#GoodLeadership


Below, you'll encounter some of my personal reflections on the realm of leadership and management—sometimes provocative and controversial. The primary aim behind documenting these thoughts is to present alternative perspectives and ignite the flame of critical thinking...

Disclaimer: Please note that these are personal opinions and not necessarily reflective of the views of the Leadership Society. All third-party images remain intellectual property of their respective creators. Credit for computer generated images goes to hotpot.ai.


21-06-2024

The Shareholder Swindle: From Growth to Greed

Every time I hear someone boast about maximizing 'SHAREHOLDER VALUE,' I can't help but shake my head. How is the systematic extraction of profit by shareholders, boosting their share of the pie while leaving crumbs for everyone else, considered valuable? It's like celebrating a bank heist as 'financial efficiency' or glorifying pirates for 'oceanic progress.'

1. The expression "shareholder value"—which Jack Welch allegedly coined—is fundamentally misleading. VALUE is what is created for customers and society, while shareholders demand and receive "return on capital" or shareholder PROFIT (which often turns out to be rent or interest, i.e., unearned profit).

2. Regarding shareholder profit, I'm contesting its maximization, which often leads to value extraction, not value creation. Yes, some people might be motivated exclusively by making money, but as Stieglitz pointed out, the "invisible hand" here mostly fails to turn greed into societal nirvana because... the invisible hand simply doesn't exist.

3. We need to think deeper about what constitutes VALUE in the economy, which I suggest isn't price nor share price.

4. People seem to conveniently forget that according to neoclassical economic theory, long-term economic profit is zero in the presence of perfect competition. As Adam Smith pointed out, a "free" market isn't a market where everybody does what they want, but a market free OF RENT.

5. Finally, the notion that return on investor capital has to be optimized stems from an economy where financial capital was scarce. That certainly isn't the case for a modern economy centered on intangibles. Hence, today it often simply serves to perpetuate possessive individualism.

Let's get real: true value is created through productive activities that benefit customers and society, not by simply inflating profits for shareholders. Increasing share prices and dividends might look good on paper, but at the end of the day, it is legalized wealth extraction.

Even if we can't halt it, let's refrain from singing its praises. It's time to stop mistaking greed for growth and instead focus on real, sustainable value for society! As Jack Welsh recently confessed, shareholder value is probably the "dumbest idea in the world".

#leadership #business #purpose #transformation #justice

The Shareholder Swindle: From Growth to Greed

Every time I hear someone boast about maximizing 'SHAREHOLDER VALUE,' I can't help but shake my head. How is the systematic extraction of profit by shareholders, boosting their share of the pie while leaving crumbs for everyone else, considered valuable? It's like celebrating a bank heist as 'financial efficiency' or glorifying pirates for 'oceanic progress.'

1. The expression "shareholder value"—which Jack Welch allegedly coined—is fundamentally misleading. VALUE is what is created for customers and society, while shareholders demand and receive "return on capital" or shareholder PROFIT (which often turns out to be rent or interest, i.e., unearned profit).

2. Regarding shareholder profit, I'm contesting its maximization, which often leads to value extraction, not value creation. Yes, some people might be motivated exclusively by making money, but as Stieglitz pointed out, the "invisible hand" here mostly fails to turn greed into societal nirvana because... the invisible hand simply doesn't exist.

3. We need to think deeper about what constitutes VALUE in the economy, which I suggest isn't price nor share price.

4. People seem to conveniently forget that according to neoclassical economic theory, long-term economic profit is zero in the presence of perfect competition. As Adam Smith pointed out, a "free" market isn't a market where everybody does what they want, but a market free OF RENT.

5. Finally, the notion that return on investor capital has to be optimized stems from an economy where financial capital was scarce. That certainly isn't the case for a modern economy centered on intangibles. Hence, today it often simply serves to perpetuate possessive individualism.

Let's get real: true value is created through productive activities that benefit customers and society, not by simply inflating profits for shareholders. Increasing share prices and dividends might look good on paper, but at the end of the day, it is legalized wealth extraction.

Even if we can't halt it, let's refrain from singing its praises. It's time to stop mistaking greed for growth and instead focus on real, sustainable value for society! As Jack Welsh recently confessed, shareholder value is probably the "dumbest idea in the world".

#leadership #business #purpose #transformation #justice

05-06-2024

🔥 Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter! 🔥
If Dante would wield his quill anew, what would he draw? He might suggest that we are trapped again, in those infernal corridors of our modern world, where ambition and avarice intertwine; each circle of torment inhabited by those who have forsaken virtue for gain:

1. First Circle (Limbo) - Middle Managers 📊 These corporate souls wander aimlessly, their potential stifled by bureaucracy. They are the gatekeepers of mediocrity, forever yearning for significance but ensnared by the chains of hierarchy.
2. Second Circle (Lust) - Sin Industry Executives 🛢️ The oil barons, tobacco magnates, and alcohol czars—masters of desire’s dark arts. They extract wealth from our cravings, heedless of the wreckage left in their wake. Their profits flow like poisoned rivers.
3. Third Circle (Gluttony) - Fast Food Executives 🍔 The architects of gluttony, they peddle addictive morsels wrapped in guilt. Their golden arches beckon, promising momentary pleasure while fueling a pandemic of obesity and heartache.
4. Fourth Circle (Greed) - Investment Bankers and Financial Advisors 💼 These wolves of Wall Street chase wealth with insatiable hunger. Ethics crumble before their pursuit of profit margins. They gamble with our futures, their eyes fixed on bonuses and offshore accounts.
5. Fifth Circle (Wrath) - Litigation Attorneys ⚖️ In courtrooms ablaze with fury, these legal mercenaries thrive. Conflict is their currency, justice a mere illusion. They feast on discord, billing hours while justice weeps.
6. Sixth Circle (Heresy) - Advertising Executives, Social Media Influencers and Journalists 📰 Wordsmiths and image weavers, they mold perception to their whims. Truth bends, and falsehoods flourish. Their heretical scrolls sell products, politicians, and illusions.
7. Seventh Circle (Violence) - Military Contractors 🔫 War profiteers, clad in suits, orchestrate chaos. Their balance sheets tally lives lost, collateral damage a line item. They trade in bloodshed, insulated from the battlefield’s screams.
8. Eighth Circle (Fraud) - Corporate Lobbyists 🏛️ These shadowy emissaries whisper in the ears of power. Democracy bends to their will, as they grease palms and subvert justice. Their loyalty lies not with the people but with the highest bidder.
9. Ninth Circle (Treachery) - Corrupt Politicians 🗳️ The ultimate betrayers, they wear masks of public service while plotting personal gain. Their oaths dissolve like vapor, leaving behind broken promises and shattered trust.

🌐 Share this damning revelation, dear souls, for we are all complicit. Our collective choices have forged this inferno. Abandon hope, ye who enter—the flames lick at our heels, and redemption grows scarce. 🔥🌎💔

 
#ModernEconomics #WakeUpCall #Business #Capitalism #SoulfulBusiness

🔥 Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter! 🔥
If Dante would wield his quill anew, what would he draw? He might suggest that we are trapped again, in those infernal corridors of our modern world, where ambition and avarice intertwine; each circle of torment inhabited by those who have forsaken virtue for gain:

1. First Circle (Limbo) - Middle Managers 📊 These corporate souls wander aimlessly, their potential stifled by bureaucracy. They are the gatekeepers of mediocrity, forever yearning for significance but ensnared by the chains of hierarchy.
2. Second Circle (Lust) - Sin Industry Executives 🛢️ The oil barons, tobacco magnates, and alcohol czars—masters of desire’s dark arts. They extract wealth from our cravings, heedless of the wreckage left in their wake. Their profits flow like poisoned rivers.
3. Third Circle (Gluttony) - Fast Food Executives 🍔 The architects of gluttony, they peddle addictive morsels wrapped in guilt. Their golden arches beckon, promising momentary pleasure while fueling a pandemic of obesity and heartache.
4. Fourth Circle (Greed) - Investment Bankers and Financial Advisors 💼 These wolves of Wall Street chase wealth with insatiable hunger. Ethics crumble before their pursuit of profit margins. They gamble with our futures, their eyes fixed on bonuses and offshore accounts.
5. Fifth Circle (Wrath) - Litigation Attorneys ⚖️ In courtrooms ablaze with fury, these legal mercenaries thrive. Conflict is their currency, justice a mere illusion. They feast on discord, billing hours while justice weeps.
6. Sixth Circle (Heresy) - Advertising Executives, Social Media Influencers and Journalists 📰 Wordsmiths and image weavers, they mold perception to their whims. Truth bends, and falsehoods flourish. Their heretical scrolls sell products, politicians, and illusions.
7. Seventh Circle (Violence) - Military Contractors 🔫 War profiteers, clad in suits, orchestrate chaos. Their balance sheets tally lives lost, collateral damage a line item. They trade in bloodshed, insulated from the battlefield’s screams.
8. Eighth Circle (Fraud) - Corporate Lobbyists 🏛️ These shadowy emissaries whisper in the ears of power. Democracy bends to their will, as they grease palms and subvert justice. Their loyalty lies not with the people but with the highest bidder.
9. Ninth Circle (Treachery) - Corrupt Politicians 🗳️ The ultimate betrayers, they wear masks of public service while plotting personal gain. Their oaths dissolve like vapor, leaving behind broken promises and shattered trust.

🌐 Share this damning revelation, dear souls, for we are all complicit. Our collective choices have forged this inferno. Abandon hope, ye who enter—the flames lick at our heels, and redemption grows scarce. 🔥🌎💔

 
#ModernEconomics #WakeUpCall #Business #Capitalism #SoulfulBusiness

05-06-2024

Digital Despots: Unmasking the Illusion of Positive Platform Power

In the digital age, platforms wield immense power. Like the feudal lords of yore, they control vast digital territories—our data, attention, and interactions. While journals are filled with glowing success stories about Apple, Google, Facebook, or Uber, and business schools and consultants alike preach the benefits of their business models, big challenges remain.

Not only are platforms incompatible with neoclassical economic theory, but they fundamentally stand opposite to the doctrine of free markets. Instead of seeking traditional profit, they extract monopolistic rents by privatizing the internet and manipulating our preferences. Platforms have become digital fiefdoms, extracting unearned surplus—rents—from their tenants for the provision of scarce resources.

Most problematically, unlike traditional profit, digital rents often don’t contribute to societal value; they are a toll on our digital existence, fueled by the appropriation of data about our behaviors. Innovation stagnates, small players struggle, and inequality widens. Our agency diminishes, trapped in algorithmic loops.

Are platforms good for society? They certainly do not appear beneficial for fair competition, market efficiency, or distributive justice.

 #FairEconomyPlatforms #EconomicJustice #Transformation #Business

Digital Despots: Unmasking the Illusion of Positive Platform Power

In the digital age, platforms wield immense power. Like the feudal lords of yore, they control vast digital territories—our data, attention, and interactions. While journals are filled with glowing success stories about Apple, Google, Facebook, or Uber, and business schools and consultants alike preach the benefits of their business models, big challenges remain.

Not only are platforms incompatible with neoclassical economic theory, but they fundamentally stand opposite to the doctrine of free markets. Instead of seeking traditional profit, they extract monopolistic rents by privatizing the internet and manipulating our preferences. Platforms have become digital fiefdoms, extracting unearned surplus—rents—from their tenants for the provision of scarce resources.

Most problematically, unlike traditional profit, digital rents often don’t contribute to societal value; they are a toll on our digital existence, fueled by the appropriation of data about our behaviors. Innovation stagnates, small players struggle, and inequality widens. Our agency diminishes, trapped in algorithmic loops.

Are platforms good for society? They certainly do not appear beneficial for fair competition, market efficiency, or distributive justice.

 #FairEconomyPlatforms #EconomicJustice #Transformation #Business

02-06-2024

Timing is Everything: Top 5 Tips to Master Social Media Impact

Looking to optimize your social media influence? Here are the top 5 tips from a dozen of different researchers for posting at the right times:

📅 Mid-week Magic: Aim for Tuesday to Thursday, especially between 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00, when productivity peaks lead to high engagement.
🌆 After Work Appeal: Capture attention on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (18:00-20:00) when people unwind and browse social media.
🎉 Friday Finesse: Plan your posts for Fridays from 8:00-12:00, as users start winding down and planning their weekends.
🌟 Weekend Wins: Shine on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from 18:00-22:00, when users have more free time to engage.
🚫 Avoid Early Mornings and Late Nights: Steer clear of early mornings (6:00-8:00) and late nights (22:00-24:00), as engagement tends to dip during these times.

As they say: "Success is not just about working hard; it's about working smart and timing it right."

#TimingIsEverything #linkedin #socialmedia #influencing #marketing #communications #engagement

Timing is Everything: Top 5 Tips to Master Social Media Impact

Looking to optimize your social media influence? Here are the top 5 tips from a dozen of different researchers for posting at the right times:

📅 Mid-week Magic: Aim for Tuesday to Thursday, especially between 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00, when productivity peaks lead to high engagement.
🌆 After Work Appeal: Capture attention on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (18:00-20:00) when people unwind and browse social media.
🎉 Friday Finesse: Plan your posts for Fridays from 8:00-12:00, as users start winding down and planning their weekends.
🌟 Weekend Wins: Shine on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from 18:00-22:00, when users have more free time to engage.
🚫 Avoid Early Mornings and Late Nights: Steer clear of early mornings (6:00-8:00) and late nights (22:00-24:00), as engagement tends to dip during these times.

As they say: "Success is not just about working hard; it's about working smart and timing it right."

#TimingIsEverything #linkedin #socialmedia #influencing #marketing #communications #engagement

01-06-2024

Question: how successful would the INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION have been in England without CHEAP COTTON from the US, kept cheap and available not by "free market" forces but by elimination of the indigenous population and slavery?

Just asking.

#leadership #transformation #business #LeadershipSociety

01-06-2024

Hypothesis: A minimum of WORKPLACE DEMOCRACY is a non-negotiable cornerstone of any modern business worth working for.

Your views? What does that mean? What are rights vs obligations?

#transformation #leadership #organisationaldesign #power #politics #business

01-06-2024

The problem with simplistic diagrams like this, much like the misleading but popular people-planet-profit Venn diagrams, is that they oversimplify complex political and ontological questions.

Politically, the economy is always embedded within society, but what does that truly mean? Is it the false gospel of neoliberal ideologues preaching the miracle of the invisible hand, advocating for "free markets" shielded from the allegedly destructive influence of government? Is it a socialist vision of nationalized economies, planned and controlled by central parties and bureaucrats? Or is it a participatory "economy for good" with comprehensive rules and strict oversight of financial and commercial flows?

Similarly, ontologically, markets and societies are social systems and institutions. But what exactly is the "environment" in this context? Is it nature, the physical world, or some idyllic Garden of Eden of eternal beauty and youth? What does it mean to embed culture in "nature"? Is it a simplistic return to hunter-gatherer communities living in the woods, a set of restrictions on resource usage, constraints on externalities, or a revolutionary reform of land and property rights?

All these are tough and important questions. Unfortunately, images like this—and the pamphlets they often accompany—not only fail to lead us to the right questions but also tend to search for answers in the wrong places. Much of societal complexity arises from people, both as citizens and consumers, fundamentally disagreeing on the problems and not being engaged in, or being excluded from the process necessary to find solutions.

If we want progress, we must first increase our own engagement by examining the world more closely. We then need to investigate our roles, both individually and collectively, in maintaining the status quo. Finally, and most importantly, we must organize and act.

#transformation #leadership #purpose #capitalism #sustainability

The problem with simplistic diagrams like this, much like the misleading but popular people-planet-profit Venn diagrams, is that they oversimplify complex political and ontological questions.

Politically, the economy is always embedded within society, but what does that truly mean? Is it the false gospel of neoliberal ideologues preaching the miracle of the invisible hand, advocating for "free markets" shielded from the allegedly destructive influence of government? Is it a socialist vision of nationalized economies, planned and controlled by central parties and bureaucrats? Or is it a participatory "economy for good" with comprehensive rules and strict oversight of financial and commercial flows?

Similarly, ontologically, markets and societies are social systems and institutions. But what exactly is the "environment" in this context? Is it nature, the physical world, or some idyllic Garden of Eden of eternal beauty and youth? What does it mean to embed culture in "nature"? Is it a simplistic return to hunter-gatherer communities living in the woods, a set of restrictions on resource usage, constraints on externalities, or a revolutionary reform of land and property rights?

All these are tough and important questions. Unfortunately, images like this—and the pamphlets they often accompany—not only fail to lead us to the right questions but also tend to search for answers in the wrong places. Much of societal complexity arises from people, both as citizens and consumers, fundamentally disagreeing on the problems and not being engaged in, or being excluded from the process necessary to find solutions.

If we want progress, we must first increase our own engagement by examining the world more closely. We then need to investigate our roles, both individually and collectively, in maintaining the status quo. Finally, and most importantly, we must organize and act.

#transformation #leadership #purpose #capitalism #sustainability

29-05-2024

Hypothesis: A minimum of WORKPLACE DEMOCRACY is a non-negotiable cornerstone of any modern business worth working for.

Your views? What does that mean? What are rights vs obligations?

#transformation #leadership #organisationaldesign #power #politics #business

Hypothesis: A minimum of WORKPLACE DEMOCRACY is a non-negotiable cornerstone of any modern business worth working for.

Your views? What does that mean? What are rights vs obligations?

#transformation #leadership #organisationaldesign #power #politics #business

28-05-2024

🎉✨ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PHILOSOPHY 🎉✨

Once upon a time, on May 28, 585 BCE, during a battle between the kingdoms of Media and Lydia, a total solar eclipse occurred, just as Thales of Miletus had predicted. This remarkable event not only ended the battle and the war but also marked a significant moment in history, showcasing the power of rational thought and observation.

Thales, often hailed as the first philosopher, shifted humanity's approach to understanding the world from myth to reason. His pioneering ideas laid the foundation for philosophy, encouraging us to seek knowledge, question the unknown, and strive for a deeper understanding of our universe.

Today, we celebrate the profound impact philosophy has had on making the world a better place, fostering critical thinking, ethical inquiry, and the pursuit of wisdom. Let's honor Thales and the countless philosophers who have enriched our minds and our lives, often enabling radical shifts in the way mankind understood itself and its environment.

