Have You Capped Your Potential?

11 Madison Avenue

There’s an unusual looking building I often walk past in New York at 11 Madison Avenue.

And it got me thinking recently…

All Base, No Stride

Today the stout-looking building in the picture above is home to Credit Suisse’s World Headquarters. Back in 1909 the Met Life Tower on the site was the tallest building in the world.

In the decades that followed, the enormous base of what was to be a record-breaking 100-story tower was constructed… but then the Great Depression hit.

As the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building soared to new heights, the decision was made to cap the Metropolitan Life North Building after finishing only the 32-story base of the planned tower. So here it stands today with the all the potential and foundations in place for a structure more than three times its final height.

11 Madison Avenue is a beautiful building inside, but it is not the tour map icon it would be if it had reached it’s potential.

I wonder if you have settled for reaching only a third of your potential as a leader? Have you capped your potential?

Are you stuck at 11 Madison Avenue?

Some People…

There are many reasons why leaders cap their potential.

Some fear failure and settle for achievement that’s comfortable.

Some suffer failure or disaster and don’t want to experience the pain again.

Some are plagued with self-doubt or insecurity.

Some dwarf their plans in tough times.

Some get jaded and lose that child-like faith that they can live a life worth noting.

I wonder what your real potential is?

I wonder what future plans are gathering dust and not gathering momentum?

I wonder. But you know.

——————–
Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York
Email | LinkedIn | Website | Blog | Twitter | +1 917 913 4598

Leadership Follies – Avoiding the Customer at All Costs

Apathy

“What does it matter? If I get it done by Monday, that’s not going to make or break us.”

In the hyper-competitive world of work, it does not seem logical that anyone would not feel a sense of panic or anxiety when it comes to customers.  Based on the recent economic downturn, people should see the costs of not paying attention to the customer.

And yet, the notion of understanding the impact that each employee has on gaining and/or retaining customers is foreign to many.

But why?

Although I am not a trained Harvard or University of Chicago economist, I feel it is same to assume that the key to business success is gaining more new customers and retaining more customers than your competition.

But in a recent studies, the evidence is:

  • 50% of professionals survey felt like retaining customers was not part of their job and;
  • over 75% of those same professionals indicated that gaining customers was not their job.
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Everybody’s Job

So the question is, whose job is it?

Companies have dedicated sales and customer service departments, so that must be the answer, right?  Not so fast, if it is true that the most important aspects of business is to gain and keep customers, how can it not be everyone’s job?

Many highly successful companies know this to be true.  Every person in an organization must take the customer into account when completing tasks, developing projects, giving evaluations, etc.  Why?  If employees are clear about how they impact the customer, they will be inclined to drive towards high performance AND hold others within the organization to a higher standard.

How do you get people to see that?

That is the $64,000,000 question.  Over the years executives have stated concerns about getting employees into the conversation about how to gain/keep customers if they are not directly involved with them.  Hogwash.  It has been shown that employees that feel as if their work is meaningful are more productive and actively increase organizational profitability.  Employees want to make a difference, they want to work hard to produce results.  There are two tactics to unlocking this potential and make sure employees see their impact on the customer.

Line of Sight

Line of sight is the straight line that each employee has to gaining and retaining customers.  Regardless of the role, each employee needs to see that impact.  Understanding the impact their role has on the customer adds context to their actions and decisions.

Think about it like this:

Purpose

Great managers not only tell their team a task/project that needs to be done.  They tell them why it should be done at all. What is the greater overall impact, how will if affect other teams and ultimately the customer. Knowing the purpose ensure that employees don’t feel like just another cog in the machine, but an important part of the overall strategy.

Clarity

Great Leaders provide role clarity to the folks on their teams.  It is not enough to simply be clear about what a team provides to other teams, but how they impact the customer.  Whether a janitor, programmer or marketing executive each person plays a role in gaining and retaining customers.  Some roles are more direct than others, but all have an impact.  It may mean that leaders need to do some digging themselves and determine  that path.  But each person needs to see it.  Understanding the impact on the customer will add meaning and credibility to their role and the tasks associated with it.

Outcomes

Once teams (and employees) are clear about their path to the customer and the purpose of their roles it is time to turn them loose.  In Daniel Pink’s latest book Drive, he states shows how Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose enables huge positive impact on organizational outcomes.  Since purpose has already been discussed,  let’s spend just a moment on Autonomy and Mastery.

