A Story time About Power, Failure and Knowing Oneself

Demand pushed me to seek additional help working with organizations throughout the country. I needed someone with a deep understanding of a pragmatic philosophy concerning leadership, relationship and dialogue.  My own Inner Circle was the only place I could go since they each were fully immersed and understood our philosophy’s intricacies. Dialogue between us was and is totally open and genuine.  

I had three members in my Inner Circle to choose from. Any one of them would be up to the task. I approached (I’ll call him Joe) and offered him the opportunity (as I saw it) to travel to organizations around the country and hold workshops teaching leaders and their (dysfunctional for the most part) Inner Circle’s the art of Genuine Dialogue between the leader and their staff.

In moments Joe looked at me and said “I can’t do this. It’s impossible for me to teach our philosophy to those with power” I was shocked. What I offered him paid very well; much beyond what he was making. Joe understood the philosophy and its application as well as I and also never walked away from problems and challenges regardless of how difficult they may have been.

I asked him “why?” His answer he gave is of such value that I’m compelled to share it. “As you know, I served in the service in Washington D.C. as an officer and left the service because of the power structure I faced on a daily basis. I had many types of leaders and almost all had no sense of their power and influence over those of us that worked for and with them. Their blindness or love of power eventually got to me and affected the work I had to do. I realized that I needed to be where respect and regard are the driving force of the environment. Having never suffered this with you before the service I decided to return. I was right in doing so.”

‘I totally understand and love our philosophy, but if I lectured to leaders that were owned by their love for power and blind to the damage they do to their staff I would be so negatively affected that I could not help them. Failure has never been an acceptable option for me, and I would fail helping them.”  

Knowing Joe and his background as I do, I understood him and his drive and passion to not fail. His history and the relationships around “the kitchen table” are very much a part of his life and will always play into it.  It’s impossible to fight and ameliorate the ghosts of the past. 

As luck would have it facing difficult challenges and worse has never stopped me from walking into the unknown. In fact, Joe brought this up to me when we discussed his doing this work and why he could not. He said that I faced power people with my own power and never as he witnessed it was less than who I am. 

I have given much thought to the work I do with powerful people and find that I have enjoyed the process of being me and welcome those with power to be the source of empowerment to others. I understand the damage power blindly or knowingly do to those dependent on the one in power. I also understand the good that those in power can do. To convey both sides and to assist getting to the positive side was and is my goal.   Sy 

Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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