Unwillingness To Face Inconvient Facts

Homeless Hungry.jpeg

The Wall Street Journal today has a poignant editorial by Daniel Henninger on the fractured nation we have become. 

Henninger describes the feeling of a country ranging from fury to depression when an underlying vibrant free nation is overcome by a political fantasy of global disengagement and a doctrine of leadership from behind.

And it’s not just the continued downtrodden state domestically–see photo above from this morning’s homeless and hungry on Washington, D.C.’s streets. 

But blinded by a fearful political undertone that can’t even utter the words radical Islamists, we have taken it yet another wayward step further unable to utter the words terrorism.

With respect to the mass murder of at least 14 in California yesterday by–multiple Islamist attackers blasting off AR-15 assault rifles–the FBI in Los Angeles says this, terrorism “is a possibility, but we don’t know that yet, and we’re not willing to go down the road yet.”

There is not even anymore a facade of objectivity where we say perhaps something like: it certainly look’s like terrorism, but we need to investigate and verify–instead what we get is an unwillingness to face down our enemies and the terror of our times or even to openly consider the possibility. 

Ha, it COULD BE that these are 2 completely non-radicalized folks, who happen to have terrorist ties and communications, just found the guns and pipe bombs on the side of the road, got abducted by aliens who brainwashed them to commit mass murder, and just coincidentally after ISIS threatened attacks in the U.S.–anything is possible.

But terrorism–that’s RIDICULOUS!

From the disgraceful suffering of the downtrodden and needy individuals on our streets across America to the global disorder that we are seeing daily, we are continuing to lose ground, respect, and time. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Reform The Movement

Hamas_Children

So was very glad to read this week about a top Sunni cleric who called for educational reform to combat “extremist violence.”


Sheik Ahmend al-Tayeb, a grand imam in Cairo said “corrupt interpretations” of the Koran and of Muhammad was leading to a rise of Middle East-based terrorism. 


This to hopefully stem the flow of what is now being reported as 20,000 foreign fighters flocking to join ISIS


What is amazing here is that good Muslim people are recognizing the problem with radicalization, extremism, and violence and are speaking out. 


Yet, many of our own leaders in the Western world still refuse to say the dirty words “Islamic terrorism.”


The President saying instead: “No religion is responsible for terrorism–people are responsible for violence and terrorism.


So perhaps, according to this “logic,” no movement is responsible for what their people do–only the individuals are?


And therefore, accordingly, the Nazis would not be responsible for the Holocaust, nor America for Slavery, nor Communism for political purges, oppression, and violation of human rights, etc. etc. 


…in which case, there would be no apologies, no regrets, no reparations, no museums, no memorials, nothing–because this was just some individuals doing some bad things and those individuals are may no longer even be here with us. 


Doesn’t this ignore the very basic and fundamental fact that when the masses follow a movements’ (genuine or distorted) ideological teachings of hatred, racism, and discrimination, and the people act nefariously on this, then does not the movement itself hold some responsibility for the murderous and evil actions committed based on their doctrine?


The Sheik who denounced terror and called for changes to the education in the Muslim community is recognizing what apparently many of our own leaders refuse to, which is that they–and we–are responsible for what is taught and tolerated in our communities. 


As Peggy Noonan recently wrote, “The reality is that the Islamic State is…very Islamic.


Currently, we are fighting a war on radical Islamic terrorism…whether that terror is committed on Charlie Hebdo, a Jewish grocery store, or the World Trade Centers. 


That does not mean that tomorrow, we are not fighting against some other movement’s treachery. 


This is why good people everywhere must stand up and speak out when they see religions, governments, institutions, or other movements preach and teach lies, hatred, and terror. 


Bad (or hijacked good) movements drive bad actors…so we must not only go after the bad guys, but also hold the movements themselves to account.


We must demand that the lies and distortions be called out for what they are and that truth and virtue be held up in its place. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Front Page Magazine)

The Monster Under The Bed

Shiksa.com
For those familiar with Yiddish…



A shiksa is a non-Jewish girl and is sometimes used to refer to Jewish women that don’t follow the commandments. 



A shegetz is a similar term used for a male. 



Is it a bad word? 



Well, let’s just say it’s not a term of endearment. 🙂



I guess it’s funny that everyone has terms for those who are not just like them.



Of course we all don’t have to be and aren’t the same, cut from the same mold.



But we all have to have respect for each other and get along. 



I think the worst part of people being different is not even the overt jokes or off-handed remarks which can certainly be hurtful, but much more the backdoor insinuations and aggressive behaviors. 



Lately, to be frank, it seems that ethnic and religious war is brewing big time in the world–anyone else notice?



Not regional, focused on oil and resources, long held dictatorships, human rights, or even “the Palestinian issue.”



But rather what no one wants to talk about or confront, a battle of civilizations.



It is so scary, because this is there are big and powerful actors at play whether Russia or China playing for the world’s leadership role (one overtly and the other covertly), Iran and North Korea freely wielding nukes and threateningly strutting “their stuff,” and ISIS and Al Qaeda looking for the next budding caliphate and  imposition of Sharia law as far and as wide as they can take it.



