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The President, Version 1 - Some of It Did Happen

By Thomas Eklund

This article is the sixth part of a seven article series on neglecting versus using goal oriented creativity management principles.

These articles have a common thread that is related to CreativityModel Method usage. From a teenager to an employee, to president of a company or a country - CreativityModel Method usage principles are the same. So, your learning to use them is worth the effort, because you can use these creativity management skills throughout your life.

Both Version 1 and 2 are examples of projects that require goal oriented handling. Each Version 1 is an example of a scenario where goal oriented creativity principles should be used, but are not being used. This creates consequences. That's just the way life is, whether we like it or not.

Each Version 2 is the same scenario, except that this time goal oriented creativity is being used. The consequences are different, too.

  • So, when you read this material, ask yourself, which version do you identify with more, Version 1 or 2?
  • Do you recognize any of the people you know in these versions? In version 1 or 2?
  • Both goal oriented creativity usage and self-expressive creativity usage can be learned and taught. Keeping this in mind, where are you now, and where do you want to be, as far as your own goal oriented creative thinking skills usage is concerned? Do you know anybody in your life who would benefit from improving his or her creativity management skills?

Introduction to The President, Version 1 and Version 2 Articles

I try to write all the articles on this website without offending anybody. The same applies to this article, and to The President, Version 2 - Leadership that Could Have Happened article as well. So, I have to emphasize that the objective of having the three sets of Version 1 and Version 2 articles is not to compare the President of the United States to a teenager or a business manager. The President's job is immensely more complex and difficult than any business manager's job is.

The objective of these articles is to show how creativity management problems can occur in every area of life. This means, that in every area of life people can learn to handle their creative thinking skills so, that they reduce the probability of having creativity management problems and increase the probability of producing results that benefit them and other people.

If choice supported creativity is used when and where goal oriented creativity should be used, problems will occur regardless of the involved individuals age, gender, wealth, profession, nationality, or any other socio-economic variables.

The bigger is the decision maker's sphere of influence, the bigger can the problems become as well.

Creative thinking skills management can be learned and trained. Neither goal oriented creativity, nor choice supported creativity is difficult to learn.

At the time of writing this article the problem is that the relevant, convenient-to-use learning and training materials are needed, but do not exist yet. So, this issue needs attention. I am hoping to find people who want to do some work in this area, and to relate their professional development to development of creativity management as an industry.


It's About You - About How You Can Make a Difference

Try to imagine that you - yes, you - are the President of the Unites States of America. No matter how strange this may seem, please do try to think with me. If you do, it will become clearer why all of this matters to you personally.

You have been interested in politics most of your life, and you have been a governor before becoming the President. You also have business experience.

You have a pretty good educational background, but you like doers and business people better than theoreticians.

You have been doing this work, that is, being the President, for over half a year, just enough to get comfortable with it, when an unimaginable tragedy takes place. Your country is being attacked by an international terrorist group.

Many people die as a result of a large terrorist attack. There are enormous amounts of pain and sorrow and suffering. None of it should have happened. Ever.

It is clear to your intelligence community (CIA) and to the senior members of your cabinet soon after the attacks, that al-Qaeda is responsible for the attacks. Its leadership and training camps are in Afghanistan, which is ruled by Taliban, but the organization itself is spread all over the world.

So, the question is how to proceed most effectively, so that the persons responsible are dealt with and these kinds of attacks would not happen again.


Dealing With the Culprits

You meet with the selected members of your cabinet and advisors at Camp David. Soon thereafter the formal military operations planning against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan starts.

Pentagon does not have any plans for dealing with this enemy in Afghanistan. However, the CIA Counter Terrorism Center does have relevant plans.

The existing plans are worked on and meetings take place. The final plan is daring and well designed for the circumstances.

Paramilitary officers will link up with anti-Taliban guerrillas in Afghanistan and will ensure their support. Then, together with the US forces, they attack the enemy.

The plan works well, except that the Pentagon fails to send in the troops on time, and then to secure the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. When large numbers of al-Qaeda members are spotted in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, the Army also does not send in the troops on time.

Many al-Qaeda members are killed and captured in Afghanistan, but its leader Osama bin Laden escapes - most likely to Pakistan.


How Do You Go From Here?

The battles in Afghanistan were victorious, but of course that does not solve the entire terrorism problem.

The War on Terrorism goes on.

Already during the first meetings it was suggested to you that the countries that support terrorism and terrorists will also have to be dealt with.

Namely, it was suggested to you that Iraq has to be dealt with.

Several important people from the Defense Department support this view, and the Vice President does too.

The Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor are much more cautious and reserved about this.

You feel that your number one priority must be prevention of any additional attacks on your country and on the civilian population.

But which way should you proceed, in order to achieve this objective?


Enormous Amounts of Information

The amount of intelligence information regarding different types of possible attacks and other threats that you need to handle on daily bases becomes absolutely enormous. Hard-to-imagine kind of enormous.

In addition to the information that has been handled by the analysts, you now receive also unverified information that has not been handled by the analysts and originated from variety of different sources.

