Fox or Hound? A Time to Stop Pretending


In this issue:
1. Reader Feedback
2. Miscellaneous Newsbits
3. October Editorial: “Fox or Hound? A Time to Stop Pretending”
4. Preview: Next Month’s Editorial
5. Quote of the Month – Rabindranath Tagore
6. Hot Link of the Month


Mike Van Horn: John, you asked for feedback. I don’t always agree with you, and you and I target quite different audiences, but your articles always get me thinking, and that’s the purpose, isn’t it. The thing we do share is a desire to shape the future in a positive way, not just moan about the present, and to encourage others to do the same. I’m glad you are doing what you’re doing!

Paula Artac: Thank you so much for this month’s (September) inspiration. The timing is perfect, and most synchronistic! Your newsletter continues to prompt those of us who dare to think outside the box, to continue and not look back!

New Page for Subscriber Comments

This past month I added a page on my website for subscriber comments. See link for samples. If you have something to say, hopefully positive (otherwise I suppose you wouldn’t be reading it), I welcome a few words summing up your thoughts in an emai.


Next Month: 100th Issue of Newsletter

Partially in celebration of the upcoming milestone for this newsletter, regular visitors to my website will see a new homepage in the coming days/weeks, a less-cluttered first-glance and (hopefully) easier on the eyes. Thanks to Sally Green and Debbe Kennedy for their help with graphics and design. It seemed to me the editorial for the 100th issue should be something special, although I try to make every issue special….while I am still in the creative mode for my new non-fiction book, The New Human, one section seemed appropriate for the 100th issue. So I’ll be writing about “Humanity’s Promise” in an attempt to take a peek at what might be waiting for us as a species if we can shift our consciousness sufficiently to co-creatively evolve with intention.

See You in New York Later This Month?

I look forward to seeing any subscribers who will be attending The Fifth Annual International Spirit at Work Awards Ceremony and Conference, October 27th through October 30th at the Garrison Institute, in Garrison, NY. I’ve been asked to host the awards ceremony on the opening night and will be there for the entire conference. Here’s the program. Be sure to say “hello” if you attend.

Keynote Speakers Dialogue Available on Internet

Five keynote speakers from the upcoming eco6 conference in Zurich recently engaged in a online dialogue at the Global Dialogue Center (GDC) on the subject of socially responsible corporate govenance and investing; hosted by Debbe Kennedy, GDC’s founder, the dialogue is available for either listening only in audio or listening with visual backdrop; to access this one-hour dialogue go to this link: eco6 Speakers’ Dialogue.


[NOTE: Despite last month’s teaser about the subject for this month’s editorial I changed my mind and am including something different. There are times when a certain idea or subject has more “juice” than another at any given time so I took some license. “Hoodwinking Ourselves” – the title I had mentioned last month – will appear in a subsequent issue of the newsletter, probably January 2007.]

There are certainly times in one’s career when it would appear wiser to go along with things, even when you don’t agree with them, rather than take a chance at “having your vote cancelled” or risking yourself in any way. The problem with this is that the enterprise can end up with no one who will stick their necks out, a cadre of go-along-withers. This might pass muster in bureaucracies, where everyone becomes adept at covering their butts but, in today’s highly-competitive marketplace, this attitude is the kiss of death for any private sector enterprise.

The successful enterprise in today’s marketplace is one that usually stands for something unique and noteworthy, offering either something previously unavailable or, alternatively, an improvement in a process or product already on the market. This requires people in the enterprise to be “stand-takers,” to stand tall for the values they believe in and abstain from compromise or co-opting their values regardless of the real or imagined threat to their careers or reputations.

In a recent study conducted by two independent consultants, Gary Heil and David Kyle, interviewed over 400 people, organizational leaders and managers. People reported they never were as powerful as when they were in start-up mode or there was an emergency of some sort. They knew how to lead, what needed to be done and they did it. They were foxes surrounded by hounds. The rest of the time, however, they went along with what the system appeared to want, setting their personal values aside and “caving in” to the pressures of the corporate culture. In other words, they tried to pass for a hound because it seemed safer and easier.

Clearly, more people are choosing to “go along” with things in our world these days. I don’t mean in word but in deed. The talk might appear to be quite oppositional, even provocative, but the walk is going-along with the status quo. The actions don’t match the words. Whether the question is a matter of organizational culture, industry practice, ethnic tradition, foreign policy, tax regulations or any other social system we belong to, things get this way because we allow them to. This not only applies to careers and company life but to our lives as citizens of our nations and our world.

Going along with things, pretending to fit in and not willing to make waves, gives the illusion of legitimacy to the status quo. With this apparent legitimacy there’s little incentive for changing things. When we shake our heads and wonder how things got this way we are avoiding looking honestly at ourselves: we allowed them to get this way! Admitting this takes new levels of accountability from all of us. This may be difficult for some who are so used to blaming others and absolving themselves from any direct responsibility.

We do have choices. Choosing to blame someone else is still a choice. Failing to choose is also a choice. We can choose to be the foxes we know we can be or continue pretending to be hounds. We can take a stand to do things differently when we see the need or continue to reinforce the status quo.

The coming Age of Consciousness which English futurist Peter Russell writes about will not happen to us while we sit around pretending to be fitting in. Neither will the dawning of the Aquarian Age or the realization of humanity’s promise. Transformations of this scale will only happen with our full participation, when we take complete responsibility for our “fox-ness” and stop trying to fit in with the hounds, as shown in the incredible picture above.

Where does this all start? It begins with us foxes. We need to stop the pretense and begin the chase by breaking free. Once we start, who knows? Some of the others who are pretending to be hounds may break free as well!
4. NEXT MONTH’S EDITORIAL: “Humanity’s Promise”

5. QUOTE OF THE MONTH: “The winds of grace are always blowing; but it is you who must raise your sails.” – Rabindranath Tagore

6. HOT LINK OF THE MONTH: The Association for Spirit at Work (ASAW): A membership organization founded in October 2001 for people and organizations interested in the role of Spirit in business and organizational life; co-presents annual International Spirit at Work Awards each year; John will be hosting the awards ceremonies in New York at the Garrison Institute, the 27th through the 30th of this month; spaces are still open for this retreat / conference.


John delivers keynotes talks to corporations, associations and conferences. A list of his topics can be viewed at Keynotes That Make You Think! For references check: What people have said about John as a speaker.

John is a San Francisco writer and businessman-futurist. His latest book is Getting to the Better Future: A Matter of Conscious Choosing. More about John can be found at About.

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John Renesch

John is a seasoned businessman-turned-futurist who has published 14 books and hundreds of articles on social and organizational transformation.

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