vPsychology for Business


We are dedicated to bringing out the best in you and your employees

Volume 3, Number 15                                                             July 26, 2002



Psychology for Business is a free e-mail newsletter written by  Dr. John Weaver, Dr. Lynda Dahlke, and Dr. Paul Glass, business psychologists and independent consultants. It is published bi-weekly. You’ve received this newsletter because you’ve subscribed to it or it was forwarded to you by a friend or colleague. To subscribe sign up at our website,
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Dr. John Weaver will be offering a 3 hour seminar, The Vitamin C’s for Healthy and Effective Leaders, on August 14th.  Look for registration details in this newsletter.  Hurry! Space is limited!


by Dr. John Weaver, Business Psychologist and Executive Coach

Comedian Lily Tomlin recently said something like, “The problem with being a cynic these days is that it’s difficult to keep up.”  There is certainly no shortage of targets for the cynics in our current economy.  The woes of Wall Street, the scandals from the corporate board rooms, and the posturing of politicians trying to get votes give us plenty of reason to be distrusting of the rhetoric we hear on a national level.  On a local level, we might wonder if our own organizations have fallen victim to the “infectious greed” that Alan Greenspan warns us about.  Whether it is the leaders of the company complaining that the work ethic has changed for today’s employees or whether it is the workers feeling used by an organization that does not seem to care about them, the attitudes toward our local situation can be as jaded as they are toward the nation as a whole. 

Cynicism is the order of the day. 

Unfortunately, the order of the day is an order of “psychological junk food.”  Cynical responses feel really good at the moment just like greasy fast food.  And like junk food, they cause problems for us down the road. 

Emotional Underpinnings of Cynicism

It is easy for the cynic to recognize that it is a response born out of anger.  We are angry at the individuals or the company that misled us.  The cynical response seems “streetwise.”  We have identified the culprit(s) who have abused our trust.  It is insightful to be able to see past the protestations of innocence and learn that the tobacco companies knew what they were doing or the Enron executives and Anderson auditors were fully aware of the accounting tricks they were using to deceive others.  The most accomplished cynics are even able to identify other players in the deception, including those who profited from the ruse or others who knew but lacked the moral courage to speak out.

And like junk food, the cynicism begins to be our favorite meal after a while.  We desire cynicism for the sake of cynicism.  We lose sight of the long term harm because the short term consumption of this psychological junk food is so tasty. We find some sense of satisfaction in recognizing how bad things are. The expert cynic will point out that things are even worse than anyone knew.

Beneath the anger of cynicism we are also experiencing grief There is no cynic who was not once an idealist.  We once believed that we could make a difference in our world.  We dreamed of contributing to the benefit of the human community through our work.  

Our idealism was met with resistance.  We discovered that what we offered was not wanted, or that someone tried to steal it from us without just compensation.  We learned that others, whom we admired for their ideals, had a dark side that spoiled our beliefs about them.  In the face of this resistance, we let go of the dreams and beliefs and ideals.  We judge them to be “childish” (because the ideals were usually born when we were very young) and accept the cynical view as mature and sophisticated. 

Cynicism is really a reaction to loss.  It is not a loss of something material, but of something that is lost within our soul.  We are angry because this is not the way the world “should” be.  But our experience tells us that the world is not just.  Our experience also warns us that we are not powerful enough to change it.  And so we surrender to the cynical. 

In the short term, cynicism keeps us alert to the potential dangers that lurk from the individuals and organizations that try to manipulate us into believing what they say while distracting us from what they do.  Like junk food, it fills the immediate hunger. 

It is the long term effects of cynicism that pose the real danger.  Cynicism reminds us that the world is unjust and that we are powerless to change it The first half of this sentence is indisputable.  The experience of injustice in the world is the experience of virtually everyone.  Cynicism assumes the second half of the sentence.  It takes the form of a belief about our self.  Psychological research has shown conclusively that our beliefs about ourselves have a self-fulfilling quality about them.  In other words, if I believe that I am powerless, then I will act as if that it true. 

The more cynical we become the more we surrender our own personal power.  That is the true danger of the cynical attitude.  It clogs the arteries of our soul.  In exchange for the momentary satisfaction of feeling full, we give up the ability to make a difference in the world. 

