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Conscious Incompetence

15 Aug 07
Michelle Cubas
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How do you turn an inept bon vivant into a world leader? You don’t. Under Karl Rove’s Zvengali act, a U.S. minority selected someone who is “Consciously Incompetent.” Plus, it seems it is contagious and the Democrat leadership contracted Conscious Incompetence. Democrats’ behavior and votes this past week in Congress is abominable.

This is a personal observation. If we were visited by aliens and being observed, they may be tempted to diagnose this behavior as brain damage like from lead poisoning. The inconsistent behaviors on all sides reek of corruption and hypocrisy.

A significant way to move past this awful demonstration of incompetence is to adopt a good dose of Edward DeBono’s, Six Thinking Hats, an interactive approach to strategic thinking. What is going on in the “think tanks?” What are they ingesting? We have objective experts who could break the stalemate. How is it we don’t use the resources that are available rather than the fringe elements held up as window dressing of the American Way? This method can be applied to alternative fuels, any problem that requires a quick result.

Unfortunately, when one has ADD or ADHD or related information processing impairments (my daughter is such a person, so I know first hand,) discriminatory thinking and nuance are difficult concepts to mentally process.

Here are my observations from working with hundreds of business leaders. Pair this with an unwillingness to strive for continuous improvement other than getting elected or staying the darling of the board, my observations indicate the following:

1. When President Bush speaks, it’s without authority. (He has no command of the English language or the art of nuance.)
2. He begs for platform coaching. (Rule #1, never lean on the podium!)
3. He keeps his own counsel which is limited in scope.
4. He is a frightened man constantly swashbuckling against personal demons and displaces that fear and anger onto the rest of us.
5. His stance is one of punishment rather than redemption, a concept attractive in a paradoxical way to his “born again” view of the world. He clings so tightly to the righteous hoping it will somehow rub off on him.
6. He is a straw man, hollow and depleted because his life has been lived only for him. I believe the loss of his sister had a deep, dark impact on him, and he has never recovered.

These are pervasive issues facing business leaders as well. Complicate the issues with the chasm between living within one’s values, and standing firm on them and being bull-headed or immovable, not to be confused with persistence. Consider this a limited array of one’s ability to think on a variety of levels. Bush’s absolutism is indicative of insecurity, because “If there is gray, there may be another way!™”

His life of privilege hasn’t served him either. Interestingly, privilege doesn’t automatically come with power. He’s lived a life based on his demands. He seems incapable of entertaining perspectives, different angles because they may confuse him. Consider this example—Warts and all, the Kennedy family served this country with insight, and an insight into the impoverished and disenfranchised typically reserved for those who came from that place. Although there are past transgressions, the composite effect is much like a mafia family that wants to go “straight,” this family has used its influence and power to uplift others (e.g. civil rights, entrepreneurship).

Privilege without boundaries creates a false sense of being. Ross Perot, during one his interviews during a run for president, said, “How can you trust someone who doesn’t even have to stop at a red light!” Think about that. One doesn’t even obey the rules of the road. This is what we see today with “W,” while Dad Bush took another trail and has befriended his arch rival, Bill Clinton, to bring a ray of hope into the world with their joint relief projects and fundraising. That takes courage.

“W” would do well to learn from his dad. Leaders, like the criminal Kenneth Lay, are arrogant, petulant and appear uncomfortable in their own skin.

I wish all leaders well. I wish you all an epiphany of your limitations and humanity. I encourage leaders to listen to others beyond their own ideas.
It’s never too late to do the “right thing.”
Just ask Dad, George. I hope his humility is contagious.
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