~Autonomy

Within reasonable boundaries, employees should be able to carry out their roles (tasks and projects) in the best way to support gaining and retaining customers.  Creativity stems from the autonomy to develop, think and sometimes fail.  When held to outcomes, specifically those related to gaining and retaining customers, employees will strive to do more.

Therefore, it is better to allow employees to try, experiment and possibly fail than do the same thing that has worked (or not) for the past number of years.  It s vital to get work done, but unless you are working on an assembly line, they is probably a number of different and valid ways to get things done.

~Mastery

Employees should be pushed to pursue mastery in their role.  Mastery is all about engagement. It is immersing oneself into a particular role, task or project.  Although mastery of anything is nearly impossible, the journey towards it is enlightening and enlivening.

Now what?

As a leader, there are three steps to providing line of sight for your teams and employees:

  1. Learn and explain the purpose of each project and task as it relates to the customer.  Link actions back to impact on the customer.  This may take a bit longer and may mean a little digging, but it is well worth it in the end.
  2. Understand the link between what your team does and the customer.  Present that to the team and discuss what that means.  How will that impact their actions?  Make it a visual that can be seen by everyone on the team.  Start to ask the question – “How will this action impact the customer?” or  “How will this help in gaining and retaining customers?”
  3. Stress outcomes.  Evaluate performance on outcomes.  In the context of supporting gaining and retaining customers, people will generally do the right thing.  Focus on what they accomplish and not on the steps taken to get there.  Allowing for autonomy and focusing on gaining mastery will enable teams to do what is best for the customer in the long run.
  4. Encourage employees to talk about how they impact the customer.  Employees need to understand the link between what they do and the customer.  Encouraging them to find out on their own increases the likelihood of it sticking with them and informing their future actions.

Companies that don’t focus on gaining and retaining customers are doomed to not have to worry about either sooner than they think.  How are you going to clarify the line of sight for your teams?  What other actions can you take?  Please let me know.

——————–
Anil Saxena is a Senior Consultant and Business Partner with Coffman Organization
He helps organizations create environments that generate repeatable superior results
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | (888) 999-0940 x-730

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Volunteering Pays

Volunteer Pays

With the recession (you know, the one that’s “over”), volunteers are needed more than ever.

If you can’t give money, give your time.  Volunteering has a meaningful, positive impact on the community around you.  And did you know that it can have many benefits for you also?

Volunteering is the perfect way to discover something you’re really good at and develop a new skill.  Often, these new skills can transfer into your business life.

It’s never too late to learn new skills.

Just because you’ve finished your formal education or are bound by a particular type of employment, it doesn’t mean that you should stop learning. So check out becoming a volunteer.

But Why?

Mahatma Gandhi said,

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.”

That pretty much covers the why of volunteering.

We sometimes take our communities for granted.  There just isn’t enough money or resources, including people, to keep organizations and services going.  To volunteer is to help others while having an impact on the wellbeing of the community.  Simply put – you return to society some of the benefits that society gives you.

It’s not an obligation, it’s a privilege.

Healthy Secret

Volunteering is good for your health.

According to Dr’s Oz and Roizen in the September issue of SUCCESS Magazine,

“Almost every study of longevity indicates one secret that makes people healthier and happier: helping others.”

Happy GrannyIn a study led by Vanderbilt University, they divided the 3,617 respondents into two groups: those who volunteered and those who didn’t. Comparisons were made for levels of happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, sense of control over life, physical health, and depression.

They found that “volunteer work was good for both mental and physical health.

People of all ages who volunteered were happier and experienced better physical health and less depression.”

Another study by Boston College revealed that pain, depression, and disability decreased after volunteering.  Several months later affects continued suggesting that volunteering may actually help alleviate chronic pain.

Depression?  The University of Texas found that initial volunteering lowered depression for people over 65, and over time benefited all age groups.

It’s sounding pretty good so far, huh?

Muhammad Ali summed it up well when he said,

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”

Smart Move

Volunteering is good for your career

Start YoungAlmost all volunteers share a common bond of developing leaders.  Whether it’s a local civic group, your local PTA, or Scout Troop, they all need volunteers who are willing to step up to leadership positions. This presents a great opportunity for you to develop your leadership skills.

It can help you a great deal in your career since you’ll be someone that others will follow.

Volunteering presents an opportunity for leaders to learn and practice skills while helping others.  By volunteering, you can share your leadership skills with the community while informally networking and meeting people that you may otherwise never have met.  You can never tell who you’ll meet or what new information you’ll learn and what impact it could have on your life.

Volunteering is good for you and good for your organization.

