Any form of leadership may gradually turn into dictatorship.

November 17, 2011

Thinking of the recent challenges faced by a specific franchisor.

Quote:

Being a leader, carrying great power and responsibility for other people’s lives, is a monumental test for the human psyche. The weak leader is the man who cannot meet it, who simply abdicates his responsibility. The dictator is the man who replaces the existing standards of justice and morality by more and more private prestige, by more and more power, and eventually isolated himself more and more from the rest of humanity. His suspicion grows, his isolation grows, and the vicious cycle leading to a paranoid attitude begins to develop.

The dictator is not only a sick man, he is also a cruel opportunist. He sees no value in any other person and feels no gratitude for any help he may have received. He his suspicious an dishonest and believes that his personal ends justify any menas he may use to achieve them. Peculiarly enough, every tyrant still searches for some self-justification. Without such a soothing device ofr his own conscience, he cannot live. His attitude toward other people is manipulative; to him, they are merely tools for the advancement of his own interests…

It is because the dictator is afraid, albeit unconsciously, of his own internal contradictions, that he is afraid of the same internal contradictions of his fellow men. He must purge and purge, terrorize and terrorize n order to still his own raging inner drives. He must kill every doubter, destroy every person who makes a mistake, imprison everyone who cannot be proved to be utterly single-minded…

Dr. Joost A. M. Meerloo, The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought, Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, 1956, p 115-6.


(false) Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

September 16, 2010

Is preying on a military  family’s post-service vulnerability the sign of insincerity per se?

From a New York Times classified ad:

Come join a network that has pioneered and led the industry for 30 years. The UPS Store is the #1 Business and Postal Services Franchise for the 20th consecutive year (2010 Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 500 Franchise List). The UPS Store is the #1 most popular franchise with veterans in the IFA’s Vet-Fran Program (2008 International Franchise Association). With over 4300 The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. locations nationwide, our network continues to lead the market.

Baiting the Fish: Note how Cialdini’s “Weapons of Influence” are used to lure pensions and life savings capital:

  1. New York Times (authority of a traditional media outlet),
  2. Entrepreneur magazines’ Top 500 franchises (McMedia: authority for the unskilled and unaware),
  3. 30 years… (franchisor success means individual franchisees will succeed, see Dunning-Kruger above),
  4. Vet-Fran program (liking: acceptance, a member of the fraternity, endorsed/vetted by the “government”),
  5. International Franchise Association (expertise/authority, funded 100% by franchisors and their friends), and are especially
  6. vulnerable to the authority siren song from 2 directions: vivid, personal success born from supporting a strict command-control structure  while lacking the airy-fairy concept of discerning legitimate from illegitimate sources of authority.

Vets believe very strongly that people get what they deserve in this life (Just World fallacy) and would, therefore, strongly but heavily discount any non-authority based advice on a pre-sale basis. Going on “civvy street” is one of  life’s major transitions involving new/strange: work, employer, location, one/two incomes, schools, income levels, physical/mental challenges, diminished family/friend support.

Setting the Hook: The next marketing stage is an “exclusive” invitation to a very sophisticated, one-day seminar at head office (a “discovery day”). Just like in a gambling casino, these environments are very, very well thought-out, for one side’s benefit only. A real investigative journalist (John Lorinc) published an excellent description of this circus in a real media outlet (The Globe and Mail) in 2000. The Sure Thing describes the extremely effective individual and social psychology that allows predatory franchising to flourish in plain sight.

I’m glad to know great spirits like Peter Thomas or Carol Cross who, by making wise choices for their future, help me make mine.

Samuel Johnson 1709 – 1784


The science of persuasion

August 28, 2010

Robert Cialdini‘s work is important to understand.

His 6 Weapons of Influence:

  1. reciprocity, (giving a United Way pin)
  2. scarcity, (limited quantities available)
  3. authority, (basketball shoes)
  4. commitment,
  5. liking  (Tupperware example) and
  6. consensus (social proof).

Understanding these techniques goes a long way to understanding franchising.


Can an empire be saved by shaming investors like Ariel Buk?

August 15, 2010

There are costs involved in maintaining investor confidence and commercial relationships. Some people need to learn to “take one for the team”.

Ariel Buk and Sonia Karabin may need to understand that they should cool down, be quiet and go away about losing a $85,000 deposit on a non-existent Ontario, Canada franchise. They and, by extension, the many hundreds of other “failed franchisees” need to be taught their role in this confidence game by the industry stakeholders: take one for the team or risk being shamed.

1. James Daw presents the story in yesterday’s Toronto Star article,  Ice cream dream becomes nightmare about Mr Buk’s experience with Piazza Gelateria and Café. This is shrewd. For example, Mr. Daw opines:

They [husband and wife] should have looked more closely at the business opportunity, and their decision to use mainly borrowed funds after Buk had lost his job.

