Story: Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard more vigorous commentary and support for the concept of opposition research. Most often it is in the context of the rough and tumble world of politics. For example, “if they would have done their opposition research, they would have found that out earlier and clobbered the person on the other side.” So I was thinking of starting up an opposition research firm specifically for the workplace. Maybe I could call it: “F YOU UP” Our mission statement: “We find out everything and crush who’s in your way.” If you contact my firm, let me know who you’re competing with for a position at work, and we will dig up the dirt including but not limited to old yearbooks, teen years, so-called expunged legal records, divorce filings, finance issues, medical records, anything we can find on the dark web, and of course all early social media. We then promise to have bots/trolls place our salacious findings everywhere your bosses and colleagues can see it. We promise to crush your opposition!! (Money back guarantee). But wait, there’s more. For no extra cost we will throw in opposition research on one long time friend. Wouldn’t it be cool over dinner to drop a little “turd in the punch bowl?” “Hey, tell me about when you _____,” then watch ‘em squirm!
Key Point: I’m obviously being totally facetious. I do get that politics is a win-lose game. I also recognize that one has to be “street wise.” However I am concerned that we could lose our balance on this matter. Most of us thankfully do no not break the law or overstep a reasonable moral code. If we do, the system, while imperfect, is there to address it. It also includes punishment and eventually forgiveness along the way. As human beings, we make stupid mistakes and hopefully learn and move beyond. Thankfully we get to wrestle with many of those privately. With the exception of the most egregious situations, we deserve to evolve so our life of contribution is measured by all we’ve done to make the world better. The idea of catching people doing things right versus researching to find what they’ve done wrong is of much more value to all. (Btw, if we knew about and publicized every stupid thing current CEOs did in their past, I believe we would have 100 percent turn over).
Actions you can take:
- Don’t be a gossip at work (or anywhere). Ask yourself who is being served by such talk.
- Think of competing against yourself to become a better contributing human being first. (Of course, protect yourself from someone who may hurt you).
- Let people see your strengths. Be abundant. DO NOT try to make yourself look better by making others look worse. It decays our collective soul.
For You in Leadership,
One Millennial View: Character assassination by way of opposition research is in most cases, for lack of a better word, lame. Imagine hypothetically if instead of putting in the work to prepare for the Super Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams successfully protested to the NFL about the New England Patriots’ alleged former on-field indescretions. The NFL forces the Patriots to forfeit, and declares the Rams world champions by way of disqualification. Even though they did lose in real life, no competitive Rams player would want to win that way. In the workplace, if there are promotions by way of using opposition research to make others look worse, then where’s the personal satisfaction or morality in that?
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis