The ‘tooling” of American Business

Slouching to Gomorrah:

I saw an article in Inc. Magazine and it had me thinking about how often we settle for the easiest, lowest, most common (and cynical) approach to things.  This article attempts to inveigle us into thinking that our business is more important than anything, and as such we are permitted to do virtually anything to ensure its survival.  To justify the argument with the premise that men in sales roles have been doing unseemly things for years and customers expect it, is such a cop-out. When did American business begin looking to Jerry Springer as a sales guru?  Are we all just shallow, hormonal tools? Are we ready to give in on this?

Is this our “Big Night”?

Nowhere is this philosophy more completely and cleverly presented than in the character of Pascal in the Movie “The Big Night”. It also spoke powerfully about the essence of a larger conversation I have been participating in this week.  The movie is an entertaining portrait of the crossroads we are in.  It raises some very fundamental questions about why we do what we do, what can happen when we are really good at something and we pursue it, and what we can become if, in our quest for everything, we compromise. Are we becoming the character ‘Pascal’ who says “I am a businessman.  I am whatever I need to be at any given time.”, and “Give people what they want so that later you can give them what you want.”?  Are we all just tools manipulating each other while we wait (and want) to be manipulated?


This clip from the new HBO series “The News Room” captured for me the disappointment and frustration over this attitude.    I am not deluded enough to think myself morally superior.  We all make short-sighted and selfish decisions and we treat each other like “things”, to further our own desires and plans. But COME ON! We can do way better than this!  Let’s all stop flattering ourselves and take a hard look at how we operate.  Could we be contributing to the reason for the spectacular rant Jeff Daniels’ character delivers?  We are not tools; let’s stop acting and treating each other like we are!

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Dan Clark

Dan Clark

Principal of Bowline Consulting, process designer/fixer, wireless telecom veteran, addicted pick up soccer player, fly fisher, backpacker, beer brewer, guitar player, choir singer, recovering bag piper

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