They should have considered the minimum $300,000 cost of a lawyer to sue for a refund if things went wrong, and the chances of recovering anything from a relatively young numbered company.

2. Robert Cialdini lists authority as one of Six Weapons of Influence. My experience is that attorneys are given a  lot of authority by new Canadians. Many of us see past their pretensions, BS and fear. [Examples of authority.]

Ben Hanuka of Davis Moldaver LLP is quoted as saying:

“Very few mom-and-pop franchisees ever go to that length (of hiring experts to research a franchise opportunity),” says Hanuka. “It sounds too complicated to them.”

All it well with the world the reader is assured. Go back to sleep because these people get what they deserved. The blame lies with:

  1. the anonymous, individual “other” (mildly retarded immigrant scapegoat) deserved what he got (“your success follows from your blind obedience to authority” dogma)  and not that
  2. stakeholders align their self-interest in maintaining a facade of legitimacy: not a fake, or a Potemkin village scheme which has preyed upon identifiable groups, in plain sight,  since at least 1971.

Social Psychology-based Hypothesis: Elite stakeholders deflect systemic wrongdoing by using the largely-internal mechanisms of On Cooling the Mark Out by Erving Goffman (shame-humiliation effect) while using the public’s widespread fallacy of theBelief in a Just World, BJW (Melvin Lerner, retired University of Waterloo, Canada) in the country’s largest daily newspaper.

Every dying empire resorts to displays of public humiliation.

Why were people crucified in Jesus’ time?
Crucifixion was a Roman custom used on the worst malefactors and rebellious slaves. Judea was a tributary to Rome at that time. It is recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus that after the last rebellion of the Jews and the capture and razing of Jerusalem, the countryside was practically denuded of trees the Romans crucified so many. WikiAnswer

Detail: Crucifixion was often performed to terrorize onlookers into submission. Victims were left on display after death as warnings. Crucifixion was usually intended to provide a death that was particularly slow, painful (hence the term excruciating, literally “out of crucifying”), gruesome (hence dissuading against the crimes punishable by it), humiliating, and public, using whatever means were most expedient for that goal. Crucifixion methods varied considerably with location and time period…

While a crucifixion was an execution, it was also a humiliation, by making the condemned as vulnerable as possible. Although artists have depicted the figure on a cross with a loin cloth or a covering of the genitals, writings by Seneca the Younger suggest that victims were crucified completely nude. When the criminal had to urinate or defecate, they had to do so in the open, in view of passers-by, resulting in discomfort and the attraction of insects. Despite its frequent use by the Romans, the horrors of crucifixion did not escape mention by some of their eminent orators. Cicero for example, in a speech that appears to have been an early bid for its abolition,  described crucifixion as “a most cruel and disgusting punishment”, and suggested that “the very mention of the cross should be far removed not only from a Roman citizen’s body, but from his mind, his eyes, his ears.” Wikipedia

Humiliation is the most unpredictable, violent and destructive human emotion. It can result in many types of loss (see Bob “Bhupinder” Baber, WikidFranchise)


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks

July 27, 2010

WikidFranchise.org helps create nodes within whistleblowers’ minds.

TED video

The controversial website WikiLeaks collects and posts highly classified documents and video. Founder Julian Assange, who’s reportedly being sought for questioning by US authorities, talks to TED’s Chris Anderson about how the site operates, what it has accomplished — and what drives him. The interview includes graphic footage of a recent US airstrike in Baghdad.


Social proof: “Fitting in” as a franchisee serves somebody’s interests

April 7, 2010

Behaviour is influenced much more that that we commonly think.

Bob Cialdini suggests a very useful model in his Science of Persuasion.

Social proof is a central one used in franchising. What our peers believe to be true is very persuasive to us.

Social proof:

a psychological  phenomenon that occurs in ambiguous social situations when people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior. Making the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation, they will deem the behavior of others as appropriate or better informed. Wikidpedia

“Normal” in franchising is initially set by the franchisor for their newbie.

Another “Weapon of Influence” (authority) helps the franchisor orient the new franchisee to a subservient, look-to-Big-Daddy mentality.

However, this new “normal” is eroded as franchisees become more experienced. It all seems to go one way.

Sharing information between peer franchisees defuses the power of social proof and authority as behaviour-modifying techniques.


YouTube can help stop corruption

April 2, 2010

People talk about injustice in franchising.

How many people do something innovative to change it?

Alexi Dymovsky uses YouTube to apply pressure to solve police corruption in Russia.

Russia’s whistleblower cop is a YouTube sensation, Miriam Elder, Global Post


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