Monday Morning Memo
by Alan Weiss, Ph.D., from Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo©
Reprinted with permission. Featured Image from Bentley Quarterly Magazine used with permission.
Happy Columbus Day!
Whoops? Am I crazy? Have I been hiding under a rock? Will everyone unsubscribe?
A scant year ago I drove my buddy and local media star anchor in the back of my Rolls in the Columbus Day Parade along Atwells Avenue in Providence. Huge crowds turned out, food was served all over, all the police brass and politicians were present.
I’m sure we’d be doing it again this past weekend if not for the pandemic restrictions. But, in the meantime, the very progressive and largely clueless mayor of Providence has had the Columbus statue removed.
Columbus was not a racist, nor did he ever own slaves (nor set foot on North America proper, he went to the Caribbean). He did not advocate nor commit genocide, though men he left there after he returned home tried to do so (and were rightly slaughtered by the native people). But there was no massive killing by Europeans as there was to be later in Central and South America. The spread of deadly diseases pre-dated European arrivals on those shores (as determined by examination of pre-Columbian tombs).
Slavery had long been practiced by indigenous peoples (Caribs and Canibs). European intervention stopped human sacrifice and cannibalism. (We visited sites in Mexico where Aztec priests would remove the beating hearts of living victims and toss them as sacrifice to the gods. The walls are still stained red centuries later.)
People knew the world was round at the time of Columbus. He wanted to raise money through a search for Asian trade to fund an effort to free Jerusalem from the Muslims. His techniques in conquering winds and currents for sailing were used for hundreds of years after his death, and his Atlantic crossing route is still used today.
We are throwing rocks today at Jefferson, Grant, Columbus, and others in a fit of “presentism” and “cancel culture,” and scouring old yearbooks to find some spoken gaffe or inappropriate behavior to use to force apologies in a Star Chamber reminiscent of McCarthyism at high tide.
Maybe we should use all of our passion and high moral dudgeon to do the hard work: create better and equal schools, provide quality healthcare available to all, create equal opportunity and level playing fields in employment, and take care of all the less fortunate amongst us. That’s the navigation, the daring, the boldness we need today.
Sadly, I see no contemporary Columbus to lead us across that ocean.
(Suggested reading: Charles C. Mann’s two books, 1491 and 1493.)
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About Alan Weiss, Ph.D.
His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients such as Merck, Hewlett-Packard, GE, Mercedes-Benz, State Street Corporation, Times Mirror Group, The Federal Reserve, The New York Times Corporation, Toyota, and over 500 other leading organizations. He has served on the boards of directors of the Trinity Repertory Company, a Tony-Award-winning New England regional theater, Festival Ballet, and chaired the Newport International Film Festival.
His speaking typically includes 20 keynotes a year at major conferences, and he has been a visiting faculty member at Case Western Reserve University, Boston College, Tufts, St. John’s, the University of Illinois, the Institute of Management Studies, and the University of Georgia Graduate School of Business. He has held an appointment as adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Rhode Island where he taught courses on advanced management and consulting skills to MBA and PhD candidates. He once held the record for selling out the highest priced workshop (on entrepreneurialism) in the then-21-year history of New York City’s Learning Annex. His Ph.D. is in psychology. He has served on the Board of Governors of Harvard University’s Center for Mental Health and the Media.
He is an inductee into the Professional Speaking Hall of Fame® and the concurrent recipient of the National Speakers Association Council of Peers Award of Excellence, representing the top 1% of professional speakers in the world. He has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, one of only two people in history holding both those designations.
His prolific publishing includes over 500 articles and 60 books, including his best-seller, Million Dollar Consulting (from McGraw-Hill) now in its 25th year and fifth edition. His newest is Threescore and More: Applying the Assets of Maturity, Wisdom, and Experience for Personal and Professional Success (Routledge, 2018). His books have been on the curricula at Villanova, Temple University, and the Wharton School of Business, and have been translated into 15 languages.
He is interviewed and quoted frequently in the media. His career has taken him to 60 countries and 49 states. (He is afraid to go to North Dakota.) Success Magazine cited him in an editorial devoted to his work as “a worldwide expert in executive education.“ The New York Post called him “one of the most highly regarded independent consultants in America.“ He is the winner of the prestigious Axiem Award for Excellence in Audio Presentation.
He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Press Institute, the first-ever for a non-journalist, and one of only seven awarded in the 65-year history of the association. He holds an annual Thought Leadership Conference which draws world famous experts as speakers. In 2014 his featured speaker was political pundit, best-selling author, and media favorite James Carville, in 2015 Master of Influence Robert Cialdini, and in 2016 Dan Gilbert of Harvard who has over 15 million views of his TED talk on happiness.
He has coached former candidates for Miss Rhode Island/Miss America in interviewing skills. He once appeared on the popular American TV game show Jeopardy, where he lost badly in the first round to a dancing waiter from Iowa.
Alan is married to the lovely Maria for 47 years, and they have two children and twin granddaughters. They reside in East Greenwich, RI with their dogs, Buddy Beagle and Bentley, a white German Shepherd.