Friday, September 25, 2009

Swept Up

You ever gotten swept up in a business deal or neighbor problem or some kind of holy war that made you wonder: What was that? What was I thinking?

This happens to me a lot. Just like it happens with every other human.

It doesn't matter if you're a big shot or not. In fact honchos are famous for getting themselves and lots of others swept up in stuff.

Stuff like WMD and subprime mortgages and TARPs and Health Care Reform and Change-Is-Coming-America and Mission Accomplished. And to think this is stuff that's swept up over a few measly years.


Why do we keep doing this?

Maybe it's because of the pounding we get from yak radio and talk TV.

And because leaders and bosses are forever promising to save us from melting polar caps, insurance companies, men in caves, quarterly sales slumps, devils, un-Americans, missing the Next Big Thing.

And, let's face it, maybe it's because we're willing to let others tack their talking points to our tongues.

What if everyone held to a couple of basic principles of responsible leadership and followership?

For leaders this would mean that truth and honesty are more important than urgency and victory. For followers this would mean it's your duty to ask Why until it can't be asked anymore.

And wouldn't it be great if someone invented a four-point checklist where you could check off the stuff people tell us on the TV and Radio and The Internet?

Like when they say "EVERYBODY needs to do this or do that or else."

And "We gotta DO something and we gotta do it now!"

And "There's just no time for any discussion because we gotta do something NOW!"

And "If you must ask why, well, then you must be ONE OF THEM and not one of us."

When this list reads Check-Check-Check-Check we'd all know we're getting swept up.

I wonder why nobody's invented that checklist to make it safer to use the TV and Radio and The Internet? Maybe it's because somebody already invented the OFF Button.

And assumed we'd use it.

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