Posts

50 shades of truth

 

Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy. (R. Anthony)

Certainty is cool.

We love when we can feel confident.

It makes our world emotionaly safer.

 

Also – we hate it when we have to issue a correction about a statement we made that turned out wrong.

 

Certainty is a certain form of safety.

 

Complexity leads to mistakes – which leads to lack of certainty…

 

If things could be that simple as right or wrong – as black or white – and as straightforward either good or bad – things would be awefully simpler.

But it is not.

 

Truth is the byproduct of searching for it.

It doesn’t reveal itself entirely and at once.

It will leave you in the dark with your own self doubts.

 

 

You will be tempted to settle for less than the truth.

Because it comfortable

Because it is easier.

Because you can.

And who will blame you?

 

 

Yet, if you keep digging…

you will get a regularly changing landscape –

it is confusing, but you will get used to it.

 

Most of the energy is not about how to find out what is right

it is more how not to settle before you get there.

 

The only strategy I know to stay on this journey is accept you might never know 100% yet agree that what you know today might be wrong tomorrow and the faster you accept it the faster you can adjust for it.

 

That’s all I know… for now…

 

 

,

Milgram experiment, company culture, work ethics

Or why “do as you are told” is a bad idea.

In 1964, Stanley Milgram back then a young researcher at Yale University, published the results a famous experiment known to this day as the Milgram Experiment.

The set up is simple:

The subject of the experiment takes part himself in a (staged) experiment supposed to study the impact of pain on memory and learning.

For this, he is asked by the experimenter to administer increasingly strong electric shocks to a test subject for every wrong answer.

Of course, the test subject is an actor part of the experiment.

Milgram experiment reveal that more than 50% of tested subjects will administer shocks until the end of the experiment, up to the point where this would be lethal for the test subject.

TL;DR;

A figure of authority can convince a regular person to kill, just because ordered to.

 

 

Now before you think this is old shit and that today, people are different:

Here is a video of the Milgram experiment re-enacted, and the results are very consistent with the original study:

 

 

A few more points:

  • This experiments has been re-enacted many times. Each time results have been quite consistent with the original experiment.
  • Men and women scored the same in a variation done on gender
  • Authority is important for this experiment to work (uniform, legitimacy, etc.)
  • Symbols of authorities are the result of a culture

A full detailed analysis of the protocol explains the procedure followed by the experiment and all the variations done to test different hypothesis.

For instance, the role of the uniform :

In the original baseline study – the experimenter wore a grey lab coat as a symbol of his authority (a kind of uniform). Milgram carried out a variation in which the experimenter was called away because of a phone call right at the start of the procedure.

The role of the experimenter was then taken over by an ‘ordinary member of the public’ ( a confederate) in everyday clothes rather than a lab coat. The obedience level dropped to 20%.

Or, if the participant could delegate his personal responsibility to press the button to somebody else, the obedience would increase.

When participants could instruct an assistant (confederate) to press the switches, 92.5% shocked to the maximum 450 volts. When there is less personal responsibility obedience increases. This relates to Milgram’s Agency Theory.

Which clearly give you a hint about why administrations are built the the way they are : the more level and sublevel of responsibility you have the less likely you will see any kind of resistance from an organisation.

 

#HR Implications:

Work ethic &  Personal responsibility

Milgram experiment is telling us one thing : when work ethic will be challenged by the management

  • to drive down quality at the expense of quantity
  • to steal, lie, cover things up
  • any kind of  crazy shit

Then, more than 50% of your staff will be statistically prone to comply and go forward even if he/she knows it goes against what should be acceptable in the work place.

When more than half of your organisation cannot prevent bad behaviour to happen, you have a problem.

Side note: As an employee, if you do not want to be a milgram-employee, then just be clear about your own standards and stick to your guns. Also, learn to sell. It helps.

Importance of culture in the company

A work culture where you put all the weight and the responsibility on management will be likely to generate more milgram-employee.

If you care about your organisation, you do not want milgram-people in your org.

If you care about long term, build a culture that will push for higher personal responsibility and work ethic.

One thing you need for that: content which you can use to educate your organisation, on a regular basis and at all levels.

A simple example of workshop you can run

Show your staff the Milgram experiment, then ask them to discuss how do they think they should react when ask to do stuff they don’t agree with even thought the manager tell them it is okay…

 

 

 

Full version of the experiment

 

 

, ,

The Resistance

The resistance is some phenomenon well known of creative people, entrepreneurs and anybody trying to make something different and/or new happen – to some extent it is like a force of nature that manifest itself against our will to improve, our desire to advance.

The resistance is the dark side of the force, here to maintain our free choice in the grand scheme of thing.

 

But mostly, resistance is a little bitch.

Many authors have talked about this phenomenon.

The best I have ever read so far is Steven Pressfield, who dedicated a number of books to it, and his words are so accurate that it is a must read for everyone in the business of making shit happen.

 

Here it is.

 

From The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

 

The following is a list, in no particular order, of those activities that most commonly elicit Resistance:

  • The pursuit of any calling
  • The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.
  • Any diet or health regimen
  • Any program of spiritual advancement.
  • Education of every kind.
  • The undertaking of any enterprise whose aim is to help others.
  • Any act that entails commitment of the heart (the decision to get married, to have a child, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship, etc.)
  • The taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity.

In other words, any act that rejects immediate gratification in favour of long-term growth, health, or integrity

Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower.

Any of these acts will elicit resistance.

Now, what are the characteristics of Resistance?

Resistance Is Invisible

Resistance cannot be seen, heard, touched, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential.

Resistance is a repelling force.

It’s negative.

Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.

Resistance Is Insidious

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.

It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole.

Resistance is protean.

It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you.

Resistance will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a 9-millimeter in your face like a stickup man.

Resistance has no conscience.

It will pledge anything to get a deal.

Then  it will double-cross you as soon as your back is turned.

 

If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get.

Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.

Resistance Is Impersonal

Resistance is not out to get you personally.

It doesn’t know who you are and doesn’t care.

Resistance is a force of nature. It acts objectively.

Though it feels malevolent, Resistance in fact operates with the indifference of rain and transits the heavens by the same laws as stars.

When we marshal our forces to combat Resistance, we must remember this.

 

Resistance Is Infallible

Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North—
meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing.

We can use this.

We can use it as a compass.

We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or purpose that we must follow before all others.

Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution,
the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.

 

Resistance Is Universal

We’re wrong if we think we’re the only ones struggling with Resistance.

Everyone who has a body experiences Resistance.

Resistance Never Sleeps

Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance,

even when he was seventy-five.

In other words, fear doesn’t go away.

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity:

The battle must be fought anew every day.

Resistance Plays for Keeps

Resistance’s goal is not to wound or disable.

Resistance makes no prisoners.

Resistance aims to kill.

Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, our uniqueness.

Resistance aim to take the priceless gift we were put on this earth to give and that no one else has but us.

Resistance means business.

When we fight it, we are in a war to the death

— About The Resistance – by  Steven Pressfield

 

Now you know.

Start paying attention.

Procrastination, self-doubt, over-confidence, anything that result in delaying the creation of anything of value – is the resistance at work.

Fighting the resistance is like a sport.

You start slow and easy.

As you get better, so does the resistance.

It is like Newton third law, for every force exerted, you have a a second force in direct opposition and equal in magnitude  resisting the force of progress.