Thursday, July 14, 2011

Organizational Dynamics and Group Think

There are many terms that have become common in "Corporate America" today;
  • Nothing Personal...It's Just Business
  • Servant Leadership
  • We Owe It To Our Investors/Owners
  • Our Employees Make The Difference
  • Customer Service
Some of these terms are completely valid and appropriate, but others fall short of being productive to an organization or to humanity at large. One of the terms that has I personally have come to dislike is "Nothing Personal...It's Just Business". Those who use the term have completely forgotten or never understand that business is completely and absolutely about relationships. Relationships with your customers. Relationships with your employees. Relationships with your partners. Relationships with your community. The best businesses work to ensure that all of these relationships are a win-win.

Over the years I have had a chance to talk to many people about this very thing, and individually most agree. But I have also seen those same individuals, in the light of corporate oversight, act counter to the philosophies for which they personally agree. This to a substantial degree comes from a number of dynamics that we start to experience from an early age; peer pressure, group think, and fear.

These dynamics all play into how an organization responses to moral and ethical questions. Before going on there is a statement that I used in my last blog post, and have used in various forms over the years.

The right thing to do remains so even in adversity.

Basically what I am trying to impart with the statement is that sometimes we as individuals take a path that isn't "righteous" because it isn't in alignment with company policy, won't help us get that promotion, might cost us our job, or even causes us to exceed our corporate budget. But when we yield to these types of pressures what is the net result? At a minimum we diminish ourselves, but more likely, and importantly, we impact others adversely.

Great leaders overcome great obstacles to ensure that the GREATER good is served and not purely that the bottom line is improved.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Character vs Reputation

Recently I have had a number of conversations with people surrounding the following:
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” - John Wooden

The reactions to the statement are mixed. Some think that reputation (the perception that others have about you) is very important, while some believe that perception is overrated. Is there a difference between the two?

From my point of view character is the more important. Your character, or core beliefs, dictate how you act  and those visible actions will result in a reputation. It is very possible that individuals without a full understanding of a situation will have a negative perception of you and/or your actions, but in the end that is really a battle for them to resolve.

I submit to you that:
To remain righteous an individual must do the right thing, without regard for what others will think or how they will respond. To that end…The right thing to do remains so even in adversity.

In the end we are the sum of what we have done and what we have failed to do.