Here’s Proof

A 2005 survey by TimeBank in the UK showed that among the UK’s 200 leading businesses:

  • 73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without,
  • 94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills, and
  • 94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted.

Volunteering allows you to see how other organizations run things, so you get exposed to different ways of managing, brainstorming, and solving problems.  That can provide a fresh way of looking at the challenges you face in your paid leadership position.

Sign Me Up!

Where can I volunteer?

There are an infinite number of places you can volunteer, for example:

  • Churches
  • Social Services
  • Civic groups
  • Cultural groups
  • Educational institutions
  • Health care organizations
  • Senior centers.

If you don’t know where to start looking for opportunities, try these highly rated and popular sites:

A good leader pays attention to life outside of the work environment.  Volunteering reflects and supports a complete picture of you, and shows your commitment, dedication, and interests.  Show your staff what you’re passionate about and you just may inspire them also.

So what are you doing to volunteer in your community to serve yourself and your company by serving others? How are you supporting the idea of volunteering to the people you lead. When thinking about the upcoming 2011 calendar, how many hours, days, or people can you schedule to serve in a voluntary capacity next year? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

——————–
Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development at Florida Blood Services
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | (727) 568-5433

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Risk – The Tumbling Dice of Leadership

Oh, my, my, my, I’m the lone craps shooter, playin’ the field ev’ry night.  Baby… can’t stay…you got to roll me, and call me the tumblin’ dice.

~ The Rolling Stones, Tumbling Dice 1972

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

New roller coming out” yelled the croupier as he slid five dice toward me.  The table was packed.  I was having a particularly good night and as a result had made thousands of dollars for my 15 new best friends.  “Let’s go Maryland, 7 or 11” a guy at the other end of the table said, referring to the University of Maryland shirt that I often wear when I have the chance to play craps.

Suddenly, the entire crowd started to chantMaryland, Maryland, Maryland…

We were on a cruise ship in the middle of the Gulf headed to Mexico and I was hitting my numbers each time it was my turn to roll the dice. If you don’t play the game called craps, the basic object is to throw your first roll of the dice, called the “come out roll,”and establish a “point” number.

Let’s say you roll an “8.” You then continue until you either roll another 8 and everyone wins, or you roll a 7 and everyone at the table loses. This is a VERY basic explanation.

There are hundreds of possible  side bets that can also be made during the course of a single roll, many of which I don’t really understand. I prefer to play using a simple strategy that gives me the best odds of success without taking too many unnecessary risks.

During this game, it occurred to me that this concept of “best odds of success” might be an interesting leadership topic.

Boxcars – Leadership Requires Risk Taking

Leaders cannot avoid taking risks. they should take risks. Ideally, the risks a leader takes are carefully calculated to position the organization for a successful outcome. In craps, there are “relatively safe” bets and there are “very risky” bets.

The level of risk has to do with the odds of winning vs the odds of losing.

For example, you could place a ten-dollar chip on double-sixes (also known as “Boxcars“) which pays 30 to 1.  But that is a one-roll bet, so you are betting that the very next roll will come up double-sixes. If not, you just lost your ten dollars. The odds of you winning that bet are 1 in 36, the most risky bet on the entire table.

Play the Table – Adapt to Changes

Leaders must be willing to take calculated risks and then adapt to any changes that result. One could argue that a leadership position will never be achieved without taking risks.

What risks are acceptable for the leaders of a company?

In craps, people will refer to the table as being “hot” or “cold” depending on whether most rollers are winning (hot) or if they are losing (cold.)  When the table is “hot,” people will tend to make higher risk, higher payout bets. As the table starts to “cool off,” lower risk bets are placed.

Likewise, during a robust economy, when there are more opportunities, it is acceptable to take greater risks. The impact of a single loss will be greatly offset by the many wins that are likely to occur.

In flush times, leaders can practice “offensive” leadership.

Examples of this are:

  • Focusing on future strategic initiatives
  • Aligning resource requirements with growth projections
  • Developing future leaders
  • Expanding market share

However, in a down economy, leaders tend to adapt their styles to more  “defensive” leadership.

Examples of this are:

  • Focusing on economic survival
  • Keeping existing customers
  • Maintaining quality levels
  • Holding on to market share
  • Taking on work that might have been overlooked in busier times.

As external circumstances change, the leader must be prepared to adapt the level of risk they can afford to take.

Do you know people who take unnecessary risks with your company’s  resources? Have you ever taken a calculated risk and had it pay off?  Do your team members know what types of risks are acceptable and which are not?  Would you practice the same approach to risk at home as you do at work?

