Leaving One Side in the Cold

by Vince Poscente
Author of The Ant and the Elephant, Invinceable Principles and The Age of Speed

One-sided stories are like a painting half done, one-legged pants or hockey with only one skate. Finding the complete picture can slow things down at first but ultimately will speed things up.

You might have read about the executive excesses, junkets and boondoggles that have underscored the greed on Wall Street. The hue and cry: In a time where individuals and companies need to spend responsibly, the atrocity of things like a $35,000 commode must stop. Wait, before you raise your pitchforks and garden hoes with the rest of the mob it’s important to note – the “commode on legs” ex-Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain bought for his office was actually an early 18th century French chest of drawers originally intended for a chamber pot.

I’m not defending the poor timing of Thain’s excessive purchases but it’s curious his instant turnaround to personally pay the corner office redo was buried. Lazy media only seemed interested in one side of the story. Combine this with a consumer’s desire for sensationalism and the mob assembles with torches raised.

The other side of the story: Thain popped a few million dollars in the companies he hired and services that in-turn fed this money back into our economy. In the end it was a good thing where the money went. “But what about the workers?” yells the guy with the bullhorn at the front of the mob.

Good question! Consider Wells Fargo and the one sided story of a boondoggle to Las Vegas. It turns out the media didn’t seem to care it was an employee recognition event for high performing Tellers, Personal Bankers, Financial Advisors, Credit Analysts and the like. Here we have profits made by hard working employees converted into an event that would have circulated money into convention and hospitality services. Instead, the good people at Wells Fargo are forced to cancel all employee recognition events for the balance of the year. This will only serve to demotivate a dedicated workforce and slow down an already hobbled economy.

Think back three years ago when 60 Minutes featured skier Bode Miller, gold medal favorite in the Turin Games as being “wasted” during a race. Never mind that it was a statement taken out of context. It was a hangover after winning the overall world cup title in 2005. The media distraction was so intense for Miller his reflex for pushing back at anyone telling him what to do contributed to his lackluster performance in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. No gold medal and a nationwide uproar.

Our economic (and gold medal count) salvation will be in our collective desire to seek a big-picture solution where everyone can win. This abundance mentality can be difficult when financial ruin stands at your door. But let’s step back and make an informed decision for everyone involved. Put down the pitchfork and put one-sided stories in the chamber pot where they belong.

Let’s mutually look for ways to have money and goodwill circulate for a speedy recovery.


Vince Poscente
New York Times Bestselling Author
Speaker Hall of Fame and Olympian
February 11, 2009


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