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Our driveway is over 150 years long and requires the crossing of a small bridge. We have an alarm that sounds in the house when a car or person (or deer) crosses the bridge. Once upon a time, the dogs were instantly alert and barking when anyone entered the property. But now they rely on the alarm, and only bark when they hear it. If I turn it off for any reason, they detect people and vehicles much later than they once did. (If the wind blows something across the alarm beam, they bark as if someone has caused it.)

To what degree are you depending on secondary sources? Do you listen to gossip and special interests at clients, or go to watch, listen, and attend yourself? Do you believe what you’re told about a new car or do you test drive it? Do you listen to people who have “heard” that a resort is worth the trip and investment, or do you talk to people who have been there?

News reporting today is too often based on secondary (or even tertiary) sources. They’re too lazy, or cheap, or invested in their own agendas to really seek the truth.

As my kids’ fourth grade teacher warned us during an open house evening (all too rare today because teachers won’t attend them): “Here’s the deal. If you don’t believe what your kids claim and tell you about me, I won’t believe what they claim and tell me about you.”

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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