Bookmark Risk – The Tumbling Dice of Leadership

——————–
Ken Jones, AIA, LEED AP is a Vice President at Grimm + Parker Architects in MD
A service-focused leader, Ken helps create meaningful architecture + client  success

Email | LinkedIn | Web | My Blog

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Servanthood, Soccer Moms & High School Students

What does it take to create a world where people work well together; where true leadership reigns; where things get done with a smile? It takes servanthood.

In The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, author  John Maxwell identifies Quality #19 as servanthood.  The book presents five characteristics of a leader who embodies the quality of servanthood:

  1. Puts others ahead of own agenda
  2. Possesses the confidence to lead
  3. Initiates service to others
  4. Is not position-conscious
  5. Serves out of love (caring).

We can certainly look to the business world for leaders who exhibit these characteristics, and hopefully we will find many.

However, I believe that we need only look around our own communities to find excellent examples of servanthood in action.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

“Mom, have you seen my cleats?”

If you are the parent of a child who plays sports, you have probably been asked five minutes before leaving for a game or practice if you have seen a ball, a pair of cleats, a missing sock, or any number of items that, for some reason our children believe we intentionally hide from them as part of some global parental conspiracy. At some point, you have also likely been asked to volunteer to help with some aspect of running your child’s team, and hopefully you have said “yes” at least once.

Because my daughters have grown up playing soccer, I am most familiar with how important parent volunteers are for a soccer team to run well. Parents give up their precious spare time for the benefit of their child’s team and they typically do not get much (if any) recognition.  But recognition is not what motivates them to serve.

They volunteer to serve out of love for their children and, based purely on my observations over the past decade of being immersed in the world of girls’ soccer, I have noticed that it is most often the Mothers who step forward to fill these roles.

Whether they sign up to serve as the team’s manager, the treasurer, work at fundraisers, or rearrange their busy schedules to shuttle their children to and from practices, games and tournaments, I believe that Mothers who selflessly give up their own time for their child’s sport are excellent examples of servanthood as John Maxwell defines it. We should thank them often for all that they do.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Rubber hits the Road

For the past two years, my oldest daughter has volunteered with the  Appalachia Service Project (ASP). Both summers she has traveled in a passenger van full of supplies and tools from suburban Maryland to Central Appalachia with a group of high school students led by several adults from my parents’ church.  For a week, the kids and adults work together in teams on various projects to help families in need.

Typical projects range from building a wheelchair ramp for a handicapped person to constructing an entire addition for a couple who are raising their grandchildren and have no space in their existing home. Most projects involve performing miscellaneous household repairs for people who are not physically able to do the work themselves.

The volunteers set up “base camp” at a local school or community center where they divide the space into male and female quarters.  A typical day involves breakfast, gathering supplies, traveling to the project site to work in the summer heat for 5 or 6 hours, returning to “base camp” to shower and eat dinner, a few hours of social time and then “lights out” to rest up for the following day…and the kids seem to enjoy every minute of their time together.

This year my daughter was particularly moved by the work her team performed for an elderly woman who’s husband had passed away and she could no longer keep up with the exterior maintenance of her home. By the end of the week, the team had repaired some broken porch railings, dug a drainage trench, installed pipes to carry water away from her foundation and started constructing a retaining wall that would be completed by the group due to arrive the following week. The woman was incredibly appreciative of their work and continually thanked every member of the group.

These teenagers, and the adults that work with them, are also excellent examples of servanthood in action.

They volunteer to give up a week of their summer to drive 350 miles from home, sleep on the floor and work in the hot sun all day to help people they don’t know. They are not paid for this work, they do it out of a sense of caring and a sincere desire to make a difference by placing the needs of others ahead of their own.  I have no doubt that these teenagers and others like them will someday become future servant leaders in the business world.

As a leader, do you exhibit the 5 characteristics of servanthood? Do you put the interests of your team ahead of your own? Are you confident enough as a leader to allow yourself to empower your employees without worrying that they will look better than you? Are you focused more on helping your team members succeed than you are on your own success? What other examples of day-to-day servanthood can you think of?

Bookmark Servanthood, Soccer Moms & High School Students

——————–
Ken Jones, AIA, LEED AP is a Vice President at Grimm + Parker Architects in MD
A service-focused leader, Ken helps create meaningful architecture + client  success

Email | LinkedIn | Web | My Blog

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A Leader of Self is Born from Adversity

Many leaders have overcome challenges that helped shape their character.

