Profit isn’t Enough for Progress

Just what is the business of business?  What should be the primary focus of decision-making in business?  If you are like most then you likely agree with Milton Friedman’s thinking—which many graduates of business school tacitly learn—that the clear-cut answer is profit. After all, we have a free enterprise private property self-interest maximizing economic system, so of course profit is the thing!  We conduct business to make a profit and maximize shareholder value; otherwise why bother focusing so much on the corporate quarterly profit reports!  As noted by Friedman, “the criterion of performance is straightforward!” Continue reading

A Wish

Looking into the clear star-lit Christmas Eve sky feelings of both amazement and wonderment of our very existence and way of being emerged.  So here we are between the infiniteness of the universe above and the finiteness of the earth below.  I can’t help but think that we humans reflect both.

During the holiday season most offer wishes of happiness and joy to both loved ones and strangers alike.  I believe this wish is a heartfelt wish.  But then, reality grabs us: Once the season passes, we go back to the work-a-day dog-eat-dog competitive ego-centered way-of-being.   Why do we do this?  I suspect the system requires us to be this way; just like the context of the holiday season allows us to be wishful of joy to one and all.

Why don’t we simply continue our heartfelt way-of-relating? After all it is not that we are not capable.  Some reacting to this question might say stop dreaming, that’s not reality!  However, I suspect most will wish it could be so.  I believe all you have to do is cease wishing and begin being responsible for the reality we create.  Let’s get real and be the difference we wish for.  Just think how wonderful life would be.

What to Look For

Today, as in the past, we anxiously await the emergence of leadership but unfortunately we are often disappointed.  Irrespective of whether leaders are selected or elected, the experience provided falls far short of the experience needed.  We seem to always get much less than what we hoped for.  Far too few of those we find in positions of authority—which erroneously we label leadership—have what it takes to facilitate the needed partnerships for progress.  In spite of our experience, we remain hopeful that the next one we get or select will be the one.  What should we look for? Continue reading

Is a Leader What We Need?

Whenever I converse with others about leadership, I am never quite sure that there is a common understanding of (exactly) what the term means—I would not be surprised if others have the same experience.  Granted it is far more entertaining to talk about something that we can’t seem to agree upon—like who is #1 at the end of the college football season—but when it comes to serious matters that impact life it is quite unproductive. 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

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