#HappyBirthdayPhilosophy #Thales #PhilosophyMatters #RationalThought #Wisdom #History #SolarEclipse

🎉✨ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PHILOSOPHY 🎉✨

Once upon a time, on May 28, 585 BCE, during a battle between the kingdoms of Media and Lydia, a total solar eclipse occurred, just as Thales of Miletus had predicted. This remarkable event not only ended the battle and the war but also marked a significant moment in history, showcasing the power of rational thought and observation.

Thales, often hailed as the first philosopher, shifted humanity's approach to understanding the world from myth to reason. His pioneering ideas laid the foundation for philosophy, encouraging us to seek knowledge, question the unknown, and strive for a deeper understanding of our universe.

Today, we celebrate the profound impact philosophy has had on making the world a better place, fostering critical thinking, ethical inquiry, and the pursuit of wisdom. Let's honor Thales and the countless philosophers who have enriched our minds and our lives, often enabling radical shifts in the way mankind understood itself and its environment.

#HappyBirthdayPhilosophy #Thales #PhilosophyMatters #RationalThought #Wisdom #History #SolarEclipse

21-05-2024

It's all just about A GROWTH MINDSET! Today I had another one of those conversations where someone aggressively insisted that all evils of neoliberalism are ultimately a matter of psychology. Sadly, this popular conviction is not only intellectually shallow, but often counterproductive.

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. It seeks to describe, explain, predict, or change our ways of thinking or acting. It follows, as all social sciences, a method of scientific experiment and observation seeking to identify law-like regularities based on conjoint events. In other words, it is descriptive. William Wundt, who distinguished psychology as a science from philosophy and biology, was the first person ever to call himself a psychologist. In 1879, at the University of Leipzig, Wundt founded the first formal laboratory for psychological research.

Now the problems with using psychology as the sole explanatory methodology for the challenges with "neoliberalism" encounters at least three critical obstacles. The first is ontological. Modern "ego" psychology is mostly premised on a constructivist paradigm that emphasizes a merely subjective perspective of reality, undertheorising existential embeddedness in cultural, socio-technical and relational structures. This leads to epistemological myopia as Archer and Bhaskar so eloquently point out. Simply put, a lot of our "mindset" is shaped by institutions or what Bourdieu called habitus. Morphogenesis requires more than psychological agency. Secondly, ethical. As a descriptive science, psychology offers no normative foundation from where to critique neoliberalism as an ideology - beyond fashionable references to allegedly "normal" psychological functioning or "positive" deviances. And finally, political. Neoliberalism is a variant of classical liberalism or libertarianism. It is a political-economic ideology. Hence, any meaningful critique requires the examination of political positions that challenge the ideal of social justice as negative freedom enshrined in liberal constitutions, as well as heterodox economic theories that inquire into the moral desert of markets.

Psychology might tell us why neoliberalism is particularly seductive in an advanced postmodern society which has long lost faith in metaphysical truths. It might even confirm how it generates individual and collective suffering through its desperate attempt to justify human existence through extraction and material accumulation. But it cannot tell us how to live a life worth living, nor advise us how to make our economy "produce" good work.

#psychology #philosophy #politics #science #business #leadership

It's all just about A GROWTH MINDSET! Today I had another one of those conversations where someone aggressively insisted that all evils of neoliberalism are ultimately a matter of psychology. Sadly, this popular conviction is not only intellectually shallow, but often counterproductive.

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. It seeks to describe, explain, predict, or change our ways of thinking or acting. It follows, as all social sciences, a method of scientific experiment and observation seeking to identify law-like regularities based on conjoint events. In other words, it is descriptive. William Wundt, who distinguished psychology as a science from philosophy and biology, was the first person ever to call himself a psychologist. In 1879, at the University of Leipzig, Wundt founded the first formal laboratory for psychological research.

Now the problems with using psychology as the sole explanatory methodology for the challenges with "neoliberalism" encounters at least three critical obstacles. The first is ontological. Modern "ego" psychology is mostly premised on a constructivist paradigm that emphasizes a merely subjective perspective of reality, undertheorising existential embeddedness in cultural, socio-technical and relational structures. This leads to epistemological myopia as Archer and Bhaskar so eloquently point out. Simply put, a lot of our "mindset" is shaped by institutions or what Bourdieu called habitus. Morphogenesis requires more than psychological agency. Secondly, ethical. As a descriptive science, psychology offers no normative foundation from where to critique neoliberalism as an ideology - beyond fashionable references to allegedly "normal" psychological functioning or "positive" deviances. And finally, political. Neoliberalism is a variant of classical liberalism or libertarianism. It is a political-economic ideology. Hence, any meaningful critique requires the examination of political positions that challenge the ideal of social justice as negative freedom enshrined in liberal constitutions, as well as heterodox economic theories that inquire into the moral desert of markets.

Psychology might tell us why neoliberalism is particularly seductive in an advanced postmodern society which has long lost faith in metaphysical truths. It might even confirm how it generates individual and collective suffering through its desperate attempt to justify human existence through extraction and material accumulation. But it cannot tell us how to live a life worth living, nor advise us how to make our economy "produce" good work.

#psychology #philosophy #politics #science #business #leadership

It's all just about HAVING A GROWTH MINDSET! Today I had another one of those conversations where someone aggressively insisted that all evils of neoliberalism are ultimately a matter of psychology. Sadly, this popular conviction is not only intellectually shallow, but often counterproductive.

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. It seeks to describe, explain, predict, or change our ways of thinking or acting. It follows, as all social sciences, a method of scientific experiment and observation seeking to identify law-like regularities based on conjoint events. In other words, it is descriptive. William Wundt, who distinguished psychology as a science from philosophy and biology, was the first person ever to call himself a psychologist. In 1879, at the University of Leipzig, Wundt founded the first formal laboratory for psychological research.

Now the problems with using psychology as the sole explanatory methodology for the challenges with "neoliberalism" encounters at least three critical obstacles. The first is ontological. Modern "ego" psychology is mostly premised on a constructivist paradigm that emphasizes a merely subjective perspective of reality, undertheorising existential embeddedness in cultural, socio-technical and relational structures. This leads to epistemological myopia as Archer and Bhaskar so eloquently point out. Simply put, a lot of our "mindset" is shaped by institutions or what Bourdieu called habitus. Morphogenesis requires more than psychological agency. Secondly, ethical. As a descriptive science, psychology offers no normative foundation from where to critique neoliberalism as an ideology - beyond fashionable references to allegedly "normal" psychological functioning or "positive" deviances. And finally, political. Neoliberalism is a variant of classical liberalism or libertarianism. It is a political-economic ideology. Hence, any meaningful critique requires the examination of political positions that challenge the ideal of social justice as negative freedom enshrined in liberal constitutions, as well as heterodox economic theories that inquire into the moral desert of markets.

Psychology might tell us why neoliberalism is particularly seductive in an advanced postmodern society which has long lost faith in metaphysical truths. It might even confirm how it generates individual and collective suffering through its desperate attempt to justify human existence through extraction and material accumulation. But it cannot tell us how to live a life worth living, nor advise us how to make our economy "produce" good work.

#psychology #philosophy #politics #science #business #leadership

21-05-2024

We Need to Not Only Finance Change but Also Change Finance!

This was the resounding message from the sustainable finance track at the European #bcorp Summit 2024, ignited by a groundbreaking mission paper from The Club of Rome.

True transformation requires tackling "asymmetric finance." Today, it's far easier to fund extraction and perpetuate a "growth imperative" detached from societal well-being than to finance regeneration. We must confront three pivotal challenges:

1. Choices in the Real Economy: We must eliminate harmful activities that are unprofitable when externalities are considered and only perpetuate the system without adding social value. This will streamline and refocus the financial sector.

2. Restructuring the Finance Sector: Finance is overly concentrated due to regulation and inherent economies of scale, particularly in asset management, leading to value destruction. We need a more balanced and equitable financial structure.

3. Institutional Reform: Money creation at its source must be linked to universal prosperity. Financial institutions must operate with a public purpose, curbing excessive shareholder power through stewardship or cooperative models.

This demands a profound conversation about the role of finance in society. Many bankers still cling to the belief that the primary goal of banks is to "make money from money." Transitioning from brown to green finance is a step in the right direction, but it's not enough. Banking should reflect and uphold human values.

How do we achieve this? We must ensure global finance is part of the solution, not the problem. It starts with the system seeing itself clearly and that is a function of #leadership. Let's make sure we hire for character when it comes to boards and supervisory boards, as well as central banks.

As Bill O'Brien once rightly pointed out: "The success of an intervention always depends on the interior condition of the intervener."

#banking #finance #sustainability #leadership #transformation

We Need to Not Only Finance Change but Also Change Finance!

This was the resounding message from the sustainable finance track at the European #bcorp Summit 2024, ignited by a groundbreaking mission paper from The Club of Rome.

True transformation requires tackling "asymmetric finance." Today, it's far easier to fund extraction and perpetuate a "growth imperative" detached from societal well-being than to finance regeneration. We must confront three pivotal challenges:

1. Choices in the Real Economy: We must eliminate harmful activities that are unprofitable when externalities are considered and only perpetuate the system without adding social value. This will streamline and refocus the financial sector.

2. Restructuring the Finance Sector: Finance is overly concentrated due to regulation and inherent economies of scale, particularly in asset management, leading to value destruction. We need a more balanced and equitable financial structure.

3. Institutional Reform: Money creation at its source must be linked to universal prosperity. Financial institutions must operate with a public purpose, curbing excessive shareholder power through stewardship or cooperative models.

This demands a profound conversation about the role of finance in society. Many bankers still cling to the belief that the primary goal of banks is to "make money from money." Transitioning from brown to green finance is a step in the right direction, but it's not enough. Banking should reflect and uphold human values.

How do we achieve this? We must ensure global finance is part of the solution, not the problem. It starts with the system seeing itself clearly and that is a function of #leadership. Let's make sure we hire for character when it comes to boards and supervisory boards, as well as central banks.

As Bill O'Brien once rightly pointed out: "The success of an intervention always depends on the interior condition of the intervener."

#banking #finance #sustainability #leadership #transformation

21-05-2024

IS CEO PAY JUST? And Does It Matter?

You might say, "Of course it is just. We deserve it because of our contribution to the business." Or argue, "It’s the wrong question: if it was freely negotiated between consenting, informed parties, it must be just." Or claim, "It’s not our problem: markets produce matches, not wisdom. Distributive justice is a matter of taxation. And it's too small an issue to fuss about."

But clearly, that’s all a bit shortsighted. Jean-Jacques Rousseau rightly argued that "no citizen shall ever be wealthy enough to buy another, and none poor enough to be forced to sell himself." It doesn’t need agreement to Michael Sandel’s extensive arguments against meritocracy (see Tyranny of Merit), Philip Pettit’s critique of classical liberalism, or Lisa Herzog’s emphasis on collective duties and structural injustice to understand that there are a range of evaluative frames beyond popular (and somewhat simplistic) neoliberal positions.

And, yes, it matters. Accepting mediocre thinking allows it to dominate. Ideological biases, as Van Dijk et al show in a compelling new paper accumulate and perpetuate social inequality.

Hence, it's time to think harder about CEO pay. That must start with acknowledging alternative perspectives. As Martin Luther King Jr. once warned: "An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
#Leadership #EthicalBusiness #FairPay #Justice #Transformation #Management

IS CEO PAY JUST? And Does It Matter?

You might say, "Of course it is just. We deserve it because of our contribution to the business." Or argue, "It’s the wrong question: if it was freely negotiated between consenting, informed parties, it must be just." Or claim, "It’s not our problem: markets produce matches, not wisdom. Distributive justice is a matter of taxation. And it's too small an issue to fuss about."

But clearly, that’s all a bit shortsighted. Jean-Jacques Rousseau rightly argued that "no citizen shall ever be wealthy enough to buy another, and none poor enough to be forced to sell himself." It doesn’t need agreement to Michael Sandel’s extensive arguments against meritocracy (see Tyranny of Merit), Philip Pettit’s critique of classical liberalism, or Lisa Herzog’s emphasis on collective duties and structural injustice to understand that there are a range of evaluative frames beyond popular (and somewhat simplistic) neoliberal positions.

And, yes, it matters. Accepting mediocre thinking allows it to dominate. Ideological biases, as Van Dijk et al show in a compelling new paper accumulate and perpetuate social inequality.

Hence, it's time to think harder about CEO pay. That must start with acknowledging alternative perspectives. As Martin Luther King Jr. once warned: "An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
#Leadership #EthicalBusiness #FairPay #Justice #Transformation #Management

18-05-2024

Andrew Harrop and I had a fascinating conversation yesterday at our hashtag#LBS Executive MBA 15th Anniversary reunion about the crucial role of political understanding in leadership and business.

Not only do political concepts offer a more nuanced lens for interpreting organizational and institutional structures, they also allow for a deeper analysis of power dynamics and justice in social systems beyond mere psychological and subjective analyses. It's certainly not enough to advocate for humble or compassionate leadership; we also need political statesmanship to properly situate individual stakeholders within the company and responsibly position the company within the broader political economy embedded in society.

The notion that management or economics are value-free or apolitical is as popular as it is deeply flawed both theoretically and practically. Therefore, MBA programs would greatly benefit from expanding their focus beyond coaching and personal development to include a deeper understanding of ethics and politics. Otherwise, leaders' judgment will remain fixated on instrumental rationality, even if adorned with a veneer of psychological insight.

Andrew Harrop and I had a fascinating conversation yesterday at our hashtag#LBS Executive MBA 15th Anniversary reunion about the crucial role of political understanding in leadership and business.

Not only do political concepts offer a more nuanced lens for interpreting organizational and institutional structures, they also allow for a deeper analysis of power dynamics and justice in social systems beyond mere psychological and subjective analyses. It's certainly not enough to advocate for humble or compassionate leadership; we also need political statesmanship to properly situate individual stakeholders within the company and responsibly position the company within the broader political economy embedded in society.

The notion that management or economics are value-free or apolitical is as popular as it is deeply flawed both theoretically and practically. Therefore, MBA programs would greatly benefit from expanding their focus beyond coaching and personal development to include a deeper understanding of ethics and politics. Otherwise, leaders' judgment will remain fixated on instrumental rationality, even if adorned with a veneer of psychological insight.

17-05-2024

COMMON TYPES OF TEAM CONFLICT — and How to Resolve Them.

I was intrigued tonight by a thought-provoking presentation by Randall Peterson in occasion of our 15th #LBS alumni anniversary celebrations. Randall shed light on common types of conflict in teams that leaders often encounter, offering valuable guidance on resolving them effectively:

1) Solo Dissenters: Avoid ganging up on dissenting individuals; instead, leverage their perspective and address frictions one-on-one.

2) Boxing Matches: In case of conflict between two team members, it's crucial to mediate carefully if the disagreement is personal. However, fostering small-scale debates about ideas can enhance team performance. Assigning a devil's advocate to create conflict isn't effective, research suggests. I am sure Antoinette will disagree on this.

3) Warring Factions: Voting won't resolve conflicts between subgroups. Instead, introduce new ideas or goals to break the deadlock and move past opposition.

4) Blame Games: When the entire team disagrees, leaders must prioritize collaboration and foster alignment for the best interests of the team.

As always, I'm concerned about potential epistemological limitations inherent in survey-based research like this. We must also question the broader definition of performance and the underlying assumptions, oscillating between reducing tension and enhancing decision-making, behind such normative suggestions. However, the ideas are certainly very interesting and Randall's insight into the potential of conflict to actualize our highest potential, if appropriately managed, again sparked my curiosity about its broader relevance in organizational transformation.

Beyond psychological considerations, it's certainly crucial here to address the role of political institutions and the suitability of specific decision-making methods. The simplistic notion that a qualified majority can "resolve conflict" must be examined in the context of both representative and contestatory rights of employees and organizational design. We should also consider a wider array of decision-making methodologies, such as Laloux's advice process, expert-based decisions, sociocracy's qualified objections, and group techniques informed by coaching and psychology, or even Quaker-style spiritual consent.

But I'm also intrigued by how conflict intersects with the development of values and identity, both on an individual and collective level. How does it contribute to ego identity development? And how does it align with historical and philosophical emergence, echoing concepts from Hegel's dialectics, Machiavelli's "tumulti" or Vico's "corsi e ricorsi"? Additionally, how does it relate to ontological frameworks such as David Boye's Dialectical and Multiplicity approaches or Archer's morphogenesis in this context.

Certainly more to ponder!

Full paper: https://lnkd.in/e-T5aGjn

#transformation #leadership #organizationalchange #conflict

COMMON TYPES OF TEAM CONFLICT — and How to Resolve Them.

I was intrigued tonight by a thought-provoking presentation by Randall Peterson in occasion of our 15th #LBS alumni anniversary celebrations. Randall shed light on common types of conflict in teams that leaders often encounter, offering valuable guidance on resolving them effectively:

1) Solo Dissenters: Avoid ganging up on dissenting individuals; instead, leverage their perspective and address frictions one-on-one.

2) Boxing Matches: In case of conflict between two team members, it's crucial to mediate carefully if the disagreement is personal. However, fostering small-scale debates about ideas can enhance team performance. Assigning a devil's advocate to create conflict isn't effective, research suggests. I am sure Antoinette will disagree on this.

3) Warring Factions: Voting won't resolve conflicts between subgroups. Instead, introduce new ideas or goals to break the deadlock and move past opposition.

4) Blame Games: When the entire team disagrees, leaders must prioritize collaboration and foster alignment for the best interests of the team.

As always, I'm concerned about potential epistemological limitations inherent in survey-based research like this. We must also question the broader definition of performance and the underlying assumptions, oscillating between reducing tension and enhancing decision-making, behind such normative suggestions. However, the ideas are certainly very interesting and Randall's insight into the potential of conflict to actualize our highest potential, if appropriately managed, again sparked my curiosity about its broader relevance in organizational transformation.

Beyond psychological considerations, it's certainly crucial here to address the role of political institutions and the suitability of specific decision-making methods. The simplistic notion that a qualified majority can "resolve conflict" must be examined in the context of both representative and contestatory rights of employees and organizational design. We should also consider a wider array of decision-making methodologies, such as Laloux's advice process, expert-based decisions, sociocracy's qualified objections, and group techniques informed by coaching and psychology, or even Quaker-style spiritual consent.

