I’m sorry for the delay in getting this written, I’ve been meeting a host of amazing people and speaking at some incredible events and have just found a window to finish this draft.
Everyday on the news we see street riots, gun fights, bombs explode, gang wars, drug busts: It’s easy to recognise this dark side of nature on the news but do you see the dark side of human nature at work too? Unfortunately there are no news bulletins or mechanisms for detection other than your own radar. So, I’d like to help you hone that scanner.
Office terrorism comes in many disguises so your security system needs to be vigilant and unfortunately err on the safe side than sorry side. The cost of non detection can be your whole quality of life, your health and that of your family too.
The office terrorist can be your boss, your lawyer, your direct report, even the CEO. But more importantly, if you are not vigilant, it can be, inadvertently, you.
You cannot tell the office terrorist from appearances. There is nothing in the short term that can be used as a reliable visual trigger. On a more subtle physical level you can see it in their eyes, skin tone and posture but those are certainly prone to confusion with allergies and disabilities. So, I wouldn’t trust those signals.
Behaviour is also a bad indicator. The office terrorist is not outwardly violent, sexist, angry, mean or negative. Those qualities are the domain of anyone who has lost their vision in life, and that’s a different story all together.
Nor is the office terrorist the politically incorrect sexual harasser. This, along with bullying is again more aligned with lost vision and lack of life purpose. These, along with obesity and micro management are survival mechanisms for those who are lost. That problem has no relevance as to an individual disguising as an office terrorist. The causes and behaviours are mutually exclusive.
The office terrorists are more likely to be the nice person sitting next to you, sharing coffee with you, coaching you, complaining about the weather with you and getting married next month. They are fair weather work colleagues, they are probably going for a run with you, playing tennis with you or meditating at lunch time with you. You can even bump into them in the gym ding cross fit, or doing pilates before work or down at the yoga studio chanting Om.
You see, terrorism begins with an internal process. Terrorism is not so much what you think, but how. Terrorism is not what you do but why. Office terrorists don’t even sign up to become office terrorists. It just happens through habitual thinking.
And, most incredibly, the office terrorist can be rewarded for their results because they are often driven to achieve at all costs even if it’s unsustainable and toxic.
The human cost of a terrorist mindset in an office is high. For the weaker minds, or the hearts of those who have lost their vision and sense of purpose, office terrorists can be a shining light of hope.
RED FLAG Security Check System For the “Office Terrorist”
Score the Following on a scale of:
- Score “1” point. Low (meaning not very)
- Score “3” points. Medium (meaning not often)
- Score “5” points. High Risk (meaning not always)
- Score “7” points. Extreme (meaning usually)
- Score “10” points. Imminent threat (meaning always)
Test Point Number 1. Comparatives
Is this person in the habit of comparing? Comparison is a “got to” fight or flight thought process that can cause extreme emotional insecurity, mood swings, manic depression and in very bad circumstances, vitriolic attack at a mental, physical and emotional level. Be warned. This is the most dangerous of all the “office terrorist” warning signs. Alert your internal warning alarm bells around a person with “the Comparative habit.” (CRITIC)
Test Point Number 2. InJustices
Office terrorists are created, not born. The primary trigger for the habitual thinking process that seeds the mindset of an “office terrorist” is injustice. They will express this and can be easily detected through unrelenting comments about fairness, either horizontal injustices (peer to peer) or vertical injustices (boss to report). The continual catch cry of Injustice warning signs are “victims” both within the organisation and external to it as well. Ultimately this “office terrorist” will be polarised into extreme political agendas. (RIGHTS)
Test Point Number 3. Vigilante
Raging sensitivity to criticism, errors, mistakes, changes and the inability to “go with the flow” turns the high achiever into a raving “office terrorist” committed to eradicate, eliminate or humiliate all resistance to a notion of “sin free” or “error free” office environments. They are prone to play ball with like minded people and completely isolate and humiliate those who have, at one time or another, revealed their vulnerability to error, or exhaustion. This individual is often promoted to leadership and in turn breed culture within culture called teams that are separatist and elitist. These tall poppies always make the biggest errors and when they do, bring down whole cultures as they run to the next business by blaming others. (BLAME)
Test Point Number 4. Motivator
