Cliques, Clans, Cronies…musings on a cold and snowy December Morning by Jamie Gilcig – December 8, 2010 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – Cliques, crony-ism, highs school pack mentality.   It’s in our lives everywhere we look.  Is it good? Bad?  Does it serve any purpose or is it simply corruption endemically practiced in a given community?

“Old Boys” behaviour isn’t even limited to old boys.  It’s practiced by the fairer sex too, and in many instances too much higher degrees.

Belonging to something, being a part of a greater being isn’t something new either.  It’s age old.  Religion, sports teams, business associations, just about any group.   I remember being told a story by one of my friends.   While growing up in the West Island of Montreal his dad was refused by a country club.

It seems that one ethnic group was excluded from joining the posh country clubs in Montreal so they started their own waaaay out in at the time what was the country.   (Jews and blacks up until the 70’s in Montreal couldn’t buy homes in certain neighborhoods or belong to certain organizations)

“I’d never want to be in a club that wanted me for a member. “

Groucho Marx

Well this country club, at least at that time, practiced reverse discrimination.  If you don’t want us, we don’t want you.

Sometimes favortism or cronyism makes sense.  I know when working in film that working with the same “crew” is quite common.  If you are happy with the results and like the people you are working with why change, especially when you have to depend on them to achieve your goal?

But change is evolution.    It happens in every industry and every facet of the world and sometimes that resistance to change can do more harm than good.  Protect something no matter what and you can find yourself or your business failing behind the competition.

You can miss out on opportunity and discovering new and interesting people, places, and ways of living.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a very wise man here in Cornwall.   Someone whose time I truly enjoy sharing and would never want for an enemy.   He had some interesting insights into the pros and cons of this clannish cronyism that exists, and some of his insights gave me pause to ponder as we are about to enter our third year of existence here in Cornwall Ontario.

Ponder indeed.  So loyal and clique’ish viewers of The Cornwall Free News, what do you think of Cliques?   Have you ever been a part of something or practiced life in this manner?    Are you brave enough to post about it?   You can share your comments below.

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  1. I first experienced the ‘clique factor’ here in Cornwall when I began a website development business in the late 90’s and tried to break into the Cornwall area. It was obvious to me that the ‘big boys’ at the time did not welcome competition, especially from an outsider. (I lived just outside Cornwall at the time)

    Two of these ‘big boys’ on separate occasions set up meetings with me, to discuss ‘hiring’ me as a website developer, and to ‘absorb’ my clientele into theirs. The offers were bad – each of them wanting me to close down my business, work for them, but also to hand over all of my hard-earned clients who had remained loyal to me due to the quality of service I provide. Had I accepted either of these offers, I wonder how long I would have remained on their payroll before being let go. To me, their offers were nearly identical, and nothing more than a ‘buy out offer’ but one where they were not paying anything, and I was to hand over all I had worked hard on building.

    Needless to say, I have remained independent and continue creating websites, and have made a living at it all these years. Although one of the ‘big boys’ who made this offer is still in business here in Cornwall, the other one is long gone.

    I have also experienced the ‘big boy’ mentality in other areas of business, but since I will not and do not fit in to the expectations, I am somewhat shunned by some of the business community here. Those I do conduct business with are dealing with me on the basis of who I am, my work ethic, quality of service, etc. and not my willingness to ‘fit in’ to an outdated set of expectations based on how one dresses, what they drive, where they golf and who they know.

    And I’m just fine with things working out that way – it acts as a filter so that I wind up with clients I can enjoy doing business with based on real values.

  2. Cliques, clans and cronies are all for the birds! I have absolutely no use for people like that. John, I’ve enjoyed doing business with you are hope our business relationship lasts into the years.

  3. And some of these cliques have contributed to their own irrelevancy by limiting “joiners”. The last of the east end business clique is a shadow of it’s former self.

    And when they get themselves on organisations like Heart of the City, or a Business Improvement Area, or even Team Cornwall, they are relegated to filling seats at meetings and listened to patronizingly, but in the end the new political, realty clique rules.

    It’s like the new “no inventory” and “just-in-time” business model …there’s no overhead; just cash and paper, envelopes and favours.

    Real business operators have become underlings for the “development” clique, which is just a veiled skimming operation.

  4. flipper, I love your comments 😀

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