Posts Tagged ‘collective behavior


People have relationships with people, not with ideas, not with programs.

Few are the opportunities one gets to meet the future head on, face to face. And fewer are the opportunities to be part of shaping that future. Last Sunday, I was blessed with both.

I was invited by “Women in Front” (look them up on Facebook) to deliver a Personal Branding presentation to women planning on offering their candidature to the upcoming legislative elections. What I discovered is simply amazing.


I have never witnessed such an ardent resolve, most certainly not with men. I came to realize that taking things for granted, arrogance and prejudice provide a fake sense of security. That sense is enjoyed by some men in Lebanon; they even take it one notch higher by solemnly claiming that women are not fit for politics. I believe that the sheer fact of making such a comment voids the fitness (and right) of that man to be in politics, and on planet Earth for that matter!


Aside from the fact that I was surrounded by over 20 amazing women (eat your hearts out!), I was surrounded by 20 beautiful intellects. That Sunday I was with human beings determined to induce a positive change in a society that claims openness on the outside, but resents change on the inside.

That Sunday I was with Women (yes with a capital “W”) who, aware of the risks, are heading straight into the maelstrom. Each has a clear Program and associated agenda. Each has the education few men in politics have today. Each has a beautiful smile that inspires trust. But most importantly, all of them are transparent, honest, real.


These women do not deserve a chance. They deserve to be there, period.

You give a chance to doubt, to failure, to liars, to the unproven. And we have been giving that chance to “men” since 1943…

In a previous post (, I wrote:
“We forgot to look at India, Great Britain, Iceland, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Argentina, Bolivia, Switzerland, Philippines, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Finland, Lithuania… where women were not only elected to parliament, they were presidents, heads of state.”

I never voted, never will eventually; but I would not hesitate one second to head to the polling station this time, if one of the amazing ladies I trained that Sunday run for elections.

I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to meet the future face to face, and honoured to be given the humble opportunity to be part of shaping it.

One hurdle is left. How open-minded will men be towards a brilliant future shaped by gender partnership, instead of a grim future shaped by men only?

Only time will tell.



We keep hearing about “personal branding”. This is fine… so far. But when you really ponder upon the subject, you will discover that  a “person” is a relative entity which actually a part of the many. Which leads to an intriguing thought: Our individuality is conditioned by our integration within the mass. So in other words, a person is a person when it is an intrinsic part of a group of persons.

Wao! I had to read three times what I just wrote to grasp it!

So, if you ask me (and yes, I know you are), our definition, perception and evaluation of a person is dictated by the environment in which that person thrives at large, but most importantly by the small circles within which that person engages in interaction. And those circles usually are family, friends, and work.

I will focus on friends for a simple reason. Family is a conditioner. Since we’re born within a family, we spend the first 18 years of our lives being conditioned by our parents, family sociocultural inheritance and the safe haven they provides. So there, we have a little leeway to maneuver. Comes work, and there again, most of our behavior and person(ality) are “dictated by the amount of will we harness to progress our career, kiss the boss’s ass (or the receptionist’s…), earn a raise, or see our opponents drop.

With friends, on the other hand, we simply blossom. Our choice of friends is a very intricate strategy, happening most of the times in the depth of our subconscious, yet complex enough to explore. Yeah, I know, it’s getting ugly.

Our awareness about our own image or brand is an important factor in choosing friends. A friend has to enhance some aspect of our own brand. Depending on how smart (or lame) you are, you choose your friends to boost specific aspects of that brand of yours. You hang out with the jet-setter or the trendsetter, the geek because he or she expands your knowledge base or the weak because they help you shine. Yeah, yeah, you love your friends, I know. What you don’t know is “why”!

Why do you love a friend? Pick one right now and describe why you love him or her. You will end up stating their qualities, the ones that “you” like about them, the ones that you feel fit your image, personality and character. In other words, that person is “fit” to be your friend. It fulfills a specific purpose, it’s a link in your chain of self-branding. Mind you, you’re the same to your friends.

So next time, you find yourself engaging in the friendship ritual with another person, try to reflect on what that person represents to you and what you represent to him or her. This will be a wonderful way to understand the importance of a balanced chemistry between bot of you.

At the end, you will be labeled as a group or a bunch (or a posse), even sometimes a couple (no, not as in an item) and you will enjoy the bliss of the friendship brand. You will be safe inside that brand. You will be protected by the others, giving you the range to screw up from time to time and not be noticed. Because, once the friendship brand prevails, you, the “person” become part of a bigger scheme, where what makes you who you are perceived to be, is not how you act, but how your action integrates with the collective behavior of your bunch.

If today’s organizations realized the power of friendship branding, they would be in control of a powerful social weapon. Few (if any) organizations understand the true nature and power of friendship. But are they to blame? So many of us have yet to grasp it ourselves…

At the end, the same way we, as people, need to understand the science behind friendship to make the best of it, organizations have yet to understand the friendship behind the science to win their customers hearts.

©2010 – Ibrahim Lahoud


May 2020

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Reason To Believe by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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