Those who cannot hear the music think that the dancer is mad

Alternative Gateway
Rational Madness

Underground and Subversive
Mediocritaxa writings

(Banned in Mediocritaxa!!!)

A subversive pamphlet found near the City Oval

The Collusion of Mediocrity

The collusion of mediocrity is an agreement (not always spoken or conscious)
that becomes a cultural habit.

The aim is to avoid discomfort by avoiding challenge. The result is

The collusion of mediocrity is the greatest sickness in our society.

It is responsible for poor quality, dissatisfaction, frustration, the deaths
of millions of people.

People who challenge mediocrity are often called "Troublemakers" by
Mediocrity Colluders.

However, if the motive of the challenger is community or organisational
improvement, it may be exactly the kind of trouble that community or
organisation needs.

Motive is all.



Collusion Level 1

At this first level, comfort is sought at the expense of honesty and risk of discomfort. A superficial "niceness" exists and it is not a norm to show any extremes of emotion, thought or deed. The status quo of safety is secured at a price. Potentially uncomfortable things are left unsaid. Problems of "papered over". In the restaurant where we might be dissatisfied we tell the waiter, when asked, that the meal is "fine". We do not wish to "rock the boat" or to "muddy the waters". We tend to dilute problems - real problems - down to a "storm in a tea cup". We never get too positive either, too excited over a good outcome. Excellence and joy are diluted down to pleasant "okayness" or "niceness"

Level 2 Collusion

At level 2, we break the collusion of level one and surface what is really going on, even at the risk of discomfort. We go wild with praise where such wild praise is due! We call things by their real name where such things are causing problems which need to be honestly named. A catharsis often occurs as things come out into the open. But then we stop there, often with a big sigh! We say: "Well now that was a fine thing. We got everything out in the open" in the hope that saying it will be enough. However, nothing is done as a result. The ritual of honesty is seen as the end point, more than enough for us o bear. Soon everything settles again and the same problems occur or the good and bad practice is neither built nor improved upon. In some ways the sudden openness is so traumatic that it paralyses us into inaction!

Level 3 Collusion

At Level 3 we stand on the threshold of change. Things have been truly named - we know what needs to be done. We have named the state of affairs and all is out in the open. The issues have been surfaced. And then, we falter. We embark instead only on the smallest, easiest change, often under the guise of "taking little steps". Often incremental change is the right course, but not as a collusion or a delaying tactic. Not as an avoidance method! Instead of changing the system that needs to change, we simply tinker with the current one. We take a small jump when a large leap is required. The result: the change identified with honesty, the catharsis experienced, falls at the first hurdle. Collusion level 1 kicks in and we say - "We'll we've done well to come so far". Yet the potential was so much greater.

Level 4 Collusion

Here we begin to make the change we need to make, no matter how daunting. However, there is no follow through and soon things revert back to their former state. Even honest, dramatic change requires perseverance and here the lack of follow up leads to things running out of steam. Momentum is lost and no one challenges this. Defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory.

Respectful Collusion Breaking

Respectful collusion breaking always seeks permission

1. to break a collusion

2. for the level of collusion breaking allowed

The dialogue is then adjusted accordingly

Generic Collusion Breaking
May I be honest here?
May I speak openly?

Semi-specific Collusion Breaking
May I be honest about the service here?
May I speak openly about your management style?

Specific, targeted Collusion Breaking
May I be honest about the way you handled that customer just then?
May I offer you some feedback about the way you drove us to this venue?