Hype, adrenalin, extremes, all or nothing, do or die, “lets go for it” sell motivation to those who need leadership, lost souls. The motivator stands before us, the speaker, the celebrator, the winner, the big biceps or the extra few cm of cleavage. Bright sox, loud laughter, big stories, wild nights and high fives… this “office terrorist” sweetens the space with an antidote to the repetitive mundane boredom of same old same old silent achiever and ingratitude of the leaders who fall asleep at the wheel. This “office terrorist” is often invited to “disrupt” but really their mission is to “corrupt.” This level of “office terrorist” is bred from narcism – a belief that if they don’t “fight” for it, they won’t get it. They are turbulators, terminators, attractive to the bored and sleepy environments that come from compliant and unaware organisational leadership. Nobody seems to notice that in contrast to the public displays of “hyper accelerated” jubilation, an equally extreme by diametrically opposing hyper depression follows the outbursts. (ADDICT – ALL OR NOTHING)
Test Point Number 5. Destruction
“If only”… these are the catch cry words of the victim who, no matter what happens to anyone, feels left out, rejected, diminished. This individual will believe that even the toilets were left unclean it was done deliberately to punish them personally. This individual might have a unique quality, like body weight, height, a speech impediment, a skin colour issue, a special disability which they take personally and therefore their habitual “office terrorism” is that everyone else sees the the world through their own filter. They feel discriminated against, and sometimes they are right, but most often it’s a downer, a self fulfilling prophecy that the world is against them, and others. From this comes the potential detection red flag for our “office terrorist” symptom, the dreamer syndrome. For this person, nothing is ever good enough, nothing is ever worthy of love for being what it is. This “office terrorist” is always looking for the fault in what could otherwise be inspiring and spontaneously beautiful.If this individual gets their talons into the office culture, they will spread a corruption in the system that will eventually act like a virus and bring the entire culture, if not the entire organisation, down. (DARKNESS)
Of the five qualities for office security there is a potential security breach of “50” red flag points. Anything over a score of 3 in any one of the five becomes a security risk to your true nature and going to work, coming home from work, healthy without toxicity.
Thoughts travel through walls where no words can pass. It is therefore the highest danger to office health to harbour “office terrorists” in their midst in the guise of diversity. Race, sex, skin colour, ability or disability are not the markings of diversity. They have been used to divide and separate but we are wiser than this now.
Now we recognise the real differences between human beings is not what they think, not whether they support one religion or another, it is their way of thinking that divides the world. Desperate people think desperate thoughts, and that’s nature’s intention for them.
In an office, the lowest level of thought brings the rest down to it’s level. This is referred to as the weakest link phenomena, in which a chain can only carry the strength of its weakest link. So, too in “office terrorism” – group thinking, ambition, inspiration, vision, sense of purpose, mission, wellbeing and most importantly leadership will be held to ransom by the lowest common denominator and this, rather than a culture, is a way of thinking rather than a focus of or mindfulness about, what people are thinking.
The key here is for you to apply this firstly to yourself.
Are you the “home terrorist” applying any of the five “terrorist” thought process to your home. Are you being the destructor, the injusticor, the vigilanteor, the motivator, or comparitor? Or, through habit, have you taken a way of thinking that you used to get you through a tough time in your life and kept the engine running while you ran back inside and forgot to turn it off?
Yes, we are all capable of being the “office terrorist” or even the “home terrorist” not because we’re bad, but because we can become trapped in a habitual way of thinking that maybe helped us through a challenge but is no way to live long and healthy.
You may be prone to think that a terrorist with a car bomb that kills hundreds of people is more dangerous and more damaging than the thought process of an “office terrorist” who simply deliberately or accidentally contaminates a team or a whole organisational culture with a dirty bomb of thought. But you would be wrong.
Nothing is missing, it just changes in form. So whether you are being screened at airports or conferences, footy games and music festivals for physical items of danger to others or you are being “red flagged” by self examination or by others, a single mind and the thoughts within it are the prelude and cause of all terrorism. The thought itself is a virus, and in the name of your health, personal wellbeing, and the humanity of those around you, vigilance in being aware of the “office terorist” and being aware of the required detoxing before you arrive home, is crucial.