East meets West, democracy vs. dictatorship, religion against religion, this thing is building up steam, pressure is rising, and the question is whether and how big this is about to blow.



Shhh, if we don’t say the words or we pretend to “make nice” and give out jobs, dole out handouts, and use our drones, oh so discretely, maybe no one will notice. 



Are we being phobic about communism, radical Islam, budding economic and military might, and other differences, or are we pointing out what we are all perceiving, but greatly fear to face. 



When I saw recently that some wonderful Muslim people were surrounding synagogues in Europe, not to attack it, but rather to encircle it to defend it, I was not only in complete awe, but also realized how many good and righteous people there are out there.



These people are actually doing something about the injustices and power grabs they are witnessing, and not trying to obfuscate or opiate the masses. 



It’s not just about being tolerant of others and stripping hatred from our hearts and lives, but about being truthful when others may choose not to be. 😉



(Source Photo: Facebook)

Not Bias, Just Plain Old Hatred

Not Bias, Just Plain Old Hatred

I read a book review in the Wall Street Journal on Profiles in Denial by William Storr about David Irving the notorious Holocaust denier.

He is a “‘revisionist’ of all things World War II,” but apparently is particularly keen on Holocaust denial, as someone who according to Wikipedia is an “anti-semite, and racist who…promotes neo-Nazism.”

The Holocaust denial goes deep for Irving and even upon visiting Majdanek concentration camp, he tells his group “This is a mock-up of a gas chamber. Those cylinders are carbon dioxide not carbon monoxide…There are handles on the inside of these doors,” so the prisoners could let themselves out.

Actually, the door was locked with huge bolts right on the outside and was sealed airtight, but to Irving it’s as if these didn’t exist.

The book discusses how cognitive biases such as confirmation biases help people “find confirming evidence for our beliefs, ignoring or rationalizing away all discriminating evidence.”

But I think this is really beyond the point with someone like Irving, who according to The Guardian is a discredited British historian and Nazi apologist” and was actually jailed for a “three-year prison sentence in Vienna for denying the Holocaust and the gas chambers of Auschwitz.”

The State Prosecutor said of Irving “He’s not a historian, he’s a falsifier of history…this is about abuse of freedom of speech.”

Judge Peter Liebtreau called Irving “a racist, an anti-semite, and a liar.”

So this is no simple bias or mind game for Irving, but apparently a convenient way for him to pursue his hatreds under the guise that everything was and is really okay.

So rather than “Never forget,” is is far more beneficial for those that would wish it to happen again that they lull people to believe that it never even was to begin with.

Interesting that another famous Holocaust denier is no less than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered, was a “myth” (Washington Post).

By the way, Ahmadinejad also said “9/11 was an inside job.”

People like Irving and Ahmadinejad are not about confirmation bias, but rather about distortion of truth to further their own evil destructive aims.

In the case of Ahmadinejad, it’s that he wishes to see Israel be “wiped off the map” (New York Times).

And in the case of Irving, he has said, “there will…probably be another holocaust in the next thirty years…oh, and if the Jews are lucky, there will be a David Irving or Adolf Hitler [may their names be obliterated] to protect them” (The Independent).

Oh, G-d forbid!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Let People Feel

Dr. Ben Bissell has a terrific presentation on Managing Change and Transitions.

Basically Bissell explains that when we face Significant Emotional Events (SEEs)–major life changes (personally in our lives or professionally)–we go through 5 stages:

– Shock (i.e. Denial)–I Can’t Believe it!

– Emotions (e.g. Anger)–How could this happen to me?

– Bargaining–Do we have to do it today?

– Depression (i.e. grief)—I can’t take it anymore!

– Acceptance–1) Intellectual–If that’s what they want! 2) Emotional–Ride the train or be run over by it.

When we have major life change, we can experience loss in terms of control, influence, respect, freedom, security, identity, competence, direction, relationship and resources–in essence, we are forced out of our comfort zone and must transition.

Since according to Biseell “all change produces loss (and fear), and all loss must be grieved, it is understandable why these stages of transition track to the Kubler-Ross model of the 5 stages of grief.

Bissell explains that getting through these stages is not quick and takes a minimum of one and a half years to make it all the way through the 5 stages–during which time, it’s normal to feel abnormal.

The problem is when you get stuck in one of these five stages, then you either:

– Get burned out and quit

– Act out and get difficult

– Become sick, physically or emotionally (e.g. migraines, chronic depression, etc.)

Some ways we can help people get through changes is to:

– Recognize and accept that these stages are normal and necessary.

– Give people a safe place to vent their feelings (i.e. low morale = unresolved anger).

– Increase information flow–when people are undergoing severe life change, you need to counter the tendency for distorted perceptions and help them see where they are going and how they will get there.

– Maintain other elements of stability and familiarity in the person’s life–this gives comfort.

– Protect your health–your body, your breathing, your pace of eating and living, and your sleep.

– Give yourself time and space to play, be silly, be foolish, unwind (or else you will pop).

