I was Interview by Jonathan Pritchard (ALWD)

ALWD 008: Leadership Interview with Ken Wrede

I had a podcast interview with Jonathan Pritchard over at A Life Well Designed. Jonathan uses design principles to analyze challenges in life and business, then applies design techniques to find elegant, effective solutions.
(For some reason I had a tough time enunciating, but I hope the messages were clear.)

I enjoyed the interview immensely, thanks Jonathan!


Kenneth Wrede


Is the NSA Really Your Biggest Problem?

Why do we fear the NSA?Bed Shark (0)

Why do we fear sharks?

Why do we fear anything?

Here’s some context:

  • Shark attacks in 2014: 72 unprovoked attacks with 3 fatalities.[1]
  • A 2006 Time article stated that more than 600 people die annually in the US alone by falling out of bed.[2]

Which should you fear more, the creature whose main potential for attack is within swimming distance of shore in salt water or the item that is the featured item in every single bedroom? Continue reading

Bill O’Reilly (Memory Challenge)

One of the hardest comments for anyone to say when speaking of Bill O’Reilly is “I have no opinion about the guy.” He makes it almost impossible to separate the messenger from the message.

Human bias is not part of an intellectual process, it is an emotional one. Almost everyone has a bias regarding O’Reilly. If the bias is positive, people agree with him automatically because he resonates with them emotionally and reinforces the group opinion (several documented biases come into effect that strengthens group membership). If the bias is negative, another group of people disagree, also automatically, with biases that enforce their group feeling.

Full disclosure on my part… My own biases of O’Reilly stem from my perception of his abrasiveness and my lifelong cynicism of self-appointed experts and authorities.

I have to put those aside. Ignore the news hype and make a fair analysis so I can fairly judge O’Reilly and ask the question…

Was Bill O’Reilly really lying?

I recently discussed Bill O’Reilly’s media crisis (here).  He responded to his critics and the crisis terribly.  I also discussed Brian Williams’ crisis and the mitigating circumstances that I believe contributed to a faulty memory recollection that blew up into a media frenzy (here).

Does O’Reilly deserve the same benefit of doubt that I feel Williams deserves?  Do the same mitigating circumstances apply?? Continue reading

Brian Williams (Memory and How Time Effects It)

Last week I discussed Brian Williams and the events leading up to his professional predicament and his crisis response to the subsequent public outcry.

The public outcry was one of two responses.  First, silence from the people who knew him, but could not defend his error.  There was no response that would not sound hypocritical and like an excuse to what seemed to be a blatant lie.  Second, the response from other view of the discussion was far more direct and accused directly him of lying.

The error was additionally magnified by Williams’ position of trust as a highly regarded and trusted news voice in the US.  According to a 2014 survey, ABC News and NBC News (Williams’ employer) were both tied as the most well known and most trusted television news sources by both US liberals and conservatives. [1]  His error is considered especially egregious because he “betrayed” his integrity as a journalist.

The major talking points in the media were that he lied to aggrandize himself and he lied which betrayed the integrity and professionalism of the news media.  Neither option is good, but like everything else in the world I don’t think the conclusions are that simple.  The events leading up to the crisis are so well known that it presents a great opportunity to examine memory and it how it (as I understand it) works.

(Please, refer to the time line at the end of the article.)

My question is did he really lie?  I am not contesting that he told an untruth.  There is no doubt that what he said was proven to be wrong.

But, did he lie? Continue reading

Media Crisis Management – Brian Williams

Crisis Management (1)Brian, Brian, Brian…

Oh Brian.

Yes… Brian Williams.

There is nothing worse for anyone than to be caught in the cross hairs of the media.  It can be a person, a company, or even a brand.  What can you do if you make an honest mistake or if you are the victim of a negative campaign?  How can you survive the experience?

Continue reading

Leadership Confusion

DSC07412Leadership… no one seems to be able to agree on a common definition.

A great example of this is in recent posting by Brittney Helmrich from the Business News Daily.  In the article, “30 Ways to Define Leadership”, Helmrich quotes the definitions of leadership by 30 business executives.  Each definition is sensible and stands well on its own.  The comments are intelligent and well informed.  In a professional or classroom situation everyone would agree all of the quotes are good, if not enlightened.

But in the context of all the quotes, each definition is different.  In some cases, the difference is subtle… a simple difference in word selection.  In other cases, the quotes address completely different aspects of leadership: vision, empowerment, motivation, emotional intelligence, taking responsibility, empathy, influence, inspiration, to name a few.  All are great concepts.

Who really knows?

Continue reading