This responsibility falls on your shoulders, not the company. The office management is busy trying to be politically correct, spread equal opportunity, prevent discrimination on any social or financial level. Hence they are blindsided and overwhelmed with responsibility to achieve productivity and maintain high visibility cultural norms. Hence, this real issue, “office terrorism” is invading organisations globally, not as a specific race or religion of people, but as a way of thinking, a polarised, all or nothing, extremist left or right habit of thinking that, if not stopped, will eventually toxify all the institutions we so justifiably are meant to be able to trust.
RED FLAG AUDIO FEEDBACK –
Here is The Red Flag audio pyramid.
It is designed for the detection of “office and home based terrorism.”
All words in the bottom two rungs of this pyramid are to be considered level 10 on the Red Flag Detection System.
An explanation of the RED FLAG AUDIO SECURITY SYSTEM FOR OFFICE TERRORISM
The perception of pleasure and pain drives most physical and emotional action by office workers. We seek pleasure and avoid pain as a primal driver.
The greater the perception of pain, the greater the drive for pleasure.
At the most primal level of human nature, pain is life threatening and therefore pleasure is in the form of instantaneous gratification. A life threatening pain compresses time and so, even a medical notation that we might have a life threatening illness that could cause death in say, 3 years, will compress to become a driver for “live everyday as if it were your last” instantaneous gratification.
The perception of severe pain in life can become a thought pattern, a habit that, if left unchecked can cause severe mental disruption. A person who went through a divorce a few years ago can continue to feel like a victim, hold hate, feel sadness and carry this habit into their work culture. What others will witness, as described in the first half of this article, can be the antithesis, to this habit, such as becoming the motivator. But the extremes sit beneath this and the habits of thinking in extremes can grow into a devotion to yoga, meditation, peace, love, happiness. All of which, with a “got to” pleasure pain perception, will lead to toxicity in “personal terrorism” – self doubt.
The division between pleasure and pain narrows as we rise up the “thinking pyramid” – it is not the lack of pain nor the lack of pleasure that drives this rise but a shift in thinking process. Life and death, support and challenge, happiness and sadness still confront the healthy individual higher on the cone. However, as the drive for vision becomes stronger, the attraction to pleasure, the escape from pain, the distractions to either side become less powerful. Hence, it is how we think, rather than what we think, that can both drive us to become the “office terrorist” who spreads leaky corruption throughout their environment or the “office visionary” whose focus and love for their work, spreads more of that too.
In any voting population there are a majority of individuals in the “Got to” – “should Do” level of the Red Flag Pyramid. An irony given that most politicians advertise to the higher mindsets of the less desperate population. If one caused a swing of 1% in 50% of the population it would be a far richer result than if one caused a swing of 20% in the top 5% of the population. Hence, quite often there is voter apathy at the top end of human nature where two opposing parties really just look the same.
This population distribution is also reflected in offices. One can, through the “coach them up or out” process, cause a shift in the balance, but soon, the pyramid of human nature can reform unless the leadership recognises the process of “Got to – to – Love to” in human development and “terrorist management.”
In any population 8-10% of the people will not be productive. These form the unemployed or the employed who do no work. It is a cost of business. It is the thinking process of this group that dictate that they remain at the bottom of the pyramid and form its base. They are the lowest common denominator in training and human development. They are not less, or in any way the poorest amongst us, they are human beings, living from human nature. It does however, reflect an habitual thinking process, polarising pleasure and pain to such a degree that work itself becomes a distraction from the seeking of pleasure and instantaneous gratification.
To close I have inserted here an amazing video taken from my archives. It is the marshmallow experiment. It revealed that those children who did not eat the marshmallow did best in life. But what is that saying?
It is saying that the more the child has learnt to think in terms of extreme pleasure and pain paradigms, habitual terrorist red flag thinking, the less likely they were to delay gratification and the more likely they were to eat the marshmallow, and be distracted from their real potential by becoming an “office terrorist” a “family terrorist” or even a “self terrorist.”
Where are you on this scale?