But I'm also intrigued by how conflict intersects with the development of values and identity, both on an individual and collective level. How does it contribute to ego identity development? And how does it align with historical and philosophical emergence, echoing concepts from Hegel's dialectics, Machiavelli's "tumulti" or Vico's "corsi e ricorsi"? Additionally, how does it relate to ontological frameworks such as David Boye's Dialectical and Multiplicity approaches or Archer's morphogenesis in this context.

Certainly more to ponder!

Full paper: https://lnkd.in/e-T5aGjn

#transformation #leadership #organizationalchange #conflict

17-05-2024

It was truly inspiring to again hear Lynda Gratton speak today at our 15th anniversary #LBS MBA reunion and the London Business School Festival of Minds. In her stimulating presentation Lynda shared both deeply introspective reflections on her immensely successful career, which continues into her 70s, while also addressing the continuously evolving and ever more diverse and complex landscape of employment, including the advancement of AI.

Anticipating her upcoming book on a good working life, Lynda advised us to navigate our increasingly multi-stage lives with preparation and agency, evaluating the available options, embracing the necessary and often difficult transitions and mastering those skills that matter.

Her deep insights sparked a rich discussion among the alumni, touching on the importance of virtuous leadership and our collective responsibility to address societal issues through our work. Only when asked about her life's purpose, Lynda remained cautious. Her journey had primarily revolved around knowledge and learning, she said, striving to bring valuable insights to the world of management. Purpose, she suggested, might not be easily found by everyone.

I believe this is profoundly true. Yet, I also find there's often a misunderstanding about the concept of purpose. Drawing from virtue ethics, purpose isn't something we simply acquire; it's a practice rooted in our actions. We become by doing. It's about continually developing our character by positioning ourselves consciously with a moral and relational order. Hence, paradoxically, our life's purpose isn't something we could find within ourselves by ourselves - it emerges when we dedicate ourselves to something greater within a social order that acknowledges its significance.

It was truly inspiring to again hear Lynda Gratton speak today at our 15th anniversary #LBS MBA reunion and the London Business School Festival of Minds. In her stimulating presentation Lynda shared both deeply introspective reflections on her immensely successful career, which continues into her 70s, while also addressing the continuously evolving and ever more diverse and complex landscape of employment, including the advancement of AI.

Anticipating her upcoming book on a good working life, Lynda advised us to navigate our increasingly multi-stage lives with preparation and agency, evaluating the available options, embracing the necessary and often difficult transitions and mastering those skills that matter.

Her deep insights sparked a rich discussion among the alumni, touching on the importance of virtuous leadership and our collective responsibility to address societal issues through our work. Only when asked about her life's purpose, Lynda remained cautious. Her journey had primarily revolved around knowledge and learning, she said, striving to bring valuable insights to the world of management. Purpose, she suggested, might not be easily found by everyone.

I believe this is profoundly true. Yet, I also find there's often a misunderstanding about the concept of purpose. Drawing from virtue ethics, purpose isn't something we simply acquire; it's a practice rooted in our actions. We become by doing. It's about continually developing our character by positioning ourselves consciously with a moral and relational order. Hence, paradoxically, our life's purpose isn't something we could find within ourselves by ourselves - it emerges when we dedicate ourselves to something greater within a social order that acknowledges its significance.

04-05-2024

What's your MBA really worth?

It is ironic. The more I engage with insightful colleagues, the further I dive into various studies, the more senior I become in my organisational roles, the more glaring the gaps in my MBA education become apparent. Despite being hailed as one of the best in Europe, and even globally, the program failed to encourage deep critical thinking and develop a more complex and heterodox understanding of economic and organisational reality. Most importantly, it did not equip us to make effective and ethical judgments in the presence of ambiguity and conflicting interests, and to challenge what business essentially should be about.

It's a realization that leaves me pondering: What's the true worth of an MBA in today's rapidly evolving business landscape, if it does not develop genuinely responsible leadership.

#leadership #mba #education #business #bschools #transformation #purpose #responsibility

What's your MBA really worth?

It is ironic. The more I engage with insightful colleagues, the further I dive into various studies, the more senior I become in my organisational roles, the more glaring the gaps in my MBA education become apparent. Despite being hailed as one of the best in Europe, and even globally, the program failed to encourage deep critical thinking and develop a more complex and heterodox understanding of economic and organisational reality. Most importantly, it did not equip us to make effective and ethical judgments in the presence of ambiguity and conflicting interests, and to challenge what business essentially should be about.

It's a realization that leaves me pondering: What's the true worth of an MBA in today's rapidly evolving business landscape, if it does not develop genuinely responsible leadership.

#leadership #mba #education #business #bschools #transformation #purpose #responsibility

04-05-2024

If we don't assert our humanity, AI will soon surpass us in terms of its inhumanity every single day.

04-05-2024

"It's not the capital, stupid!"

Efficiency in economic activity hinges on the optimal use of resources relative to the scarcest factor of production. While capital may have been paramount during the industrial revolution, it's abundantly clear that times have changed.

Therefore, clinging to regulations and institutional frameworks that prioritize shareholder interests above all else, reducing corporate governance to an agency problem, is woefully anachronistic.

We must urgently reimagine our institutions to move away from this narrow focus on financial returns and shareholder primacy, and instead, align economic activity with the broader interests of stakeholders and society as a whole. In today's Western world, the true scarcity is no longer finance—it's quality of life.

It really does not take much to see that.

#transformation #reinventingcapitalism #businessforhumanity #prosperity #purpose #economics #management

"It's not the capital, stupid!"

Efficiency in economic activity hinges on the optimal use of resources relative to the scarcest factor of production. While capital may have been paramount during the industrial revolution, it's abundantly clear that times have changed.

Therefore, clinging to regulations and institutional frameworks that prioritize shareholder interests above all else, reducing corporate governance to an agency problem, is woefully anachronistic.

We must urgently reimagine our institutions to move away from this narrow focus on financial returns and shareholder primacy, and instead, align economic activity with the broader interests of stakeholders and society as a whole. In today's Western world, the true scarcity is no longer finance—it's quality of life.

It really does not take much to see that.

#transformation #reinventingcapitalism #businessforhumanity #prosperity #purpose #economics #management

03-05-2024

Beyond Time: Debunking the Illusions of Moral Bargaining 

As you know I am always intrigued by emergent discourses, and I've observed this fascinating pattern where people, alternatively, either idealize "future generations" or romanticize "ancient people" and their wisdom in an effort to justify imposing restrictions on our current freedom.

But let's be real, neither makes much (moral) sense. Ethics isn't some sort of intergenerational bargaining chip, nor are the subjective opinions of past or future inhabitants highly relevant to our present-day issuesJustice extends beyond the notion of mere conservation or conditional usage, despite the allure of terms like "regenerative" that desperately seek to spice up the concept of conservatism.

Perhaps it's time to dig a little deeper and truly consider what it means to act responsibly. It's certainly a challenge that demands our attention and action in the here and now.

#leadership #transformation #responsibility #leadershipdevelopment #goodleadership #philosophy

Beyond Time: Debunking the Illusions of Moral Bargaining 

As you know I am always intrigued by emergent discourses, and I've observed this fascinating pattern where people, alternatively, either idealize "future generations" or romanticize "ancient people" and their wisdom in an effort to justify imposing restrictions on our current freedom.

But let's be real, neither makes much (moral) sense. Ethics isn't some sort of intergenerational bargaining chip, nor are the subjective opinions of past or future inhabitants highly relevant to our present-day issuesJustice extends beyond the notion of mere conservation or conditional usage, despite the allure of terms like "regenerative" that desperately seek to spice up the concept of conservatism.

Perhaps it's time to dig a little deeper and truly consider what it means to act responsibly. It's certainly a challenge that demands our attention and action in the here and now.

#leadership #transformation #responsibility #leadershipdevelopment #goodleadership #philosophy

02-05-2024

"Even the smallest spark of evil can ignite the darkest of flames."

As Colin Mayer points out: "It is not profits per se that are the problem; it is the maximization of profit for the benefit of the shareholders at the expense of other stakeholders that is a mistake, as well as the presumption that profits are the ‘be all and end all’ of business and its sole purpose. Profits are not the sole purpose of business. The purpose of business is ‘to produce profitable solutions to the problems of people and planet, and not to profit from producing problems for people and planet’. In the process, business produces profits. But profits are not per se the purpose of business and business should not profit from producing problems for people and planet."

#transformation #leadership #business #management #purpose

"Even the smallest spark of evil can ignite the darkest of flames."

As Colin Mayer points out: "It is not profits per se that are the problem; it is the maximization of profit for the benefit of the shareholders at the expense of other stakeholders that is a mistake, as well as the presumption that profits are the ‘be all and end all’ of business and its sole purpose. Profits are not the sole purpose of business. The purpose of business is ‘to produce profitable solutions to the problems of people and planet, and not to profit from producing problems for people and planet’. In the process, business produces profits. But profits are not per se the purpose of business and business should not profit from producing problems for people and planet."

#transformation #leadership #business #management #purpose

01-05-2024

Let's talk about performance ratings and rankings – easily contenders for the title of the dumbest practices ever conceived in management. The evidence couldn't be clearer: unless you're in a factory cranking out widgets, they're about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

Additionally, the often arbitrary "quantitative" judgment of employees by their managers, however well-intentioned, represents a significant encroachment on the fundamental dignity of individuals as human beings.

So, if you're still stuck in the Stone Age with traditional ratings, bell curves, or forced leveling, it's time to wake up and smell the incompetence. Shoot your CHRO a memo – they should check their data, pronto!

But what's it with the stubborn attachment to ratings, as if they were the greatest innovation since sliced bread?! Is HR truly unable to manage consequences without drowning in endless Excel spreadsheets that pretend to reveal truth where there is none? Are managers genuinely so insecure that they need to rely on performance ratings to assert power over their employees? Or do executives harbor such profound distrust in their managers' capabilities to manage effectively? Or perhaps, are we simply lost for alternatives? Either way, it's time to cut the cord and start thinking smarter.

In this extremely insightful session, Tamra offered her insights from decades in the field. It is an absolute treasure trove of wisdom, packed with practical lessons, innovative ideas, and actionable strategies for transforming performance management. Trust me, if you're in HR, you won't want to miss it!

If we lack the courage to address even the most absurd practices lingering on our shop floors, all our chatter about the 'work of the future' is just hot air. Don't wait around for the cows to come home – seize the opportunity now. Tune in to the recording and kickstart your journey toward a revamped approach to performance management.

Video link: https://lnkd.in/eU7_Ui2E

#GoodLeadershipSociety #GoodOrganisations #HR #FutureofWork #Leadership #Transformation #Business #PersonalDevelopment #CIPD

Let's talk about performance ratings and rankings – easily contenders for the title of the dumbest practices ever conceived in management. The evidence couldn't be clearer: unless you're in a factory cranking out widgets, they're about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

Additionally, the often arbitrary "quantitative" judgment of employees by their managers, however well-intentioned, represents a significant encroachment on the fundamental dignity of individuals as human beings.

So, if you're still stuck in the Stone Age with traditional ratings, bell curves, or forced leveling, it's time to wake up and smell the incompetence. Shoot your CHRO a memo – they should check their data, pronto!

But what's it with the stubborn attachment to ratings, as if they were the greatest innovation since sliced bread?! Is HR truly unable to manage consequences without drowning in endless Excel spreadsheets that pretend to reveal truth where there is none? Are managers genuinely so insecure that they need to rely on performance ratings to assert power over their employees? Or do executives harbor such profound distrust in their managers' capabilities to manage effectively? Or perhaps, are we simply lost for alternatives? Either way, it's time to cut the cord and start thinking smarter.

In this extremely insightful session, Tamra offered her insights from decades in the field. It is an absolute treasure trove of wisdom, packed with practical lessons, innovative ideas, and actionable strategies for transforming performance management. Trust me, if you're in HR, you won't want to miss it!

If we lack the courage to address even the most absurd practices lingering on our shop floors, all our chatter about the 'work of the future' is just hot air. Don't wait around for the cows to come home – seize the opportunity now. Tune in to the recording and kickstart your journey toward a revamped approach to performance management.

Video link: https://lnkd.in/eU7_Ui2E

#GoodLeadershipSociety #GoodOrganisations #HR #FutureofWork #Leadership #Transformation #Business #PersonalDevelopment #CIPD

01-05-2024

CRAFTING THE FUTURE OF WORK: A CALL TO CO-CREATE AN AGILE MANIFESTO FOR HR!

It is a privilege to once again be invited to engage in a crucial dialogue with my esteemed colleagues from the HR community. I am glad to say that our journey has been a collaborative exploration over many years. The subject matter is not just important; it's existential. It goes to the essence of who we are as businesses, as leaders, as HR professionals, and as corporate citizens. It's about crafting a future of work that aligns with our values and aspirations, and recognizing our role in shaping it.

While we certainly do not possess all the answers, it is great to see that we are willing to ask some vital questions, and that we are committed to carving out the time and space in our agenda for the conversation. Admittedly, it's not always a smooth ride; we hail from diverse backgrounds and hold varying perspectives. Some people were not very happy that Antoinette and I challenged the hegemony of the business partner discourse last year. Yet, I strongly believe scrutiny and critical thinking are necessary, and thanks to our diversity, moments of magic can occur!

Therefore, we are particularly proud to return to the Congress this year with a collaborative creation forged with many esteemed colleagues—a testament to the power of collective effort.

In Amsterdam last year, a spontaneous decision arose among a group of us: we felt that it was not enough to just sit in the many sessions and talk; we were compelled to take tangible action. With several dedicated colleagues, we embarked on a mission to instigate real change by proposing something foundational to propel HR forward. Over the past four months, with the significant effort of numerous volunteers, we initiated an inquiry into the transformation performance management—the cornerstone of HR. And now, we're thrilled to unveil a groundbreaking achievement: the world's first Performance Management Manifesto, inspired by but moving beyond the Agile Manifesto!

During this year's conference, we therefore extend an invitation to all our colleagues to join us in refining the draft and to enlist for experimental implementation. Together, we aim to formally endorse it as an official proclamation of the HR World Summit, together with Perry Timms and Mihaly Nagy. Our aspiration is to craft a new tool that unites and propels the efforts of forward-thinking HR professionals globally, empowering them to not only enhance business efficiency but also foster organisational and societal flourishing!

There are pivotal moments in life when we must choose between being a mere bystander or stepping up as a true transformer. If you're prepared to take a stab at genuinely shaping the work of the future, come on board! We look forward to seeing you all in Porto!

#hr #transformation #hrm #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #organisationalchange #business #leaders #agile #purpose The HR Congress

CRAFTING THE FUTURE OF WORK: A CALL TO CO-CREATE AN AGILE MANIFESTO FOR HR!

It is a privilege to once again be invited to engage in a crucial dialogue with my esteemed colleagues from the HR community. I am glad to say that our journey has been a collaborative exploration over many years. The subject matter is not just important; it's existential. It goes to the essence of who we are as businesses, as leaders, as HR professionals, and as corporate citizens. It's about crafting a future of work that aligns with our values and aspirations, and recognizing our role in shaping it.

While we certainly do not possess all the answers, it is great to see that we are willing to ask some vital questions, and that we are committed to carving out the time and space in our agenda for the conversation. Admittedly, it's not always a smooth ride; we hail from diverse backgrounds and hold varying perspectives. Some people were not very happy that Antoinette and I challenged the hegemony of the business partner discourse last year. Yet, I strongly believe scrutiny and critical thinking are necessary, and thanks to our diversity, moments of magic can occur!

Therefore, we are particularly proud to return to the Congress this year with a collaborative creation forged with many esteemed colleagues—a testament to the power of collective effort.

In Amsterdam last year, a spontaneous decision arose among a group of us: we felt that it was not enough to just sit in the many sessions and talk; we were compelled to take tangible action. With several dedicated colleagues, we embarked on a mission to instigate real change by proposing something foundational to propel HR forward. Over the past four months, with the significant effort of numerous volunteers, we initiated an inquiry into the transformation performance management—the cornerstone of HR. And now, we're thrilled to unveil a groundbreaking achievement: the world's first Performance Management Manifesto, inspired by but moving beyond the Agile Manifesto!

During this year's conference, we therefore extend an invitation to all our colleagues to join us in refining the draft and to enlist for experimental implementation. Together, we aim to formally endorse it as an official proclamation of the HR World Summit, together with Perry Timms and Mihaly Nagy. Our aspiration is to craft a new tool that unites and propels the efforts of forward-thinking HR professionals globally, empowering them to not only enhance business efficiency but also foster organisational and societal flourishing!

There are pivotal moments in life when we must choose between being a mere bystander or stepping up as a true transformer. If you're prepared to take a stab at genuinely shaping the work of the future, come on board! We look forward to seeing you all in Porto!

#hr #transformation #hrm #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #organisationalchange #business #leaders #agile #purpose The HR Congress

30-04-2024

I'm truly honoured to have been recognized among the LinkedIn Top Voices of 2024, representing the emerging global society for good leadership. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who engages with my content, whether through reading, sharing, or offering valuable feedback in over five million interactions last year. I firmly believe that through open dialogue and constructive critical discourse, we can cultivate a community of learners committed to advancing our collective understanding and practice of responsible leadership. Here's to countless more connections and conversations and an inspiring journey of discovery ahead!

#leadership #goodleadership #transformation #business #agile #leadershipsociety #cto #leadershipdevelopment #organisationalchange #grli

I'm truly honoured to have been recognized among the LinkedIn Top Voices of 2024, representing the emerging global society for good leadership. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who engages with my content, whether through reading, sharing, or offering valuable feedback in over five million interactions last year. I firmly believe that through open dialogue and constructive critical discourse, we can cultivate a community of learners committed to advancing our collective understanding and practice of responsible leadership. Here's to countless more connections and conversations and an inspiring journey of discovery ahead!

#leadership #goodleadership #transformation #business #agile #leadershipsociety #cto #leadershipdevelopment #organisationalchange #grli

28-04-2024

CULTIVATING EXCELLENCE: The Case for Organizational Development Officers!

