Why not defy CW?

by todaystrainingblog

(This may seem like a political post but it is not)

Most people will then ask me, why not? What works better? Conventional wisdom is full of tried and true ways of getting the job done correctly, both effectively and efficiently. So why not follow Conventional Wisdom in solving problems and issues?

The recent presidential election I think has answered that quite succinctly… Donald Trump won when he didn’t follow the CW of politicians and candidates. Going along with that were these points he didn’t follow and was behind in virtually every single poll during the primaries and general election.

  • No ground game. He didn’t have half the offices he was supposed to have had to win.
  • He didn’t have enough money. They said he would need a Billion dollars…he raised less than half that.
  • He was too bombastic and blunt. Obviously it is what the electorate wanted to hear.
  • You can’t treat voters like they have intelligence. He did.
  • You can’t run a totally negative campaign and win. He did pointing out the hypocrisies of the oppositions fallacies.

           Should I go on? I think that these are just a few of what marked his successful campaign for President. Whether you like him or not, you have to admit that President-elect Trump was totally non-conventional and didn’t follow conventional wisdom during the campaign.

In my younger days in the security field I towed the corporate line. I did what I was told blindly and without regard for alternatives. I believed that was the way to do things and get ahead. At the time, 33 years ago, I was with Wells Fargo Guard Services, now a part of Securitas.

I firmly believed in what Major Frank Burns, Larry Linville of M*A*S*H fame, stated “If we don’t blindly follow our leaders and act the same, we can’t be independent and free”. It is unfortunate but I thought that way. And probably because the company encouraged it, as do too many security, and innumerable others, companies still do.

I did learn, usually the hard way, as I pursued my career that this wasn’t the way to get things done. Nor was it the way to improve things and the conditions that security was under. So I started to change and have kept changing, much too the chagrin of many people, including myself as well.

At this point I can say that I don’t follow CW, and haven’t for more than 3 decades and I hope I never will. CW is constraining, restrictive, doesn’t allow for creativity or originality. I’ll continue to think out of the box. After all that’s where the best ideas come from, ask history books about Nicolai Tesla, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, & Steve Jobs.

Not following CW has been considered counterproductive by my former employers& others. But it has served to problem solve many complicated issues not to mention serving my clients and employees. It was counter-productive only to the company. Despite what my employers thought, or wanted, I earned several commendations for my CW defying thoughts and ideas.

Several years ago I came across a discussion that seemed to speak to me. Here is a small excerpt; “If you’re not up for being a creator, at least be willing to put yourself out there to support and defend new ideas. Don’t simply follow the crowd and their Opinion of something. Form your own independent thoughts and stand behind those beliefs. Don’t bow to the criticism of other critics who might criticize you. Leadership is about being out in front and taking others to new places. You can’t lead if you simply follow the conventional wisdom because it’s safe.”

That statement tells me that by not following CW, I can do well enough. And I can do that without following everyone else and sometimes this means ignoring standard & best practices within the security field and others.

I firmly believe that CW can be moldy, smelly, & totally & completely useless in a world where things change as fast as   lightning. So thumb your noses at CW and try something creative and innovative that hasn’t been tried before.

If it fails…so what? If you get disciplined …so what? If you get fired…so what? You will have the satisfaction of knowing you did what was necessary for the client, employees, and the company. You will also know that this wasn’t the first time this has happened to someone…remember Steve Jobs? He was fired from Apple before being rehired to save it.

Don’t act like a horse or dog performing for its treats or dinner is what you need to do in defying CW. Nothing says you can’t be the one to push aside all of the old rules and create new ones that work better, is there? Throw aside CW like Donald Trump and you can make a splash bigger than anyone else. That splash may make your company more profitable and your clients and employees happier and satisfied. You never know until you try…and potentially fail.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                                   I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear