VEOC Hires Aplomb Consulting to Boost This Effort

Dec. 21, 2017 – Burlington, VT – Vermont Employee Ownership Center (VEOC) today announced plans to more broadly publicize the benefits of employee ownership. VEOC has hired Aplomb Consulting to guide this effort, to include message refinement, business prospect identification, and proactive outreach.

“While Vermont is already among the top states in the number of employee-owned companies per capita, we believe we can extend our leadership,” said Don Jamison, Executive Director of VEOC. “The benefits to Vermont companies and our state’s economy are too great to not pursue expansion.”

“We see opportunity for more companies to learn that employee-owned companies outperform their counterparts,” said Jason Lorber, President of Aplomb Consulting. “With momentum growing for employee-ownership, we will craft strategies with VEOC to power more growth.”

The Vermont Employee Ownership Center (VEOC) is a statewide non-profit whose mission is to promote and foster employee ownership in order to broaden capital ownership, deepen employee participation, retain jobs, increase living standards for working families, and stabilize communities.

Aplomb Consulting facilitates change through strategic planning, organizational development, and communications. A former Vermont Legislator and Stanford MBA, Lorber works directly with CEOs, Executive Directors, and other leaders of businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies. Teaming up with Lorber on this work is communications and strategy expert Sara Munro.

As a progressive democrat, I have a message for my colleagues, “We need to stop calling Donald Trump stupid.”

Donald Trump is not stupid. And neither are his supporters.

Yes, I oppose most everything our hot-headed president has said. I despise his anti-immigrant, Islamaphobic, and misogynistic executive orders. And I am regularly angered by his self-congratulatory bravado and self-centered perspective on leadership, democracy, and governing. But calling him stupid not only misses the point, it gives him strength.

And that’s ironic. Because no one I have met – strike that, no grown adult I have met – has called more people and things stupid than has our reality-TV-star-turned-President.

The Donald is undeniably a master stupid-caller. He did so consistently throughout his presidential campaign. He used the label to discredit his political adversaries. He trashed journalists regularly as stupid. He even attacked a Twitter user named @TheSportsSwede, who has a paltry 117 followers. It was on April 25, 2013 when @TheSportsSwede’s tweeted against Donald’s real estate professed prowess, and @TheRealDonaldTrump responded, “@TheSportsSwede You are so stupid!”

A website archiving all of Donald Trump’s tweets calculated that he “stupid-tweeted” 183 times since October 7, 2011. That’s a whole lot of stupid. It’s over 30 stupids per year for the past 6 years, not to mention his oral stupids.

In fact, calling people stupid is probably Donald Trump’s crowning example of staying on message. And I suspect he’ll continue to use this art form for as long as his mouth works and his fingers – or even just his middle ones -- can gesticulate.

But stupid-speak does not stupid make. In fact, his stupid strategy can be called insightful, crafty, and productive. His bullying paid off. He has earned the title America’s stupid-caller-in-chief. Stupid people can’t do that.

But what’s impeccably good for the goose is not necessarily good for those of us who would love a gander at his impeachment.

And the principal difference between him calling us stupid and us returning the favor is that he is in power. One can’t stupid-depose a bully. You need to outvote, out-organize, or outwit the bully and his pulpit.

Also, calling The Donald “stupid,” gives him an out. It absolves him of having to be moral, because after all, if he were just too stupid to do the right thing, then why should we be surprised when he doesn’t? No, the fact of the matter is that Donald-despisers have different values.

By the same token, we shouldn’t stupid-call Trump supporters. Doing so kills conversation. It eliminates the need to understand their motives and perspectives, because what smart person would analyze a stupid person’s thinking?

Speaking from experience, no single political party or their voters has a lock on stupid. If we really believe in democracy, or just want to get stuff done, we need to work with others. That requires understanding…if for no other reason than to undermine their arguments. But hopefully, we will common ground, or at least understand our differing values.

This stupid restraint applies in most circumstances. Like when people call their boss, client, relatives, friends, frenemies, or competitors stupid, or even the driver on the road who just cut us off and nearly caused a huge accident. That move was dangerous, risky, selfish, and irresponsible. And you can pass laws against that. But you can’t pass laws against stupid.

Even thinking someone else is stupid, limits us. Because we’re giving up trying to understand. We’re admitting defeat – that we can’t figure out why someone would act, think, or behave in a certain way – and we are ceding rational thought.

So forget stupid. Instead, we should use more precise language, and we’ll end up learning more.

Using descriptors such as incompetent, lazy, uninformed, lacking critical thinking skills, inept, or being anti-strategic, mean-spirited, xenophobic, greedy, bigoted, insecure, and having different objectives than anything I would consider being close to humane – ahem – such a vocabulary could help us begin to pinpoint problems, and then strategize on how to address corresponding malignant behaviors.

But sloppily calling Trump stupid, or anyone else for that matter, stops us in our tracks. While it may be good for a chuckle, calling or even thinking someone else stupid is virtually guaranteed to give them the last laugh.