Thursday, October 4, 2012

How you respond tells a lot

 Recently I made a serious mistake. A week or so back I read a magazine and thought the material in it was interesting and informative. It contained an article on leadership and I wondered whether the publishers were interested in extending this to a dialogue. So I submitted a brief (1100 words) article and asked whether they accepted unsolicited material. I have done this before and, in a number of instances, my material has been edited and printed – invariably with the result that more articles appeared from other people and some good dialogue took place.

Yesterday I heard back from the publishers who told me that their contributors all paid for the privilege of having their articles published. I was offered a deal of 3 articles providing I paid $900 (plus GST) for each one. Over the years I have submitted many articles to newspapers and magazines (and have been paid by the magazines every time a submission has been accepted) but this is the first time that any publication anywhere in the world has asked me to pay to have a submission published. I politely refused the offer, explaining: “It appears as though I totally misunderstood your magazine – I didn’t realise that its articles were actually advertising promotions rather than informative material to foster general understanding and debate”. I also pointed out that nowhere in their magazine could I find anything to indicate its articles were actually paid advertising.

Did I get a response? Sure did and it amazed me. Within minutes the publisher replied:
Dear Doug,

Thank you for your prompt response. I believe that some part of the society under the influence of the current government and their green comrades has stopped realising that we still live in a capitalistic society and all products in the market place must be paid for.

Thank you for your help and please let all your associates and business friends know that they shouldn’t expect something for nothing from others trying to increase their business profile and/or sell their valuable knowledge and products. I received 4 requests including your kind offer just today to provide my business services for free.

We also have a very informative and self-explanatory website where you and your associates can easily find all the information on how to advertise and contribute an article in ZZZ Magazine.

I wish you all the best in helping others and yourself release your and their potential in yourself, themselves and others.

Yours truly,


PS I suggest you to request help from comrades in ABC for some free media space.

I have talked a lot over the years about the areas of our brain that control how we think and act. Regular readers will be fully aware of the “red zone” – “blue zone” dichotomy that impacts and determines whether we are predisposed to a First Generation Leadership, a Second Generation Leadership, or a Third Generation Leadership approach. My new book, Third Generation Leadership and the Locus of Control: knowledge, change and neuroscience (2012, Gower Publications, UK) sets this out in some detail.

Clearly the publisher of the magazine with which I was in contact operates from the “red zone”. The result is that an innocent attempt to develop a dialogue draws a response that tells us more about the responder than perhaps he realises.

One of the major problems I see in society today is that the “red zone” is the default for most of those in roles of leadership, authority, and influence. This is seen across the board whether we are talking politics, business, religion, or anything else. The result is a closing down of real dialogue and an attempt to “put down” or denigrate those who may have an opinion or stance that is different from one’s own. All too often it leads to extreme “right wing” and/or “left wing” positions that do little, if anything, to bring about a creative, innovative society.

Unconditional respect for all people regardless of any discriminating factor is the underlying concept of Third Generation Leadership and of the “blue zone” area of our brain’s locus of control. A key aspect of unconditional respect is that it never insults or denigrates the thinking of another. This publisher’s response adds reinforcement to the call for us to embrace a new way of interacting.

Do you ever ponder on what the responses you make or receive really tell the recipient? I do!

I’d love to know what you think.

More information about Doug Long at

No comments:

Post a Comment