A Real Crisis

The precepts of neoclassical economic theory (a.k.a. capitalism) have permeated almost every aspect of life in American society leading us to create both a materialistic and individualistic focused society.  This has a tremendous influence upon how people understand society and organizations, the problems in society and organizations, and correspondingly the solutions people offer. Continue reading

Cascading Goals

Spend some time in most business organizations—as I have done over the past 35-plus years—and you will likely observe the practice of cascading goals top-to-bottom.  Why?  Because executive teams believe:  a) it is the way to align organizational goals and people’s activity, to implement strategy; b) it is a way to exercise control over what happens in the organization; c) it is the means to holding people accountable and the basis for evaluating people’s performance; and d) it is what other executive teams do. Continue reading

A Reframing

When I say the word leader, quite understandably most associate it with the ‘one-in-charge’, the top person. Furthermore, since leader is synonymous with the one-in-charge, then leadership must be the actions of the one-in-change. That is when the term leadership is the focus—be it in academic journals or the popular press—its use is most often referring to people in positions of authority such as top executives or c-level managers in organizations or officials of rank in government.  We could just as well talk about top management since the terms connote the same thing.  Even so, everyone would prefer to be a leader than a manager—it just sounds better. Continue reading

Put Your Foot Down

The Justice Department’s $3 billion judgment against GlaxoSmithKline for criminal actions in their marketing of prescription drugs is a minor penalty to pay relative to the tens of billions they made in the process.  Chock it up to the cost of doing business!  What did GlaxoSmithKline do?  The business of GlaxoSmithKline involved the promotion of drugs for unapproved patient populations and for unapproved purposes and lobbying doctors to prescribe their products by offering trips, tips and other perks in return. Seemingly they don’t believe in markets.  They don’t believe markets will be effective and efficient in satisfying their needs, so they interfere with it. Clearly, there is no trust in markets here!  Continue reading

Enact Trust, Our Development Depends On It

Trust connotes many things.  In one sense it speaks to the history we’ve had with other people when we say things like my experience shows he/she can be trusted.  In another it reflects aspirations about one’s self in statements like I trust that I’d do the right thing if faced with that situation.  An in yet another we often hear people say I trust things will workout for the better.

 

Though trust is related to notions of reliability, confidence, belief, faith and hope or expectation underlying these is the role trust plays in human development.  It speaks to our need to counter balance an ever-present characteristic of our world, uncertainty. Consequently trust is the means of bringing a sense of order to an uncertain environment.  Accordingly, when we are in an environment absent of trust, one wherein mistrust abounds, increasingly dis-ease overcomes us.   Why is this so?  Continue reading

Parasite Or Partner

Doing More For Less (of us)

Getting the most out of people is not a bad thing but in the extreme it translates into squeezing the life out of them.  As Deming exclaimed, “beat horses and they will run faster—for a while.” Doing more with less implies squeezing more and more out of people until they drop. Continue reading

Not All Data Are Valid

Many people—probably with the exclusion of politicians—have come to believe data based decision-making is the way to effective action. In the words of Lord Kelvin, “to measure is to know” and so if our decisions and actions are to be directed by knowledge—not just by what we believe—then we must base them on data.  While this may hold some truth it is not true enough! Continue reading

Resonant Leaders Require Positive Energy

Richard Boyatzis of Case Western Reserve, in HRB Blog Network, spoke to the need for teams to have what he calls resonant leaders.  Richard states such leaders “are able to build trusting, engaged and energizing relationships with others around them” and as a result the team is able to “adapt, innovate and sustain performance. “  But what makes one able to do this? Continue reading

Transcend Self-Interest

There seems to be a growing acceptance of the notion that we each are free independent individuals and as a consequence we not only can, but also should, order life in society accordingly.

 

Being free independent individuals necessarily means people can freely do as they please or more specifically that they should do as they wish for their own pleasure—(my) life is all about me getting what’s mine without interference.  Apart from being unencumbered in seeking what we want, this belief also implies there is no obligation that an individual has to other individuals, because such obligation would be tantamount to an imposition (by another) upon one’s freedom to act as he/she desires. Continue reading