the ugly truth

I recently saw what I think is an amazing example of thought leadership.

What made it so for me, was how much it considered the audience and how much it didn’t give a shit all at the same time.

This series of scary photos follows a timeline from 1960-2011, showing airplane disasters, and answering questions about the rationale for specific TSA procedures.  The answers are linked to the events that prompted them. (Thanks to Dena for the pics, and apologies for the quality, it is just hard to get good shots while rushing through security and dealing with bright lights and reflections… but hopefully you get the point)

The Ugly Truth

Because our eyes are drawn to images before words, my first reaction was “What the Fuck”, I don’t want to see images of blown up airplanes as I am about to board one and make my way home from a perfect vacation. So, I stopped to read each one and then thought, ‘AMAZING’, relevant information for people who bitch about security procedures.

Good on them, them being the TSA in Maui. They clearly have a strong point of view, and must be fed up with the crap they get for doing their jobs. There are many ways in which they could have explained the procedures of airport security, but they chose the ugly truth. They weren’t afraid to put the ugly side, on the outside.

I love a good, harsh, bold action.  But the thing is they don’t care what I appreciate or don’t appreciate. They weren’t concerned with my acceptance, or rejection, of the act. What they wanted was for me to see it, and read it, and get it – and DEFINITELY NOT ignore it.  They didn’t care if I liked it…they were fully driven by their own truth. Security measures are not arbitrary. Each one is in place to prevent tragedies of the past. And while many may feel it’s insane to put images like these on the wall leading to the gates, it is, in fact, the opposite of insanity. They wanted people to fully understand, they wanted people to stop bitching and start thanking; they wanted a different outcome.  And the only way to change the results is to change the actions.

I deal with all sorts of clients that want to be thought leaders, want to take bold action, want to break through and want to be noticed.  BUT, they also want to mitigate risks, play it safe and often “frame it up in a positive light”, whatever “it” may be.

But here is the reality; sometimes the truth is ugly. And if you want to credibly connect with people (and perhaps even influence their behavior), respect them enough to show them the real reality.