0 Leadership  MJ quote Ghandi

COMMENTARY 969.2: Leading by Inspiration

Why are negative management practices so prevalent? They include yelling, cursing, insults (sometimes masked in sarcasm or masquerading as jokes), criticizing subordinates in front of others, threatening demotion or termination, and talking to adults as if they were children. Why are so many managers oblivious to the demoralizing effect of focusing on weaknesses and shortcomings without

COMMENTARY 960.3: Suitability Versus Capability

A critical maxim of management is: “Suitability is as important as capability.” Capability asks, “Can they do the job?” Suitability asks, “Are they right for the job?” If the job isn’t a good fit, it’s not a good job. Yes, an employee has to have (or be able to readily acquire) the skills and knowledge required for excellent job performance, …

COMMENTARY 958.5: Character Is an Essential Part of Competence

If you were hiring a new CEO, what are the most important qualities you’d look for? Surely you’d want a high level of demonstrated competence – knowledge, experience, intelligence, vision, communication, and relationship skills and the ability to motivate, manage, and solve problems. But what about qualities such as honesty, moral courage, accountability, and fairness? Despite bold rhetoric about the …

COMMENTARY 955.1: Nice Guys Finish First: Good Ethics Is Good Business

“Nice guys finish last.” This maxim originated with a fiercely competitive baseball manager named Leo Durocher who shamelessly advocated ruthlessness, cheating, and dirty play. It is also used to explain why sweet, thoughtful men lose out to self-centered jerks in the world of dating. Lots of people believe the philosophy applies in business as well. The rationale: nice is the same …

COMMENTARY 949.1: A Manager’s Dilemma: Dealing With Misbehaving Top Performers

Managers prove themselves to be leaders when they do what is right, even when it costs more than they want to pay, because they understand that the cost of losing credibility and moral authority outweighs the benefits of expedient compromise. Just as the best athletes on a team often expect and get special treatment when it comes to violating rules …

COMMENTARY 946.4: Rebuilding Your Life and Reputation

Larry wrote me the following letter: “I’ve been a small businessman for almost 23 years in a business where people lie, cheat, and steal. I’m sorry to say I became one of them. In the short term it may have helped, but long term it came back to haunt me. There’s no amount of success that’s worth it. I am …

COMMENTARY 946.3: It’s Your Job to Enjoy Your Job

Labor Day is, first and foremost, a day off from work to do something you enjoy, or to catch up on domestic tasks awaiting your attention. It’s also an ideal time to think about the role that work plays in your life. For some, work is a necessary evil. It’s doing what they have to do to make a decent …

1 Life is short - smile

Life is short. Smile as often as you can – then keep smiling.

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Mother Teresa. CHARACTER COUNTS! (www.charactercounts.org) focuses on creating a positive school climate where children are both physically and emotionally safe, where they feel they are accepted and valued and where they feel they belong. One of the most effective ways …

COMMENTARY 945.3: The Application of Religion to Business

Most Americans say they’re religious and their beliefs are important to their lives, yet I’m astonished at how many seem to ignore their religion’s moral expectations and prescriptions. Religion isn’t about only worship and ritual; it teaches believers how to live. Thus, the holy books of every major religion are filled with precepts and principles about honesty, justice, fidelity, compassion, and …

COMMENTARY 944.4: Planned Abandonment

Management guru Peter Drucker advocated a practice he called planned abandonment. He stressed how important it is that managers develop the wisdom and courage to regularly review what their organization is doing and determine whether it’s worth doing. He urged executives to note and resist the systemic and emotional forces that make it difficult to abandon activities that drain resources, …

School Principal: The Most Difficult CEO Job in the Nation (943.4)

Schools all over the nation are struggling to modify their strategies to meet the Common Core demands regarding critical thinking and problem solving. They must also find ways to teach 21st Century workplace skills, enhance students’ social and emotional development, and, of course, build their character so they become responsible and productive citizens. Oh, they must also be sure to create an …

Accountability in the Workplace (943.2)

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time consulting with large companies concerned with strengthening their ethical culture. Although I’m sure the leaders I work with care about ethics and virtue for their own sake, I know the driving force to seek outside assistance is self-interest. The risk of reputation-damaging and resource-draining charges resulting from improper conduct is so high …

COMMENTARY 940.5: Do I Have to Tell Everything?

