Conflict creates tension. However, there’s a lot of money that can be made by selling something, taking it away, and then injecting the fear of missing out into a person. Although conflicts keep loyalty close, when you’re buying and investing in an upset, there’s a big probability you won’t purchase it again. In today’s show, Bill Stierle and Tom explore the relationship between conflict and loyalty and the role that accountability plays in all of these.

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FOMO: Creating Conflict to Keep Loyalty

Bill, it seems like there are many conflicts going on that we ought to talk about in the news.

I appreciate the comment at the start because conflicts create tension. The limbic part or the back part of our brain is interested in dangerous, real, or imagined. If something is not as dangerous, the motivation and urgency drop a little bit. There’s not enough pressure. We can’t get people to do stuff. Meanwhile, if we foster a stronger relationship between the back of our brains and the forward-thinking part of our brain, we get better entrepreneurialship and growth. People get to have better communities. They get time off and they are rest of it a little bit more. There’s not as much conflict, but there is a lot of profit in conflict.

There’s a lot of money that can be made by selling something, taking it away, and telling the person that, “If you don’t have this, you are going to be at a loss. You were going to miss out.” That taps into that part of the brain. What conflict does is it keeps loyalty close. I am buying and investing in an upset. The upset might not be real, but if it’s upset, I can buy it because now I’m urgent and this reminds me of the upset I had last week or last month and I bought that too. Selling the danger and upset does not allow stability to take place. It doesn’t cause a future. It’s a short-term mindset. If I get somebody worried or anxious about something, they’ll purchase it, but they won’t purchase it again or they’ll buy and invest in it and then be empty.

If I sell a belief long enough and then take it away, what ends up happening is that I feel empty. Our economy would work best with trickle-down economics, where we make sure that the tax cuts take place for the wealthy and they’re going to be the job creators. I’m not a job creator. I’m a worker. I want the job creator to have as much money as possible. Even if the numbers are not meeting the need for truth, the loyalty has been purchased away from truth. The conflict and the belief says, “This is what’s true,” because it’s what’s been sold, proposed, or spoken as truth. If you say it long enough, and if you say it over a number of years, there’s a certain group of voters that will walk down that path in order to buy or believe that thing.

This is interesting because as the Republican party goes into this next either evolution because they’re struggling now between, “Are we going to take the salesman and the marketing person who has troubles with ethics, integrity, and legal law things? Are we going to stay with that or are we going to move ahead?” It’s a good thing that Kevin McCarthy and Liz Cheney are at odds because it’s creating an important tension in the Republican party. The only question is that, are they going to be able to nurture the stable version of republicanism or are they going to stay with the volatile version?

If they stay with the volatile version, they’re going to win a lot of local stuff. A lot of the local government and a lot of decisions are made at the local level anyways. It’s not as flashy as winning the White House. They’ll win at the local level, but they won’t win major things. They’re not playing the long game. They’re only going to play the short game. They’ve got to be something different. Does that make some sense? This starts up our conversation for sure.

Conflict keeps loyalty close, but you’re buying and investing in an upset. Click To Tweet

What you’re saying makes complete sense about the conflict and keeping loyalty. I feel like we’ve been on that hamster wheel or merry-go-round for four years. There’s one conflict after another came out of the White House. Your major news media outlets also need to be included in this like CNN and Fox. That conflict keeps eyeballs glued to their TV through the day. That helps them. As the temperature comes down now as we’re in the Joe Biden era, TV ratings may be suffering or you are going to see them creating more conflicts.

The media get on board to create the conflict because we don’t have the Commander in Chief doing it. He gave media the greatest gift ever by being the brand, marketer, or salesperson. He always agreed to stuff that was not true and then spinning or exaggerating how he knew that this is an important thing. I was watching a video clip of Seth Meyers. He did a version of Joe Biden and then a version of how Donald Trump would have said dealt with the same press conference. It was unsettling because it showed the dichotomy of somebody who communicated in a message of sales, marketing, and promotion versus somebody who communicated from a place of leadership.

The question came into Joe Biden, “Do you wholeheartedly support?” He said, “No, I wholeheartedly do not support what you said.” End of scene. There was no conflict. In other words, he’s not going there. Anyone else will try to cross that line, but Donald Trump would have taken that out for 2 or 3 weeks on whether or not he meant it or not, or if he did know about the person. Some people say Frederick Douglas is not getting the credit that he needed to. People are now looking at Frederick Douglas in order as a significant person that’s contributing.

Everybody is going to like, “Does he even know that Frederick Douglas is dead or not?” The way he’s talking about him as if he’s alive. Is this an important thing that we need to follow? He was an important figure in American history, but that was Donald Trump promoting, selling, and amplifying the person’s question. He would do that daily on various different tweets and messages. It was a daily communication of, “Look at this shiny thing. This is my stance on this. This is my executive order for the military,” over a tweet.

