Sunday, May 27, 2018

What’s the cost of one’s soul and inalienable rights in the United States these days?


On January 24, 2018, vile bully Lawrence Nassar was sentenced to forty to 175 years in a Michigan state prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual assault of minors who were top-level gymnasts under his medical care as team physician for USA Gymnastics.

The 332 women who sued Michigan State University over abuse by Dr. Nassar will receive $500 million from the university in a settlement approved by the university’s elected trustees in a conference call on Tuesday night, May 15, 2018. It is believed to be the largest settlement ever reached in a sexual abuse case involving an American university.

Each woman will receive just under $1.3 million on average; some will get much more, and others much less, he said.
As the Nassar crisis unfolded, it appeared that Michigan State, USOC, and USA Gymnastics officials went covert, just like those at Penn State concerning Sandusky, to protect a child molester, to undermine trust and the truth, and ultimately to not protect children.

Trust results when a person in vulnerable positions feels protected, like a person or group or surroundings won’t allow him or her to be hurt. Abuse and bullying compromises invulnerability, undermines workplace trust, and worker motivation.

The sense of invulnerability is tied to the three core beliefs:
a) the world as benevolent,
b) the world as meaningful, and
c) the self as worthy.

Is having these beliefs shattered worth an average of $1.3 million to each of Nassar’s victims? Or, is it worth losing, on average, 20 years of each victim’s life expectancy?

A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports participants with childhood exposure to six or more different types of adverse childhood events (ACEs), including childhood sexual abuse, had their life expectancy reduced by twenty years, living to 60.6 years on average. The average age of death for the control group was 79.1. As a boy, I experienced eight of these adverse events.

In a related move on Monday May 21, 2018, a divided Supreme Court ruled businesses can prohibit their workers from standing up for themselves and banding together in disputes over pay and conditions in the workplace, like bullying, abuse, and harassment. This decision affects an estimated 25 million non-unionized employees.

The justices held that individual employees can be forced to use arbitration, not the courts, to air complaints about wages and overtime. The outcome also may include workplace discrimination and other disputes, like bullying, when employee contracts specify one-on-one arbitration must be used.

Workers who want to take action against sexual harassment, pay discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and racial discrimination “may now be forced behind closed doors into an individual, costly - and often secret - arbitration process,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.

The decision will hit low-wage, vulnerable workers especially hard, just as the most vulnerable gymnasts at the University of Michigan, the USOC, and USA Gymnastics were left exposed to Nassar’s predatory grip.

My legendary high school football coach, Ted Monica, would say, “We are only as good as our weakest (most vulnerable) player.” And he would say, “If you are this player, you better work your tail off to get better. If you know this player, you better work your tail off to help him.” I trusted this edict. I trusted my team. We protected each other. The approach worked, and I assumed, based on our unique success, it would and should apply to all organizations. Sacrifice, submission to a greater team goal, and brotherly love based on trust characterized my playing-days teams. It was key to my resilience.

Abuse and bullying violate the basic tenets of the United States Constitution; namely, each citizen’s right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

We need successful leaders who realize the true gauge of any group is the performance of its weakest, not its strongest, member. The value of a society is in how it treats and protects and elevates its most vulnerable members (i.e. the young, the old, the infirm). We need leaders who create safe environments where people trust.

They know their family, friends, schoolmates, doctors, managers, leaders, coaches, teammates, coworkers, administrators, faculty, neighbors, and staff will protect them from, and not exploit or expose them to, being hurt when they are vulnerable; where everyone is committed to each-others’ safety and success.

This is what makes teams, organizations, communities, societies, and America great.

Matt Paknis has 27 years of global management consulting experience, helping organizations embrace and apply healthy team and leadership principles and eliminate workplace bullies. His book, “Successful Leaders Aren’t Bullies; How to Stop Abuse at Work and Build Exceptional Organizations”, is available to order online, is published by Post Hill Press and will be distributed by Simon & Shuster in September. Matt coached the offensive lines at Brown, at Penn State with Paterno and Sandusky, and at URI, is a former NJ All State and All Ivy League Offensive Tackle, and is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

New York AG’s fall: From women’s defender to alleged abuser

All abusive and bullying behaviors are rooted in predators', and respective organizations', disturbed needs for power and control.


Shedding a bright light on this darkness with truth and transparency, and arming targets and victims with efficient, safe, protective, and reliable reporting processes, will help stop this vile behavior.

The burden of proof of innocence in abuse cases must shifted to the accused. It's better to err on the side of of caution to protect vulnerable people and to encourage targets and victims to step forward than to prioritize preventing false accusation.

Comfort in exposing abusive behaviors must become the norm and replace hiding and allowing abusive practices. Truth and facts must overpower fear and criticism.

The key is for leaders and constituents to not tolerate bullying and to empower all people to step up to stop abuse.

This and more tools for the reader to identify, stop, address, and transcend workplace abuse and bullying are available in my book, "Successful Leaders Aren't Bullies; How to Stop Abuse at Work and Build Exceptional Organizations", to be released by Simon & Schuster on September 4th and available on line and in all bookstores.

Thank you for your consideration. It's time to stop abuse!

Monday, April 30, 2018

How Maggie Nichols' revelation of Larry Nassar's abuse set her free – to win a national championship

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 Berean Study Bible


Happy Sunday! And Congratulations to Maggie Nichols, crowned yesterday as 2018's NCAA Gymnastics Champion!

Ms. Nichols began the year by revealing she was the first gymnast to report abuse by Dr. Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team physician convicted of serial sexual abuse, to USA Gymnastics’ leadership three years ago.

She ended the championship meet in triumph, with a string of performances that stamped her as one of the greatest collegiate gymnasts in history!

