What Does the Government of Iran and the Management of Allianz Life have in Common?

The recent Iranian presidential election has generated worldwide attention that has been directed, not so much at the actual results, but more to what has happened after the election.

The media, as you know, has been awash in videos showing thousands of Iranians protesting the election. (At least that was the case until Michael Jackson died and media attention switched to this much more important event!) But even more dramatically, the media has focused on the Iranian government’s aggressive activities to not only curb these protests, but also to block their citizens’ legitimate right to freely receive, exchange and share information regarding the protests with their global neighbors.

In this attack on the free exchange of ideas, the Iranian government has at various times shut down cell phone and texting networks, “jammed” BBC broadcasts and blocked access to Facebook and other web sites.

World leaders and lovers of free speech everywhere reacted with outrage at the brutal way the Iranian government attempted to stifle the protests of its citizens, but were even more alarmed at the government’s attempt to suppress free speech and the expression of personal feelings via cyberspace.

The End Justifies the Means?

The actions by the government of Iran to suppress the free exchange of ideas are a clear expression of its deep-seated insecurity and paranoia. The government’s chief concern is obviously to perpetuate itself—to retain its power over the country. The control of its cyberspace is just one tool in its arsenal of weapons. The governement has little trust, respect or regard for its citizens.

In my book, the use of cyberspace technology to control ideas and suppress the thoughts of citizens is the contemporary equivalent to the brutal techniques used by authoritarian governments of the past. It’s petty. It’s vindictive. And it doesn’t work. Iranians were still able to make efficient use of Twitter to “immortalize” their protests and broadcast scenes of violence by government security forces. Chinese citizens are no longer blocked from Google.

So what does this cyberspace abuse of individual rights of free speech and assembly in Iran have to do with the management of Allianz Life? You won’t believe it.

I have been told by a number of individuals working at Allianz Life that the management of Allianz Life is employing cyberspace technology to block Allianz employees from accessing my web site. In fact, it has been related to me that this Allianz cyberspace attack impacts employees at every Allianz company in North America. (Maybe even the galaxy!)

Are you kidding me? How revealing, stupid and silly is it for the management of Allianz Life to take this type of action?

If this is true (hey, Tweet me if you know differently, twitter.com/Bob_MacDonald), it is verification and validation of my previous comments that the management of Allianz Life is flush with bureaucracy, incompetency and insecurity. And, now I could add paranoia. What more obvious way to demonstrate insecurity and paranoia than to block the free exchange of opinion and ideas?

Much more important than trying to block my views from the employees of Allianz Life, this action by the management of the company shows a complete lack of regard and respect for the employees of Allianz Life. Obviously the management of Allianz Life only wants the employees to hear the viewpoint and story line of the company. It shows that the management does not trust the employee to absorb and analyze information and make their own decisions as to its voracity.

What the tunnel vision of Allianz management does not allow them to see is that the best way to respond to criticism – especially if you don’t believe it is justified – is to ignore it. Or at least be proactive by responding to it in a constructive way. If the criticism is not valid it will go away. However, if one is paranoid and insecure – and more important if you know it to be true – then the reaction is to attempt to prevent its dissemination. The real problem with this approach is that it serves only to validate the criticism and makes the situation worse, not better. Just ask the Iranian government.

And the moral of the story …

I can only recall the echoes of recent German history by paraphrasing President Reagan who would say …

Mr. Allianz, tear down this wall!

Allow your people to enjoy the rights of free speech and independent thought.

4 responses to “What Does the Government of Iran and the Management of Allianz Life have in Common?

  1. Bewildered

    I can’t comment on the blocking of information received by employees but I am interested in your take on why Allianz would block their marketing organizations from receiving monthly production information broken down by FMO on a company wide basis? I was told the reason was that other companies were using the list to recruit their marketers. Your opinion?

  2. Bewildered … It is difficult for me to think the way current Allianz Life management thinks. However, not allowing production information to be revealed is consistent with blocking access to information not favorable to management. If you believe the real reason the production numbers are secret is to block other companies from determining who Allianz FMOs are and recruiting them, then I have some swamp land for you to buy. If the production numbers were such as to make Allianz management look good, you can bet they would be shouted from the rooftop. But, I may be wrong …

  3. Day Trader

    As I look at the companies Allianz AG owns I continue to be impressed with the management, policies, economic leadership (for instance they just withdrew from PPIP consideration) and culture that is projected from PIMCO. However, I am concerned about The Hartford and others. An analyst recently issued a buy recommendation for the Allianz ADR’s but I’m not sure they are looking at the pieces of the whole. Why does PIMCO seem to be so different? Are they the rule or the exception to the rule? Any thoughts on the ADR?

  4. Day Trader

    An analyst recently issued a buy recommendation on Allianz ADR’s. As I look at the various pieces I continue to be impressed with the leadership, innovation and culture of PIMCO but I am concerned about some of the other owned entities. I would be interested in your thoughts as to why there seems to be such a difference among the entities Allianz owns and how it could impact Allianz AG and the ADR’s.

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