There were very often controversial statements that the White House press office would always try to spin it as, “That’s normal.” They would try to talk about it as if there’s nothing controversial about it. President Donald Trump would get everybody all riled up, draw a lot of attention, and dominate the news cycle because it was controversial. Let’s come back to the conflict that dominated the news cycle.

That was that press conference from the minority leaders, Kevin McCarthy and Liz Cheney from the house that were speaking. They were asked about the CPAC Conference and if Donald Trump should speak at it. Kevin McCarthy immediately said, “Yes, he should speak at but plain as day.” Liz Cheney didn’t give the same response. She said, “It’s up CPAC who speaks but I’m on record saying, I don’t think that Donald Trump should be speaking for the party or involved at the party at this point.”

PT 169 | Conflict And Loyalty

Conflict And Loyalty: Selling the danger and upset does not allow stability to take place. It doesn’t cause a future. It’s a short-term mindset.


She gave what I think is a truthful thing of her opinion and her vision for the future of the party. This conflict even between people within the Republican party within Kevin McCarthy and Liz Cheney. That’s interesting because when Joe Biden is trying to have the country focus on healing and restoration through Coronavirus relief or getting his cabinet nominees approved from the senate, here’s Kevin McCarthy and Liz Cheney sucking a lot of oxygen out of the room and out of the news cycle over their struggle for control of the Republican party.

If you think about how far ahead other administrations would be. Between the November 2020 election and the inauguration, all of those hearings for the cabinet were to be held, and Mitch McConnell did not hold any of those. Even put aside the impeachment piece until after the inauguration because then it gave the Republicans and him to get out of jail free card and can’t get convict because it’s after this. This is the way I see the law reading from the constitution. Meanwhile, it doesn’t say any of that and it’s not fully aligned with the truth. I am not saying a talking point because people will say, “That’s a talking point. That’s by partisan.” It’s not partisan. Says it right there and it’s been done before. That’s a whole other thing.

No one’s given any pushback on it was done before. It’s like, “It was done before, but it seems like he’s choosing to save or support his voters.” It’s what he’s doing. He’s saving his votes here. He’s saving his point of view. This is something that we need to take a look at as a society is that for news media to be demonetized and not be needed for advertisement dollars. In other words, “Here’s the news hour, it is a news hour, and there are no ads in the news hour.”

Wouldn’t that be wonderful? I am one of those people that I do like watching national news daily. I have the news outlet that I listened to the national news program daily, but I hate watching it live. I try not to do it. I will watch it an hour later, sometime after it’s done, so that it’s recorded and I can zip through the commercials because I’m sick of all the pharmaceutical commercials and all of the legal disclaimer language. It’s like, “It scares me away from ever wanting anything to do with this drug.” I don’t enjoy that. To me, it would be a relief. If we could have news be purely news without the need for revenue.

We got a lot of problems because money is in the equation. There are great times when money belongs in the equation or certain types of ads or certain types of things. The way it’s setting up is when you let the market drive certain things, certain elements that the market shouldn’t drive. One sentence I always like to say is, “The things that society doesn’t want to do, everything is not to be built around capitalism.” For me, the things that we don’t want a lot of, you want the government to run. I would like the jails to be run by the government.

Why? Because as soon as you take the profit of it, somewhere between 1/3 to 2/3 of the people would not be spending as much time there because it’s not cost-effective. It’s cost-effective to keep them there longer, which means that the management of the jail is, “How can we keep these people here?” That’s not a good setup because then all of a sudden, all you got to do is get somebody mad enough and, “You got another two months on your sentence. You got another year on your sentence.” You can’t get them out.

We got a lot of problems when money is in the equation. Click To Tweet

I feel the need to raise a red flag here. Did you see the news in Illinois? One of the States in the union voted passed a law that they’re eliminating the whole process of bail for people awaiting trial. I don’t know enough about it as we’re talking about this. Maybe it’s something we can look out and talk about in the future. I don’t know enough to tell you what they’ve replaced it with or how they’re making decisions on who that is accused of a crime is going to sit in jail, awaiting trial, and who is not.

Talking about the money and the profit involved. They’ve found that in this state, money and the whole industry built around the bail system made it so that people that can afford to pay bail don’t have to sit in jail awaiting trial. They found 2/3 of the people occupying their jails are not convicted of a crime. They’re awaiting trial and cannot afford the bail to be home. That was shocking to me to learn.

Illinois became the first state to eliminate cash bail. We can talk about that because it keeps poor people in jail for months waiting for things. Once you start taking the profit out of stuff, people don’t want as much of it. If something that’s running, a lot of people that are not entrepreneurs, what they’re interested in is, “How can I monetize the system that’s already running?” That’s a part of the charter schools. “Here’s an education system that’s running well. How about if we privatized this thing?” All of a sudden, you’re going to like, “I’m not sure driving the costs down on teachers and other things like that is going to have increased performance.”

