Who hasn’t heard that? Second-guessing is a skill honed in every office place in the world. In politics it is second nature to second guess. Because it so easy to find potential flaws, it is almost human nature to do so. In today’s Internet-connected world we are all second guessers. What used to be reserved for the Editorial and Opinion page is now “news” on TV, radio and every blog on the net.
This is good, you say. This makes us think. Well placed criticism does make us think. Feedback is part of any successful planning process. But most of what is labeled critique is actually “throwing stones to draw attention to the stone thrower”. If some talking head on CNBC says Timmothy Geittner’s plan will fail, he isn’t trying to help the Treasury Secretary solve the world’s problems. He is trying to sell his own name, his blog, his book, i.e. his “brand”. In a few months, when the dust settles on the Financial crisis will errant opinions be called out and graded? Nah. We live in a short-term world. Yesterday’s news is buried in a heap of Tweets no one can keep up with. Good stone throwers know that if you keep throwing stones at new targets, old “misses” are soon forgotten.
There is a greater implication. The loss of long-term thinking in a world that only measures short-term results. Our world is increasingly complex but our news is remarkably simplistic – a child murderer in California, toxic assets, a few cases of swine flu. Did you know that 1000 children die every day from contaminated water? Or that more firefighters die from Heart Disease than fire and smoke? The result is a total lack of perspective and context, which creates the ideal environment for throwing stones.
Tell me what your plans are and I’ll tell you how I can help – maybe.