The more I ponder, the more convinced I become that we urgently need to instill a culture of ongoing organizational development. As Dave Ulrich astutely observes, organizational capabilities far outweigh mere talent management, yet the competencies for strategic organizational development (OD) are sorely lacking in HR and remain underdeveloped in most consultancies. I am always surprised how few leaders seem to have ever heard about models such as sociocracy, rendanheyi, holacracy, or EEEO.

Furthermore, the evolution of an organization—holistically and systemically—shouldn't be a one-off endeavor but a continuous imperative. It necessitates the collaboration of diverse stakeholders to ensure that our organizational structures, policies, and processes continually adapt to market dynamics, technological advancements, and internal needs.

Truly great organizations not only deliver value to stakeholders but also provide employees with meaningful work. Achieving this isn't just about leading people; it's about shaping the very context in which we operate.

#leadership #personaldevelopment #leadershipdevelompent #system #management #hr #hrm #consulting #transformation #organizationalchange

CULTIVATING EXCELLENCE: The Case for Organizational Development Officers!

The more I ponder, the more convinced I become that we urgently need to instill a culture of ongoing organizational development. As Dave Ulrich astutely observes, organizational capabilities far outweigh mere talent management, yet the competencies for strategic organizational development (OD) are sorely lacking in HR and remain underdeveloped in most consultancies. I am always surprised how few leaders seem to have ever heard about models such as sociocracy, rendanheyi, holacracy, or EEEO.

Furthermore, the evolution of an organization—holistically and systemically—shouldn't be a one-off endeavor but a continuous imperative. It necessitates the collaboration of diverse stakeholders to ensure that our organizational structures, policies, and processes continually adapt to market dynamics, technological advancements, and internal needs.

Truly great organizations not only deliver value to stakeholders but also provide employees with meaningful work. Achieving this isn't just about leading people; it's about shaping the very context in which we operate.

#leadership #personaldevelopment #leadershipdevelompent #system #management #hr #hrm #consulting #transformation #organizationalchange

28-04-2024

HIGH FINANCE, LOW MORALS!

In the world of high finance, it's often the shareholders who call the shots, casting their votes on crucial corporate matters at annual meetings:

In fact, shareholders wield significant power in shaping the course of a company's destiny, ranging from determining the composition of the board of directors to greenlighting mergers or acquisitions. Shareholders also have a say in fundamental issues such as issuing new securities, approving dividends, and endorsing substantial alterations in the corporation's strategies, operations, or policies.

But why are employees left out of the decision-making process when they have just as much at stake, if not more? Many may not be aware that the foundation of shareholder voting rights mirrors the democratic principles governing municipal corporations and states. Originating from an era predating the dominance of possessive individualism, the concept of "One shareholder, one vote" traces back to the governance structure of the East India Company during the late 17th century.

It's apparent that employees and various stakeholders share equal if not greater interest and risk than shareholders in steering the company's course. In light of this, adhering to the principle of republican freedom, as espoused by Philip Pettit, raises questions about the constitutional legitimacy of denying corporate citizens at least contestatory rights. Failure to do so risks subjecting them to arbitrary domination from select groups whose motives may not align with the employees' best interests.

If legal constraints prevent such a shift, why not facilitate pre-hearings with the organizational populace, engaging in preliminary deliberations and decision-making "by objection," as suggested by sociocracy, before formal shareholder assemblies?

It appears imperative to safeguard the authentic freedom of employees within corporations, rather than permitting their systemic dominance by largely anonymous financial investors who may have minimal concern for the organization's as a going concern.

#leadership #transformation #business #corporategovernance #Goodorganisations #management #csr

HIGH FINANCE, LOW MORALS!

In the world of high finance, it's often the shareholders who call the shots, casting their votes on crucial corporate matters at annual meetings:

In fact, shareholders wield significant power in shaping the course of a company's destiny, ranging from determining the composition of the board of directors to greenlighting mergers or acquisitions. Shareholders also have a say in fundamental issues such as issuing new securities, approving dividends, and endorsing substantial alterations in the corporation's strategies, operations, or policies.

But why are employees left out of the decision-making process when they have just as much at stake, if not more? Many may not be aware that the foundation of shareholder voting rights mirrors the democratic principles governing municipal corporations and states. Originating from an era predating the dominance of possessive individualism, the concept of "One shareholder, one vote" traces back to the governance structure of the East India Company during the late 17th century.

It's apparent that employees and various stakeholders share equal if not greater interest and risk than shareholders in steering the company's course. In light of this, adhering to the principle of republican freedom, as espoused by Philip Pettit, raises questions about the constitutional legitimacy of denying corporate citizens at least contestatory rights. Failure to do so risks subjecting them to arbitrary domination from select groups whose motives may not align with the employees' best interests.

If legal constraints prevent such a shift, why not facilitate pre-hearings with the organizational populace, engaging in preliminary deliberations and decision-making "by objection," as suggested by sociocracy, before formal shareholder assemblies?

It appears imperative to safeguard the authentic freedom of employees within corporations, rather than permitting their systemic dominance by largely anonymous financial investors who may have minimal concern for the organization's as a going concern.

#leadership #transformation #business #corporategovernance #Goodorganisations #management #csr

27-04-2024

🚫 PERFORMANCE RATINGS: The Tyranny of Corporate Control 🚫

Despite overwhelming evidence revealing their ineffectiveness, why do companies stubbornly cling to performance ratings? Let's face it: it's a power play.

Research after research has debunked their validity, showing they're costly, despised, and actually detrimental to performance. So why are HR directors still insisting on them? It's simple: ratings are the ultimate tool for enforcing hierarchy and asserting dominance.

They may not accurately measure performance, but they sure do send a message — one that says, 'Know thy place!'

But in 2024, isn't it time we got rid of a system of arbitrary control to embrace strategies that liberate both managers and subordinates, and actually drive improvement and empowerment? Just asking...

#HR #Futureofwork #management #HRM #performance #transformation #leadership #agile #goodorganisations #leadershipsociety #business #performancemanagement

🚫 PERFORMANCE RATINGS: The Tyranny of Corporate Control 🚫

Despite overwhelming evidence revealing their ineffectiveness, why do companies stubbornly cling to performance ratings? Let's face it: it's a power play.

Research after research has debunked their validity, showing they're costly, despised, and actually detrimental to performance. So why are HR directors still insisting on them? It's simple: ratings are the ultimate tool for enforcing hierarchy and asserting dominance.

They may not accurately measure performance, but they sure do send a message — one that says, 'Know thy place!'

But in 2024, isn't it time we got rid of a system of arbitrary control to embrace strategies that liberate both managers and subordinates, and actually drive improvement and empowerment? Just asking...

#HR #Futureofwork #management #HRM #performance #transformation #leadership #agile #goodorganisations #leadershipsociety #business #performancemanagement

26-04-2024

Playing With Fire: The Smoke and Mirrors of Balancing Profit and Purpose

"Corporate 'performance' can ever only be truly assessed in alignment with a company's emergent identity and purpose. Consequentially, it is a reflection of its character, manifested through culture, structure, and relationships."

This highlights two key points:

Firstly, debating a simple redefinition of corporate performance or the idea of balancing 'purpose and profit' is clearly misguided; as long as companies pursue profit as their ultimate ends, they will seek to foster "high-performance" cultures geared towards its maximization, whatever the annual report might say. Only when a company's purpose transcends profit does the conversation shift. In that case corporate performance is measured by the realization of its deeper purpose, with profit serving merely as a means to that end.

Secondly, meaningful shifts in performance demand more than just surface-level changes in metrics or reporting; they necessitate a fundamental shift in the institutional fabric and character of organizations.

In essence, the trendy notion of 'doing good and doing well' mostly masks a reluctance to engage in a deeper conversation about "true" organizational purpose and the necessary adaptations of its inner workings and character to uphold it.

#transformation #leadership #management #responsibility #goodleadership #leadershipsociety #grli #csr

Playing With Fire: The Smoke and Mirrors of Balancing Profit and Purpose

"Corporate 'performance' can ever only be truly assessed in alignment with a company's emergent identity and purpose. Consequentially, it is a reflection of its character, manifested through culture, structure, and relationships."

This highlights two key points:

Firstly, debating a simple redefinition of corporate performance or the idea of balancing 'purpose and profit' is clearly misguided; as long as companies pursue profit as their ultimate ends, they will seek to foster "high-performance" cultures geared towards its maximization, whatever the annual report might say. Only when a company's purpose transcends profit does the conversation shift. In that case corporate performance is measured by the realization of its deeper purpose, with profit serving merely as a means to that end.

Secondly, meaningful shifts in performance demand more than just surface-level changes in metrics or reporting; they necessitate a fundamental shift in the institutional fabric and character of organizations.

In essence, the trendy notion of 'doing good and doing well' mostly masks a reluctance to engage in a deeper conversation about "true" organizational purpose and the necessary adaptations of its inner workings and character to uphold it.

#transformation #leadership #management #responsibility #goodleadership #leadershipsociety #grli #csr

18-04-2024

🔍 In Search of Clarity: Unraveling the Complexity of Political Ideals

In the labyrinth of modern politics, clarity often proves elusive amidst a cacophony of conflicting voices and values. However, in modern Western democracies, discussions frequently gravitate towards the four quadrants on the left side of the figure, each with its unique origins and distinctions: conservatism, libertarianism (classical liberalism), modern liberalism (and social democracy) and communitarianism.

At the origin of this constellation lies the evolution from earlier natural or divine law absolutism, symbolized by point A, where laws, rights and obligations often find their roots in nature or God's will.

The 18th century marks the genesis of the original political divide, symbolized as B, which delineates the ideological chasm between conservatives and classical liberals. Classical liberals emerge as vanguards of individual freedom, laying thus the foundation of modern Western politics. Their ethos revolves particularly around the primacy of negative freedom—liberation from coercion and interference, historically rejecting the grip of religious institutions, feudal lords, and the aristocracy.

Transitioning to the 20th century, classical liberals evolve into libertarians, diverging significantly from modern liberals or social democrats, who place a strong emphasis on equality and positive freedom—the freedom to fulfill one's potential and achieve well-being. While they champion measures aimed at fostering broader human capabilities and reducing social inequalities, Libertarians accentuate individual autonomy to the extreme, often advocating minimal state intervention. Consequently, clashes emerge over the size and configuration of the modern welfare state.

Progressing to postmodern times, we confront the ontological divide at point D, where profound differences emerge between the ideal of unencumbered personhood advocated by all liberals and a communitarian ideology, emphasizing relational self and mutual existence – "I am because you are." A final shift takes us towards a collective "Us", leading towards the radical utopia of socialist unity and a classless collective state, opposing traditional notions of individualism. This step also highlights a final metaphysical distinction, under E: socialism or communism, focusing entirely on material concerns, contrasts with the original idealism, centered on spiritual values.

Lastly, clearly contrasting views of the state emerge: a mainly European stance sees it as the guardian of an objective and universal ideal, while Anglo-Saxon perspectives often view it as an arena for power struggles over subjective interests.

It can be truly fascinating to embark on the journey through political ideologies, where past, present, and future intersect in a tapestry of diverse beliefs, understanding of self and cosmological ideals. 🌟

#Leadership #Transformation #Politics #Philosophy #GoodOrganisations #LeadershipSociety #Management

🔍 In Search of Clarity: Unraveling the Complexity of Political Ideals

In the labyrinth of modern politics, clarity often proves elusive amidst a cacophony of conflicting voices and values. However, in modern Western democracies, discussions frequently gravitate towards the four quadrants on the left side of the figure, each with its unique origins and distinctions: conservatism, libertarianism (classical liberalism), modern liberalism (and social democracy) and communitarianism.

At the origin of this constellation lies the evolution from earlier natural or divine law absolutism, symbolized by point A, where laws, rights and obligations often find their roots in nature or God's will.

The 18th century marks the genesis of the original political divide, symbolized as B, which delineates the ideological chasm between conservatives and classical liberals. Classical liberals emerge as vanguards of individual freedom, laying thus the foundation of modern Western politics. Their ethos revolves particularly around the primacy of negative freedom—liberation from coercion and interference, historically rejecting the grip of religious institutions, feudal lords, and the aristocracy.

Transitioning to the 20th century, classical liberals evolve into libertarians, diverging significantly from modern liberals or social democrats, who place a strong emphasis on equality and positive freedom—the freedom to fulfill one's potential and achieve well-being. While they champion measures aimed at fostering broader human capabilities and reducing social inequalities, Libertarians accentuate individual autonomy to the extreme, often advocating minimal state intervention. Consequently, clashes emerge over the size and configuration of the modern welfare state.

Progressing to postmodern times, we confront the ontological divide at point D, where profound differences emerge between the ideal of unencumbered personhood advocated by all liberals and a communitarian ideology, emphasizing relational self and mutual existence – "I am because you are." A final shift takes us towards a collective "Us", leading towards the radical utopia of socialist unity and a classless collective state, opposing traditional notions of individualism. This step also highlights a final metaphysical distinction, under E: socialism or communism, focusing entirely on material concerns, contrasts with the original idealism, centered on spiritual values.

Lastly, clearly contrasting views of the state emerge: a mainly European stance sees it as the guardian of an objective and universal ideal, while Anglo-Saxon perspectives often view it as an arena for power struggles over subjective interests.

It can be truly fascinating to embark on the journey through political ideologies, where past, present, and future intersect in a tapestry of diverse beliefs, understanding of self and cosmological ideals. 🌟

#Leadership #Transformation #Politics #Philosophy #GoodOrganisations #LeadershipSociety #Management

15-04-2024

Business #transformation not only often encounters resistance, it also always implies an act of active resistance, disrupting the reproduction of the prevailing power structures undergirding the status quo.

11-04-2024

Without Comment.


Right side: The Paradox of Freedom

MAN IS BORN FREE, YET EVERYWHERE IN CHAINS.

Paradoxically, Rousseau's famous dilemma can only be sublated by voluntary submission, not greater control. Here, the republican (and liberal) tradition tragically errs.

Genuine freedom is not attained as subject, but only at a higher level of union, as sovereign. As T.H. Green, following Hegel, proposes, the well-ordered state embodies "objective freedom" because the self-determining principle within humans finds there its perfect expression. It is the freedom rooted in membership, not the isolated independence of the individual, however well defended.

Cross, cross, and there is no cross. (Martin Luther)

#Leadership #GoodOrganisation #transformation #philosophy #liberty #politics

09-04-2024

It's unclear if people fully recognize the extent to which Trump's victory is a result of Obama's failure. Not because he ultimately caved to the demands of the few over the needs of the many, but because he undermined a discourse of deeper morality. The hopeful "yes, we can," promising a shared common good, quickly unraveled into a hollow "you can make it if you try," perpetuating the manipulative and dishonest narrative of a self-serving American dream. It's no wonder that disillusioned workers turned to the disruptors. However, with more untrustworthy politicians rising, the deck seems increasingly stacked against them.

#politics #popularism #democracy #transformation

05-04-2024

I AM THE BOSS, BECAUSE THE MONEY IS MINE! Well, not quite.

It's curious how certain individuals conflate ownership of assets with authority over people, often cloaked in the guise of "human capital." However, such a notion of course doesn't withstand scrutiny.

While a shareholder or owner qua creditor may indeed have a conditional control right over their financial contributions or tangible property, any demand for obedience from employees stems exclusively from the corporate entity itself, and any corporation is of course a) sanctioned by legal frameworks and b) constituted of those very employees.

This introduces a nuanced understanding of authority: authority over dedicated financing or property will be governed by creditor arrangements. Authority over tasks is predicated on the pursuit of a shared corporate purpose and legitimized through appropriate corporate policies and governance. However, any assertion of direct dominance over individuals qua human beings faces the staunch opposition from the primacy of liberal constitutions over corporate proceedings.

In essence, financiers may hold creditory rights to their capital, bosses may exert conditional control over operational execution, but neither possess any entitlement to dominate employees as people, regardless of corporate policies or culture. It's essential to recognize that a "boss" assumes their role solely by virtue of corporate statutes, serving as a "public" agent of the common enterprise, rather than exerting authority as a "private" individual over another citizen.

This distinction might be crucial to keep in mind.

#leadership #republicanism #management #csr #freedom #agile #transformation

I AM THE BOSS, BECAUSE THE MONEY IS MINE! Well, not quite.

It's curious how certain individuals conflate ownership of assets with authority over people, often cloaked in the guise of "human capital." However, such a notion of course doesn't withstand scrutiny.

While a shareholder or owner qua creditor may indeed have a conditional control right over their financial contributions or tangible property, any demand for obedience from employees stems exclusively from the corporate entity itself, and any corporation is of course a) sanctioned by legal frameworks and b) constituted of those very employees.

This introduces a nuanced understanding of authority: authority over dedicated financing or property will be governed by creditor arrangements. Authority over tasks is predicated on the pursuit of a shared corporate purpose and legitimized through appropriate corporate policies and governance. However, any assertion of direct dominance over individuals qua human beings faces the staunch opposition from the primacy of liberal constitutions over corporate proceedings.

In essence, financiers may hold creditory rights to their capital, bosses may exert conditional control over operational execution, but neither possess any entitlement to dominate employees as people, regardless of corporate policies or culture. It's essential to recognize that a "boss" assumes their role solely by virtue of corporate statutes, serving as a "public" agent of the common enterprise, rather than exerting authority as a "private" individual over another citizen.

This distinction might be crucial to keep in mind.

#leadership #republicanism #management #csr #freedom #agile #transformation

03-04-2024

#Capitalism and #Democracy: A Happy Marriage?

No, says recent research, challenging the popular notion of a "structural" affinity. The fashionable narrative posits that the (alleged) freedom of choice inherent in modern markets, including the mystical-miraculous eschatology of an invisible hand, mirrors the mechanism behind elective processes in politics, where the populace selects their representatives from a menu of political options.

A comparative and historical analysis of the transition from feudalism to capitalism, along with recent research on modern democracies reverting to autocratic regimes, presents a more nuanced perspective. The Marxist notion that class divisions play a crucial role in social evolution, with social classes intricately linked to modes of production, appears to hold merit. Research confirms that the organization of labor is the primary driver of democracy, with feudal landowners reliant on inexpensive agricultural labor emerging as the central antagonists. It's not hard to understand why in many developing nations, particularly those hindered by international trade agreements that impede the advancement of industrial capabilities, the flourishing of democracy is often stymied.

