The Curious Case of Gavrilo Princip

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"I am a Yugoslav nationalist, aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, and I do not care what form of state, but it must be freed from Austria." - Gavrilo Princip

If you can remember 9th-grade modern world history, then Gavrilo Princip might ring a faint bell. Young Princip is often described as the individual that initiated World War I when he assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie Dutchess of Hohenberg. Princip was fed up with the Austrian domination of the region and decided to take action alongside other revolutionaries. The result of their determination is literally history.

One man's terrorist is another man's revolutionary; one man's criminal is another man's breadwinner -- the deciding factor is always the perspective one chooses to take. The American revolution was surely revolting to the aristocracy of England; the Black Lives Matter movement is abhorrent to conservation Americans. 

As a consultant dealing with the dynamics of the mind and behavior, I've learned that perspectives of actors are vastly more important than actual occurrences. Since childhood, I have been fiercely independent and neutral, usually only taking "sides" as under extreme circumstances. Extreme circumstances are few and far between; therefore, I naturally grew more nonpartisan, preferring to make sense of dynamics under perspectival considerations rather than moral ones.

In business the same factors play out. Many of my struggles as a young consultant were because I tried to wedge searches for objectivity into fundamental strategy dynamics; however, most decision-makers are unaware that their side is little more than perspective. We all pay lip service to being neutral and objectively weighing facts, but we turn around and swear by our preferred ways of organizing ideas and acting upon them, rather than treating them as subjectivities.

Gavrilo Princip might go down in history as an integral figure in international geopolitics; however, he is just another individual acting upon his convictions. Right and wrong are impossible to gauge: on the one hand, he acted to oust an oppressive regime; on the other, he murdered a father, husband, wife, and mother.

The work at Conover+Brown tries to work around inconvenient subjectivity by tackling it head-on: we take direct aim at the agents of perspective and their underlying factors: the mind.

Bryce Brown