Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Business Lessons from Ferguson

Lately I have found myself, like much of America, glued to the live feeds of the late night scenes of violence occurring in Ferguson, MO. The tragic events of Michael Brown’s death and the subsequent bouts of violence are at the heart of the story, but watching the scenes of violence play out between rioters and cops in Ferguson remind me of something closer to home for the Corporate Bravery audience.

The clashes between the police forces (city, highway patrol, etc) have been the subject of much debate over the past week and half for the emerging story line of increasing militarization of America’s police departments. This story line even prompted an Op Ed by emerging presidential candidate Rand Paul with his Libertarian take on the issue.

I am not writing today to continue that theme or add some new wrinkle to that conversation, rather to talk about this increasing militarization of all parts of our lives.

Corporate Bravery was started to bring light to the increasing levels of fear that are encroaching upon all corners of our lives, but specifically on how those aspects of fear prevent us from living bold lives in the marketplace.

Security barriers surrounding Wall Street
We have become surrounded by images everywhere that evoke fear responses and lead us to erect an ever growing menagerie of control and safety devices around us for protection. And the images of fatigues, large munitions and tanks to solve a community issue is no different than what we are doing to our business institutions - both literally and figuratively.

The front entrances to our office buildings look like grim fortresses that communicate anything but a welcoming appearance to visitors, business partners and employees. Our time and attendance procedures and policies tell our employees that we can't trust you and our lack of flexible work arrangements indicate a complete disregard for the real issues that we face on a daily basis.

Just listen to some of the recent quotes from law enforcement officials around the nation regarding the situation in Ferguson as published in various national media outlets over the past week: