Friday, June 2, 2017

We'll Always Have Paris

American screenwriter Howard E. Koch's immortal line delivered by Humphrey Bogart's character Rick Blaine during the last few moments of Casablanca was all I could think of, as I nearly cried while reading today the front page headline from The Wall Street Journal: Trump Quits Global Climate Accord.  

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," was our President Trump's proud reasoning for pulling out.

Along that reasoning, just imagine someone saying "I was hired to be Estate Manager of this property, not the neighbors'! Now crank up that music!"

But we do have to keep in mind that a significant number of our population voted for Trump, and he was not shy about how he was going to govern this country, and was never shy about letting everyone get inside of his head, long before everyone had the chance to reconsider and vote for someone else.  

In other words - we were warned.


I find an absence of systems-thinking to be an epidemic in the world. And that isn't some snooty, elitist academic comment. It's just true; many people cannot see the results of their actions beyond what is directly just a few feet in front of them. And those same people have elected our new President - a President who proudly isolates concerns for others within a very confined and immediate vicinity - and with a large support group behind him who also thinks that isolation, with blinders on, is somehow a nifty idea.

Remember all that talk about the "big, beautiful wall"? Even though it will never actually be built, think of the harm that simpleton, isolationist idea has created with our southern border neighbor and also the world around us - harm which will ripple out and affect all of the diverse cultures of people around us (and within us!) - the system that we are all a part of.

My concern here has nothing to do with conservative vs liberal, left vs right coasts, or industrial/profit vs environmental concerns. It has to do with the enormous frightful reality that someone whose brain cannot connect dots - is now our dear leader. And how so many people continue to think that isolating ourselves, and isolating our actions, and then pretending to be able to isolate the consequences themselves, is somehow a workable idea for our long-term prosperity. 

But they do. Trump is appealing to the aggrieved privilege of well-to-do white Republicans who feel threatened by America's [complex system of] changing demographics... they know what's he's selling - and they like it, notes Jeet Heer of New Republic.

But just because the fear of complexity is an easy sale - doesn't mean that it's a good thing to buy. The very notion of fear and isolationism ripples out to how we conduct ourselves at work on estates, and even how we behave during our off-duty time with friends, members of our communities, and even our own families.


I've offered in the past, and will offer again here:  I am so convinced that systems-thinking skills are the bedrock foundation of good people management, that I will gladly send to the first twenty respondents - to any domestic services reader of The Citizen, free of charge, Peter Senge's iconic work, "The Fifth Discipline."  

It's really free... yours for the asking. The book will challenge and change understandings of how everything done on your estate (and even outside your estate) will affect every other part and person you come into contact with at work, and it can change your personal life - and for the better, as well.  

For your free copy of The Fifth Discipline, please write to me at: and include your name and phone number, and I will be in touch with you soon.

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