I am told that the world ended on December 21st. Not a minute too soon.
Not that anyone would miss it. Not after this year!
Oh, yes, it started with great promise. New Year’s Eve came with celebration, with hopes for a bright and wonderful future and of course, with the mandatory resolutions and promises for change. By the next morning, New Year’s Day, throbbing heads and broken vows ushered in a year of faded hopes and broken dreams. Three hundred and sixty-five crappy days to go.
It was a year where hopes were raised, only to be dashed again.
Arab Spring deteriorated into failed states and lost dreams. We marvelled at the courage of the people in the streets. We hoped for their liberation and the creation of authentic democracies. We watched as the dreams faded. We saw the new political order echo the words of the Who – “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.
Not that things were any better on this side of the ocean. The US election was a giant disappointment. Was their ever a time when that nation truly needed to reinvent itself, to have a vigorous debate and contest of ideas? This was truly an opportunity to unite a nation and meet the challenge of a difficult future. Instead, it fizzled into schoolyard name calling where a divided nation electing the person they feared the least and even that by only a slim margin. Deadlocked and leaderless, the once most powerful nation in the world marches lemming-like towards a fiscal cliff of their own making.
Filed under Change, People
Harvard University’s MBA program made front page news today as Siddartha Gautama, also known as “the Buddha” addressed the graduating class of 2013.
“For many of you, ” Buddha said in his opening remarks, “this day represents a moment that you have anticipated and waited for — the success that you have craved for many years. That, I would humbly submit, is where you have made a grave error. Continue reading
Everyone wants that perfect team. We are taught from the time we start in business that the secret to project and corporate success is getting the “very best” people in the right positions. The “dream team”. Get that right and you are 90% of the way to giving the competition a real butt-kicking.
That’s what we imagine. Excitement builds. We’ll get the best people, from the best schools, people who are “up and comers”! Get me the “A” performers! No “dead wood” on this team!
What a load of crap. Continue reading
“There are strangers among us.” The lady was referring to the consultants that her company’s executives had hired.
The phrase hit me like a brick.
I’ve been a consultant for over 15 years – half of my career. It’s funny, you don’t get into this game unless you have some desire for feedback. Given how competitive consulting is, you also have to be a bit of an over-achiever.
I confess. Yes. I was that kid in school who had all the answers — the one the teacher eventually stopped asking, or looked vainly to each side of hoping for someone else to raise their hand, eventually returning defeated to reluctantly accept the offering of the impatient know-it-all in the front row. For anyone who worries about my social status, you can rest easy — I got over that part. In university I became the guy sitting at the backs. Still an over-achiever, but now a rebellious one — I learned to be cool and disdainful. But I still knew the answer. At least that’s my perception. Continue reading
“It don’t make no sense that common sense don’t make no sense no more.” John Prine, one of my favourite song-writers used this as a line in one of his songs. It’s a classic for Prine.
I love Prine’s work. Why? Because, especially as I get older, at least part of me becomes more an more like his characters. I look back nostalgically at a past where things were simpler, more understandable. I think to some extent, most of us do.
That idea of a time when things made “common sense” is one those archetypal memories. You find it throughout history – a yearning for that simpler time.
So it has a seductive appeal.
So why isn’t it more prevalent? Why isn’t common sense more …. well, common? Continue reading