We hear how adversity prepared them to be strong, confident leaders, able to guide organizations through difficult times.

However, we don’t often hear about the rare urban youth who, despite being raised in the midst of a violent, drug-infested environment, decides that he no longer accepts his circumstances and takes action to improve his life.

This is the story of Justin…he might not have a seat in the boardroom (yet), but he is still someone to be admired.

Living in “Darkness”

Justin was born in West Baltimore, one of the City’s most dangerous areas.  Drugs and violence prevailed and survival was the benchmark of success.  Justin wondered if people in his part of “Charm City” even knew what happiness felt like.

As I grew, so did my experiences with pain and dark times” recalls Justin, already into drugs and alcohol as a young teenager.

Reaching adulthood, Justin saw those closest to him losing hope. Drugs were everywhere and Justin spent days high on whatever was available.  Then, in 2006 he met Denyse. Denyse came from an abusive home and, after hearing her story, Justin realized he hadn’t known real pain.  Soon they were living together with her two infants.

With little opportunity for employment, life became a constant struggle.

Justin longed to give his family a better life. “We often had no food to eat…we slept on a pile of clothes for a while and there were nights when the children had no diapers.  I contemplated suicide to end the pain.” Like his friends, Justin began losing any hope of leaving this area. “I was unemployed for two yearsMost days I slept until two or three, I was in bad shape.” Justin was out of control and faced losing Denyse and the kids.

At 21 years old, Justin had to change if he wanted to live to see thirty.

A Leader of Self is Born

Around Christmas 2008 I was at the mall.  Families had bags of presents.  A single shirt for each of our kids was all we could afford.” Justin sat outside on his steps Christmas Day, he had hit bottom and needed to get clean if he wanted a better life.  Justin says a “feeling came over him” and he vowed to stop using drugs and get his family out of that environment.

The next day, Justin bought a sketchbook and pencils with what little money he had.  He’d taken art classes in school but hadn’t drawn for years.  Later he sat in his kitchen thinking about life. Images flooded his mind and he captured them all on paper.

Drawing made Justin feel better and he began to believe he could find a way out of this environment.

His first drawing “The Rebirth of Crazy” symbolized Justin’s transformation. “When I was little, people said I had a ‘crazy‘ imagination, I guess that drawing was my imagination’s rebirth.”  Justin draws using a stream-of-consciousness technique.  The result is a collage of images illustrated like a comic book.

Each image communicates a message, “drawing became a way to express my own perspective of the urban environment,” explains Justin.

Leading Others by Example

“Urban Art”

I realized many of my neighbors had lost hope and just accepted this life…like they couldn’t change anything.  I had to get us out of there.” Justin worried about the affects on his children.  “One day I noticed that the city was like different images mixed together in a complex picture.” He suddenly understood his art form…Urban Art.  “The chaos in my artwork is what it’s like in my neighborhood.  Urban Art is just me drawing about my life.”

Still in the West Baltimore area, Justin struggles with painful memories of his past.

I still have demons to get over, but I can’t change the past. Rather than sit around complaining, I want to make a difference.”

Last year, Justin received training and works at a clinic helping dialysis patients.  He is still drawing and hopes someone will take an interest in his art. Against incredible odds, Justin has stopped his downward spiral and is focused on relocating his family.

He knows that his attitude determines his altitude. He is thinking about the future and how to lead his family to a better place.

I just want to take my kids to the playground without worrying they’ll step on a needle,” Justin says “and I never want them to wonder what happiness feels like.

How have you as a leader handled adversity?  Do you set the example for your employees by dealing with challenges professionally?  Do you look at the possibilities that are available and take the small steps needed to get your circumstances improved? Or are you waiting around just sitting, waiting, wishing for things to get better? Could you have lived through Justin’s life and still maintained an optimistic outlook and taught yourself how to lead yourself?

Please visit Urban Art to read more of Justin’s story and see examples of his work.

Bookmark A Leader of Self is Born from Adversity

——————–
Ken Jones
, AIA, LEED AP is a Vice President at Grimm + Parker Architects in MD
A service-focused leader, Ken helps create meaningful architecture + client  success
Email | LinkedIn | Web | My Blog

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Leadership Standards: Industry and Politics

Super-rich corporate CEO’s can hide behind slick ads and slogans, but it’s wrong for a political candidate to try and do the same.

These words present an interesting view of American Leadership today. And it points to a distinction drawn according to the arena in which a leader is playing.

