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Introducing www.thegrayrhino.com

The launch of my latest book, THE GRAY RHINO: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore (St Martin’s Press), kept me very busy in 2016, with appearances in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Phoenix, London, Luxembourg, and Oslo.

I’ve also been working on turning the concept and framework introduced in the book into keynote speeches, workshops, and practical tools for companies, policy makers, and individuals to use in making better decisions that will help them avoid preventable but too often overlooked “gray rhino” problems.

It’s very, very exciting to formally launch Gray Rhino & Company through its very own brand new website, thegrayrhino.com. The site includes blogs about geopolitical gray rhinos as well as behavioral tools to help with gray rhinos at work or home. Along with my own thoughts, the site hosts guest commentary. It also has multimedia resources, including video, audio, slides, and e-books.

Please visit the site, take a look around, and let me know what you love (or hate!). I’m open to suggestions, to guest posts, and collaboration opportunities.

You’re also invited to sign up for my newsletter, the Gray Rhino Tracker. Every month, I’ll share insights and tips designed to help you to make sure you’re not about to get run over by a gray rhino. Plus you’ll get special offers, links to articles, and recommendations of work by people I respect.

But wait, there’s more! (I always wanted to say that…) Gray Rhino Tracker subscribers also get a FREE e-book companion, What’s Your Gray Rhino? 5 Questions to Keep You from Getting Trampled, with a simple set of questions to help you keep track of your organization’s -or your own- gray rhinos. Sign up for the Gray Rhino Tracker to get a download link.

I’ll still post content here regularly, including things related to Why the Cocks Fight and Lockout, but you can take a much deeper dive into gray rhino thinking on the new site. Thanks for taking a look!

Take the Gray Rhino Readiness Quiz

Take the Gray Rhino Readiness Quiz and share with your networks.

Click BEGIN THE QUIZ below to get started.

Welcome to the quiz How Rhino Ready Are You?

A gray rhino is an obvious danger that offers us a choice: deny it or deal with it. Humans take these problems for granted all too often and get trampled because of it.

Gray rhinos happen in personal lives, at work, in communities and around the world. Why gray? Well, there are White rhinos which are not white and there are Black rhinos which are not black. Despite their names, they are all gray. It's the most obvious thing about them but we miss that glaring detail.

This quiz offers you a chance to evaluate your own gray rhino spotting and wrangling skills.

Click "NEXT" below to get started.

Good luck!

How often do you go to the dentist?
Do you have a rainy day fund?
Think of the biggest problem you face in your life. Take a few minutes if you need. How would you describe the way you're dealing with it?
How often do you change the oil in your car?
Would you prefer $100 now or $150 in 12 months?
Your best friend, who has no reason to lie about such a thing, tells you your significant other may be cheating on you. What do you do?
You are an executive at an auto company and an employee alerts you to a major safety problem with a model that's about to go on the market. Fixing it will be expensive and likely delay the launch, make the CEO mad, and make a dent in your bonus. What do you do?
Climate change. Discuss.
Your job is funded by "soft" government money -that is, grants that need to be renewed. You have a new governor who is all about cutting budgets. What do you do?
Which of these comes closest to a typical lunch for you?
How do you feel about your job?
What color is a white rhino?

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The Gray Rhino Hungarian edition

hungarian-edition-coverTHE GRAY RHINO is now available in Hungarian translation via Athenaeum as A szürke rinocérosz: Hogyan ismerjük fel a világunkat fenyeget? nyilvánvaló veszélyeket, és hogyan szálljunk szembe velük

Click the book cover for more information in Hungarian.

 

HuffPost: A Creative Outpour Inspired by a Massacre

 

Author Julia Alvarez at the first Border of Lights vigil. Photo © 2012 by Tony Savino.

Author Julia Alvarez at the first Border of Lights vigil. Photo © 2012 by Tony Savino.

As Haiti and the Dominican Republic clean up from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, this week commemorates another tragedy: the Parsley Massacre, an ethnic cleansing in early October 1937 on the border of the two islands sharing the island of Hispaniola.