Alternative Business

Is there an alternative way of doing business

Our work life is too important to be confined only to the bottom line.  In the beginning, we dreamed of doing work that would contribute to the welfare of the world around us.  That dream does not need to be given up because it is difficult to accomplish.  Although we think of the accomplished cynic as being “mature” or “sophisticated,” we still define our heroes as those who did not let go of their ideals even when it was very difficult. 

Alternative medicine (sometimes now termed "complementary medicine) has grown alongside traditional medicine. It provides a necessary correction to the traditional practices which had begun to lose sight of the goal of healing.  The two approaches, in tension with each other, provides an expansion of what it means to care for the health of patients. Business, as it has evolved, is no longer healthy for the human being.  Perhaps it is time for us to develop an “alternative business.”  There is a way to work that recognizes that “making a profit” is only one goal.  There are other reasons to engage in business.  Goods and services add quality to life.  People find community with each other as they work together.  Talents are put to use and creativity is challenged in the pursuit of excellence.  There is a clear sense of purpose that emerges from what we do.

What would happen if we ate a balanced psychological diet that included quality, community, talent and purpose alongside the effort to make a profit?  Would the business efforts collapse?  Or would the slower growth that avoids the "profit at any cost" approach actually prove to be more valuable to us?

Where to Begin

I am not yet ready to give up all my cynicism.  There is a lot to be cynical about.  I do recognized, however, that it is not healthy for me to give it too much credence in my day-to-day life.  Cynics can become hostile and bitter over time.  It will not provide the quality of life I seek, so it must be balanced.

1. Passion.  The place to start is to re-connect to the reasons I chose this career.  For me, as a psychologist, it is a deep and passionate desire to help people express their talents and function at the highest levels of excellence.  That is my passion and those who are unjust or manipulative cannot take it away from me.  I will not surrender it to them.  What is it that brings you passion?

2. Community.  However, if I am to maintain my commitment to my passions, I will need to find support from others who are also committed to remaining passionate about their work.  What the specific work involves is not as important as the shared passion to be the best. Humans become their best in community.  Who are the people in your life who are truly committed to being their best?

3. Balance.  Work is a part of what brings life its quality. But those who overwork do not perform better.  It is important to take time for family and friends and to play.  It is necessary to develop the ability to walk away from work pressure for a while and to enjoy the other elements of life. What are the other important aspects of your life?

4. Take your Vitamin C’s. The Vitamin C’s for an Emotionally Healthy Workplace (see my previous newsletter series on the Vitamin C’s at http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/eNewsetter.htm)  are part of the overall diet that will sustain the efforts to put quality back into the work life.  How do you approach your work and handle the stress it brings?

"The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run."    -Henry David Thoreau

(Dr. John Weaver will be offering a 9 hour seminar on "Alternative Business" this fall.  Watch for details about registration.)

On Executive Coaching:  "If ever stressed-out corporate America could use a little couch-time, it’s now. Trust in big companies is at an all-time low. Baby-boomers have been burned; Gen Xers aren’t expecting the Corporation to take care of them. Under the circumstances, employees are much likelier to go outside and get independent advice to help them be better managers" Karen Cates, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Did you know that executive coaching is not geographically limited?  Coaching by telephone is effective.  It is also an efficient use of time and resources.  You never need to leave your office to travel, nor do you need to pay travel expenses for your coach. We offer coaching either onsite or by telephone. To find out if coaching is right for you, contact us to schedule a FREE 1/2 hour consultation.  Or request a price sheet to determine the best value for your organization.  Call us at: (262) 789-2728 or email us at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com. ============================================================================================================

About the Author

John Weaver, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist with 22 years’ professional experience working with organizations, groups, and individuals. He has experience leading groups and creating teamwork in organizations. His areas of expertise include executive coaching, conflict resolution, coaching teams and individuals to improve performance under stress, assessing employees and potential employees to ensure the right person for the right job, and training in stress management and "The Vitamin C’s for an Emotionally Healthy Workplace."  He is an experienced public speaker and published author.