Can a job applicant properly withhold information about a criminal record or being fired in a previous job? Can a woman who has just started dating properly say nothing about a previous marriage or abortion? These are problems of candor: When does an ethical person have a duty to reveal negative information about his past? First, let’s reinforce a basic …

COMMENTARY 940.2: The Struggle Between Wants and Shoulds

As a full-time ethicist – can you believe there is such a thing? – I spend most of my time talking about right and wrong with parents and politicians, kids and corporate managers, journalists and generals. One thing I’ve learned is that ethics – being a good person and doing the right thing – is easier said than done. Ethics, …

COMMENTARY 939.5: The Greyhound Principle

Racing dogs are trained to chase a mechanical rabbit that always goes a little faster than the fleetest dog. This causes them to run faster than they otherwise would. Companies that annually set overly ambitious performance objectives for their employees employ this greyhound principle. To a point, it works. Most people achieve more when expectations are set high. The strategy …

COMMENTARY 939.1: Being Decisive

Frank is a new supervisor who wants to do well. Maria consistently comes in late. When he confronts her, she makes a joke out of it. Hoping to win friendship and loyalty, Frank is painfully patient with her, but Pat, a conscientious employee, urges him to do more. Soon others begin to come in late, and Pat quits. Frank feels …

COMMENTARY 937.4: Sharpen Your Ax

Ben was a new lumberjack who swung his ax with great power. He could fell a tree in 20 strokes, and in the first few days he produced twice as much lumber as anyone else. By week’s end, he was working even harder, but his lead was dwindling. One friend told him he had to swing harder. Another said he …

COMMENTARY 935.1: There’s No Such Thing as Business Ethics

Some years ago, a senior executive at a Fortune 100 company objected when I asserted that corporations have an ethical, as well as a legal obligation to keep promises and honor their contracts. He said that the decision to live up to or ignore contractual commitments is a business decision, not an ethical one. The other party has legal remedies, …

COMMENTARY 929.3: The Illusion of Success

Reach for the stars. Pursue goals beyond your grasp. These are good life strategies. We never know how much we can accomplish until we try. But what happens when we’re told we must reach the stars or suffer consequences? A common workplace strategy to spur employee achievement is to set aggressive productivity objectives that, like mechanical rabbits that lead racing …

1 Business - 7 lessons for child

Seven Lessons to Teach Your Children As They Enter the Workforce

I. Don’t sell yourself short. Your value is measured by your values, not by your rank or status; your worth is determined by your worthiness, not your salary or bonus. II. Be honest and never cheat; your most precious asset is your integrity. III. Treat people with respect whether they deserve it or not. IV. Do more than you have …

COMMENTARY 789.3: The Illusion of Success

A common management strategy to spur achievement is to set aggressive performance objectives that, like the mechanical rabbits that pace racing greyhounds, push employees to maximum effort. Using “stretch goals” can be successful, but unreasonably high performance goals often spawn dishonesty and irresponsibility. Believing that “it’s a matter of survival,” a disturbing number of employees conclude that distortion, deception, and even …

COMMENTARY 787.1: How Much Do You Want It to Be?

A company was hiring a new CEO. After an extensive interview each finalist was asked one final question: “How much is two plus two?” Ann, an accountant, answered, forthrightly: “Four, of course.” Terry, who was an engineer, said, “It depends on whether you’re dealing with positive or negative numbers. The answer could be plus four, zero or minus four.” Chuck, …

COMMENTARY 781.2: How Honest Do you Have to Be When Applying for a Job?

Can a job applicant properly withhold information about a criminal record or being fired in a previous job? Can a woman who has just started dating properly say nothing about a previous marriage or abortion? These are problems of candor: When does an ethical person have a duty to reveal negative information about his past? First, let’s reinforce a basic …

COMMENTARY 780.4: Digging and Filling Holes

Charlie, a road crew supervisor for highway landscapers, came upon a pair of workers from one of his crews seemingly hard at work. He watched one fellow dig a hole while his partner waited a few minutes and then filled the hole. After a few repetitions, Charlie demanded an explanation. The hole-filler was offended: “We’ve been doing this job for …

COMMENTARY 774.3: Accountability in the Workplace

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time consulting with large companies concerned with strengthening their ethical culture. Although I’m sure the leaders I work with care about ethics and virtue for their own sake, I know the driving force to seek outside assistance is self-interest. The risk of reputation-damaging and resource-draining charges resulting from improper conduct is so high …

COMMENTARY 772.5: Planned Abandonment

Management guru Peter Drucker advocated a practice he called planned abandonment. He stressed how important it is that managers develop the wisdom and courage to regularly review what their organization is doing and determine whether it’s worth doing. He urged executives to note and resist the systemic and emotional forces that make it difficult to abandon activities that drain resources, …