What may be more surprising is the influence of the affluent bourgeoisie, comprising wealthy merchants or entrepreneurs. Often, these groups opportunistically align themselves with dominant powers of state or clergy, frequently opposing worker mobilization or the advancement of democracy. It is only in scenarios where the threat of unionization or radical socialist parties was minimal that the rich and famous supported the expansion of democratic institutions.

Similarly ambiguous is the role of an affluent middle class - Aristotle would likely be disappointed. Often driven primarily by self-interest, this group would readily advocate for increasing political power for themselves, but not consistently align with workers to promote broader democracy. In many cases, the ultimate success of grassroots demands for enhanced political participation hinged on whether the middle and working classes could unite their interests.

In essence, the trajectory of democracy appears to be intricately tied to social progress rather than solely an outcome of market forces. Surprisingly, capitalism often thrives in environments with limited democratic principles, challenging the notion of a natural synergy between capitalism and democracy. Throughout history, the advancement of popular sovereignty tends to often occur in spite of capitalist interests, rather than being driven by them.

Therefore, it appears that Marx's revolutionary theory is at least partly redeemed. The inherent contradiction within the evolution of capitalism leads to sharper class divisions and the rise of a wealthy bourgeoisie, which, paradoxically, catalyzes the mobilization and organization of workers' interests, ultimately propelling the advancement of democracy.

#Leadership #Transformation

Reference: Capitalist Development & Democracy, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, John D. Stephens et al., University of Chicago Press, 1992

#Capitalism and #Democracy: A Happy Marriage?

No, says recent research, challenging the popular notion of a "structural" affinity. The fashionable narrative posits that the (alleged) freedom of choice inherent in modern markets, including the mystical-miraculous eschatology of an invisible hand, mirrors the mechanism behind elective processes in politics, where the populace selects their representatives from a menu of political options.

A comparative and historical analysis of the transition from feudalism to capitalism, along with recent research on modern democracies reverting to autocratic regimes, presents a more nuanced perspective. The Marxist notion that class divisions play a crucial role in social evolution, with social classes intricately linked to modes of production, appears to hold merit. Research confirms that the organization of labor is the primary driver of democracy, with feudal landowners reliant on inexpensive agricultural labor emerging as the central antagonists. It's not hard to understand why in many developing nations, particularly those hindered by international trade agreements that impede the advancement of industrial capabilities, the flourishing of democracy is often stymied.

What may be more surprising is the influence of the affluent bourgeoisie, comprising wealthy merchants or entrepreneurs. Often, these groups opportunistically align themselves with dominant powers of state or clergy, frequently opposing worker mobilization or the advancement of democracy. It is only in scenarios where the threat of unionization or radical socialist parties was minimal that the rich and famous supported the expansion of democratic institutions.

Similarly ambiguous is the role of an affluent middle class - Aristotle would likely be disappointed. Often driven primarily by self-interest, this group would readily advocate for increasing political power for themselves, but not consistently align with workers to promote broader democracy. In many cases, the ultimate success of grassroots demands for enhanced political participation hinged on whether the middle and working classes could unite their interests.

In essence, the trajectory of democracy appears to be intricately tied to social progress rather than solely an outcome of market forces. Surprisingly, capitalism often thrives in environments with limited democratic principles, challenging the notion of a natural synergy between capitalism and democracy. Throughout history, the advancement of popular sovereignty tends to often occur in spite of capitalist interests, rather than being driven by them.

Therefore, it appears that Marx's revolutionary theory is at least partly redeemed. The inherent contradiction within the evolution of capitalism leads to sharper class divisions and the rise of a wealthy bourgeoisie, which, paradoxically, catalyzes the mobilization and organization of workers' interests, ultimately propelling the advancement of democracy.

#Leadership #Transformation

Reference: Capitalist Development & Democracy, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, John D. Stephens et al., University of Chicago Press, 1992

01-04-2024

"What man is, he owes to the union of man and man."

Not only knew Otto von Gierke that our social lives are intrinsically communal, and that human excellence is a team sport; he also deeply understood that ontological reductionism rapidly leads to moral poverty. What is at stake is not simply rugged individual freedom, as the American constitution wants to make believe, but moral freedom, or with the words of Immanuel Kant, human dignity.

From the intricate bond between individuals arises a profound responsibility—a duty not only to cherish the connections and organisations that enable our moral and social freedom but also to recognize society as an organic whole, where each member bears an existential responsibility for the welfare of the entire community. Just as the human body relies on the harmonious function of its diverse parts, so too does society flourish when each individual and association acknowledges their role in sustaining the greater whole. In this interconnected web of human fellowship, our actions reverberate beyond ourselves, shaping the fabric of social life. Thus, we must embrace our collective accountability also as leaders in organisations, nurturing a culture of compassion, cooperation, and stewardship that fosters the flourishing of all.

#Leadership #GoodOrganisations

27-03-2024

It has been said that under rampant capitalism for many workers the day's most intelligent activity is driving to and from work.

Are there any alternatives? Join our quest at #businessforhumanity: reinventing capitalism.

#leadership #capitalism #leadershipsociety

20-03-2024

"The superior man cares about what's right, the inferior man cares about making a profit."

When profit is put above righteousness, no amount will suffice.

20-03-2024

Main Street vs Wall Street: Are Financial Markets Just?

In the world of financial regulation, the discourse frequently centers on economic efficiency. There's a prevailing fantasy that financial markets operate just like any other, and that regulation should aim to make them "free" and competitive. But let's face it: this premise is nonsense. Financial products, along with their buyers and sellers, diverge significantly from the dynamics of regular product markets. Moreover, the overarching role of the financial system is to bolster the growth of the real economy and foster social prosperity, and hence it cannot be judged on transactional activity alone.

So what if we shifted the spotlight from the myth of economic efficiency to social justice and the distributive implications of regulations? Korinek and Kramer present a model that lays bare the stark reality: while the financial sector reaps the rewards of risk-taking with greater expected returns, it also subjects Main Street to the brunt of its fallout.

Picture this: a Pareto frontier where risk-taking by financial giants translates into varying levels of welfare for both Main Street and Wall Street. It's a tale of two worlds pitted against each other, with regulators caught in the middle. They must navigate the treacherous waters of deregulation versus tighter controls, balancing the needs of the financial sector with those of the real economy. It's worth pondering why a significant number of regulators hail from the financial services sector!

But that's not all. Their research uncovers the role of financial innovation, lopsided compensation schemes, banking monopolies, and the ever-looming specter of bailouts. These factors conspire to incentivize greater risk-taking, all while siphoning off surplus to Wall Street, leaving Main Street and the rest of society to bear the burdens of economic instability. So perhaps it's no coincidence that as the world edges closer to recession, financial markets are toasting to record highs!!

Well done, both authors! It's time to shine a light on who truly benefits from financial regulation—and who pays the price.

PDF: https://www.bis.org/publ/work468.pdf 


#MainStreetVsWallStreet #FinancialRegulation #EconomicJustice #Leadership #Banking #Transformation #CSR

Main Street vs Wall Street: Are Financial Markets Just?

In the world of financial regulation, the discourse frequently centers on economic efficiency. There's a prevailing fantasy that financial markets operate just like any other, and that regulation should aim to make them "free" and competitive. But let's face it: this premise is nonsense. Financial products, along with their buyers and sellers, diverge significantly from the dynamics of regular product markets. Moreover, the overarching role of the financial system is to bolster the growth of the real economy and foster social prosperity, and hence it cannot be judged on transactional activity alone.

So what if we shifted the spotlight from the myth of economic efficiency to social justice and the distributive implications of regulations? Korinek and Kramer present a model that lays bare the stark reality: while the financial sector reaps the rewards of risk-taking with greater expected returns, it also subjects Main Street to the brunt of its fallout.

Picture this: a Pareto frontier where risk-taking by financial giants translates into varying levels of welfare for both Main Street and Wall Street. It's a tale of two worlds pitted against each other, with regulators caught in the middle. They must navigate the treacherous waters of deregulation versus tighter controls, balancing the needs of the financial sector with those of the real economy. It's worth pondering why a significant number of regulators hail from the financial services sector!

But that's not all. Their research uncovers the role of financial innovation, lopsided compensation schemes, banking monopolies, and the ever-looming specter of bailouts. These factors conspire to incentivize greater risk-taking, all while siphoning off surplus to Wall Street, leaving Main Street and the rest of society to bear the burdens of economic instability. So perhaps it's no coincidence that as the world edges closer to recession, financial markets are toasting to record highs!!

Well done, both authors! It's time to shine a light on who truly benefits from financial regulation—and who pays the price.

PDF: https://www.bis.org/publ/work468.pdf 


#MainStreetVsWallStreet #FinancialRegulation #EconomicJustice #Leadership #Banking #Transformation #CSR

29-02-2024

THE MYTH OF MERIT: WHY YOU DON'T DESERVE YOUR PAYCHECK

Have you ever stopped to consider whether your income truly reflects what you merit? The prevailing myth is that if you work hard, you'll reap the rewards. Sadly, that is mostly nonsense.

Firstly, the concept of 'earning' is only partly related to individual effort. Market dynamics heavily influence income distribution and wage levels, often favoring those with greater bargaining power or access to resources. This power asymmetry regularly leads to situations where individuals receive income not commensurate with their efforts, but rather due to their position within the market or network.

Luck also plays a significant role in shaping financial outcomes. Whether it's being in the right place at the right time or benefiting from inherited talents or privileges, luck can significantly impact one's financial standing. Yet, our society conveniently attributes success to heroic individual merit, downplaying the role of chance or path dependency in determining financial rewards.

Thirdly, wages are intrinsically political. As Ha-Joon Chang points out, the single biggest factor determining wage levels is immigration control. Many other factors, including market structure, regulation, patent laws, subsidies, and taxation, also exert significant influence on labor markets.

Beyond market dynamics, ethical considerations come into play when we seek to determine if income is truly 'deserved'. Is it just that some amass wealth through exploitative practices or by capitalizing on systemic inequalities? The moral dimension of earnings transcends market efficiency, extending to encompass broader societal implications. In this context, the distributive and contributive justice of the overarching system of economic and social institutions becomes crucial.

The financial sector is a case in point. Neither are financial markets necessarily economically efficient, nor do profits naturally reflect genuine value creation - conversely, they frequently depend on speculative maneuvers within a complex system. High-frequency trading and other financial practices raise many questions about the true merit of exorbitant incomes. Clearly, there is a disconnect between individual accountability and financial outcomes, as well as social justice.

Essentially, when we recognize the impact of market forces, political context, luck, and ethics, it becomes evident that individual incomes are rarely dependent on only individual merit. Therefore, rather than blindly insisting on our subjective or relative merit, we must ask whether the system as a whole fosters a fair distribution of income within society. It's imperative that we work towards creating a more equitable economic framework together —one that values genuine societal contributions and addresses systemic inequalities.

#ECONOMICS #LEADERSHIP #TRANSFORMATION #POLITICALECONOMY #MANAGEMENT

THE MYTH OF MERIT: WHY YOU DON'T DESERVE YOUR PAYCHECK

Have you ever stopped to consider whether your income truly reflects what you merit? The prevailing myth is that if you work hard, you'll reap the rewards. Sadly, that is mostly nonsense.

Firstly, the concept of 'earning' is only partly related to individual effort. Market dynamics heavily influence income distribution and wage levels, often favoring those with greater bargaining power or access to resources. This power asymmetry regularly leads to situations where individuals receive income not commensurate with their efforts, but rather due to their position within the market or network.

Luck also plays a significant role in shaping financial outcomes. Whether it's being in the right place at the right time or benefiting from inherited talents or privileges, luck can significantly impact one's financial standing. Yet, our society conveniently attributes success to heroic individual merit, downplaying the role of chance or path dependency in determining financial rewards.

Thirdly, wages are intrinsically political. As Ha-Joon Chang points out, the single biggest factor determining wage levels is immigration control. Many other factors, including market structure, regulation, patent laws, subsidies, and taxation, also exert significant influence on labor markets.

Beyond market dynamics, ethical considerations come into play when we seek to determine if income is truly 'deserved'. Is it just that some amass wealth through exploitative practices or by capitalizing on systemic inequalities? The moral dimension of earnings transcends market efficiency, extending to encompass broader societal implications. In this context, the distributive and contributive justice of the overarching system of economic and social institutions becomes crucial.

The financial sector is a case in point. Neither are financial markets necessarily economically efficient, nor do profits naturally reflect genuine value creation - conversely, they frequently depend on speculative maneuvers within a complex system. High-frequency trading and other financial practices raise many questions about the true merit of exorbitant incomes. Clearly, there is a disconnect between individual accountability and financial outcomes, as well as social justice.

Essentially, when we recognize the impact of market forces, political context, luck, and ethics, it becomes evident that individual incomes are rarely dependent on only individual merit. Therefore, rather than blindly insisting on our subjective or relative merit, we must ask whether the system as a whole fosters a fair distribution of income within society. It's imperative that we work towards creating a more equitable economic framework together —one that values genuine societal contributions and addresses systemic inequalities.

#ECONOMICS #LEADERSHIP #TRANSFORMATION #POLITICALECONOMY #MANAGEMENT

26-02-2024

THE CONVENIENT INTERSECTION FALLACY OF TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE & CO

In the relentless pursuit of the fashionable "people-planet-profit" mantra, proponents often turn a blind eye to a fundamental truth: the values and priorities behind these three pillars don't always align neatly like pieces of a children's puzzle.

Despite all the elaborate Venn diagrams and sophisticated geometrical models depicting stakeholders and interests in fanciful combinations, the inconvenient reality remains: ethics often isn't about seeking out the lowest common denominator, or some alleged "balancing", but about making tough, responsible choices.

When the triple circles of people, planet, and profit fail to intersect, we're faced with a crucial decision: do we prioritize what's right and good for humanity and the environment, or do we succumb to the allure of profitability at any cost?

It's time to acknowledge that true leadership demands moral courage to choose integrity over expedience, even when it means forging a path less traveled by the profit-hungry masses.

#leadership #csr #tbl #esg #sdg #goodleadership #management #transformation

THE CONVENIENT INTERSECTION FALLACY OF TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE & CO

In the relentless pursuit of the fashionable "people-planet-profit" mantra, proponents often turn a blind eye to a fundamental truth: the values and priorities behind these three pillars don't always align neatly like pieces of a children's puzzle.

Despite all the elaborate Venn diagrams and sophisticated geometrical models depicting stakeholders and interests in fanciful combinations, the inconvenient reality remains: ethics often isn't about seeking out the lowest common denominator, or some alleged "balancing", but about making tough, responsible choices.

When the triple circles of people, planet, and profit fail to intersect, we're faced with a crucial decision: do we prioritize what's right and good for humanity and the environment, or do we succumb to the allure of profitability at any cost?

It's time to acknowledge that true leadership demands moral courage to choose integrity over expedience, even when it means forging a path less traveled by the profit-hungry masses.

#leadership #csr #tbl #esg #sdg #goodleadership #management #transformation

25-02-2024

The CORRUPTION CURRICULUM: When Business Schools Undermine Societal Value

It's rather comical how the realm of social and management sciences continues to miss the mark when it comes to understanding the intricacies of social phenomena. As Hayek aptly pointed out, the arrogant "pretence of knowledge" clashes with organised complexity, and any causal theorising in management must inevitably meet its match in human agency. The reduction of human intentionality to simplistic notions like "rational choice" only adds insult to injury, offering little substance amidst the chaos.

But what then defines a worthy management theory? Bhaskar suggests that instead of chasing causality, social sciences must prioritize explanation. A good theory is one that explains a set of phenomena better than alternatives. Yet, in the realm of practical sciences like management, mere explanation falls short - the ultimate aim of management is not description, but action. Therefore, as Ghoshal highlights, a theory must be "both right and good". It must also "induce (as far as we can determine) behaviors and actions of people that lead to better economic, social and moral outcomes, for them and for society". In other words, rather than striving to be "value-neutral", good management theories must be responsible and emancipative.

Unfortunately, much of popular management theory taught in business schools across the lands not only fails on epistemological grounds but also wreaks havoc on morality. Concepts like 'principal-agent theory' or Porter's 'theory of strategy' have systematically absolved managers of ethical accountability, while deceptive euphemisms like "fair competition", "efficient markets", "rational choice" or "shareholder value" have manipulated and distorted our moral understanding of economic action.

It's high time for business schools to take notice and reassess their vocabulary and methodology. By persisting in disseminating scientifically flawed and ethically corrupt theories, they not only fail to equip future leaders with effective strategies but also actively contribute to the perpetuation of moral bankruptcy within the economy, thus undermining the very legitimacy of the educational system they are meant to uphold.

#strategy #management #transformation #leadership #businessschools #leadershipdevelopment 

The CORRUPTION CURRICULUM: When Business Schools Undermine Societal Value

It's rather comical how the realm of social and management sciences continues to miss the mark when it comes to understanding the intricacies of social phenomena. As Hayek aptly pointed out, the arrogant "pretence of knowledge" clashes with organised complexity, and any causal theorising in management must inevitably meet its match in human agency. The reduction of human intentionality to simplistic notions like "rational choice" only adds insult to injury, offering little substance amidst the chaos.

But what then defines a worthy management theory? Bhaskar suggests that instead of chasing causality, social sciences must prioritize explanation. A good theory is one that explains a set of phenomena better than alternatives. Yet, in the realm of practical sciences like management, mere explanation falls short - the ultimate aim of management is not description, but action. Therefore, as Ghoshal highlights, a theory must be "both right and good". It must also "induce (as far as we can determine) behaviors and actions of people that lead to better economic, social and moral outcomes, for them and for society". In other words, rather than striving to be "value-neutral", good management theories must be responsible and emancipative.

Unfortunately, much of popular management theory taught in business schools across the lands not only fails on epistemological grounds but also wreaks havoc on morality. Concepts like 'principal-agent theory' or Porter's 'theory of strategy' have systematically absolved managers of ethical accountability, while deceptive euphemisms like "fair competition", "efficient markets", "rational choice" or "shareholder value" have manipulated and distorted our moral understanding of economic action.