The line above arrived in my in-box from Steve Glazer, the Campaign Manager for Jerry Brown, who is running for Governor here in California. I found the words disturbing (as intended), but perhaps in more ways than the author expected. The idea continued to nag and to haunt me throughout the day, and I was eventually forced by some nagging notion to give it some more consideration.

But let us switch gears for a moment…

The Foundation of Leadership

Most of the world’s people ascribe to one religion or another. And whether we are a follower of the teachings of the main ideas of Christ, Buddha, or Mohamed, all teachings of the major religions share a common thread.  Many of our beliefs about right and wrong arose directly from these teachings, and have endured through the centuries because most people believe they hold some significant and meaningful value that benefits people and the societies in which they live. For many, these ancient teachings still serve as the guidebooks to daily life and living.

Although said in slightly different words, the common thread within all three teachings can be summed up as the Golden Rule:

Wikipedia describes The Golden Rule as “an ethical code that states one has a right to just treatment, and a responsibility to ensure justice for others. It is also called the ethic of reciprocity. A key element of the golden rule is that a person attempting to live by this rule treats all people, not just members of his or her in-group, with consideration.”

Please Vote!

The Root of the Meltdown

When I first moved from journalism into sales, I approached the subject of selling much like any other subject.  I took courses, read books, and attended a variety of seminars and trainings. My  personal favorites included the teachings of Dale Carnegie, author of  How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleOg Mandino, author of  The Greatest Salesman in the World;  and Napoleon Hill, author of  Think and Grow Rich.

Unlike today, where we primarily refer to spreadsheets, charts, and graphs to decide our annual sales strategies, we previously relied more on a relatively simple philosophy of how best to do business. This is the basic tenets involved in how we see and treat others as we traveled the path to success.

In a much more recent lecture on Enlightened Leadership given at MIT, the Dalai Lama rejected the notion that the economic meltdown (from which we are still attempting to recover) was caused by market forces and instead names the causes as human behaviors—(describing both as ) greed, pride, and hypocrisy.

I doubt he was referring to any specific person in this address, but rather to those at the helms of large businesses and institutions.

A Question We Must Ask

Rethinking the distinction between the Leaders of Industry and those wishing to lead in political arenas, we must ask the question:

When did the transaction of business become exempt from The Golden Rule, and when the exemption become acceptable in the minds of John Q Public?

Why is it that Corporate CEOs  can hide from responsibility? And why should their actions be considered any less “wrong” than our  politicians’, particularly considering the power and influence corporations wield in America (and American politics) today?

Why has it become acceptable that corporations (their leaders) and businesses, in general, are allowed to work under a different set of values, ethics, and principles than politicians (or everyday people) with little or no consequences?

Should the values of a society be reflected in all aspects of that society or have corporations become our new, and unquestioned, sacred cows?

Big Business has become too big to fail, we’re told.  If this is true, does it not seem logical that we should take a closer look at who is at the helm and examine the type of leadership principles they demonstrate?  Should they be any less accountable than anyone else, or does the label “Business” justify all sorts of “selfish and greedy” behavior that we would find unacceptable in any other individual?

The Corporate Takeover

The email I received was intended as a call for actionMeg Whitman, of eBay fame, rejected Jerry Brown’s invitation to a bi-partisan debate before the primary. According to news reports, she has spent over $59  million dollars of her own money in a barrage of television ads that seem to either promote herself or disparage her opponents. In her newest television ad, titled “Doing,” Meg says government needs to be run “a little bit more like a business.”

Now, I have no particular preference for either Brown or Whitman. Regardless, in light of our recent economic meltdown, and until we arrive at a consensus of what leadership is or does, I find the prospect of our government run more like a business more than a little frightening.

Who is left to bail out the government if it is run by the same people we entrusted to lead our largest institutions? How many failed business leaders are at the helms of our nation today, and how is it working out? And of course by “failure”, I mean in a particular sense: Public trust and personal responsibility.

According to the Dalai Lama we need to ”not think in terms of “we and them .

All of humanity needs to come forward to solve the world’s problems.

Does it really serve our interests (or those of the whole of humanity) to have a different set of expectations, ethics, or guiding principles for Corporate CEO’s and the “Captains of Industry”, than those we have established for our elected officials?

Bookmark Leadership Standards: Industry and Politics

——————
Jacqueline Ayad is Business Consultant at Aeon Alliance Business Consulting
She helps clients with management consulting
Email | LinkedIn

Edited by Mike Weppler

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