The Spirit of Quality

There has always been the allure of quality; it has always been important to people. Why is quality desired in life?

Recognizing the expectation of it and the demand for it, organizations seek to provide it. Nokia offers a glimpse of why they pursue quality: The fundamental reason for focusing on quality issues is the potential for an increased profitability of the project. Although there may be more philosophical answers to why quality is important, the bottom line is that consumers recognize quality, and are willing to pay for it. Yet, most organizations find it difficult to consistently deliver it. Continue reading

Hey Einstein, Solve This!

The Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm that informed the Industrial Revolution has provided a way for us to order our world, solve problems and realize tremendous benefit.  Accordingly our gain in knowledge and associated technological prowess have provided us the ability to develop many different scientific fields, explore the far reaches of outer space, improve medical care—adding years to our life expectancy—and also to destroy the world with a push of a button. Continue reading

The Courage for Leadership to Emerge

What we believe to be true to a large extent is socially constructed. Accordingly, in Western society we tacitly learn to believe that the main purpose in life is to acquire as much as we can. While there is no truth to the adage the one who dies with the most toys wins, it seems to be the guiding principle of those seeking to keep up with the Joneses.

When life becomes a game, then unavoidably we become the pawns—the victims of our own devices. Continue reading

Misplaced Blame

In January 2009 Wall Street investment bank executives willfully accepted millions of dollars in bonuses—an estimated 20 billion dollars worth—in spite of the fact that they precipitated our current economic troubles. President Obama publically scolded them, not for causing the problem but for adding insult to injury in accepting a bonus. Obama said these bonuses were shameful and that those executives receiving these bonuses did not show personal responsibility or have any regard for what many in this country were experiencing.

In light of the economy being shaken to its knees, this outright display of self-interested behavior—let’s just call it American capitalism—looms before us causing disgust, if not intense anger among many. What makes these actions seem so reprehensible is that these very people—and the institutions they represent—created a very deep hole from which the rest of us must climb out of. It will take significant energy just to get us back to where we had been—which for many of us will still be a hole. Accordingly, the anger, disgust and downright hostility that many feel toward these executives—and those complicit in this assault on the working class—seems justified. How could it be that those who precipitated this are not only protected from the consequences of their self-serving actions, but in many cases are financially rewarded? Continue reading

Leadership Involves We, Not Me

Leadership can’t be defined as a characteristic of an individual since it is an emergent property of the relationship between individuals. In short, leadership has to do with a ‘We’ and not with a ‘Me’. Analogously, neither hydrogen nor oxygen has the characteristic of wetness, yet water is wet. There can be no leadership with (just) one individual! This likely could explain why so many academic researchers have failed to reliably model or predict effective leadership by the traits or characteristics of a leader.

This however does not mean, in regards to leadership, that as individuals we haven’t a responsibility for our personal development (as a human being). It simply means that leadership extends beyond the finite egoic ‘Me’. Continue reading