Based in Waukesha, WI, Dr. John Weaver is available for consultation or executive coaching by phone, e-mail or in person. He may be reached at (262) 789-2728 (office) or (414) 491-8719 (cell), by e-mail: mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com or: 

John Weaver, Psy.D. 
Psychology for Business
2717 North Grandview Boulevard, Suite 303
Waukesha, Wisconsin, 53188

Archives:  All our previous newsletters are archived at http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/eNewsletter.htm. Check out the series on The Vitamin C’s of an Emotionally Healthy Workplace, the series on Dealing with Difficult Employees, links to our Published Articles and our newest series, Triple "A" Leadership.

Dr. John Weaver
of Psychology for Business and Jeff Percival of Ben HR will be presenting a seminar  titled

The Vitamin C’s for Healthy and Effective Leaders

– A Results Focused Seminar –
P&H Training Center
2717 South 163rd Street
New Berlin, Wisconsin

A healthy bottom line starts with the people who lead your organization.  How do you ensure that your managers and supervisors practice effective leadership principles?  This seminar delivers the "vitamin C’s" – the building blocks for healthy leaders and a healthy bottom line.

Wednesday morning, August 14th from 8:00AM to 11:00AM. Mark your calendar now.

Cost is only $89 per person.  Groups of 3 or more who register at the same time for $79 each.  Seating is limited.


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Email: _____________________________________________________________ (Please Print) 

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Dr. John Weaver
2717 North Grandview Blvd., #303
Waukesha, WI 53188

To request additional information by email, please send an email to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbuinsess.com?subject=LEADERS.

An extra for our readers: Receive your FREE copy of 9 Ways to Motivate Your Workforce by clicking on the title or visiting http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/motivate.htm. This paper was prepared for a recent talk by Dr. John Weaver (and co-presented by Jeff Percival) for the Workforce Development Center. If you are interested in having Dr. Weaver speak for your organization, contact him at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com?subject=SPEAK .


To order your copy of the book, MANAGING DIFFICULT PERSONALITIES IN THE WORKPLACE: A Manager’s Practical Guide, by Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass, send your name, address, number of copies desired and a check made out to Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass for $12 per book (plus $2 shipping per book).  Or order 10 or more copies for $10 per book and $6.95 for shipping (up to 50 copies).  No fluff, this book gets right to the point. Send orders to:

Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188   

Email: mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com

To order the booklet: 41 WAYS TO IMPROVE THE EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF YOUR WORKPLACE, by Dr. John Weaver send a check for $6 and a self-addressed, double stamped business size envelope to:

Dr. John Weaver
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188


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If you would like to learn more about Dr. John Weaver (mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com), Dr. Lynda Dahlke (mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com), and Dr. Paul Glass (mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com) please visit us at our website: http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/.


© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved. John Weaver. Distribution rights: The above material is copyrighted, but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. If you would like to reprint part of this newsletter please contact me at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com to make arrangements.


Sharing this newsletter with colleagues and friends, under these conditions, is encouraged.


If you have a question or topic you would like to see covered, send your request to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com.

New!  Subscriber Corner.  In each newsletter, we will highlight some of our subscribers at the end of each issue. It is an opportunity for you to learn more about other organizations who are part of the Psychology for Business family. It is also a chance for you to highlight your business efforts. To have your organization listed, please send a brief (4 to 7 lines) description that will tell readers about who you are, what you do, and how to get in contact with you. This service is offered to our readers free of charge (although we hope you will share the newsletter with lots of your potential customers and that you will encourage them to sign up for Psychology for Business!) on a first come, first served basis.  Send your information to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com. All of our readers are invited to be listed in Subscriber Corner. Listing does not imply that we endorse any specific business.

Dr. John Weaver publishes another newsletter, co-authored by Darlene Weaver, THE CENTERED PENDULUMIt is our firm belief that lifelong patterns of “being” (personality, attitudes, emotions) and “doing” (lifestyle, adaptability, coping skills) interact with our genes and environment to create conditions of a healthy or a diseased brain.  If you would like to read previous issues of the Centered Pendulum newsletter or to subscribe, please visit the archives at http://www.centeredpendulum.org/newsletters.htm.