Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Please Consider Reviewing My Book on Amazon

Thank you for your encouragement and support on the release of my book,"Successful Leaders Aren't Bullies." I trust you'll find it interesting and hope you'll consider reviewing it on Amazon. If I can help you in any way, please feel free to contact me. Now, it's time to stop the bullies!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

"Successful Leaders Aren't Bullies" interview with Alan Gurvey and Kerri Kasem

Click here to hear my interview

with Alan Gurvey and Kerri Kasem discussing "Successful Leaders Aren't Bullies."

If you are interested in listening to this interview, or if you know someone who can benefit from learning about how to address bullies at work or in their personal life,

please either click the respective link to listen to the complete show or download the interview to listen to my session.

It's recorded from 13:00 to 43:00 minutes of the respective show with my name and book cover.

Hope you enjoy it and it is helpful.

Any questions, please contact me.

Thank you for your consideration!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

And now the Light shines on Ohio State Wrestling.

Former Ohio State wrestlers claim Congressman Jim Jordan, (R- Ohio), was complicit in knowing team doctor Richard Strauss sexually abused and assaulted wrestlers. Jordan told Fox News these discussions, where Strauss was called: “Locker-room voyeur,” “Serial groper,” or "Dr. Jelly Paws," were “locker room banter” and " are a lot different than allegations of abuse or – or reported abuse to us." He was a full time assistant coach with years of experience. Not acting against, or reporting, vile behavior because of how it is perceived is a copout. Any reference to sexual abuse must be taken seriously to reveal and terminate it.

A snickering Penn State assistant football coach used the term “Jerry’s kids”, lifting Jerry Lewis’ endearing fund raising title, to label Sandusky’s 2nd Mile participants to make other Penn State staffers chuckle when I coached there in the late 1980’s. In retrospect, his banter likely acknowledged Sandusky’s sexual predation. They all laughed.

Although not aware of Sandusky's sexually abuse during my time there as a grad assistant, the bizarre power dynamics I experienced with Paterno and the staff motivated me to dedicate my career to building thriving organizations with healthy leadership and team practices. My greatest regret was not knowing and stopping Sandusky from tormenting more boys. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I know the toll.

With light shining on another complicit university condoning a physician’s vile conduct, it is a good time to review how all forms of abuse can stop and be transcended. Here’s how.

Organizations allowing abuse share three factors.

Factor 1) They encourage and enable abuse by condoning it. People in charge are aware.

Factor 2) They attract and hire employees predisposed and willing to abuse.

Factor 3) There are no clear rules defining and enforcing appropriate behavior and conduct

Here are some additional factors, also found at Ohio State and Michigan State:

•Domineering behavior: accepted power and control permits perps to break boundaries

•Extreme performance expectations encourage power / control, criticism / fear dynamics

•Excessive competition (in function, tasks, status, or advancement fosters compliance)

•Fear and Trepidation.

•Poor communications – no dialogue or transparency

•Physical versus verbal expression

•Sadistic enjoyment in humiliating talented people

•Perps demonstrate a sociopathic ability to control their own image—the selective ability to appear like a different person to different audiences at different power levels. For example, assaulting kids while being celebrated by officials; kissing up and kicking down!

•Deficiencies in leadership and management behavior


•Lack of clear policies about workplace dignity

At Ohio State with Strauss and with Larry Nassar at Michigan State, officials did not verify with students whether they understood behaviors constituting sexual assault and abuse. These officials ignored and essentially condoned sexual assault and abuse. To clarify,

Sexual Assault, according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), is any sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the survivor. If all parties involved do not provide an enthusiastic “yes,” there is no consent. If it’s not clear, it’s not consent.

Sexual abuse, adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology, is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.

The first step in tackling organizational abuse, including sexual abuse, is to identify, acknowledge, and admit it exists. The following steps help organizations transcend destructive behaviors. These steps also help victims recover from trauma.

1. Leaders report abuse to credible authorities to stop and address it and then acknowledge how inappropriate behaviors were practiced to learn, change, and enlighten. They separate facts from opinions to debunk false beliefs and appearances while exposing cultural blind spots with transparency and disclosure.

2. Leaders list deceptive beliefs, lies, destructive alliances, hidden and secret problems, narcissism, and cognitive distortions formerly embraced by bad and abusive people as “their way” to maintain power or to satisfy selfish and deviant needs.

3. Leaders list dysfunctional behaviors associated with these distorted beliefs; abusive behaviors accepted as “the way we’ve always done it” or “that’s just the way he/she is” but sick—and, in these cases, illegal
4. Leaders encourage, and make simple a cultural norm to identify, report, address, and stop all abusive practices and related banter / references. They create reputable, trustworthy reporting processes, including easy access to state and federal authorities, where internal reporting may be squashed.

Organized employee boycotts, walkouts, and third-party organizing send shockwaves up abusive management chains. There’s strength in numbers. If leaders don’t act, demand, with one collective voice, abusive people and practices be abolished and replaced with healthy and uplifting leadership.

5. Develop leaders with transparent communication and evaluation processes assuring you will be surrounded, for the most part, by healthy people and leaders who afford you the dignity, respect, efficacy, and rights to life, liberty, and happiness you deserve.

