Where is the truth?

Weiss Advice Issue: 231,  October 2022

Oscar Wilde said once, “Never believe everything you hear, even if I told you.”

We’re faced today with completely biased news sources that include both broadcast and print media. (No, I don’t believe the BBC is even a vestige of what it once was.) I’ve read estimates that only about 15% of social media members are on either fringe, but that they contribute about 75% of the posts. (I don’t know if that’s been validated, but it seems reasonable upon observation.)

Do your clients, by and large, really have “toxic work environments”? Are most workers engaged in “quietly quitting” and deliberately underperforming? Is there a “great resignation” crowd who are wandering the streets or living under bridges or stealing bread?

I think the very worst advisors and coaches and consultants right now are engaged in the epiphenomenal detritus of these mindless memes. They are trying to help clients avoid “microaggressions,” and create “non-toxic environments,” and make fewer demands on job candidates to prove their worth and energy. They are simply adding to the band wagon of learned helplessness.

My feeling is that our job today is to be truth-tellers, even if it takes some very tough love. The basic issues are about firms having value that attracts customers who generate profit for the enterprise by purchasing the value. My own empirical experience is that it’s highly unlikely that a firm can create happy customers with unhappy employees. And it’s also a “fact,” as far as I’m concerned, that organizations aren’t employment agencies and workers have to be productive in order to merit retention, let alone advancement.

This is called a “free market” or “capitalism.” You could look it up.

Thus, our duty to our clients (and ourselves) is to provide what truth we can based on empirical, validated evidence and observed behavior. That is no longer an assumed baseline.

It’s now a special calling.

© Alan Weiss 2022

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