Jim Collins on “The Knowledge Podcast”

Just ran across “The Knowledge Podcast” with Shane Parrish. It’s first episode was in 2015 and there are 68 episodes with lots of interesting people – mostly people I’m reading or listing to in other places. I’ve already listened to 3 more and have added 4-5 more to my “waiting to listen to” list.

In this episode, Jim Collins (author of Good to Great and many other cornerstone business books of our generation / not sure what generation that is actually) talks about luck, leadership, ambition, decision making, what it is for a company to be on a 20 mile march, firing bullets before firing cannonballs and the 2 key components to LEARNING how to be a leader.

Image Source: chiefexecutive.net

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The Problem on The Left (or the problem everywhere)

Democrats used to be the party of the working guy (sorry – working person).

They built their base of support by fighting for better wages and better benefits.  They knew those two things were the clearest path to improving the quality of life for their base.  

Today – not so much.  

Fighting for someone else, the old democratic party always held the moral high ground.  While the republicans always came across as fighting to selfishly keep what they had.  As I life long Republican – that is annoyingly true.  

The democrats today are in a tough spot.  They are now the ones in power. They control the board rooms, the banks, silicon valley, the media, and the richest zip codes in the country are overwhelmingly liberal.  

In the past, the democrats rallied AGAINST the powerful.  Today – they ARE the powerful.  

It is clear now that better wages and better benefits for the working class is now something that doesn’t work as well given the left’s new found power base.  

But parties have to fight for something.  So, now instead of fighting for better wages and better benefits for working people – they fight for diversity. 

Why?

They have to know  it isn’t real – 0r it isn’t as real as money.  

For sure isn’t measurable.  And even better – because if something isn’t measurable it is easy to keep moving the goal posts – pretending like we aren’t there yet.  

We are for sure 1000x more diverse today then at any other time in history and somehow TODAY it is our biggest issue?  Is happiness correlated to this 1000x improvement?  I know wages and benefits can be tied to happiness – up to a point.  I don’t remember MLK fighting for diversity.  He fought for economic justice – a fair shake.  Diversity – doesn’t guaranty any of that.  It just sounds or feels good.  It isn’t real.  


Sounding good or feeling good lets the left keep the moral high ground they held in the past.  The can still be THE virtuous party.  Even though they know what they are fighting for isn’t actually going to help anybody.  
Maybe more than power – the other driving force not just on the left but for us all is the ability to feel good about ourselves and what we are doing – the ability to feel virtuous.  


I’m sure diversity does improve quality of life.  It is why I live in the city and not the suburbs (at a much higher cost).  But at an individual human level it isn’t the same as someone being able to put food on their table or pay their rent.  Those are things most of the people in power  have forgotten – if they ever knew.  


In fairness – nobody in Washington (right or left) remembers any of that too well.   The path to riches in Washington is a very short path.  Look at where AOC lives now.  


Diversity may make people that don’t fret about things like paying for food and paying rent feel better.  But it is clearly not the first problem we should be trying to solve.   


Here is why.  

Solving real problems would most likely do way more to address the real issues we are facing.  

It is clear that the less fear people live in, the less hate they have.  And the less hate people have, the more easily people can love each other, or at the least – hate each other less.  

Telling anybody that they need to focus on loving and accepting others more, when they have a boot on their neck financially, only comes across as out of touch and naive.  


This is all clear to anybody that is paying attention.  Republicans have been the party of the rich (arguable – but mostly true) and now the democrats are the party of the powerful (who are now the REAL rich).    


The working class woke up 1 day and realized they didn’t have a voice anymore.  Trump became that voice and it is that simple.  


Trump didn’t create this problem.  He was the result of the problem.  
Somewhere along the way we stopped talking to each other.  And that stopped way before Trump.  


Deny that – and Trump wins again – for sure.  


For a clearer picture, watch the documentary American Chaos, by Jim Stern who documents his attempt to understand how someone like Trump came to be.  He hates Trump.  He doesn’t change his mind on Trump AT ALL.  But he does start to get the why.  


Or read this more recent article by Tucker Carlson


Two takes from opposites sides of the political spectrum – interestingly landing in pretty much the same place.  When half the country feels left out of the conversation – not a lot of good can happen.  


The only path to start fixing any of this is to start talking (actually listening).  And sadly for me – I don’t see that beginning under Trump.  But I also don’t see a better alternative.  

Trump didn’t create this mess – and he probably won’t fix it.  

Maybe we can at least learn something from all of this and be ready when a real conversation starts again.  How can we learn something? Stop talking and start listening. Hopefully sooner rather than later.