Skip to main content

In With The Awesome, Out With The Jerks

"The Scream" by Edvard Munch

"The firing Wednesday of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice, for shoving players around, firing basketballs at them, and screaming that they were [expletives deleted] reflects universal condemnation....while that behavior had long been tolerated if not celebrated, his off-court actions clearly crossed the line of acceptability." - "The Basketball Bully," Slate, April 3, 2013

Study after study shows that fear and anxiety inhibit learning:
* Fear = externally imposed, e.g. by a bullying coach
* Anxiety = internal, e.g. a condition you feel regardless of what's going on outside
* Despite our theoretical understanding that learning is itself anxiety-provoking and works best with a relaxed and receptive mind
* Despite the critical nature of continuous learning to the modern workplace
...we continue to think that fear-inspiring leaders are somehow better. (See "Love and Fear and the Modern Boss," Harvard Business Review.)
The problem is that we confuse awe-inspiring leaders with fear-inspiring ones.
* An awe-inspiring leader commands our respect because of their sheer brilliance, or operational competence, diplomatic skills, and so on (think Margaret Thatcher may she rest in peace) - whether we agree with them or not.
* A fear-inspiring leader just scares us, because they do not hesitate to legitimately use (and sometimes unfortunately abuse) their power.
Leadership types can coexist in the same person:
* A single person can be both awe-inspiring and fear-inspiring.
* The same leader can be fear-inspiring for legitimate reasons as well as for illegitimate ones. 
Some people would like to abolish authority as inherently corrupt and corrupting.
But in the real world someone has to take responsibility.
Rather than making everybody falsely equal, we can instead get comfortable and fluent with concepts associated with power.
Some of it is good and useful. Some of it is bad and should be tossed away.
Let's encourage people to be awesome, and awe-inspiring. And at the same time eliminate from leadership positions those who are the equivalent of the former Rutgers Coach who cursed his own players.

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between brand equity and brand parity?

Brand equity is a financial calculation. It is the difference between a commodity product or service and a branded one. For example if you sell a plain orange for $.50 but a Sunkist orange for $.75 and the Sunkist orange has brand equity you can calculate it at $.25 per orange.

Brand parity exists when two different brands have a relatively equal value. The reason we call it "parity" is that the basis of their value may be different. For example, one brand may be seen as higher in quality, while the other is perceived as fashionable.

All opinions my own. Originally posted to Quora. Public domain photo by hbieser via Pixabay.

What is the difference between "brand positioning," "brand mantra," and "brand tagline?"

Brand positioning statement: This is a 1–2 sentence description of what makes the brand different from its competitors (or different in its space), and compelling. Typically the positioning combines elements of the conceptual (e.g., “innovative design,” something that would be in your imagination) with the literal and physical (e.g., “the outside of the car is made of the thinnest, strongest metal on earth”). The audience for this statement is internal. It’s intended to get everybody on the same page before going out with any communication products.Brand mantra: This is a very short phrase that is used predominantly by people inside the organization, but also by those outside it, in order to understand the “essence” or the “soul” of the brand and to sell it to employees. An example would be Google’s “Don’t be evil.” You wouldn’t really see it in an ad, but you might see it mentioned or discussed in an article about the company intended to represent it to investors, influencers, etc.Br…

Nitro Cold Brew and the Oncoming Crash of Starbucks

A long time ago (January 7, 2008), the Wall Street Journal ran an article about McDonald's competing against Starbucks.
At the time the issue was that the former planned to pit its own deluxe coffees head to head with the latter.
At the time I wrote that while Starbucks could be confident in its brand-loyal consumers, the company, my personal favorite brand of all time,  "...needs to see this as a major warning signal. As I have said before, it is time to reinvent the brand — now.  "Starbucks should consider killing its own brand and resurrecting it as something even better — the ultimate, uncopyable 'third space' that is suited for the way we live now.  "There is no growth left for Starbucks as it stands anymore — it has saturated the market. It is time to do something daring, different, and better — astounding and delighting the millions (billions?) of dedicated Starbucks fans out there who are rooting for the brand to survive and succeed." Today as …