How do we survive in a culture of fear?
“If it bleeds it leads.” A common saying in newsrooms around the world and a known fact that we humans are drawn to the crisis. It’s this very trait that the body employs to save its life, but is the same thing that the media, marketers, charities, politicians, and lobbyists, etc all exploit. This is a crucial component of how a Social Licence becomes at risk.
Recently listening to The Inquiry, Donald Trump was referred to as the most prominent fear-mongering politician in the world, by taking anecdotes and incidents out of context and making false claims with statistics. The point The Inquiry was making is that once we’ve been scared, we are looking for a solution. Cue the original fear monger to offer it up and herein lies how Trump became president. Media play a crucial role in being the mouthpiece for the issues and often the enabler of fear mongers. But again, they are as vulnerable to the blurriness as we are, we’re all human, with little time or resource in most cases to nail it every time. However, it is a crucial role they play in actively deciding to sensationalise stories and issues to get ratings and ultimately advertising. We see this everywhere today, where facts get blurred with anecdotes or rare incidents and statistics and science gets cherry-picked along with it to offer you up a nice bouquet stinking of fear. It is so hard to obtain the truth in this digital age of information, where we are swamped with pseudoscience, or scientists with agendas, and anyones’ ability to take us down a rabbit hole that validates our perceptions and opinions. It all looks real at glance, and who has time to investigate every issue? Herein lies the problem. If your business or industry falls prey to a group or person that is willing to put the time and effort into taking your reputation down that rabbit hole then you have a loooooooong and incredibly hard road ahead that you are not guaranteed to survive. Whoops, that is a little fear mongery of me sorry!
My point is, we waste so much time being scared and polarised that we reduce our efficiency and effectiveness in innovating and solving real issues. It becomes a debate, argument and eventually a talkfest before any real solutions and actions are made. I wonder if we are able to skip all the fear-mongering and arguing over facts and get to the core of the issue and focus on the solution, or whether it is a necessary part of the process to get everyone on the same page? If we are able to strengthen our stakeholder relations to the point that you can invite them to help you come up with a solution then we can hopefully skip the fear-mongering and trial by media. It’s about having a meaningful and respectful approach to people you deal with and not operating in a silo or rabbit hole yourself. You won’t know what’s coming if you stay in your lane.