Black Holes

Let me begin with a statement from a previous posting:

 

“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

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

Regulation, A Necessity

Each of us as a person is a constituent of society and its governance and economic systems, as well as of the larger system of humankind.  That is to say, we are living systems collectively constituting a deeply interconnected hierarchy of semi-autonomous whole-parts in mutual relation.  Thus our actions and interactions in these systems—as individuals, groups and organizations—are of utmost importance to the viability of these systems.  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

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

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

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

Hidden Leadership Lesson #32

A leader is one who others have chosen to follow.  So because leaders require followers, it is imperative that the leader be a person of utmost integrity.  Knowing who you are and what you stand for and embodying this in your way-of-being is paramount.  Moreover integrity is the antecedent to trustworthiness. Why is this important?  Who among us would decide to follow another who wasn’t worthy of our trust!  Continue reading

Mindset Not Market Failure

In an article on Harvard Business Review Blog, titled U.S. Companies Versus the U.S. Economy, Thomas Kochan (of MIT Sloan School of Management) argues the disconnect between U.S. companies and the U.S. economy is the result of market failure.  While the management of each business corporation makes decisions believing the unit of survival is the independent business enterprise, this doesn’t mean there aren’t other socio-economic consequences of these decisions.   These consequences impact the very collection of people to which business leaders believe they have no connection or responsibility, yet upon which they so much depend. Continue reading