Pages, and pages, and pages of information all related to other possible threats and to what else might happen. Every day.

Inevitably, this affects you a lot, because it occupies so much of your life and work, more than anything else.

There is so much that you would want to do. So many areas where you would want to make improvements in your country. Education, for example.

Now, there just isn't enough room for that in your mind. At least not for the time being.

Yet, life must go on and there are many different responsibilities that must be handled.


Conflicting Information

Iraq issue and Saddam Hussein are being brought up again and again. The CIA doesn't think that Saddam Hussein is, or was, connected to al-Qaeda and to the attacks that took place. They are quite sure of that.

However, information about such connections starts appearing from the Vice President's office, who apparently gets it from the Defense Department.

Little-by-little, more and more such information is brought to your attention. You cannot really ignore it. You have to take it seriously. The amounts of new threat information that you must digest daily continues to be huge, and you have to take it all seriously.

The Defense Department has formed its own intelligence operations. They are now taking on the role of CIA analysts as well.

During the US invasion of Afghanistan you felt that you were sufficiently firmly in control. You met with the people who did the planning frequently, reviewed and approved the planning of the operations, and received frequent updates when the operations took place.

Now you start feeling increasingly torn into many pieces. Increasingly disintegrated. Less and less in control of what's happening.


Choose Sides?

You meet with the Vice President almost daily, and you meet with people from the Defense Department very frequently as well.

Saddam Hussein and Iraq continue to be their top priorities.

Many things that Saddam Hussein has done in the past are evil, there is no question about that. Iraqi people and the rest of the world would be better off without his regime.

Increasingly, the Vice President points out that Saddam Hussein may have resumed his weapons of mass destruction programs. So, Saddam is a threat that should be eliminated.

The CIA does not think so because there is no such evidence.

The Secretary of State, respected and experienced, considers Iraq a distraction. The War on Terror should be the national security focus.

The National Security Advisor is more supportive of the Secretary of State than of other sources and institutional opinions.

The Vice President believes that the CIA has been wrong before, and they are wrong again. Dead wrong.

So, he and people from the Defense Department continue to advocate, and then to insist on, that we must invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power. The Vice President and the people in his coalition have their supporters, of course, too. Many of them matter a lot.

Your international allays are not supportive of the idea of invading Iraq at all.

Other people, whose opinion matters, also speak up against this.


Decide, What or Who Do You Will Believe In?

So, what should you do? Decide what you should believe in? Or, decide whom you should believe, or believe in?

Decide that it's better to be safe than sorry? After all, if the threat to your country is real, then it must indeed be dealt with. Then again, who can tell you with certainty, which path will lead to safety?

You ask the Defense Secretary if he has any plans for how to handle a war with Iraq, in case such war will take place.

Not really. The existing plans are all outdated and cumbersome, but such plans can, of course, be put together.

You want to see these plans.

The Defense Secretary promises to produce results and says, that you can hold him 100% accountable, but he needs to have 100% of the responsibility as well.

You like people who deliver results and can stand behind their promises. Should you put your faith in him?


Support the Cause, Stay the Course?

If Iraq has dangerous weapons of mass destruction today, should the world wait until Saddam Hussein uses them? What should we be waiting for?

So, let's do this.

Saddam Hussein has to go.

You are being informed that the war plan is to remove Saddam Hussein from power, to hand over the power to an interim Iraqi government whom we already have identified, and then hand over the military operations to the United Nations peacekeepers.

Relatively small number of troops is needed for implementing this plan.

Our troops will not be there for a long time. Only a few months.

That's the plan.

Iraq is invaded. Every aspect of life in Iraq soon degrades into chaos.

Many people die. There are enormous amounts of pain and sorrow and suffering.

Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.

Every once in a while you wonder, how did we get here?

Now what? Support the cause, stay the course?

More people die. There are enormous amounts of pain and sorrow and suffering.

All of it is real.


Here's What You Can Do

Compare the decision making and task handling structures in this article, The President, Version 1, and in The President, Version 2 articles, and also in other Version 1 and Version 2 articles. Do you notice the similarities?

Under similar circumstances, would your decision making structure be different?

Would you be able to spot your own and other people's self-expressive decision making structures in circumstances that require goal oriented handling?

Would you be able to spot habitual self-expressive decision making structures in leaders whom you elect? In co-workers? In people whom you hire?

All of it makes a difference. You make a difference.

No matter who you are, you manage your own creative thinking skills just like other people do. Every day of your life. The way you do this is linked to the choices and decisions that you make and to the actions that you take. The more people you interact with and the bigger is your sphere of influence, the more people are impacted by your choices, decisions and actions.

You can learn to identify situations that require goal oriented handling. You can learn to use both goal oriented and choice supported creative thinking skills quickly, effectively and efficiently.

You can also learn to spot people, who habitually mismatch creativity management approaches.

When such people are in leadership positions, the higher their position is, the more people tend to be affected by their decisions.

All of it is for real.

So, what should we do about this?

What's your opinion?