In my first book, Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola, I wrote about how Dominican soldiers are said to have asked people on the border to pronounce the Spanish word for parsley; if they had trouble trilling the “r,” they were killed.

Rita Dove’s poem, entitled Parsley in reference to that story, powerfully evokes the massacre.

The tragedy has produced other powerful works of literature, film, and creativity.

Farming of Bones is the Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat’s novel of star-crossed lovers set against the backdrop of the massacre.

More recently, the Dominican-American poet and novelist Julia Alvarez published A Wedding in Haiti, a memoir of her friendship with a young Haitian man named Piti.

I met Julia in 1999 after my publisher sent her an advance copy of Why the Cocks Fight. She sent me a lovely note with a hand-made card with a photograph of a cockfight on the front, beginning a long friendship between two authors who hold a certain island dear in their hearts.

A few years later, Julia and talked over lunch about how sad it was that there had been no “truth commission” or other formal recognition of the victims and survivors of the massacre. We talked about how wonderful it would be to hold a candlelight vigil at the border in their honor. This was before the Internet could bring people together the way it does today, and life (as it has a habit of doing) got in the way of turning the idea into reality.

But in 2011, after the death far too soon of the Dominican-Haitian activist Sonia Pierre, a group of young Dominican- and Haitian-Americans approached us about reviving the idea of a border vigil to both honor Sonia’s memory and memorialize the massacre.

Thus was born Border of Lights, an arts collective driven by rising new voices from the diaspora, that launched in 2012 in the weeks leading up to the 75th anniversary of the massacre. Border of Lights convened performances ofmonologues from the perspectives of victims, survivors, perpetrators, and bystanders, and collected personal narratives that are still hosted on its website.

Border of Lights will hold a Global Vigil this Saturday, October 8, from 8-10pm Eastern Time, with a real time Facebook Q&A about the historical legacy and the way it has played into today’s issues. Border of Lights invites friends around the world to post photos of themselves with candles or other lights to its Facebookand Twitter accounts with the hashtag #BeLights.

From October 7-9, Border of Lights volunteers and partners will hold a vigil on the actual border and clean up after the storm. They also will screen a new film, Death by a Thousand Cuts, a powerful tale of how border tensions play out in a life and death drama over deforestation and the illicit charcoal trade from the Dominican Republic to Haiti. The film premiered at Toronto’s Hot Docs Film Festival in May.

The annual vigil, which celebrates the positive elements of the two countries’ relationship, continues even after tensions rose to new heights after a 2013 Dominican high court decision revoking the citizenship of many Dominicans of Haitian descent, and the exodus that followed after the government began enforcing it in 2015. The Dominican government revoked an award it had given to Dominican-American author Junot Diaz because he, like many other writers, artists, and scholars, had spoken out against its harsh policies.

The massacre and its modern-day legacy also have informed scholarship on the fraught relationship between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

In The Tears of Hispaniola: Haitian and Dominican Diaspora Memory, the Cuban-American scholar Lucia Suarez shows how the writing of diaspora Dominicans and Haitians has shed new light on both the past and present tensions. She ties their work to the historical record by drawing as well on texts like human rights reports.

Two new books published in 2016 by a new generation of Dominican-American scholars add new insights to the long-running issues of race, nationalism, and violence.

Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nation, and Archives of Contradiction, by the Harvard scholar Lorgia Garcia Pena, comes out in November.

Edward Paulino, a historian at John Jay College and a co-founder of Border of Lights, published Dividing Hispaniola: The Dominican Republic’s Border Campaign against Haiti, 1930-1961 in January.

Together, these works serve to recognize the memory of the victims and survivors of the massacre, and to work toward the hope that such an atrocity is never repeated. At a time when racist and nationalist speech is enjoying a resurgence around the world, this creative outpouring is more important than ever -both on the island of Hispaniola and everywhere that hatred raises its ugly head.

Originally published at The Huffington Post.

Special Offer For Educators

Are you teaching THE GRAY RHINO, LOCKOUT, or WHY THE COCKS FIGHT as required reading in your high school or university course? Would you like a free 20 to 30 minute Q&A session with your students over Skype?

