Facebook has become one of the largest organizations in the world largely because it doesn’t have an intelligence test to qualify members.

This morning some moron posted that we have to become like Canada in the US: triple our union membership percentage, raise the minimum wage by 50%, and escalate taxes “on the rich.” By all means, let’s become a country one-tenth our present size and find a much larger country with which to share a long border that will protect us.

I mean no offense to all my Canadian friends, just to the masters of shallowness who populate the social media. They love simplistic comparisons, which is why Bernie Sanders is so popular in their quotation library, because he says idiotic things like, “Would you rather fund a new aircraft carrier or put every unemployed person to work?”

Bernie, would you rather shut your mouth or contribute to global warming by keeping it open?

What does that have to do with all of us?

Superficiality and shallowness are the bane of consulting and coaching (and expertise in general). They lead to false etiology, correlation but not causation. We see an employee cringe when the boss says he needs more information, and assume the boss is the “problem” because he’s insensitive. We ignore the fact that attrition is way below industry norms, the company is very profitable, and maybe that employee is the real problem.

An aircraft carrier’s cancellation doesn’t create better schools. The money is in different pockets and the expertise is wholly divorced. Changing an organization’s “culture” will improve nothing if poor leadership is tolerated, and teaching better decision making skills will be a waste of time if there is no empowerment. In fact, most of the $100 billion or more spent annually on training by corporations is merely “lip service,” symbolic, with no attempt at measurement of results or return on investment.

We owe it to ourselves and our clients (and our families) not to be caught up in the “quick fix,” the “jump to cause,” the “blame game.” We need to be rational and objective, and reject supercilious suggestions no matter how many people have clambered up on that bandwagon.

We need to stop kidding others, but most of all, stop kidding ourselves. People on Facebook are entitled to their opinions, no matter how vacuous they may be. But we’re not required to have them as friends, are we?


© Alan Weiss 2015

4 thoughts on “Faceoff

  1. Alan,

    There is not much I can say about Facebook as I don’t spend much time on it. Mostly to check out the latest pictures of my granddaughter posted my daughter-in-law. But, you make valid points regarding this medium.

    I have to be honest I’m not sure if there is any good way to use Facebook other than track down old friends. But, that something to come back to.

    Your points regarding superficiality and shallowness by some in the consulting field is interesting. Far too many of us have chased the shiny bright object at one time or another, thinking it would solve a client’s issue. Instead of listening to what the client is saying and asking probative questions far too many want to offer their methodology or someone else’s, thinking it will solve the problem.

    Books like Good to Great, Five Dysfunctions of Teams, Fierce Conversations, are fine, but, they are as you said the author’s solution to a problem. Often a problem that our client may not have but forced on them as the solution to a non-existent problem. Something I think far too many of us have developed from HR.

    Learning to just listen and then ask a question at the appropriate time can be a difficult skill to master especially if one believes they had the cure all elixir.

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