Bissell recognizes that the pace of change is continually increasing and “technology is seeing to that.”

Therefore, there is an increased urgency to help people deal with change in healthy ways–working through the stages of transition.

However, from my perspective, when people suffer huge losses in their lives, they never really get over it. The loss is always there, even if it’s just behind the scenes rather than out front like the first year or so.

When it comes to loss, people can experience enormous pain, which gets engraved in their consciousness and memories, and we should not expect them to just get over it.

In other words, it’s okay to incorporate feelings of loss and grief into who we are–it is part of us and that is nothing to run from or fear.

Just like good events can having lasting positive impacts in our lives, so do severe disruptions and grief.

People will progress and continue to heal, but they will always feel what they feel–good and bad–and we should never take that away from them.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to LiquidNight)

RIM Is Doomed

Spiral
Judge David Young of Court TV has a frequent saying that “Denial is not a river in Egypt.”
 
When it comes to Research In Motion (RIM) the maker of the traditional organization mobile Blackberry device, denial now seems on par for their course.

On Tuesday (3 July 2012), the new CEO of RIM, Thorstein Heins was quoted as saying “There’s nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now.”

Yet since Mr. Heins took over RIM in January, the company’s stock is down 50% and is down more than 90% from it’s mid-2008 highs.

BlackBerry continues to lose out to stronger competitors like the iPhone and Android. On May 25, Digital trends reported in an article called “Poor BlackBerry” on IDC’s 2nd quarter 2012 marketshare numbers for Smartphones with Android at around 60%, iPhone at 23%, and Blackberry at a mere 6%.

Further the new Blackberry 10 has been twice delayed, and RIM announced it’s first operating loss in eight years, as it plans to downsize 5,000 employees (or a third of its workforce).

In the self-help industry, it is frequently said that the first step to getting better is to recognize that you have a problem.

In the case of RIM–we are looking at a company that unfortunately is either playing it too cool to be real with their customers and the marketplace, or they are in a deep and dangerous case of utter denial.

 
Either way, unless RIM takes decisive action soon–and that means first and foremost, coming to terms with their predictment and second, coming out with some major new disruptive technology for the mobile marketplace–they are doomed to the annals of tech history.
 
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Steve Jurvetson)

>The Ostrich Effect and Enterprise Architecture

>From the financial and credit crisis, to soaring energy prices, job losses, foreclosures, and run-away inflation, people’s investment portfolios are looking pretty darn gloomy these days.

The Wall Street Journal, 13-14 September 2008 reports “Should you Fear the Ostrich Effect?”

What’s the ostrich effect?

“Behavioral economist George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University coined the term, ‘the ostrich effect’ to describe the way investors stick their heads in the sand during lousy markets.

Forget the letter opener when your financial statement arrives and stop looking up the value of your investment portfolio online, because “if you don’t know for sure how your portfolio did, you can always retain the hope that it somehow did better.”

This is a way for people to hide from the reality of their losses. “Turning yourself into an ostrich doesn’t make your losses go away, but it does enable you to pretend they aren’t there.” What a wonderful defense mechanism for our psyches!

Reading and thinking about this ostrich effect, I realized that it applies not only to the way people deal with financial losses, but all sorts of bad news they don’t want to hear or deal with.

I believe in Freudian terms, they call this DENIAL!

Just put your head in the sand and whatever it is you don’t want to deal with isn’t there, right?

We all know that hiding from problems doesn’t make them go away. Yet, this same phenomenon in people’s personal lives is ever present in our enterprises!

How many of the executives in your organizations follow this prescription of sticking their head in the sand when they don’t want to hear about or acknowledge problems in the workplace—competitive, technical, regulatory and so on?

Unfortunately, many of our leaders close their eyes and ears to the problems that afflict our organizations in spite of all the reports, briefings, metrics, dashboards, and subject matter experts they consult.

Why do our leaders ignore bad or challenging news?

I suppose similar to the investor who doesn’t want to face the negative returns and shrinking balances on their account statements, executives often don’t want to or are unable to deal with the harsh reality in their organizations and in the competitive environment. It’s so much easier to pretend problems and challenges don’t exist and continue to report stellar results and returns to their boards, stockholders, stakeholders, regulators, and oversight authorities.

In this election season, there has been a lot of banter of “putting lipstick on a pig.” Sounds a little like how ineffective leaders pretend to lead, by putting rosy colored lipstick on a pretty awful looking pig.

The best leaders will use all the information available to face reality and raise the performance of the organization and its people to meet the challenges head on and truly grow and excel.

The average and worst leader ignore what’s going on around them and see only what they want to see and report up and out what they believe others want to hear.

Where does enterprise architecture come into play with this?

Enterprise architecture is a vital source of information for our CIOs and other leaders. The wise ones see the strategic value of enterprise architecture, commit to it, champion it, and invest in it, using it to identify gaps, redundancies, roadblocks, and opportunities to innovate and improve the business and technology of the organization. I urge all CIOs to avoid being like the ostrich, and take this approach.