It's high time for business schools to take notice and reassess their vocabulary and methodology. By persisting in disseminating scientifically flawed and ethically corrupt theories, they not only fail to equip future leaders with effective strategies but also actively contribute to the perpetuation of moral bankruptcy within the economy, thus undermining the very legitimacy of the educational system they are meant to uphold.

#strategy #management #transformation #leadership #businessschools #leadershipdevelopment 

25-02-2024

EQUAL ENVY: The Dark Side of Equality?

In the theater of political rhetoric, equality gleams like a beacon of hope, an unquestionable ideal heralding fairness and freedom for all. Yet, lurking beneath its shining veneer is sometimes a more sinister reality: calls for equality often emerge from the shadows of envy. Instead of valuing personal merit, the envious might simply covet what others possess, demanding parity without regard for differences in contribution or the deeper complexities of desert.

In the frenetic obsession to level the playing field, equality can thus become the weapon of choice for those who covet what others have, driven by jealousy and entitlement, rather than genuine concern for justice. While merit is rightfully critiqued where it perpetuates systemic privilege, true justice demands more than a promise of equal opportunities or equal outcomes. It must dare to ask uncomfortable questions about desert, about what individuals truly deserve based on their actions and contributions. Genuine merit extends beyond individual accomplishments, talents or qualifications to encompass the cultivation of virtuous character traits that contribute to the flourishing of society as a whole.

Ultimately, as a society we should take pride in elevating (only) those who are most deserving to positions of influence and leadership, thereby advancing society as a whole. Justice must challenge the notion that everyone should receive the same rewards or positions regardless of effort or merit, recognizing instead that genuine justices demands virtue, in giving each their due according to their deeds as well as their needs. Rather than fostering a sense of entitlement or resentment, we need systems that encourage everybody to strive together for excellence and contribute positively to the common good.

The allure of equality resonates deeply with our sense of fairness, yet when it masks envy, it becomes a deceptive force that breeds discord and fractures our societal fabric. We must embrace the complexities of human worth and societal contribution, advocating for a society - and organisations - where privileges are curbed to allow every person to fully exercise their agency freely, yet at the same time we should nurture the importance of a more holistic understanding of (social) merit. We must ensure that each person receives their rightful rewards and recognition, based on both their character and their commitment to the well-being of their fellow citizen and society at large.

#justice #transformation #meritocracy #freedom #management

EQUAL ENVY: The Dark Side of Equality?

In the theater of political rhetoric, equality gleams like a beacon of hope, an unquestionable ideal heralding fairness and freedom for all. Yet, lurking beneath its shining veneer is sometimes a more sinister reality: calls for equality often emerge from the shadows of envy. Instead of valuing personal merit, the envious might simply covet what others possess, demanding parity without regard for differences in contribution or the deeper complexities of desert.

In the frenetic obsession to level the playing field, equality can thus become the weapon of choice for those who covet what others have, driven by jealousy and entitlement, rather than genuine concern for justice. While merit is rightfully critiqued where it perpetuates systemic privilege, true justice demands more than a promise of equal opportunities or equal outcomes. It must dare to ask uncomfortable questions about desert, about what individuals truly deserve based on their actions and contributions. Genuine merit extends beyond individual accomplishments, talents or qualifications to encompass the cultivation of virtuous character traits that contribute to the flourishing of society as a whole.

Ultimately, as a society we should take pride in elevating (only) those who are most deserving to positions of influence and leadership, thereby advancing society as a whole. Justice must challenge the notion that everyone should receive the same rewards or positions regardless of effort or merit, recognizing instead that genuine justices demands virtue, in giving each their due according to their deeds as well as their needs. Rather than fostering a sense of entitlement or resentment, we need systems that encourage everybody to strive together for excellence and contribute positively to the common good.

The allure of equality resonates deeply with our sense of fairness, yet when it masks envy, it becomes a deceptive force that breeds discord and fractures our societal fabric. We must embrace the complexities of human worth and societal contribution, advocating for a society - and organisations - where privileges are curbed to allow every person to fully exercise their agency freely, yet at the same time we should nurture the importance of a more holistic understanding of (social) merit. We must ensure that each person receives their rightful rewards and recognition, based on both their character and their commitment to the well-being of their fellow citizen and society at large.

#justice #transformation #meritocracy #freedom #management

24-02-2024

Beyond Strategy: Rediscovering the Soul of Business!

If there's one thing that has become the beautiful 'belle' of the business ball, it's got to be strategy. Just mention a strategy meeting, and suddenly everyone and their cousin wants to get in. And who can blame them? Strategy has always been hailed as the golden ticket to success. It's the guiding light through the maze of markets, competition, and constant change – the undisputed ruler of the management textbooks!

As the concept of strategy has evolved over the last century, it's undergone a fascinating transformation – but at its core, its focus remains unchanged. From its military roots in the early 20th century, to the corporate planning and market positioning strategies of the mid-20th century, and now to the modern emphasis on agility, innovation, and disruption: it's always been about winning that competitive edge in the market and coming out on top to maximise shareholder value.

However, as we delve deeper into the broader impact of corporate conduct on society, it's becoming increasingly evident that the relentless pursuit of strategic advantage has its downsides. We're facing ethical quandaries left and right, from exploitative labour practices and environmental harm to corporate greed and social inequality. The narrow focus on strategy has created a gap between business objectives and the societal well-being, fuelling a culture of short-term thinking and self-serving behaviour that jeopardizes the long-term sustainability of organizations and communities.

I contend that the time has come to shift our attention from the narrow focus of business strategy to a deeper exploration of the essence of business. The concept of business essence encapsulates the core purpose and identity of an organization, reflecting its values, principles, and contribution to society. Rooted in virtue ethics, business essence emphasizes the cultivation of virtuous character and the pursuit of the common good, rather than mere profit-seeking or competitive dominance.

Indeed, a focus on essence does not negate the importance of strategic thinking. Strategic planning remains crucial for navigating the complexities of the business environment and to develop plans and actions designed to achieve specific goals and objectives. However, a return to the essence of business introduces a path towards greater responsibility for the emergent moral climate and character of the organisation. It emphasizes not only the 'what' of strategic goals but also the 'how', and ultimately the ‘who’. Instead of solely focusing on outcomes, it emphasizes our journey of growth and development to become the best we can be.

Practical examples abound of organizations that have embraced an ethos of business essence. Companies like Patagonia, known for their commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility, demonstrate that profitability and purpose can go hand in hand. Similarly, initiatives like the B Corp movement advocate for a more holistic approach to business that prioritizes ethical considerations alongside financial performance. By aligning strategic plans with virtues such as justice, integrity, temperance and compassion, organizations can ensure that their actions contribute positively to the well-being of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and society at large. Only then, paraphrasing Sumantra Ghoshal, can the tired and fruitless debate between strategy as a top-down process of heroic intentionality versus strategy as bottom-up explorations dissolve into a new view of strategy as a process of guided and deliberate virtuous development.

In conclusion, while the allure of the strategy ball is undeniable, it often leaves us with a lingering headache. While business strategy remains important, it may have become too shallow to tackle today's complex challenges. Integrating virtuous principles and aligning objectives with the common good can be a simple step to pave the way for a more responsible and sustainable future, both for business and society at large. 

Beyond Strategy: Rediscovering the Soul of Business!

If there's one thing that's become the beautiful belle of the business ball, it's got to be strategy. Just mention a strategy meeting, and suddenly everyone and their cousin wants to get in. And who can blame them? Strategy has always been hailed as the golden ticket to success. It's the guiding light through the maze of markets, competition, and constant change – the undisputed ruler of the management textbooks.

As the concept of strategy has evolved over the last century, it's undergone a fascinating transformation – but at its core, its focus remains unchanged. From its military roots in the early 20th century, to the corporate planning and market positioning strategies of the mid-20th century, and now to the modern emphasis on agility, innovation, and disruption: it's always been about winning that competitive edge in the market and coming out on top to maximise shareholder value.

However, as we delve deeper into the broader impact of corporate conduct on society, it's becoming increasingly evident that the relentless pursuit of strategic advantage has its downsides. We're facing ethical quandaries left and right, from exploitative labour practices and environmental harm to corporate greed and social inequality. The narrow focus on strategy has created a gap between business objectives and the societal well-being, fuelling a culture of short-term thinking and self-serving behaviour that jeopardizes the long-term sustainability of organizations and communities.

I contend that the time has come to shift our attention from the narrow focus of business strategy to a deeper exploration of the essence of business. The concept of business essence encapsulates the core purpose and identity of an organization, reflecting its values, principles, and contribution to society. Rooted in virtue ethics, business essence emphasizes the cultivation of virtuous character and the pursuit of the common good, rather than mere profit-seeking or competitive dominance.

Indeed, a focus on essence does not negate the importance of strategic thinking. Strategic planning remains crucial for navigating the complexities of the business environment and to develop plans and actions designed to achieve specific goals and objectives. However, a return to the essence of business introduces a path towards greater responsibility for the emergent moral climate and character of the organisation. It emphasizes not only the 'what' of strategic goals but also the 'how', and ultimately the ‘who’. Instead of solely focusing on outcomes, it emphasizes our journey of growth and development to become the best we can be.

Practical examples abound of organizations that have embraced an ethos of business essence. Companies like Patagonia, known for their commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility, demonstrate that profitability and purpose can go hand in hand. Similarly, initiatives like the B Corp movement advocate for a more holistic approach to business that prioritizes ethical considerations alongside financial performance. By aligning strategic plans with virtues such as justice, integrity, temperance and compassion, organizations can ensure that their actions contribute positively to the well-being of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and society at large. Only then, paraphrasing Sumantra Ghoshal, can the tired and fruitless debate between strategy as a top-down process of heroic intentionality versus strategy as bottom-up explorations dissolve into a new view of strategy as a process of guided and deliberate virtuous development.

In conclusion, while the allure of the strategy ball is undeniable, it often leaves us with a lingering headache. While business strategy remains important, it may have become too shallow to tackle today's complex challenges. Integrating virtuous principles and aligning objectives with the common good can be a simple step to pave the way for a more responsible and sustainable future, both for business and society at large. 

22-02-2024

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

The answer is of course straightforward. If you are a normal person, you see two meaningless curves. If instead you happen to be an economist, you see a MARKET. In classical economics, markets are represented by fictitious mathematical models where demand and supply curves intersect based on price, creating magically "efficient" equilibria.

And now, do you really want me to delve into what's amiss with neoclassical economics? 😉

PS: Why does it matter? Well, as Keynes once pointed out 'practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist’. If we want to transform our economy, we'd better start from a sound understanding of its premises. 

#economics #management #leadership #goodorganisations #transformation

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

The answer is of course straightforward. If you are a normal person, you see two meaningless curves. If instead you happen to be an economist, you see a MARKET. In classical economics, markets are represented by fictitious mathematical models where demand and supply curves intersect based on price, creating magically "efficient" equilibria.

And now, do you really want me to delve into what's amiss with neoclassical economics? 😉

#economics #management #leadership #goodorganisations #transformation

16-02-2024

Since I started my career several decades ago, the story has always been: #HR MUST GET CLOSER TO THE BUSINESS.

As a result, HR has often become instrumentalised. As frontend for legal, henchman of finance, or backoffice for transactions.

Maybe it’s time now for the business to get closer to HR. At the end of the day, businesses and business leaders are not only accountable to customers and shareholders, but must also serve employees and the rest of society.

Always remember: we don’t become leaders, because we rule. We become leaders, because we truly care.

#leadership #transformation #goodorganisations #csr

Since I started my career several decades ago, the story has always been: #HR MUST GET CLOSER TO THE BUSINESS.

As a result, HR has often become instrumentalised. As frontend for legal, henchman of finance, or backoffice for transactions.

Maybe it’s time now for the business to get closer to HR. At the end of the day, businesses and business leaders are not only accountable to customers and shareholders, but must also serve employees and the rest of society.

Always remember: we don’t become leaders, because we rule. We become leaders, because we truly care.

#leadership #transformation #goodorganisations #csr

16-02-2024

THE PARADOX OF #DEMOCRACY: Your Vote Isn't Just About You!

Amidst the frequent clamour of those who champion Democracy as the pinnacle of governance, do people truly grasp that the right to vote transcends mere personal interest?

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if everyone prioritizes their self-interest without regard for the common good, any Democracy must fall prey to the tyranny of an unintelligent majority. If citizens don’t care about their neighbours, there's no assurance at all that a democratic nation would ever be just.

This is precisely what the founding thinkers of Democracy sought to prevent. As Rousseau emphasized, the purpose of deliberating over proposed laws isn't simply to gauge approval or rejection but to ensure they support the “general will” of all. John Stuart Mill makes it even clearer: “the citizen’s vote is not a thing in which he has an option; it has not more to do with his personal wishes than the verdict of a juryman. It is strictly a matter of duty; he is bound to give it according to his best and most conscientious opinion of the public good.”

Elaborating further in his treatise On Liberty, John Locke emphasizes that the exercise of freedom in a Democracy, including the right to vote, hinges exclusively upon the maturity and integrity of the citizen. Within any Democracy, the freedom to vote carries with it a profound obligation: to engage in actions that serve the collective interests of society to the fullest extent of our capabilities. Without fulfilling this responsibility, representative Democracy risks devolving into a mere sham behind which lurk the shadows of elective mediocracy.

This essential lesson seems to have escaped our modern society: freedom isn't just a privilege to be taken for granted, nor is it merely a right to choose. It entails the solemn obligation to fulfill our duties to all.

#LEADERSHIP #transformation #responsibility #csr #goodorganisations

THE PARADOX OF #DEMOCRACY: Your Vote Isn't Just About You!

Amidst the frequent clamour of those who champion Democracy as the pinnacle of governance, do people truly grasp that the right to vote transcends mere personal interest?

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if everyone prioritizes their self-interest without regard for the common good, any Democracy must fall prey to the tyranny of an unintelligent majority. If citizens don’t care about their neighbours, there's no assurance at all that a democratic nation would ever be just.

This is precisely what the founding thinkers of Democracy sought to prevent. As Rousseau emphasized, the purpose of deliberating over proposed laws isn't simply to gauge approval or rejection but to ensure they support the “general will” of all. John Stuart Mill makes it even clearer: “the citizen’s vote is not a thing in which he has an option; it has not more to do with his personal wishes than the verdict of a juryman. It is strictly a matter of duty; he is bound to give it according to his best and most conscientious opinion of the public good.”

Elaborating further in his treatise On Liberty, John Locke emphasizes that the exercise of freedom in a Democracy, including the right to vote, hinges exclusively upon the maturity and integrity of the citizen. Within any Democracy, the freedom to vote carries with it a profound obligation: to engage in actions that serve the collective interests of society to the fullest extent of our capabilities. Without fulfilling this responsibility, representative Democracy risks devolving into a mere sham behind which lurk the shadows of elective mediocracy.

This essential lesson seems to have escaped our modern society: freedom isn't just a privilege to be taken for granted, nor is it merely a right to choose. It entails the solemn obligation to fulfill our duties to all.

#LEADERSHIP #transformation #responsibility #csr #goodorganisations

15-02-2024

The Myth of Universal Rights: Democracy's Inconvenient Truth

In contemporary discourse, we frequently invoke various human or natural rights, from freedom to property to happiness, extending these even to rights of rivers or forests. Yet, few people recognize that such claims are inherently highly problematic.

Indeed, many reputable scholars suggest that abstract rights amount to little more than legal fiction, as famously articulated by Bentham who called such rights "nonsense on stilts." According to Bentham, rights are merely byproducts of the law, lacking any independent existence: “Rights is with me the child of law. A natural right is a son that never had a father”. This argument gains traction when we consider the axiomatic employment of rights in political dialogue. Suppose we ever pressed someone to identify the exact origin of an alleged right. Short of accusing us to be sick or confused, there could never be a satisfactory answer.

So how were “rights” legitimised in political theory? Surprisingly, at least for professed non-believers, the notion of rights often traces back to religious foundations. Locke, for instance, grounded the right to property in divine will, contending that God intended human survival on Earth. That said, Locke stipulated two important provisos: firstly, we must not take more than we can make use of (no wastage), and, secondly, we must leave “enough and as good” for others (equitable distribution) – conditions that were as it appears very quickly forgotten.

In "On Liberty," John Stuart Mill proposes a different approach to legitimizing rights. He first invokes the "no harm principle" whereby “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” He then clarifies that this principle can only ever apply to people in the “maturity of their faculties”, linking freedom to personal development. Why? Because freedom needs a reason to be free: in Mill's mind, freedom can only be legitimised as a means for personal and moral improvement. Utilizing utilitarianism, he finally posits that the ultimate ethical goal of moral progress is the 'greatest happiness for the greatest number of people', and therefore a system of rights must be appropriately designed to maximise general happiness.

It is evident that this ideal is fraught with challenges. It remains unclear why 'happiness for the greatest number' should be society's paramount goal, how to measure or operationalize it, and whether specific rights truly optimize happiness. Additionally, the pursuit of utility often necessitates curtailing individual freedom, contradicting the "no harm principle."

In essence, the concept of "rights" embodies a myriad of complexities, frequently shaped by societal trends and vested interests rather than genuine discourse. Regrettably, our contemporary obsession with rights often lacks the “maturity of our faculties”.

Moreover, the genuine legitimacy of any right even where and when it might apply hinges upon our collective commitment to advancing societal well-being. This underscores a striking irony in many discussions surrounding absolute individual rights – the very foundation of democratic institutions, including any notion of right, rests upon the collective civic virtue of its citizens. In the absence of earnest care for our neighbours and a sincere commitment to the common good, not only is democracy bound to flounder, but any assertion of individual rights must remain devoid of substance. 

The Myth of Universal Rights: Democracy's Inconvenient Truth

In contemporary discourse, we frequently invoke various human or natural rights, from freedom to property to happiness, extending these even to rights of rivers or forests. Yet, few people recognize that such claims are inherently highly problematic.

