Thursday, April 30, 2015

Incompetence, Ineptitude, Audaciousness, and Downright Stupidity

Not one single day goes by without some bloody incompetent people in leadership positions creating a mess.
Mind you, I didn't say they are leaders. They just happen to be in such positions. Some of them were elected. Some of them believe they were elected. The 'Professionals' of them make people believe they were elected.
Others were put into their positions. Usually because of being part of a pack. Put there to protect the flanks of the pack leader. The wing men. The masters of ‘winging it’.
And then there are the self proclaimed leaders of whatever they believe they are leading. If nothing else they hijack the title 'thought leader'. Derived from their conviction "And I thought I am a leader".
What are the common denominators?
First, there is the horseshit they are leaving behind consistently. Second, there is the stupidity of people letting them do their spiel. Third, those people actually believing the horseshit.
Want to hear examples? Here you go and you know them all:
The Political Sector:
Greece. What about Greece? Well, they’re broke. As simple as that. Not an exciting perspective though. But that’s the way it is. And that’s what one has to deal with talking about solutions.
Here are some examples of what the political ‘leaders’ are trying to do:
Renaming it. Instead of ‘broke’ you can call it for instance ‘temporary cash shortage’. Where ‘temporary’ stands for ‘forever’. The idea is to make it sound nicer. Gives these politicians a warm and fuzzy feeling of being in control.
‘Gamifying’ it. By pretending that you are just in a big game and using everything at hand that game theory offers. Also known as “Varoufuckthis”.
Denying it. You tell yourself and others it’s not there. Even if it’s right in your face. If you do that for an extended period of time you might even start to believe your own bullshit.
And here’s is what true leaders would do:
You acknowledge the problem. Greece is broke. Means plain and simple that no one is getting his money back. The money is gone. Period.
And then you start from there. Greece being broke is a consequence of a series of different root causes. Most of those are well known. Inside Greece. Inside the EU. Inside the IMF. No repair will do the trick. You gotta disrupt this spiral and start from scratch. After all the ‘Marshall Plan’ for Europe is quite a good example of how to tackle and solve such a problem.
It’s complex, it’s complicated, and it can be solved. Less political bullshit and instead more science-based critical thinking is required. Add to that some empathy with the Greek people. That would be a good start of showing leadership.
The Private Sector:
The private sector, companies, are no better off with their people in leadership positions. Not in all, but in many cases.
Take for instance the banks. Always good examples for failed leadership. And ‘failed leadership’ only mildly expresses what’s really going on. Besides the ‘financial crises’ (by now almost everyone has heard about that) there are things like the manipulation of the Libor rate or massive tax evasion / fraud. And the list goes on. Based on greed ending up in criminal activities.
And it’s not just the banks. Just look at all these cases of corruption, money laundry, fraud, dishonesty, etc. that are exposed day in and out. And those are only the cases we are made aware of.
And the common denominator here is that the Top-Leaders usually just didn’t know. These poor guys were simply let in the dark by their own people. Imagine that. Imagine how bad that might make them feel. Here’s my take: either you didn’t know, which makes you totally incompetent and stupid. Or, you did know and lied. Either way you disqualified yourself as a leader. Hence, step down.
Here’s one more. One of my favorites.
The Advisers:
It’s not just about the top ‘leaders’ in politics or the private sector. There are also cohorts of people taking others for a ride. The simple purpose? Making money out of you. They call themselves advisers. Or use similar names. And with their advice they lead. Lead their clients to spend even more money in mostly useless stuff. And the best thing is: nothing is older and more obsolete than last year’s advice. Advising is big business.
The best way to sound important is to make it look extremely difficult. Part of the recipe is using always the latest buzzwords. Another ingredient is making it look like it would be science. Grabbing whatever concept of science. Ripping it out of context and making it fit your purpose. Anything goes. Especially when it comes to sales. They talk. Talk you a hole in your knee. Because they can.
A graduate student of theoretical physics summed it up nicely the other day: “When I read what they write about the sales process I know why I am studying theoretical physics. It’s infinitely easier to understand.”
How to find out whether an adviser is worth the money?
Ask these simple questions:
  • Do you have any personal work experience in the matter you are teaching and how extensive is it?
  • What is your personal success rate / track record with applying what you teach?
  • Assuming you are using what you preach in your company. Could you show me your numbers of the last 5 years?
If they refuse to answer at all or their answers are not satisfying tell them to get the fuck outta here!
The Importance and Power of The Followers:
Followers, often unbeknownst to them, are indeed playing an important role. Your following makes the leader a leader. You choose whom to follow and whom not. That is in your power. And with great power comes great responsibility. The responsibility of choosing with care. Applying critical thinking in the process. Questioning motives, competence, experience, etc. An ongoing process.
Also, you can decide to ‘unfollow’. And you should stop following if the particular leader fails to deliver. This is your right and your duty. It’s not good enough to ‘feel bad’ about something. It’s important to speak up loud and clear. Yes, you might lose some ‘friends’ in this process. Yet, on the upside you gain respect and a few true friends.
Followers are important. They make or break leaders.
Use your power wisely. But use it!

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