If so, please send a copy of your course syllabus to michele@wucker.com, along with the time and day of the week that your class meets and a few suggested days, the number of students in your class, and any other information that might be helpful. Your class must read the book ahead of the session and have prepared questions.

I’ll do my best to accommodate your top preferred dates around my other commitments and travel schedule, so the more flexible you can be, the more likely we’ll be able to find a time that works.

LinkedIn Pulse: What’s Your Gray Rhino?

Recognize or TrampleOne of the things I’m enjoying the most about the launch of The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore is the way people are embracing the concept and applying it to their work, to their personal lives, and to the policy challenges facing their communities and the planet. We all face highly obvious gray rhino threats, and we all could do better -often MUCH better- at dealing with instead of denying them.

In recent workshops in Milwaukee, Phoenix, and San Francisco, I enjoyed and learned from lively discussions about gray rhinos from transportation and workforce challenges to family financial planning; to geo-economic issues like China’s economy, the clashing threats of deflation and asset inflation, the impact of volatile oil prices on the Middle East and on the global economy; the impact of disruptive technologies on various industries and the employment outlook; safety and transparency problems that now look to be widespread across the auto industry, not just isolated to a couple of companies; and ongoing business issues like evolving customer preferences and cost of customer acquisition. I loved that one workshop group even came up with a new term: limping hippos -for the things that appear to be gray rhinos but turn out to be false alarms.

Scott MacDonald of the University of Connecticut has written on LinkedIn Pulse about Puerto Rico’s debt crisis as a gray rhino: “International financial markets have already seen the problem of a slow motion train wreck with Greece’s debt problem and the European Union; hopefully we are not going to relive it with Puerto Rico and the U.S. municipal bond market.  More likely than not, a portion of Puerto Rican debt will have to be written off.”

Regina Rodriguez-Martin wrote on her Chicana on the Edge blog about how we can apply gray rhinos to personal life, not just to business and policy issues. “The ending of my marriage was probably a gray rhino,” she says. I often mention Regina’s quip at book talks and the audiences just love her perspective. On another serious note, she mentions a friend whose mother was dying, but her father only got past the denial stage when she passed away.

Dr. Aldemaro Romero Jr wrote “Academia is now facing a lot of gray rhinos,” in the Edwardsville Intelligencer. He cites the vulnerability of state educational institutions to falling funding and of private institutions to challenges involving diversity, access and endowment management. Students and parents can add to problems when they let a sense of entitlement get in the way.

In Norway, leadership consultant Lise Strand Bjarkli uses the gray rhino to talk about how businesses face market disruptions including the Fourth Industrial Revolution and “the awareness, willingness and ability each and one of us could summon to act upon swans, elephants or grey rhinos.”

A reader who emailed me this week feels that nuclear weapons are an important gray rhino, a conclusion that many respondents to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Risks Report certainly shared.

Questions from audiences and readers always give me lots of food for thought. One of the first questions I nearly always get is whether Donald Trump is a gray rhino. (Look at all of the failed attempts to stop his rise; more important, though, is to look at the gray rhinos that made it possible.) What about the “Really Big One” earthquake along the Cascadian subduction zone, the subject of a Pulitzer Prize winning New Yorker article? (Highly scientific consensus: the really big one most likely is a black swan in our lifetime, but likely a gray rhino in the future; and smaller quakes are definitely gray rhinos.) The asteroid Apophis or other asteroids that might strike earth? (NASA scientists see the risk as extremely low, though several recent news articles have placed it higher.) Our polarized and paralyzed political system? A resounding YES.

That’s the great thing about the gray rhino concept: not every person may see the same gray rhinos, but the principle and framework can help everyone to take a more serious look at the things right in front of us that we don’t give the attention that they deserve.

So, I ask today: What is your gray rhino? I’d love to hear about it.

Read and share this post on LinkedIn Pulse.

Books

The Gray Rhino

How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore

Buy the book

Why the Cocks Fight

Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola

Buy the book

Lockout

Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right

Buy the book

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