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5th Key Observation – Without An Irritant…There Can Be No Pearl!

Wellness in the Workplace 2.0

What Got Us Where We Are Today…Won’t Get us Where We Need to be Tomorrow

10 Key Observations from Thirty-Five Years in the Field


5th Key Observation…

“Without an Irritant, There Can Be No Pearl…Let the Spitting Begin!”

presented for your intellectually driven consideration, emotionally driven engagement and—most important—your viscerally driven action


Be honest.  It’s much easier—and safer— to sit back, complain, and wait for others to take action than it is to do something.  That is, of course, unless you have passion, commitment, laser determination and God on your side.

Well, actually, skip that last one. That’s the Dickie Smothers pitch — “God Likes Me Better” — that supports the US military-industrial complex (we should have listened to Ike) and looks nice on all of the banners.  I like to think that God is on everyone’s side.

In fact, let’s leave it up to God to choose her own favorites and let’s just stick with passion, commitment, and laser determination.  When these three driving forces are present you can’t sit still, you can’t wait for someone else, and you can’t shut up.  You stir and spit; you shout and stomp your feet. You seize and run with the torch that has been passed to you and your generation.  You are Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte I. You take the crown out of the Pope’s hands and you crown yourself.  Time is fleeting, daylight is burning, there are causes to advance and worlds to conquer!

“Emperor” too much? Okay. How about CI? Chief Irritant. You are the sand that produces the nacre that builds the pearl.  So, let someone else sit back, complain, and wait for others to take action…just below the surface there are pearls in-waiting and you are the irritant that makes it all happen.

Let the spitting begin!



Sophocles was right,  “No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.” As I have stated before, there are times when the boon, the prize, the newly found wisdom you bring to “fix things” is rejected.  No matter the treasure, it is still disruptive in a world that knows not, or little, of its existence or value.  What you may view as “The Answer” may well be viewed by others — particularly those in control — as the newest problem (read: YOU) to be dealt with, swiftly.

It’s no fun being spat upon.  Trust me, on this one.  I’ve been there; stimulated copious amount of sputum, toweled off, and lived to irritate again.  Being a CI is not always an easy ride but I like to modestly think­—modestly—that along with picking up a few dents in my armor, I’ve also triggered the formation of a few pearls here and there…


10 Ways to Succeed as a Corporate Chief Irritant…Without Really Trying:

  1. Fasten Your Armor (you’re going to need it)
  2. Pursue Your Need for Popularity Elsewhere
  3. If You’re Not the Boss, Find a Champion in the “C” Suite
  4. Practice “No-Oblique-Speak”
  5. Compromise on Tactics…Not Ethics or Integrity
  6. Irritate Without Judgment or Arrogance
  7. Beware the Ides of March (et tu ______ )
  8. Establish a “No Jerks Allowed” Rule & Embrace the Spirituality of Imperfection
  9. If You Think Everyone Around You is a Jerk…Look in the Mirror
  10. Repeat after me:  “Spit is Good!”

More to come…


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