The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

May 2, 2012

Not All Opinions Are Equal

By Jim Hessler

Not all opinions are equal.  Opinions built on reasonable analysis and integrity are worth more than those built on lazy thinking, unexamined assumptions, bias, and dishonesty.

First, a brief history lesson, and then I’ll bring it back to the business environment.

When I was young, oh so many years ago, we had something called journalism in this country. Now we have entertainment masking as news.

Example:  More than 95% of the world’s climate scientists agree that global climate change caused by human activity presents a real and present danger to all life on the planet.  And that swift and massive action on a global scale is necessary to soften the inevitable planet-wide catastrophe.

A few decades ago, mainstream journalists would have routinely reported that, based on the preponderance of evidence, climate change was a monumental problem. We would have seen in-depth analysis, and we would have seen challenging and courageous interviews with corporate big-wigs. The big story would have been climate change is happening, and people who tell you it isn’t are full of hooey.

Now, the story told in the media is different. It’s about the supposed “controversy” regarding climate change. In fact there is no such story, but it’s easy for lazy “news” organizations to read a few blogs and trump up a debate—supposedly between equally legitimate points of view—about the subject. The story isn’t the news—it’s the debate about the news. That’s a big difference.

We no longer have mainstream journalism that speaks truth to power.  In its place we have entertainment masquerading as news. Instead of people in the media with an informed and well-researched point of view, we have people who watch the “news” along with us and then package it up as entertainment without encouraging us to think straight.

So what does this have to do with the workplace? For years now I’ve noticed an increasing reluctance among young business people to debate the important matters affecting their organizations and their businesses. People are more afraid to research, think, and then stake out a point of view, because most of the people they see doing that in the media are the crazies shouting at each other in a carefully orchestrated entertainment designed not to inform, but to be just outrageous enough to keep us tuned in until the next commercial break.

The debate between responsible people seeking the truth has turned into a circus sideshow.  My concern is that young business people have soured on the value of intellectual rigor, and no longer embrace their responsibility to think for themselves, and to responsibly debate matters of importance to their organizations.

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About the Author

Jim Hessler bootstrapped his way from retail work into a successful career as salesman, sales manager, Fortune 500 executive, and corporate turnaround engineer. Along the way, he developed The Leadership Platform, a proven model for training managers to become sustainably better leaders. It became the basis of his leadership primer, Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guild to Building Your Leadership Platform. Jim is the founder of Path Forward Leadership Development Services.

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