Below please find the five steps regarded by experts to help abuse victims and targets recover from trauma. These include:

a. Sharing all abusive experiences and secrets with a trusted, licensed / certified, recognized, and proven trauma counselor and, when ready, ultimately going public to expose the abuse and to protect potential targets.

b. Identifying cognitive distortions and irrational mental filters based on fears and criticisms—separating facts, and the truth, from abuse related opinions and false conclusions.

c. Safely integrate the trauma into the past by acknowledging unhealthy and destructive trauma responsive thoughts and behaviors associated with these cognitive distortions and opinions.

d. Choosing healthy cognitive responses and associated constructive behaviors in the moment, leading to positive outcomes and change.

e. Choosing to surround oneself with healthy and good people—honest, selfless, and self-critical who reinforce healthy thoughts and actions leading to positive outcomes.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Response to HBO's Movie "Paterno"


Last night HBO aired a movie about Paterno's fall from grace as Penn State's admired football coach. It failed to reveal the Paterno I experienced when coaching with him and Sandusky as an assistant Penn State football coach in 1987 and 1988 and how Paterno's true colors facilitated Sandusky's rampant pedophilia.

I experienced Paterno as a bully who demanded bizarre player witch hunts and staff behaviors. These contradicted his win the right way mantra. He also threatened staff and players with personal violence, he made racist statements, and he isolated, belittled, disenfranchised, and demeaned decent players and staff with tyrannical rage while projecting a calm and concerned public persona in the media. His true self so contradicted his beloved public image to this day people refuse to acknowledge Sandusky's crimes and Paterno's culpability.

Paterno's ruse and permission set the tone for Sandusky to model and create a sham of a charity where Sandusky committed the most vile form of bullying. All abuse is rooted in a predator's disturbed needs for power and contol. Abuse flourishes in organizations only where complicit officials allow it. Great teams elevate their most vulnerable. Bad teams, like those officiated by Paterno and Sandusky, exploit and abuse them.

We are all flawed, and there is a spectrum. The movie failed to show how Paterno's own bullying and his deceptive, selfish, and narcissistic true colors allowed and facilitated Sandusky, whose disorder is on this spectrum with sociopaths and serial murderers, to rape children for decades.

The movie failed to show Paterno's most ruthless, mean spirited, and deceptive character and how THIS facilitated Sandusky's crimes. Paterno was so focused on spinning and projecting his own web of lies he got caught in Sandusky's deception.

As a result of my exposure to Paterno's debilitating actions and organization, I pursued an MBA and have dedicated my last 27 years to helping organizations around the globe thrive with healthy leadership and teamwork while rooting out bullying and abusive behaviors. Simon & Schuster will be releasing my book,"Successful Leaders Aren't Bullies" in September.

It's based on cases I've experienced in my international consulting practice and is written to help readers identify, stop, address, and transcend all forms of bullying and abuse, including childhood sexual abuse.

Thank you for your consideration and support. Please let me know if I can help you or your organization overcome horrific setbacks to thrive.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Successful Leaders Aren't Bullies!

This weekend, HBO will release "Paterno", and Simon & Schuster announced the September release date for my book, "Successful Leaders Aren't Bullies".

The film stars Al Pacino as Paterno and chronicles Paterno's fall from grace in November 2011 when he eclipsed the NCAA's all time coaching wins record AND was fired from PSU for his culpability in allowing Sandusky to sexually molest young boys.

I worked as an offensive line coach at Penn State with Paterno and Sandusky in 1987 and 1988 and their bizarre power dynamics and narcissism turned me off to coaching.

It also motivated me to earn an MBA and help organizations rid themselves of bullies and bad management practices.

The film appears to allow the viewer to decide whether Paterno was complicit and knowingly allowed Sandusky to molest boys for the sake of Paterno's drive to become college football's all time most winning football coach and to protect his and Penn State's reputations.

Having dedicated my life to helping leaders and organizations stop, address, and transcend vile bullying behaviors to help organizations thrive, two truths have proven evident and consistent in officials in management positions where bullying, including the sexual abuse of children, flourishes. Either

1. at best, due to their own narcissism, selfishness, and deceptions, these officials do not have the moral fortitude to understand and acknowledge the evil being practiced under their noses, or

2. at worst, these officials knowingly keep these abusive and bullying behaviors secret to remain in power and to maintain their and their organizations' false appearances.

As a protected, and bullying, assistant coach under Rip Engle at Penn State, Paterno was known by players as "Joe the rat". He knew, and would screw, on every player who stepped out of line. He knew everything about everyone.

I found this to be the case when I worked for him when he was head coach. He'd even create typical bullying traps in an attempt to target and catch players he suspected might tarnish his brand and image. With Paterno, I choose option 2. He made it his job to know everything about everybody in the Penn State football program, including Sandusky. Paterno was complicit.

These are the options, so you decide. Either Paterno was too evil to recognize Sandusky's evil or he knowingly kept Sandusky's evil secret to protect his own ass.

Just as a coach, who was trying to encourage me to work for the late, great, Don James instead of Paterno said to me: "don't let JoePa smoke you." His veneer was slick and his brand was impressive.

But, there is no way in hell Sandusky's brand of evil ever, ever, exists under the watch of a true and great leader, or man.

Paterno was a phony and I only thought his duplicity involved his pontificating about winning football games the right way while overseeing a corrupt football program. A fish stinks from the head.

Enjoy the movie, and I hope you enjoy my book, written to help good leaders and bullying targets stop and transcend bullying, scheduled to be released in September.

Thank you for your consideration and support.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Sources: Police arrest Larry Nassar's Michigan State University boss

A fish stinks from its head!

The only root cause common in bullying and abusive organizations is it is ALLOWED by complicit officials!