Taking Steps Toward Leadership–the news you need to know

Every morning when my husband’s alarm goes off, he has it set to listen to an oldies station where I hear the music I grew up with…over and over and over.  Heh heh heh.  There is a segment of “5 after laughter” where they play a clip from a comedy routine, then they update us on the latest news.  It’s 15 seconds of what President Trump is doing and the international reaction, and 15 seconds of the latest scandal.  They finish up with the phrase, “At 6:30, the news you need to know!”  Now let’s think about this.

Yes, international relations are important to everyone.  It determines some of the market movement, influences the way our country is seen by world entities, and may be a precursor to war or peace.  Thank you for that radio news guys.  However, why is it necessary for me to know what the Kardashians are doing?  How Angelina and Brad are getting along in their marriage really doesn’t impact the rest of my day.  Why would any legitimate news program include gossip?

Then I turn on the TV.  Big mistake.  There are very serious faces talking about what’s happening in the world.  The tone of voice indicates they have an opinion on the events, and their choice of words changes the color of the news they are announcing.  The easiest example of this is the stock market report.  “The Dow plunged 17 points in after hour trading due to the reaction of the recent labor reports.”  “The Dow dipped below 20,000 briefly due to the release of the recent labor reports.”  It’s the same report, the same results, but colored by opinion.  If you understand the Dow at all, you know that there are whole bunches of Dow Averages, the Industrial Average being just a small part.  In fact, the Industrial Average doesn’t include all that many industrial stocks!   3M, American Express, AT&T, Boeing, Chevron, Cisco Systems, Coca-Cola, DuPont, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Home Depot, Intel, IBM, Johnson and Johnson and JPMorgan Chase, McDonald’s, Merck, Microsoft, Nike, Pfizer, Procter and Gamble, Travelers, United Technologies, Verizon, Visa, Wal-Mart and Walt Disney.   People make very important investment decisions based on an index that doesn’t even include the stocks they own.  The news I need to know?  Who decides that?

You also have the he said-she said political ads on in between the sensational stories.  They all focus on giving you a sensation–an emotional reaction.  Think of the color commentator on a sport.  “He breaks a tackle, and another, and another!  He’s to the 40, the 50, the 45 and nearly pushed out of bounds but Did You See that?!!! (We’re all watching it on the screen and the camera man zoomed in so of course we all saw that.) He’s still going!  He’s all by himself at the 30, the 20 and SCOOOOOORRRRRRE!!!!!”  Why would you need a color commentator to tell you what you can see for yourself?  They want you to experience an emotion, to get personally invested in the goings on of the ball game.  It works the same way in the news.  When Walter Cronkite gave the news, he stated what was happening in the world.  If he had an opinion, it was at the conclusion of the broadcast and was listed as an editorial.  Now, there is no separation between the facts and either the news reader’s opinion or that of the studio where the program is produced.  People associate biases with each news program.  Isn’t news news?  How can you have a bias on the facts?  They choose the facts and the wording to endorse their particular perception.  That’s editorializing everything!

What does that have to do with leadership?  Is it used by companies to develop loyalty and increase morale?  Of course it is.  Sometimes it is for the best result for the employees, sometimes it’s a deception.  That’s where the rubber meets the road.  Enron is a prime example of that.  Apple is another.  One cost its workers all of their pensions.  The other raised the level of performance of the company.

As a leader in your community, your organization, your club, your business, you need to sift through the information that you have available and find what is beneficial and helpful to your followers.  You want to present it in a way that gets them emotionally involved.  You must Never Deceive the people you work with or your clients by twisting the facts to meet your best interests.  Make sure the news or information you give out is pertinent to their situation, is true, and truly IS the news they need to know.  This is how you develop loyalty and trust with your followers and your clients and it is essential to keeping your best followers whether in a business or a club or organization.

And That’s the way it is.

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