Matt Paknis is a senior management consultant with six years of college football coaching and eight years of playing experience through 5 championship seasons whose focus is on lessening bullying in the workplace. He was a former assistant coach at Penn State under Joe Paterno and has spoken publicly about being abused as a child. Matt transcended childhood bullying and the death of his mother with teamwork and leadership. He has dedicated over twenty-five years of consulting to helping global clients embrace healthy management practices to thrive. His latest book, "Successful Leaders Aren't Bullies: How to Stop Abuse at Work and Build Exceptional Organizations," releases this September.

Monday, June 25, 2018

How can I respond?

Suicide is America’s tenth leading cause of death, taking 45,000 lives each year. The crisis was accentuated when public figures killed themselves as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released recent data showing steady increases. This moved me to join another public discussion to determine whether it’s possible to know when someone’s suicidal. If so, and assuming life is the healthiest choice, it’s critical to know how to intervene and help.

Driving while listening to a scene from Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand’s book about Louis Zamperini, inspired me. A giant, compassionate, Japanese war prison guard protected Zamperini from tortuous guards. He whispered to Louis: “You Christian, I Christian.” As I thought about stopping bullies, an eighteen-wheeler on my right lost control.

It was mid-morning, mid-September. Three packed highway lanes cruised at maximum speed. Brakes pumped and the truck skipped into the service lane. A parked Jeep forced the truck back at me. Everything slowed, but my heart. A boot rolled in front of me. Beyond it rolled a person. Nothing separated us. I parked and yelled, “You ok?”

A young man wearing a new suit and tie lay in front of me, I hoped, alive. His head doused hope. I prayed and covered his disfigurement. Traffic was directed to lanes on both sides of the victim. A 911 operator recorded my report.

A police officer arrived. He said I prevented a pileup. We funneled the traffic to the inner lane (as pictured). More help arrived. He asked if I’d seen anything like this. Never. He claimed the impact sucked the victim from his shoe.

A relative ended her life this way. If our paths crossed prior and they displayed common suicidal signs like withdrawing; giving away possessions; speaking of helplessness or powerlessness or being wronged; acting recklessly and other changes, (Please see I could have intervened and been present; listened without passing judgment or giving advice, sat with them as they dialed a suicide prevention line, or joined them to an emergency room and diverted them from spiraling.

They might envision positive outlooks with hopeful expectations in collaborative communities. When someone is valued and feels empowered to control their destiny, they choose to live.

It was too late to share appropriate responses like: “I’m here for you.” “You’re not alone.” “You are important to me.” “We are here to see one another through.” “When this is over, I’ll be here and so will you.” “I can’t understand your feelings, but I offer my compassion.” “I’m not leaving you.” “You are loved.” “I’m sorry you’re in so much pain.” “I am taking care of myself so you won’t worry your pain may hurt me.”

It was too late to ask them directly about their suicidal thoughts. It’s important to realize it won’t encourage them to act by asking; “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” “Have you ever attempted to kill yourself?” “When you say (fill in the blank), do you mean you’re thinking of killing yourself?” It’s important to not be afraid to be clear and direct.

A distraught man appeared who claimed the victim walked into his moving truck. We spoke. He feared being deported or jailed or worse. We hugged. He was inconsolable; shaking, crying, and stating he loved his family, his job, and America. “By law, he has to submit a blood test,” said the officer. If positive, he’d lose everything. No charges were filed. He kept his job.

The victim was thirty seven with a wife and a baby girl. What triggered this? Mental Illness? Depression? Trauma? Grief? Anger? Pain? Guilt? Shame? Failed expectations? Feeling trapped alone or stuck on an island? Treated poorly? Feeling controlled and powerless?

It was too late for me to share I experienced childhood traumas causing many to end their lives early with accidents, substance abuse, or suicide. Help and Grace saved me and are available to all. Darkness keeps a person from seeing the truth and sensing efficacy with self-awareness.

People learn to be happy. Happy folks are light on themselves. They realize life is short, yet a gift. They contribute to worthy causes, apply their special talents, and make meaningful differences in others. In success or failure, they tend not to overreact.

It was too late for me to share claims from survivors who attempted suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. After jumping or letting go of the rail, they sensed regret and yearned to live! May peace and love Grace you and your family so you may fulfill your reasons for living.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The Samaritans Listening Line: 1 (800) 365 – 4044.

These confidential lines provide trained staff and volunteers available around the clock.

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!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Please, Let's Stop All Forms of Bullying!

Attached please find a very moving testimony from a man who confronts his childhood bully, now the newly selected respective school superintendent.

Over the years, I've counseled grown men, shaking and crying, who were bullied by a disturbed boss or executive.

To be released later this year is my book entitled, "Successful Leaders Aren't Bullies; How to Stop Abuse at Work and Build Exceptional Organizations".

It presents research and examples culled from my 27 years of observing and experiencing corporate bullying while consulting internationally.

It's written to help readers identify, stop, and transcend bullies and bullying organizations.

The book contrasts workplace and schoolyard bullying. Both forms exist because they are allowed by complicit organizational officials.

All bullying is based on deleterious power and control dynamics and, I believe, evil; selfishness, deception, and narcissism.

Bullies are cowards. If you see someone being bullied, or it's reported to you, please report it through the ranks up to and including legal authorities.

As we've seen, bullying can lead to tragic consequences.

If you see someone being bullied, please, within safe boundaries, say something and do something to stop it!

Thank you for your consideration and courage!