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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

My experience with “Cancel Culture”, Part 11 – Lessons Learned Part 3

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

Cancel culture, leadership, minion
Don't be surprised by people with no shame!

“The most dangerous irony is, people are angry with others because of their own incompetence.” Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words

“Secrecy breeds incompetence because where there is failure, failure is kept secret.”

Julian Assange

I was a victim of “cancel culture”.

In the beginning I wasn’t even aware it was happening. I went from being the second in command of a non-profit to being completely removed from that organization in less than 6 weeks! If you haven’t read the story, you can find it beginning on my October 14 post. Had I realized I was being canceled; I might have prevailed.

If you haven’t read the story, you can find it beginning on my October 14 post here: https://www.projectmanagementforum.net/post/my-experience-with-cancel-culture-part-1-background

Learn from my mistakes. I am going to provide you with a list of lessons learned. Some will be obvious in hindsight, all with be useful.

Lesson 5) They have no shame, so don’t be surprised how they act! This is a behavior we see in public figures that we don’t expect to see in our colleagues. How many times have you seen a public figure make a proclamation that was obviously wrong? Or make a prediction that proved to be completely inaccurate.

All the time!

But how often do you see a retraction or contrite acknowledgement of their mistake?

Almost never.

While we have come to expect this in public figures, it is jarring to see this behavior in our friends or colleagues. Members of the board were wrong on important issues time after time, yet those mistakes were never acknowledged and there was no sense of humility. One very specific example is permitting. My colleague told the board that they had to have permits to do certain types of work. He is an experienced and successful business owner, yet they refused to follow his guidance and did the work anyway. They were ultimately fined by a government agency! This mistake was never acknowledged, nor did they compliment my friend for being right. Instead, they kicked him out of the organization while elevating themselves.

Lesson 6) Don’t cede the field. This was a crucial mistake! You can’t win if you don’t take to the playing field! We were timid when we should have been bold. After the vote to remove us from the board occurred, we were shocked and embarrassed. None of us had ever been kicked out of anything before!

We retreated.

Instead of boldly going into the organization, telling our side of the story and gathering support, we stayed away. That allowed members of the board to circulate their version of the “truth” virtually unopposed. Prior to the vote, our families were in the organization every day and it was instantly noticed when we weren’t there. We had been betrayed by people we thought were our friends, so it was a natural reaction to disassociate from them. To the casual observer it looked like we were hiding.

Not aggressively maintaining a presence and taking advantage of that presence to gather support was the greatest mistake we made.


You often hear the term “We need to follow the science!”, but practically speaking, how would I do that? I haven’t done anything scientific, nor do I have access to the unfiltered data. Worse than that, I haven’t even spoken to a scientist about their analysis. Have you? I suspect not. Virtually all my “scientific” information is being fed to me by unqualified politicians or unqualified reporters. Follow the science? Better to flip a coin!


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