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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

My experience with “Cancel Culture”, Part 8 – How I got canceled: The Final Result

cancel culture, canceled, management, leadership
The wrong leaders can destroy an organization

“Useful men, who do useful things, don't mind being treated as useless. But the useless always judge themselves as being important and hide all their incompetence behind authority.”

Paulo Coelho

“There are few things more dangerous than a mixture of power, arrogance and incompetence.”

Bob Herbert

Cancel culture is part of our society now.

You can’t just disagree with someone; you must destroy them. A friend and I were canceled from a nonprofit fraternal organization, and I am sharing the process that was used. To battle something, you must first understand it. I’ll then explain what I could have done differently.

My wife and I had just attended a board meeting where we answered the “charges” brought against us. We methodically disproved each charge, pointed out instances where the board itself was in violation, catalogued the current boards conflict of interest, and finally brought charges against the leader backed by inconvertible evidence.

None of it mattered.

In less than a week we got an email stating we had been removed as members. In less than 6 weeks, I had gone from being next in line to run the organization to someone who was no longer a member. Interestingly, the “charges” were once again different. When you own the system, truth and consistency don’t matter.

That is how cancel culture works.

My next couple of posts will cover our lessons learned. You should read them and recognize cancel culture tactics. Had I recognized what was occurring earlier, I would have been a much more formidable opponent. Instead, I got rolled over.

Learn from our mistakes!

Many of you have asked me “What happened?”.

My friend, myself and our families are doing great! Being in a toxic environment is exhausting, and it is even more difficult when you voluntarily expose yourself to that environment because you believe in the organizations mission. That negative energy secretes itself into other aspects of your life, and who needs that?

We have a lot more time for other things. My wife and I were spending over 40 hours a week at this organization. That was a lot of nights and weekends, and we now have that time to focus on things that improve our personal circumstances. Virtually every other aspect of our lives has improved.

How is the organization doing? There is a lesson to be learned for all organizations. When you replace experienced leaders with inexperienced and unimpressive people, there are negative consequences. However, even I was shocked at how quickly it occurred. Within one week of being removed from the board, social media impressions were down 50%! That trend continued and has resulted in a dramatic decline in sales. They have been fined by government agencies and I am aware of other hostile actions being brought against them.

The organization is in dramatic and sudden decline.

It is interesting to consider how things can get so bad so quickly. I have a couple of thoughts on the topic. The first is that it actually takes skill to run something. You need to lead by example, establish controls and hold people accountable. If you are in a service industry, you also need to aggressively promote your business through multiple communication channels. If these skills are taken away, it is like taking your foot off the gas pedal of a car – immediate deceleration.

The second reason is that people (especially in fraternal organizations) want to feel good about their membership and the people they are around. The average member came in for food, drinks, entertainment, and camaraderie. They noticed who was working and who wasn't, and many of them questioned the removal of people who were working hard and obviously making things better. They may not choose to get involved, but they don’t want to be around that either.

So, the board “won”. Rather than return the organization to past glory, they can preside over its decline.

Next, I’ll discuss lessons learned.


This has been a fun series to write, and I have been getting a tremendous response from my subscribers. I think the message is important – you can fight back! I promise to get back to Project Management topics when I’m done with this.


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