Indeed, many reputable scholars suggest that abstract rights amount to little more than legal fiction, as famously articulated by Bentham who called such rights "nonsense on stilts." According to Bentham, rights are merely byproducts of the law, lacking any independent existence: “Rights is with me the child of law. A natural right is a son that never had a father”. This argument gains traction when we consider the axiomatic employment of rights in political dialogue. Suppose we ever pressed someone to identify the exact origin of an alleged right. Short of accusing us to be sick or confused, there could never be a satisfactory answer.

So how were “rights” legitimised in political theory? Surprisingly, at least for professed non-believers, the notion of rights often traces back to religious foundations. Locke, for instance, grounded the right to property in divine will, contending that God intended human survival on Earth. That said, Locke stipulated two important provisos: firstly, we must not take more than we can make use of (no wastage), and, secondly, we must leave “enough and as good” for others (equitable distribution) – conditions that were as it appears very quickly forgotten.

In "On Liberty," John Stuart Mill proposes a different approach to legitimizing rights. He first invokes the "no harm principle" whereby “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” He then clarifies that this principle can only ever apply to people in the “maturity of their faculties”, linking freedom to personal development. Why? Because freedom needs a reason to be free: in Mill's mind, freedom can only be legitimised as a means for personal and moral improvement. Utilizing utilitarianism, he finally posits that the ultimate ethical goal of moral progress is the 'greatest happiness for the greatest number of people', and therefore a system of rights must be appropriately designed to maximise general happiness.

It is evident that this ideal is fraught with challenges. It remains unclear why 'happiness for the greatest number' should be society's paramount goal, how to measure or operationalize it, and whether specific rights truly optimize happiness. Additionally, the pursuit of utility often necessitates curtailing individual freedom, contradicting the "no harm principle."

In essence, the concept of "rights" embodies a myriad of complexities, frequently shaped by societal trends and vested interests rather than genuine discourse. Regrettably, our contemporary obsession with rights often lacks the “maturity of our faculties”.

Moreover, the genuine legitimacy of any right even where and when it might apply hinges upon our collective commitment to advancing societal well-being. This underscores a striking irony in many discussions surrounding absolute individual rights – the very foundation of democratic institutions, including any notion of right, rests upon the collective civic virtue of its citizens. In the absence of earnest care for our neighbours and a sincere commitment to the common good, not only is democracy bound to flounder, but any assertion of individual rights must remain devoid of substance.

13-02-2024

It's quite uncanny. Many people continue to suggest that BUSINESS CHANGE IS ALL ABOUT PEOPLE. But it isn't.

The "American Dream" narrative often conveniently oversimplifies the complexities of success and failure: if people are successful, it's their individual merit; if they fail, it's their fault. Yet, while it's very tempting to attribute business success and transformation solely to aggregate individual prowess, the truth is of course far more nuanced. 🌐

In our complex, interconnected organisational world, performance is shaped not only by personal motivation, competence and effort but also by socio-technical structures, values and incentives, and community dynamics - and the intricate interplay with an open business ecosystem. To truly understand and enhance organizational performance, we must look beyond the surface and consider the intricate web of generative mechanisms at play. 🕸️

By the same token, it seems we frequently want to believe that an increase in environmental ambiguity and complexity can be countered simply by more individual autonomy. But there is a lot to support the view that in the end an increase in personal agency must be combined with effective institutional and relational holding structures to transform organisational behaviour and performance holistically.

It's time to shift the conversation from simplistic, individualistic and linear change models to a more systemic view that recognizes the complex nature of organizational behaviour. 🌱

#BeyondIndividualism #OrganizationalDynamics #ContextualIntelligence #Transformation #Leadership

It's quite uncanny. Many people continue to suggest that BUSINESS CHANGE IS ALL ABOUT PEOPLE. But it isn't.

The "American Dream" narrative often conveniently oversimplifies the complexities of success and failure: if people are successful, it's their individual merit; if they fail, it's their fault. Yet, while it's very tempting to attribute business success and transformation solely to aggregate individual prowess, the truth is of course far more nuanced. 🌐

In our complex, interconnected organisational world, performance is shaped not only by personal motivation, competence and effort but also by socio-technical structures, values and incentives, and community dynamics - and the intricate interplay with an open business ecosystem. To truly understand and enhance organizational performance, we must look beyond the surface and consider the intricate web of influences at play. 🕸️

By the same token, it seems we frequently want to believe that an increase in environmental ambiguity and complexity can be countered simply by more individual autonomy. But there is a lot to support the view that in the end an increase in personal agency must be combined with effective institutional and relational holding structures to transform organisational behaviour and performance holistically.

It's time to shift the conversation from simplistic, individualistic and linear change models to a more systemic view that recognizes the complex nature of organizational behaviour. 🌱

#BeyondIndividualism #OrganizationalDynamics #ContextualIntelligence #Transformation #Leadership

12-02-2024

VIRTUOUS LEADERSHIP IS... ABOUT MAKING CHOICES

In the perilous swamp of leadership theories, it's common to mystify and oversimplify the concept of corporate leadership, often attributing success or failure to individual traits or tactics. However, a deeper examination reveals that business leadership postures are often intricately linked to broader ideological frameworks.

By examining prevalent ideologies, such as liberalism, socialism, conservatism, and environmentalism, we can discern a spectrum of common "civic" virtues that underpin all corporate approaches to leadership. Ideologies implicitly position themselves along a range of extremes related to these key virtues: e.g., sustainability and compassion (balancing business interests with global welfare), prudence (navigating stability versus embracing change), solidarity (balancing individual autonomy with collective well-being), justice (addressing privilege versus promoting equality), and courage (choosing between domination and participatory leadership).

Virtuous leadership, therefore, transcends mere tactical decisions or individual attributes. It entails the capacity to make wise contingent choices across a set of corporate virtues, navigating the complex interplay between business imperatives, societal needs, and ethical considerations.

By embracing a more nuanced perspective, leaders can cultivate a more responsible approach to decision-making, making sure that key decisions aligns closely with the values and virtues of their organization and business as a whole, thus contributing to sustainable, ethical, and socially responsible outcomes.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #transformation #philosophy #business #goodorganisations

VIRTUOUS LEADERSHIP IS... ABOUT MAKING CHOICES

In the perilous swamp of leadership theories, it's common to mystify and oversimplify the concept of corporate leadership, often attributing success or failure to individual traits or tactics. However, a deeper examination reveals that business leadership postures are often intricately linked to broader ideological frameworks.

By examining prevalent ideologies, such as liberalism, socialism, conservatism, and environmentalism, we can discern a spectrum of common virtues that underpin all corporate approaches to leadership. Ideologies implicitly position themselves along a range of extremes related to these key virtues: sustainability (balancing business interests with global welfare), prudence (navigating stability versus embracing change), solidarity (balancing individual autonomy with collective well-being), justice (addressing privilege versus promoting equality), and courage (choosing between domination and participatory leadership).

Virtuous leadership, therefore, transcends mere tactical decisions or individual attributes. It entails the capacity to make wise contingent choices across a set of corporate virtues, navigating the complex interplay between business imperatives, societal needs, and ethical considerations.

By embracing a more nuanced perspective, leaders can cultivate a more responsible approach to decision-making, making sure that key decisions aligns closely with the values and virtues of their organization and business as a whole, thus contributing to sustainable, ethical, and socially responsible outcomes.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #transformation #philosophy #business #goodorganisations

10-02-2024

WHAT'S YOUR #LEADERSHIP COLOUR?! TAKE THE QUIZ! ✨

In the labyrinth of modern leadership theories, it's easy to get lost. But beware: amidst the noise and confusion, there might lie a deeper rift—a clash of values that shapes our very understanding of leadership.

Are you leading with liberal innovation, conservative stability, socialist equality, libertarian autonomy, authoritarian control, or environmental sustainability in mind? 🌱

💡YELLOW (Liberal Innovation): Foster change and creativity, championing individual freedom and market dynamics. Leadership emphasizes adaptability, continuous improvement, and embracing innovation.
💡BLUE (Conservative Stability): Uphold tradition and order, prioritizing proven methods. Leadership focuses on maintaining long-term stability, structured decision-making, and consistent, reliable outcomes.
💡GREEN (Socialist Equality): Advocate for equal opportunities and resource distribution. Leadership values inclusivity, collective decision-making, and ensuring fairness and equality among team members.
💡ORANGE (Libertarian Autonomy): Promote individual freedom and minimal government intervention. Leadership encourages autonomy, self-directed teams, and decentralized decision-making.
💡RED (Authoritarian Control): Centralize authority for efficient operations. Leadership entails top-down decision-making, strict adherence to hierarchy, and centralized control over resources.
💡TEAL (Environmental Sustainability): Prioritize ecological well-being and sustainability. Leadership integrates environmental stewardship, promotes green practices, and aligns business goals with environmental objectives.

What's your leadership ideology? Take the quiz: https://uquiz.com/hhXeLj

Join the conversation and share your thoughts! Let's explore how different ideologies shape the discussion about leadership theories and styles, and how it relates to different views on the purpose of business! 🚀🔄

#BusinessLeadership #Ideology #LeadershipStyles #Transformation


PS: This needs to be developed further in terms of categories - it was very much AI generated without much refinement. Secondly, the tool is terrible. Sadly, all the better quiz tools out there charge quite outrageously - and nobody would pay to take the test. It would be great to find a kind hobby programmer who could create the quiz without ads for us. :-) Finally, this ofc needs to go further. Understanding comparative ideologies and situating ourselves in them is an important step, but the point of course is to be able to examine the premises of all these ideologies and position ourselves more wisely.

WHAT'S YOUR #LEADERSHIP COLOUR?! TAKE THE QUIZ! ✨

In the labyrinth of modern leadership theories, it's easy to get lost. But beware: amidst the noise and confusion, there might lie a deeper rift—a clash of values that shapes our very understanding of leadership.

Are you leading with liberal innovation, conservative stability, socialist equality, libertarian autonomy, authoritarian control, or environmental sustainability in mind? 🌱

💡YELLOW (Liberal Innovation): Foster change and creativity, championing individual freedom and market dynamics. Leadership emphasizes adaptability, continuous improvement, and embracing innovation.
💡BLUE (Conservative Stability): Uphold tradition and order, prioritizing proven methods. Leadership focuses on maintaining long-term stability, structured decision-making, and consistent, reliable outcomes.
💡GREEN (Socialist Equality): Advocate for equal opportunities and resource distribution. Leadership values inclusivity, collective decision-making, and ensuring fairness and equality among team members.
💡ORANGE (Libertarian Autonomy): Promote individual freedom and minimal government intervention. Leadership encourages autonomy, self-directed teams, and decentralized decision-making.
💡RED (Authoritarian Control): Centralize authority for efficient operations. Leadership entails top-down decision-making, strict adherence to hierarchy, and centralized control over resources.
💡TEAL (Environmental Sustainability): Prioritize ecological well-being and sustainability. Leadership integrates environmental stewardship, promotes green practices, and aligns business goals with environmental objectives.

What's your leadership ideology? Take the quiz: https://uquiz.com/hhXeLj

Join the conversation and share your thoughts! Let's explore how different ideologies shape the discussion about leadership theories and styles, and how it relates to different views on the purpose of business! 🚀🔄

#BusinessLeadership #Ideology #LeadershipStyles #Transformation


PS: This needs to be developed further in terms of categories - it was very much AI generated without much refinement. Secondly, the tool is terrible. Sadly, all the better quiz tools out there charge quite outrageously - and nobody would pay to take the test. It would be great to find a kind hobby programmer who could create the quiz without ads for us. :-) Finally, this ofc needs to go further. Understanding comparative ideologies and situating ourselves in them is an important step, but the point of course is to be able to examine the premises of all these ideologies and position ourselves more wisely.

09-02-2024

🚀 IS #LEADERSHIP A QUESTION OF IDEOLOGY? 🌐✨

In the labyrinth of modern leadership theories, it's easy to get lost. But beware: amidst the noise and confusion, there might lie a deeper rift—a clash of values that shapes our very understanding of leadership.

Are you leading with liberal innovation, conservative stability, socialist equality, libertarian autonomy, authoritarian control, or environmental sustainability in mind? 🌱

💡Liberal Innovation: Foster change and creativity, championing individual freedom and market dynamics. Leadership emphasizes adaptability, continuous improvement, and embracing innovation.
💡Conservative Stability: Uphold tradition and order, prioritizing proven methods. Leadership focuses on maintaining long-term stability, structured decision-making, and consistent, reliable outcomes.
💡Socialist Equality: Advocate for equal opportunities and resource distribution. Leadership values inclusivity, collective decision-making, and ensuring fairness and equality among team members.
💡Libertarian Autonomy: Promote individual freedom and minimal government intervention. Leadership encourages autonomy, self-directed teams, and decentralized decision-making.
💡Authoritarian Control: Centralize authority for efficient operations. Leadership entails top-down decision-making, strict adherence to hierarchy, and centralized control over resources.
💡Environmental Sustainability: Prioritize ecological well-being and sustainability. Leadership integrates environmental stewardship, promotes green practices, and aligns business goals with environmental objectives.

What's your leadership ideology? Join the conversation and share your thoughts! Let's explore how different ideologies shape the discussion about leadership theories and styles, and how it relates to different views on the purpose of business! 🚀🔄

#BusinessLeadership #Ideology #LeadershipStyles #Transformation

🚀 IS #LEADERSHIP A QUESTION OF IDEOLOGY? 🌐✨

In the labyrinth of modern leadership theories, it's easy to get lost. But beware: amidst the noise and confusion, there might lie a deeper rift—a clash of values that shapes our very understanding of leadership.

Are you leading with liberal innovation, conservative stability, socialist equality, libertarian autonomy, authoritarian control, or environmental sustainability in mind? 🌱

💡Liberal Innovation: Foster change and creativity, championing individual freedom and market dynamics. Leadership emphasizes adaptability, continuous improvement, and embracing innovation.
💡Conservative Stability: Uphold tradition and order, prioritizing proven methods. Leadership focuses on maintaining long-term stability, structured decision-making, and consistent, reliable outcomes.
💡Socialist Equality: Advocate for equal opportunities and resource distribution. Leadership values inclusivity, collective decision-making, and ensuring fairness and equality among team members.
💡Libertarian Autonomy: Promote individual freedom and minimal government intervention. Leadership encourages autonomy, self-directed teams, and decentralized decision-making.
💡Authoritarian Control: Centralize authority for efficient operations. Leadership entails top-down decision-making, strict adherence to hierarchy, and centralized control over resources.
💡Environmental Sustainability: Prioritize ecological well-being and sustainability. Leadership integrates environmental stewardship, promotes green practices, and aligns business goals with environmental objectives.

What's your leadership ideology? Join the conversation and share your thoughts! Let's explore how different ideologies shape the discussion about leadership theories and styles, and how it relates to different views on the purpose of business! 🚀🔄

#BusinessLeadership #Ideology #LeadershipStyles #Transformation

07-02-2024

Leadership & Power: Why Leaders Cannot Afford to Remain Morally Mute

"We do not say that a man who shows no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he [sic!] has no business here at all." (Pericles' funeral oration, in Thucydides's The Peloponnesian War)

It's often said that political economics boils down to just two questions: "who gets what?" and "says who?". While this oversimplifies matters, it's a helpful starting point. The first question revolves around the distribution of resources, profits, rights, and obligations within and across companies. How should profits be divided? How should budget be allocated? What wages should be paid? What prices should be charged? The second question delves into the distribution of another good: power. Organisational power includes the authority to command others and impose penalties for disobedience. Who should wield this power, and to what extent? What level of participation and autonomy should workers have? Who should be promoted into senior positions?

As soon as we reflect on these questions puzzles inevitably arise. Is there truly a compelling reason for investors to claim the lion's share of profits? Is a proposed corporate tax rate of 15 percent, as suggested by the OECD, defensible? Is a “living wage” a good idea? To what extent should organizations prioritize obligations to shareholders, multiple stakeholders or society at large? Are there justifiable boundaries to employee autonomy, or conversely, to the authority of a superior? In even broader terms, what should the relationship between power and wealth entail? Is there a necessary correlation between the two? Should CEOs earn salaries that are 350 times higher than the median worker's pay? And should salaries or bonuses be determined by elusive "market forces" at all?

These questions challenge conventional wisdom and demand critical examination of prevailing management paradigms. The concept of power raises questions about how individuals can justify their authority over others. While it's true that someone with legitimate power may have the right to enforce certain actions, the assertion of such rights demands scrutiny. The frequent suggestion that workers willingly consent to labour contracts or that customers have freedom of choice overlooks important asymmetries of power and information, and fails to provide a convincing basis for arbitrary reconfiguration of fundamental rights. On the other hand, considering how some employees might behave in the absence of rules and control perhaps sustains the necessity of some degree of positional power. We may find ourselves empathizing with both the anarchist's call for total autonomy and the authoritarian's argument for a system of binding rules.

It must, then, be an essential task for any leader to consider the morality of organisational decisions and determine the appropriate distribution of organizational power, or in other words, strike the right balance between autonomy, accountability, and authority. This underscores the inherently normative nature of leadership practice and relates to an important difference between “normative” and “descriptive”. While descriptive studies attempt to find out how things are, normative studies aim to uncover how things should be: what is right, good, and just. Descriptive leadership studies are typically pursued by management scientists, sociologists, and historians. In contrast, normative studies, while also interested in descriptive inquiries, focus primarily on a different realm: determining the ideal rules or principles that should govern the distribution of organizational goods (where "goods" encompass profit, power, rights, and obligations). Rather than asking "how is power distributed?" the normative researcher centers on "what constitutes a just or good distribution of power?" and "what defines a good organization?".

In leadership, there are no easy answers. The distinction between normative and descriptive approaches isn't always as straightforward as it may appear. Studying current realities is essential for evaluating ideal states and devising strategies for transitioning from the former to the latter. Developing and implementing a theory of good organizations necessitates an understanding of both moral principles and the prevailing patterns of human motivation and behaviour.

But unlike many other areas of management, in leadership there's no hiding place. Every leadership action involves the use of power to drive toward a specific normative outcome. Put simply, leadership is inherently political. While agnosticism may be a respected stance in academia ("the English translate their ignorance into Greek and call it agnosticism," Engels said), in leadership, it's self-defeating. To remain silent or inactive is, in essence, to endorse the status quo, no matter how unexamined or objectionable it may be. Hence, any responsible leadership education must begin by addressing the fundamental and existential questions underlying economic and organizational decisions and practices.

