Enlightened Conflict

angry strategizing

August 11th, 2016

if you are not angry you are not paying attention




“It’s time we stop worrying, and get angry you know?

But not angry and pick up a gun, but angry and open our minds.”




Tupac Shakur




This is hardly worth fighting for

But it’s the little petty shit that I can’t ignore

When my fist hits your face and your face hits the floor


It’ll be a long time coming

But you got the message now

‘Cause I was never going

You’re the one that’s going down


One of us is going down

I’m not running,

It’s a little different now

‘Cause one of us is going

One of us is going down



Sick Puppies

<You’re Going Down>





The Olympics is reminding us of a topic which is not discussed often enough in business … angry competition. I call it angry strategizing.

angry strategy yell think business





The Olympics has reminded me about competing angry.


While the Olympics are supposed to be about the love of competition and a better world through sports competition … it is actually about determining the best in the world. And that, my friends, is not about love it is about the rage of competition.

And while I will surely give a nod to respect shown to other great competitors and the aftermath camaraderie that can only be had among the best in the world who have competed the hardest and recognize greatness around them at the Olympics, and how they do so even in loss, I must point out that the Olympic best carry a certain rage into their competitiveness.


It may not be the traditional version of anger but it is most certainly a version of anger.


And it drives them to compete with the intent to beat the shit out of whomever they are competing against and be the best they can be so they can actually be the best.


I say all that because I don’t believe enough business people strategize with some anger. Anger that … well … there are some stupid ideas out there …


some stupid opinions


some stupid attitudes


competitors say and do stupid things


and certainly there is a stupid acceptance of mediocrity.


I know that I have sat in a meeting room with some business partners and looked around at the competition and what they were doing and saying and … angry sign window republicanwell … got angry.


And got angry enough t want and do something about it.



Being angry in business. and, no, I am not talking about being some anger management candidate but I mean planning angry … developing a strategy thinking with some anger about the status quo … maybe even having some anger toward conventional thinking and certainly some anger against whomever you are competing <but you can still respect the ones who deserve the respect while doing so> is effective and leads to effective business strategy to create real distinction in the marketplace.


To be clear.


Anger, to me, is much more useful than disdain.


Disdain breeds some arrogance and certainly diminishes the capabilities of the competition as you think about competing against them. In your scoffing at them it suggests that it is … is … well … just not worth even thinking about.


Anger, on the other hand, suggests you are facing what is straight on … in its face … and taking it head on. Anger guides you not toward some flimsy white space but directly into the fray …  directly toward the space you want in a market <whether it is already occupied or not> and take it.


Or, as Admiral Nelson once said, “you can do no wrong by putting yourself as close to the enemy as possible.”



And you know what?


In business strategy that is smart.


So that is why I call this the angry business strategy.


Certainly … there is only one real way to win … and that is without cheating.

Anger almost forces you to not only recognize that there is no virtue to be found in taking a shortcut <although shortcuts never really exist anyway> … but that there is no long cut or shortcut but rather simply getting up and going … and competing to win.


I am sure someone will point out that it may simply be you look around and get aggravated by what you see and decide to do something about it.


But I think if you have the team, and you have the product or service and you actually have the means to make your mark in the business world … then … well … it is okay if you look around at the competition and the competitive business world and get a little pissed … not just aggravated.


You get a little angry …

This is stupid … there is a better way.


This is crazy … I have a better product.


This is nuts … I can’t believe people believe that shit.


Your anger puts an edge on what you decide to say and do.


Far too often we sit around and have pot after pot of strong coffee and have intellectual discussions on how to smartly effectively compete. We worry through some fairly random details, talk about being the best and then go ahead and be anything but the best.


So … you know what?


If you are better and have a better offering and are truly worth a shit and want people to know you are worth a shit … well then … there is no real intellectual challenge.


You get on with getting on.


You just get competitively angry and stand in the middle of the field and say “here I am, and I am not going down.”


strategy think anger angry business ideas filterI am not suggesting being stupid about competing.


Nor am I suggesting bludgeoning the industry and competitors with some dull edged hammer.


But I am suggesting the anger puts some attitude into your strategy and tactics.


It puts a sharper edge into your sense of competitive purpose.


And here is what I know.


If it isn’t blind anger but rather competitive anger … you won’t tiptoe into your messaging and go to market strategy. You will stride in with some swagger, some confidence and clearly some strong purposeful messaging.


I think … no … I know more businesses would do better to attack their business meeting angry business strategystrategy with some anger.


Get a little pissed about perceptions, attitudes and mediocrity.


Get pissed that people are accepting less than the best and less than real truth.


Get pissed at yourself if you are in a position where you don’t believe enough in yourself and your offering to be able to get pissed.




I do believe more businesses should strategize with some anger.

As Tupac said … not angry and pick up a gun, but angry and open our minds.

the class

October 9th, 2013


Well.The ClassPoster

This is about an older  French movie <a docudrama I imagine it is called> called The Class.


It is a movie where a real-life high-school teacher, François Bégaudeau, plays a version of himself as a teacher at a Paris high school in a poor neighborhood.

<Here is the trailer for the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUzKu51bY04  … >



If you have ever wondered what life as a teacher is like … don’t hesitate to watch this movie.


It is a frightening glimpse into how every class is a balancing act teetering back and forth between deeply disillusioning and goose bump inspiring. You will experience such frustration almost to the point of despair and within moments you will experience the unexpectedly touching moment.