All it’s going to do is mess with communities and not necessarily have that stability or cohesiveness you would like inside a nation. We’ve got to figure out how to return to stability and consistency from a psychological place. This is a very psychologically dangerous time. To make a historical stretch, it’s similar to the fall of the Roman empire. It’s very unsettling because you cannot destabilize a community, city, or town with certain behaviors, so the needs of the few get met over the needs of the many. It’s hard.

That didn’t make me feel too good that we’re close to the end of the Roman empire. That’s a scary thought.

We’ve got our military big that it’s not any time soon, but we’re already seeing signs of exploding from the inside out. That’s not the healthy stage of things. I want a viable, energetic, Republican party that does a good job at working with the ideas that are showing up, either they create themselves, “Here’s an idea about how to handle this issue,” or they work off a democratic idea, “Here’s a democratic idea. Here’s how we can make it better. Here’s the conservative view of that,” then things can go better. We’re in a precarious time because we’re not in a healthy dialogue between two parties. We’ve got to do a way better job of taking on a more of a value-based, more of a needs-based narrative that our leadership can be built around.

Our loyalty is to what fairness looks like, not to, “What party am I voting for?” Our loyalty is, “What does mutual respect look like?” If somebody calls somebody else a name, they are censored for three months. I’m making something up, but if you call somebody a name, trash somebody, and you’re out of integrity, you’ve got to hit the walk. We’ve got to have enough adult quality inside that say, “No.” Here’s a great example, in South Dakota, the attorney general got involved in a hit-and-run accident.

PT 169 | Conflict And Loyalty

Conflict And Loyalty: The things that is being promoted now is you are not held accountable for the things you say and do. That’s the current path that we’re on.


I don’t know enough of it, but he was driving down the road. He hit somebody and the guy died. He drove away. He thought he hit a deer. He came back the next day. The guy that he hit was dead. The problem was the coverup and the stuff. They’re calling for his resignation. That’s an example of integrity. You hit something, stop something, call 911 right away, and fall on the sword early, “This is what happened. I didn’t see him. It was dark.” Whatever the true story is.

You have a motivation not to do the right thing. He presumably makes up the story that he thought it was a deer and that’s why he didn’t stop. They’ll never know if he was impaired or not.

The unsettling part of this is that an adult narrative is to hold people accountable on a certain scale of things. The things that are being promoted now is you are not held accountable for the things you say and do. That’s the current path that we’re on.

Doesn’t that allow these conflicts to come up that are trying to keep loyalty? To circle back and close the loop here, Lindsey Graham knows we are not going to vote on or have hearings on a Supreme Court Justice in the last year of Donald Trump’s presidency then we’re going to do it. If we’re not going to do that accountability thing, the conflict itself is allowed to breathe.

You’re allowed to have a middle-school mindset run the show. The middle school mindset is, “I can wait out the teacher. I can wait out the authority,” because there’s no accountability. There’s nobody here that’s strong enough to have the accountability. Even in schools, if a teacher says or does something wrong, the teacher is out. The parents are coming in and supporting the teacher as much. They support the kid. That’s not a bad thing. What it is, is a thing that we need to have an adult to the adult discussion that’s saying, “This person said this, ‘What is the appropriate thing?’” Does the teacher lose their job because it hits these seven criteria? Is it, “Here’s what the teacher is up against and here’s what we do to protect the teacher too?” There is certain thing, “I’d fire a teacher and throw them in jail,” for sure.

There may be other things that are adult rest that level and then the teacher needs some support and training that has then improve in the future.

Whether it’s you and I, as business owners, have to do that all the time. If one of our employees made a mistake, we have to come in and rescue them with a client. You don’t do that once a month, maybe.

Once you start taking the profit out of stuff, people don’t want as much of it. Click To Tweet

I have to do something like that. Have I fired an employee over something that is serious enough? Yes, I have. As a business owner, you have to make that hard choice and decision and act quickly, but if that doesn’t rise to the level of firing, would I rather turn that employee into a successful employee? Yes, I would. That’s in my company’s best interest as long as what they’ve done doesn’t cross that line.

Where we can stick the landing here is that creating conflict to keep loyalty, but there’s a relationship between the conflict and the loyalty is a mistake. It’s not a mistake, but you help the employee out and retrain them. The employee becomes more loyal because they see that you’re working them through the issue. If the media participates in that then they’re creating loyalty but it could be loyalty to a false narrative. That’s the thing that the danger that we’re currently in. It’s not real. It’s more on the imagined truth than the real truth.

That’s why we hear many people in our political leadership in Washington playing to a soundbite.

We can pick up some of these things next time.

Thank you so much. I appreciate this.

Thanks, everybody. Bye.

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