Each year the Top 100 Best Places to Work is generated by the Great Place to Work Institute and published by Fortune magazine. Although there is an element of self-selection and rankings disregard the distribution of this index across companies, the list of companies do present a group of companies with a discernable difference. This difference lies primarily with how employees of the companies are generally treated—benefits, training, autonomy, challenge. In short, it is a list of companies that acknowledge the importance of the people they employ. Continue reading
Month: April 2010
Misplaced Attention for Leadership
Seemingly for decades countless studies have failed to develop an operational definition of leadership. The only clear notion that many seem to advance is that leadership is the property of those persons within the upper echelon of an organization’s hierarchy: Leadership has become synonymous with a person of position or title—hence the commonly expressed goal of attaining a leadership position. Correspondingly there also appears to be a tendency toward idol worship of people holding a leadership position. If you doubt the validity of this assertion just take stock of the articles and books about those at the top of their respective organization who are offered up as models of leadership. It seems as though there is a book a month holding up a chief executive as an example of leadership for all to emulate. Continue reading
It’s Not a Game and It’s Not Private
Business mirrors life. Business is about competition. Business is a game. It’s all about winning. It’s all about getting as much as you can. To what extent do these statements reflect your underlying beliefs and values? To what extent to these prefigure your practice?
Consider the Wall Street game board and Goldman Sachs as the major player in this game. A game in which wages are made—gambling is the game and winning is the aim. Oh some call it investment banking, but let’s be nakedly frank about what it is, gaming the financial system for ones’ private gain. Continue reading
Thought Against Change
If you have experience with change, then likely you also have experience with resistance to change. While there are a multitude of reasons for not embracing, cooperating with or accepting change, most often it is thought that opposes the change. That is to say, people bring forward a thought they hold—a personal attachment—as a defense against the idea calling for change. This thought need not be factual or even relevant. Often because of a person’s attachment to it, it is even used to define who he/she is. Thus, the individual’s fear of loss is cause for defense against the change. In short, the thought serves as the basis of the resister’s justification for his/her action against the change. Continue reading
Is it a joy or a job?
What is joy? It is not just an emotion as are pleasure, jealousy, and envy; nor is it a judgment against expectation as is satisfaction. Joy, like peace, is a state of being.
Joy in work emerges when the activity resonates within our very being; it emerges when the individual and the activity become one—when being and doing become one. This oneness is felt when the egoic-self is negated, when a sense of self as an object fades from the activity.
Getting lost in the activity is like what a child often experiences in play, or like when we become so engaged in a conversation that we lose the sense of time. I recall having an engaging dialogue with the person in the seat next to me while on a long flight that seemed to last but a few moments though it was hours. I remember thinking it seems as though we had just begun and now the plane is landing, where did the time go? Likely you have had similar experiences as well. Continue reading
Able to Fill Tall Buildings
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission heard the testimony of two former Citigroup executives, Charles Prince (CEO) and Robert Rubin (Chairman of the Board of Directors) on Thursday, April 8 2010. In a New York Times article, Charles Prince was quoted:
“I’m sorry the financial crisis has had such a devastating impact for our country,” Mr. Prince told the commission. “I’m sorry about the millions of people, average Americans, who lost their homes. And I’m sorry that our management team, starting with me, like so many others could not see the unprecedented market collapse that lay before us.” Continue reading
Business of a Different Mind
The economic theory we follow has as its dominant precept the maximization of material wealth. Accordingly, economic enterprises are expected to not only have material gain as a goal, but they are to pursue unlimited growth. As a measure of effectiveness, business executives are expected to demonstrate that today’s gain is more than yesterday’s. Accordingly, those in authority monetize all aspects of the company; even the very people of the organization are objectified and treated quite impersonally. Continue reading
Toxicity of the Intoxicated
When people are given the legitimate authority associated with a position in an organization’s (management) hierarchy, they are also necessarily entrusted with the development of those over whom they have been given formal authority. Sadly some become intoxicated with exercising power over others that they deny and ignore the responsibility for the care and concern of others. Upholding this latter responsibility is in large measure what separates the good leaders from the bad. Continue reading