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

The Stewardship Imperative

“Thinking systemically also requires several shifts in perception, which lead in turn to different ways to teach and different ways to organize society” –Russell Ackoff

As living beings we each present with a physical body comprised of cells, tissue, organs and organ-systems structurally and functionally organized to support (our) life.  The natural order of things is a hierarchy of constituent entities that are themselves living systems.  So the issue is not whether everything is reducible to individual entities—the atomistic view—or everything is a whole—the holistic view—but rather that neither view is the absolute view.  As Arthur Koestler (The Ghost in The Machine) noted “parts and wholes in a absolute sense do not exist in the domain of life.”  What we have are semi-autonomous systems that are each a part of larger higher order systems.  Koestler called these ‘whole-parts’ holons—wholes that are parts of other wholes—and the hierarchy they constitute a holarchyContinue 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

From Whence Creativity Emerges

Alessandro Di Fiore, CEO of ECSI, reports that a recent ECSI survey found “68% of business leaders firmly believe that great innovators are born and cannot be made.” Alessandro also notes in a HBR blog post “scientific evidence of the last 30 years has proven just the opposite.” So is this just a little factoid that almost 7 in 10 business leaders get wrong and that matters little—like who cares, it’s no big deal?  So what would a leader who holds this misunderstanding do or not do?  Continue reading

Capitalism’s Morality

In an article titled “The difference between private and public morality” Robert Reich states the “economy is built on a foundation of shared morality.”  So where is shared morality addressed among the precepts of our economic system? Though Reich notes, Adam Smith considered himself a moral philosopher—writing Theory of Moral Sentiments—I must add he also fashioned himself as a political economic philosopher by writing The Wealth of Nations.  The latter not the former book is the basis of our economic system.  And more to the point, the themes in these two works are far from being mutually supportive—they are as if penned by two separate individuals with different concerns—the former concerns ‘we’ and the later concerns ‘me’. Continue reading