Dealing with Disruption »

The Michael Jackson School of Positive Feedback

Ever wonder what was going through Michael Jackson’s head those last few years?


Yeah, me too. 

I mean, c’mon.


Here was a terribly talented guy who became a world famous, unbelievably wealthy entertainer playing to sold out stadiums around the globe. 

He was the "King of Pop", after all. A virtual cash machine manufacturing millions of dollars on demand. 

So, what went wrong? 

Didn’t he have a single person in his enormous entourage who dared to tell him the truth? 

Or did it go kinda like this: 

“Yo, Mike! Whatcha been up to?” 

“Oh, didn’t I tell you? I bought a little place in the Hills for my plastic surgeon.” 

“Yeah? You like him that much?” 

“Of course! Can’t you tell? I just had him do a little work on my nose again.”

“Yeah, Mike. I can see it now. Looking good, Mike. Looking real good.”

No! No! No!

'Cause the fact was that Mike’s nose did not look good. In fact, it didn’t look good at all.  And nothing he was doing with his life made any sense either. 

But not one person would stand up and tell him so. 

Instead, they agreed with him. They lied to him. Right to his face.   

Over and over and over. 


Because they wanted to stay close to him. That’s why. To stay close to the money and the parties and the fame. 

They put their own needs above his. 

No surprise there, but without anyone to turn to, Mike ended up self-destructing right before our eyes. 

You know what the five most dangerous words in the English language really are? 

It won’t happen to me.

Maybe. Maybe not.

But everyday we make crucial decisions about our futures, our businesses, and our lives. 

And while we probably won’t ever face the twin demons of fame and wealth like Mike, we still have to deal with uncertainty - and the knowledge that when "push comes to shove", there just aren't many folks who value truth as well as friendship. 

Nevertheless, we might want to keep the lesson of Michael Jackson in mind because if you don’t have anyone you can trust, someone who can offer you constructive criticism on a regular basis, you’re only fooling yourself.   

Nobody knows it all. And nobody gets it right all the time. 

That includes you.

And me.

Ask yourself this question: 

Do the people around you tell you the truth - even when they know you won’t like hearing what they have to say? 

Does their welfare and well-being depend on whether or not they remain in your good graces?

Or do they just want to stay at the party for as long as it lasts?


You know, it didn't really come as a surprise to anyone when Mike passed away. Everyone had seen it coming for years.

Afterwards, you couldn't turn on the TV without hearing all about Mike. Rumors, gossip, and and news crews were everywhere.

Even so, there were none of his friends to be found.

Oh, there were plenty of people standing by to be interviewed and questioned. Doctors, attorneys, "personal assistants, party-goer's and papparazi" all managed to get themselves in front of the nearest camera.

But at the end, no matter how many people surrounded him, you'd have to say Michael Jackson died alone. 


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