What's In That Kool-Aid You've Been Drinking?

"Kool-Aid-Man-Pic-kool-aid-372375_120_108"For those of you who don't recall the story behind the kool-aid, the Reverend Jim Jones led a group of his followers in a mass suicide. The consumption of a drug-laced grape drink resulted in the death of hundreds. It has been reported that the drink may have been the popular beverage, Kool-Aid (of course Kool-Aid was and is a popular, legal and drug free drink). Since that time, drinking the kool-aid has been construed to mean any of a number of things; chief among them, believing or at least going along with the current ideology even when it is manifestly untrue or stupid.

The Jonestown case is the extreme but it amazes me how common the kool-aid phenomenon really is. I suppose I could really create stir and liken it to U.S. politics but I'll leave that for someone who is far crazier than me. The thing about the kool-aid is that those who drink it seem to have abandoned two important qualities- integrity and individuality.

A recent case in point would be the "un-celebration" that played out in Vancouver when the Canucks fans watched the Boston Bruins take home the coveted Stanley Cup. Granted, not every Canucks fan participated in the mini-riot that followed. But many who did were merely following the not so brilliant lead of a few thoughtless leaders. Yes, this is mob mentality, another form of the kool-aid craze.

Whether it is safety in numbers, fear of being viewed as different or a case of having nothing unique to offer- those who drink the kool-aid willingly relinquish their identity and become a part of an amorphous blob of humanity. Gee, it sounds like a science fiction movie (made in Japan, circa 1958). 

Since when does an amorphous blob of humanity achieve greatness? It is the individual spirit, the uniqueness and the integrity of each of our employees that makes greatness possible. Any attempt to restrain these things is a first step towards serious trouble. As long as time goes on there will be folks who elect to use power to control and manipulate; time and again it has been shown to be a destructive course.

There are many folks out there who are mixing that kool-aid as we speak and for each of them there are folks who will drink it. I hope when the glass is offered you will give it a second thought.

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