our discussion a few weeks back on The Stuff? I can spend several hundred pages addressing the topic of truth alone. The topic of truth was a part of my doctoral dissertation work. There is no process, no strategy, no plan, or anything else defined as accurate apart from truth.
We have only scratched the surface of succession planning during our time together. Anyone who holds thoughts of impunity as they believe they are a sheep of your shepherding is not a person you need in your organization. Remember our discussion about organization antibodies? Our effort to find new people for your organization applies directly to the work of succession planning. It involves moving people up in your organization, not out. The need to evaluate people during the succession process must be based on reason to avoid the appearance of impropriety through favoritism bias to maintain your credibility as a leader.
We started off our time together discussing a destination that was unknown. We knew that people at the time were mad enough to fight about how things were going for them. I shared several weeks later how "I both have fought and will fight tooth-and-nail to defend those who I love." We then went on to discuss love in a deep study. We have accomplished much together. We are off to a great start. You are in much better shape now than before we started our work.
I am going to take some time and rest before I begin work for some new customers. I urge you to contact me by email when you are ready to pick up our effort to develop you as a leader. I have enjoyed our time together. My sales pitch includes the line, "Applying my consulting and educational knowledge to an organization is a unique experience for both myself and the organization." Our time together has been unique for me. I hope it has also been unique for you.
I trust we will talk again, soon. I look forward to hearing from you. Take care of yourself until then. I will do the same.
The sky above us, the unknown.
Dr. Stephen H. Dawson, DSL
Executive Strategy Consultant
Stephen Dawson is an executive consultant of technology and business strategy, serving significant international organizations by providing leadership consulting, strategic planning, and executive communications. He has more than thirty years of service and consulting experience in delivering successful international business development and program management outcomes in the US and SE Asia.
Dr. Dawson has served in the technology, banking, and hospitality industries. He is a noted strategic planning visionary. His pursuit of music has been matched with his efforts to lead by service to followers. He holds the clear understanding a leader without followers is a person taking a long walk alone.
Stephen has lived his life in the eastern United States, visiting most of the United States and several countries. He is a graduate of the Regent University School of Business & Leadership. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.