Ultimately … it all ends up in what one review called ‘a god-awful mess’.


About The Class:

It is an examination of the complex dynamic that develops between an inspired, but humanly flawed, teacher and a diverse group of <cynical but generally good hearted>students.


Directed by Laurent Cantet (Time Out, Heading South), The Class, which won the prestigious 2008 Palme d’Or at Cannes and landed an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film that same year, finds its meaning in the spirit of improvisation. “I try to take a risk in reconstituting the incongruity of life,”

That incongruity is woven into the texture of the story. Loosely adapting a book by French school teacher Francois Begaudeau, Cantet illustrates how this dedicated, idealistic instructor tries to teach a diverse group of students from various social classes and cultures. The results are as diverse as the students themselves. Cantet transforms the material into an entertaining, yet incisive look at how the process of learning can be predicated by certain social and political realities.


Some of my thoughts.

Using a cast of non-actors to play the students the movie provides a facsimile of documentary realism <but it is a movie … maybe call it ‘historical fiction-like’>.


The Class_0.previewIt is a frightening glimpse of how a teacher … not a parent … is faced with the pertinent issues that inevitably grow out of classroom discussions.  And the sheer randomness a teacher is faced with as the topics include everything from interpreting The Diary of Anne Frank to arguments about rival football teams.


The Class tries to take a realistic approach as it doesn’t idealize the students and also doesn’t deify the teacher either. To me … it showed kids as kids … and teachers as … well … humans. Teachers are portrayed as flawed but doing their best <especially when inspired> even when their best is possibly just not good enough.


There is a great example of ‘humanness’ of when the teacher attempts to confront the bad behavior of two girls who are class representatives.


He uses an insulting pejorative that has the opposite impact of what he intends.



It becomes easy <assuming you take the time to put yourself in a teacher’s shoes> to recognize that the potential for not dealing with each and every situation at its best is incredibly high. That often I imagine a teacher makes it to the end of a day having all energy sapped out of them simply from weaving their way through the minefield of situations they faced that day <and not by anything to do with actual teaching>.


There is a great scene when the teacher of The Class arrives at the faculty lounge after dealing with a particularly difficult class and several of the other teachers appear shell-shocked, ready to pack it in. he hears … these kids don’t deserve to be educated; they’re like animals in heat; let them rot in their dead-end low-class jobs.

He argues that a teacher’s job is “to bring kids out.”


And he does … until, about an hour and a half into the movie where he ‘loses it’ <if but only for a moment or so> and it all goes to hell.


This quasi documentary is really an intelligent dialogue that doesn’t settle for easy answers or pose obvious resolutions <in fact … the teacher and his students don’t all reach a common end>.answers are everywhere


The Class is just over two hours and it is a relentless 2 hours as you view a nonstop battle to engage, engage and engage more with the students … sometimes simply trying to keep chaos at bay. The teacher moves from offense to defense and tries to mediate … but he’s a white male authority figure from a more prosperous class teaching mostly immigrants. When he presses them too hard on, say, a point of grammar, his pupils parrot Marxist maxims and maintain that he can never understand their perspectives.


They are not really wrong but the teacher keeps going on and trying.


There is a delightful scene where he finally truly engages his students within an assignment to write self-portraits. Suddenly they haltingly share their hopes and fears about their bodies, life, families, and <for many> the struggles of an immigrant family … trying to adapt in a country that hasn’t made them welcome.

For a moment you not only see why a teacher wants to teach … but you get a glimpse of our young at their best and most open.


You see the students as destabilizing disruptive progress inhibitors while still recognizing that often their behavior is driven by self-preservation.

Sometimes it is as simple as that in their sometimes simple minded defense rhetoric and behavior is a simple terror of losing face in front of their peers.

There are glimpses of students as in-class people and out of school people. Young adults struggling with Life.



There is one scene in particular, before the school system’s disciplinary committee, in which a proud, taciturn teen <named Souleymane> must translate his African mother’s pleas to forgive her son. It is ironic, terrible, heart wrenching. You feel helpless. One of those moments where you almost wish you could step into the movie and help. It is powerful.

Souleymane is defiant and scared and isolated … and the only teacher with a hope of saving him is now is the teacher who cannot help him because the teacher himself is in self preservation mode.


This one scene is heart wrenching … maddening … and reality.


Society has created an almost ‘kill or be killed’ scenario for teachers … within the classroom AND within the administration AND with parents.


It reminds you that the threats come from within the classroom AND outside the classroom as you watch teachers who truly have good intent in mind being tested by the real world.


education and the wire we-are-all-equalThey make you understand that teaching is moment to moment, an endless series of <grinding thoughtful> negotiations that often teeter on intangibles … on the teacher’s imagination and empathy and the struggle to stay centered … and simply having the energy to deal with the situation at hand.


The movie ends on a bitter note.

It leaves a not so pleasant taste in your mouth while making its point that maybe the system is not broken but rather that, just as in Life, it is complex and flawed … but choices have to be made so that everything can continue to move on.


And as a teacher you just keep on going and try to do better the next time. Teachers … despite the moment to moment teaching energy grind … recognize … in some form or fashion … they are dealers in Hope as much as educators.


The Class.

I think this is a remarkable movie.


Enlightened Conflict