Moral silence, more often than not, reflects either cowardice or opportunism, both of which are incompatible with good leadership.

(Based on Jonathan Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy, Introduction)

Leadership & Power: Why Leaders Cannot Afford to Remain Morally Mute

"We do not say that a man who shows no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he [sic!] has no business here at all." (Pericles' funeral oration, in Thucydides's The Peloponnesian War)

It's often said that political economics boils down to just two questions: "who gets what?" and "says who?". While this oversimplifies matters, it's a helpful starting point. The first question revolves around the distribution of resources, profits, rights, and obligations within and across companies. How should profits be divided? How should budget be allocated? What wages should be paid? What prices should be charged? The second question delves into the distribution of another good: power. Organisational power includes the authority to command others and impose penalties for disobedience. Who should wield this power, and to what extent? What level of participation and autonomy should workers have? Who should be promoted into senior positions?

As soon as we reflect on these questions puzzles inevitably arise. Is there truly a compelling reason for investors to claim the lion's share of profits? Is a proposed corporate tax rate of 15 percent, as suggested by the OECD, defensible? Is a “living wage” a good idea? To what extent should organizations prioritize obligations to shareholders, multiple stakeholders or society at large? Are there justifiable boundaries to employee autonomy, or conversely, to the authority of a superior? In even broader terms, what should the relationship between power and wealth entail? Is there a necessary correlation between the two? Should CEOs earn salaries that are 350 times higher than the median worker's pay? And should salaries or bonuses be determined by elusive "market forces" at all?

These questions challenge conventional wisdom and demand critical examination of prevailing management paradigms. The concept of power raises questions about how individuals can justify their authority over others. While it's true that someone with legitimate power may have the right to enforce certain actions, the assertion of such rights demands scrutiny. The frequent suggestion that workers willingly consent to labour contracts or that customers have freedom of choice overlooks important asymmetries of power and information, and fails to provide a convincing basis for arbitrary reconfiguration of fundamental rights. On the other hand, considering how some employees might behave in the absence of rules and control perhaps sustains the necessity of some degree of positional power. We may find ourselves empathizing with both the anarchist's call for total autonomy and the authoritarian's argument for a system of binding rules.

It must, then, be an essential task for any leader to consider the morality of organisational decisions and determine the appropriate distribution of organizational power, or in other words, strike the right balance between autonomy, accountability, and authority. This underscores the inherently normative nature of leadership practice and relates to an important difference between “normative” and “descriptive”. While descriptive studies attempt to find out how things are, normative studies aim to uncover how things should be: what is right, good, and just. Descriptive leadership studies are typically pursued by management scientists, sociologists, and historians. In contrast, normative studies, while also interested in descriptive inquiries, focus primarily on a different realm: determining the ideal rules or principles that should govern the distribution of organizational goods (where "goods" encompass profit, power, rights, and obligations). Rather than asking "how is power distributed?" the normative researcher centres on "what constitutes a just or good distribution of power?" and "what defines a good organization?"

In leadership, there are no easy answers. The distinction between normative and descriptive approaches isn't always as straightforward as it may appear. Studying current realities is essential for evaluating ideal states and devising strategies for transitioning from the former to the latter. Developing and implementing a theory of good organizations necessitates an understanding of both moral principles and the prevailing patterns of human motivation and behaviour.

But unlike many other areas of management, there's no hiding place. Every leadership action involves the use of power to drive toward a specific normative outcome. Put simply, leadership is inherently political. While agnosticism may be a respected stance in academia ("the English translate their ignorance into Greek and call it agnosticism," as Engels said), in leadership, it's self-defeating. To remain silent or inactive is, in essence, to endorse the status quo, no matter how objectionable it may be. Hence, any responsible leadership education must begin by addressing the fundamental and existential questions underlying economic and organizational decisions and practices. Moral silence, more often than not, reflects either cowardice or opportunism, both of which are incompatible with good leadership.

Based on Jonathan Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy, Introduction 


26-01-2024

🚀 Is PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT a question of ideology? 🌐✨

Is your approach to performance management more aligned with liberal innovation, conservative stability, socialist equality, libertarian autonomy, authoritarian control, or perhaps environmental sustainability? 🌱

💡Liberal Innovation: Embrace change and creativity, focusing on individual freedom and market dynamics. Performance management aligns with flexible goal-setting, continuous feedback, and adaptive learning.

💡Conservative Stability: Prioritize tradition and order, favoring proven methods. Performance management emphasizes long-term stability, structured appraisals, and consistent, reliable outcomes.

💡Socialist Equality: Advocate for equal distribution of resources and opportunities. Performance management strives for fairness, emphasizing collective goals, and shared success.

💡Libertarian Autonomy: Champion individual freedom and limited government intervention. Performance management aligns with self-directed learning, personalized goals, and minimal bureaucracy.

💡Authoritarian Control: Centralize authority for efficient decision-making. Performance management may focus on strict target setting, top-down feedback, and centralized appraisal systems.

💡Environmental Sustainability: Prioritize ecological well-being. Performance management integrates environmental KPIs, promotes sustainable practices, and aligns individual goals with broader ecological objectives.

And if performance management is a question of political credo, what does that mean? Is there a "best way" of doing things? Does it depend on the prevailing culture of the organisation? Join the conversation and share your thoughts! Let's reimagine performance management for a future of work that makes the world of business flourish! 🚀🔄

#PerformanceManagement #FutureOfWork #Ideology #Transformation

🚀 Is PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT a question of ideology? 🌐✨

Is your approach to performance management more aligned with liberal innovation, conservative stability, socialist equality, libertarian autonomy, authoritarian control, or perhaps environmental sustainability? 🌱

💡Liberal Innovation: Embrace change and creativity, focusing on individual freedom and market dynamics. Performance management aligns with flexible goal-setting, continuous feedback, and adaptive learning.

💡Conservative Stability: Prioritize tradition and order, favoring proven methods. Performance management emphasizes long-term stability, structured appraisals, and consistent, reliable outcomes.

💡Socialist Equality: Advocate for equal distribution of resources and opportunities. Performance management strives for fairness, emphasizing collective goals, and shared success.

💡Libertarian Autonomy: Champion individual freedom and limited government intervention. Performance management aligns with self-directed learning, personalized goals, and minimal bureaucracy.

💡Authoritarian Control: Centralize authority for efficient decision-making. Performance management may focus on strict target setting, top-down feedback, and centralized appraisal systems.

💡Environmental Sustainability: Prioritize ecological well-being. Performance management integrates environmental KPIs, promotes sustainable practices, and aligns individual goals with broader ecological objectives.

And if performance management is a question of political credo, what does that mean? Is there a "best way" of doing things? Does it depend on the prevailing culture of the organisation? Join the conversation and share your thoughts! Let's reimagine performance management for a future of work that makes the world of business flourish! 🚀🔄

#PerformanceManagement #FutureOfWork #Ideology #Transformation

25-01-2024

THE CONVENIENT MYTH OF #INFLATION: How Central Bank "Socialism" Can Undermine Worker Security

It is intriguing how prevalent discussions about the perils of escalating inflation have become in recent times. The hegemonic narrative suggests that inflation is public enemy number 1, and central banks act as formidable monetary guardians ensuring our safety. Much of this discourse harkens back to the debates in the 1960s concerning the Phillips curve and, subsequently, Milton Friedman's influential assertion about the "neutrality of money." The crux of the matter was whether policymakers face a trade-off between unemployment and price stability: "Lower interest rates are intended to boost private spending when inflation falls below the central bank target, and higher interest rates are meant to curtail spending when inflation surpasses the target."

However, as Joshua Mason astutely notes, this never was the whole story. Supposedly "independent" central banks serve as a link between an ideological fantasy of "free markets" and the reality of central planning and price controls "in pursuit of money profits."

As Ha-Joon Chang highlights, despite the fervor around intensified inflation control over the past three decades, the promised increase in stability, both in terms of financial and employment stability, has not materialized. On the contrary, the pursuit of "labour market flexibility" in the name of stability has, paradoxically, rendered employment more precarious, unsettling many people's lives.

In fact, inflation targeting has always gone hand in hand with a resolute commitment to restraining the demands of workers. Paul Volcker, hailed as the hero who vanquished the inflation dragon, had a fundamental goal of high-interest rates: ensuring that "labor begins to get the point that if they get too much in wages they won’t have a business to work for." Alan Greenspan, too, viewed the fight against rising prices as, at its core, a venture aimed at fostering weakness and insecurity among workers. He famously asserted that “traumatized workers” were the key to achieving strong growth with low inflation in the 1990s, unlike in previous decades.

Yet, despite the shaky empirical foundation of the Phillips curve and contrary to monetarists' breathless claims about the drastic consequences of high inflation (and their absurd dismissal of any tradeoff between unemployment and inflation which still dominates most textbooks today), evidence suggests that, at least below 8-10 percent, inflation has no discernible relationship with growth. Moreover, numerous studies indicate that anti-inflationary policies can be detrimental to the economy.

Truth is: the neoliberal policy package, prioritizing lower inflation, increased #capital mobility, and heightened job insecurity, is essentially designed to favor the interests of financial asset holders. Don't be misled by the rhetoric; inflation might not be the problem it is conveniently made out to be!

#leadership


References: 

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, Ha-Joon Chang

https://jacobin.com/2016/01/federal-reserve-interest-rate-increase-janet-yellen-inflation-unemployment/ 

https://www.core-econ.org/the-economy/v1/book/text/15.html#153-inflation-the-business-cycle-and-the-phillips-curve 

THE CONVENIENT MYTH OF #INFLATION: How Central Bank "Socialism" Can Undermine Worker Security

It is intriguing how prevalent discussions about the perils of escalating inflation have become in recent times. The hegemonic narrative suggests that inflation is public enemy number 1, and central banks act as formidable monetary guardians ensuring our safety. Much of this discourse harkens back to the debates in the 1960s concerning the Phillips curve and, subsequently, Milton Friedman's influential assertion about the "neutrality of money." The crux of the matter was whether policymakers face a trade-off between unemployment and price stability: "Lower interest rates are intended to boost private spending when inflation falls below the central bank target, and higher interest rates are meant to curtail spending when inflation surpasses the target."

However, as Joshua Mason astutely notes, this never was the whole story. Supposedly "independent" central banks serve as a link between an ideological fantasy of "free markets" and the reality of central planning and price controls "in pursuit of money profits."

As Ha-Joon Chang highlights, despite the fervor around intensified inflation control over the past three decades, the promised increase in stability, both in terms of financial and employment stability, has not materialized. On the contrary, the pursuit of "labour market flexibility" in the name of stability has, paradoxically, rendered employment more precarious, unsettling many people's lives.

In fact, inflation targeting has always gone hand in hand with a resolute commitment to restraining the demands of workers. Paul Volcker, hailed as the hero who vanquished the inflation dragon, had a fundamental goal of high-interest rates: ensuring that "labor begins to get the point that if they get too much in wages they won’t have a business to work for." Alan Greenspan, too, viewed the fight against rising prices as, at its core, a venture aimed at fostering weakness and insecurity among workers. He famously asserted that “traumatized workers” were the key to achieving strong growth with low inflation in the 1990s, unlike in previous decades.

Yet, despite the shaky empirical foundation of the Phillips curve and contrary to monetarists' breathless claims about the drastic consequences of high inflation (and their absurd dismissal of any tradeoff between unemployment and inflation which still dominates most textbooks today), evidence suggests that, at least below 8-10 percent, inflation has no discernible relationship with growth. Moreover, numerous studies indicate that anti-inflationary policies can be detrimental to the economy.

Truth is: the neoliberal policy package, prioritizing lower inflation, increased #capital mobility, and heightened job insecurity, is essentially designed to favor the interests of financial asset holders. Don't be misled by the rhetoric; inflation might not be the problem it is conveniently made out to be!

#leadership


References: 

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, Ha-Joon Chang

https://jacobin.com/2016/01/federal-reserve-interest-rate-increase-janet-yellen-inflation-unemployment/ 

https://www.core-econ.org/the-economy/v1/book/text/15.html#153-inflation-the-business-cycle-and-the-phillips-curve 

16-01-2024

WHAT'S WRONG WITH PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT?

Performance management is a systematic and continuous process that involves planning, monitoring, developing, reviewing, evaluating and rewarding the performance of individuals or teams within an organization. It aims to optimize individual and team performance, align behaviours with strategic goals, enable professional development, and thus contribute to the overall success of the organization.

Key practices of performance management typically include setting “smart” objectives, providing regular feedback, appraising performance against established criteria, identifying areas for improvement and development, and recognizing and rewarding achievements (or managing the consequences of under performance). However, many additional HR practices, such as recruitment and selection, learning & development, employee engagement and recognition, HR analytics, payroll, OD, D&I directly or indirectly support performance management.

Traditional performance management often relies on a combination of a utilitarian performance definition, emphasizing profit maximization, and an engineering approach to performance optimization: It is assumed that performance can be accurately measured and attributed, that required behaviors and outcomes can be predefined, and that causes of individual performance are easily determinable.

On that basis, firstly, financial targets are decomposed and cascaded to organizational units and roles, guided by the annual budgeting cycle. Total performance is treated simply as the aggregate of individual and unit achievements. Secondly, “cybernetic” controls are established through governance cycles, both at organizational and individual/unit level. Finally, appropriate incentives are established. The underlying assumption is that individual performance results from a linear combination of factors, such as ability, motivation and opportunity, and that motivation can be stimulated through extrinsic rewards and punishments.

Performance management has faced considerable critique, yet much of it remains superficial.
1. Ethically, the predominant utilitarian definition of performance often goes unquestioned. As does the increasing usage of technology to enhance controls.
2. From an "ontological" standpoint, performance continues to be viewed as a property of individuals or teams, rather than an emergent property shaped by intricate mechanisms both within the company, as well as in the broader market and ecosystem.
3. In terms of the underlying "man model", good managers of course know that people are not tunnel-visioned self-seeking robots.

It's time to create something better. Our Performance Management Transformation project is on a mission to revolutionize traditional HR practices. Join us in reshaping the future of work, one process at a time! 💼✨

#performance #hr #hrm #transformation #leadership #management #hris #strategy

WHAT'S WRONG WITH PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT?

Performance management is a systematic and continuous process that involves planning, monitoring, developing, reviewing, evaluating and rewarding the performance of individuals or teams within an organization. It aims to optimize individual and team performance, align behaviours with strategic goals, enable professional development, and thus contribute to the overall success of the organization.

Key practices of performance management typically include setting “smart” objectives, providing regular feedback, appraising performance against established criteria, identifying areas for improvement and development, and recognizing and rewarding achievements (or managing the consequences of under performance). However, many additional HR practices, such as recruitment and selection, learning & development, employee engagement and recognition, HR analytics, payroll, OD, D&I directly or indirectly support performance management.

Traditional performance management often relies on a combination of a utilitarian performance definition, emphasizing profit maximization, and an engineering approach to performance optimization: It is assumed that performance can be accurately measured and attributed, that required behaviors and outcomes can be predefined, and that causes of individual performance are easily determinable.

On that basis, firstly, financial targets are decomposed and cascaded to organizational units and roles, guided by the annual budgeting cycle. Total performance is treated simply as the aggregate of individual and unit achievements. Secondly, “cybernetic” controls are established through governance cycles, both at organizational and individual/unit level. Finally, appropriate incentives are established. The underlying assumption is that individual performance results from a linear combination of factors, such as ability, motivation and opportunity, and that motivation can be stimulated through extrinsic rewards and punishments.

Performance management has faced considerable critique, yet much of it remains superficial.
1. Ethically, the predominant utilitarian definition of performance often goes unquestioned. As does the increasing usage of technology to enhance controls.
2. From an "ontological" standpoint, performance continues to be viewed as a property of individuals or teams, rather than an emergent property shaped by intricate mechanisms both within the company, as well as in the broader market and ecosystem.
3. In terms of the underlying "man model", good managers of course know that people are not tunnel-visioned self-seeking robots.

It's time to create something better. Our Performance Management Transformation project is on a mission to revolutionize traditional HR practices. Join us in reshaping the future of work, one process at a time! 💼✨

#performance #hr #hrm #transformation #leadership #management #hris #strategy

18-01-2024

🔄 Generative AI vs. Washing Machine: The Battle for Human Progress! 🔄

Yes, you read it right—It's not about fancy washing machines powered by AI, but a showdown of traditional household appliances VS AI. Which technology really holds the key to revolutionizing human living?

The answer is, of course, that we do not know. But the question is intriguing. Remember all the hype around the ICT revolution 'changing the world as we know it'?

Ha-Joon Chang, in his brilliant "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism," challenges our tech obsessions. Humans, he suggests, are often dazzled by the newest, shiniest gadgets - always convinced that the technological revolution they happen to be living is the greatest of all times. It's true, in today's digital age many people might believe that they couldn't survive without constant connections to their social media "friends," quick access to online "news" (or was it something else?!), and the convenience of digital price comparisons. Yet, in many ways the radical societal changes people anticipated in the early days of the internet bubble went bust, just like the share prices of many precocious tech boomers. Robert Solow, the "Nobel prize" winner, aptly notes that "the evidence [for the revolutionary importance of the internet] is everywhere but in the numbers."

With equal amounts of delightful provocation and compelling statistics Ha-Joon demonstrates in his book how the impact of things like household appliances, the anti-baby pill, or central heating might well have outshone the ICT revolution, both in terms of their impact on societal living as well as on productivity.

Now, you might argue that generative AI is still in its infancy and that it might grow to become more impactful than the internet. Maybe. But if I were to place my bets today on who humanity will eventually owe more to, Sam Altman (with all his fancy AI wizardry) or Josephine Cochrane, the mastermind behind the invention of the dishwasher in 1886, my money's on the latter.

Why does it matter, you ask? Well, our grandiose visions of post-industrial societies tend to drive economic policies. Hence, it might be time for a reality check amidst all the hype. Perhaps we should tread cautiously and ponder where our investments make the most sense. Maybe good old manufacturing isn't as antiquated as it appears, and not every gleaming tech innovation from the Silicon Valley crowd lives up to its promised benefits.



#AI #technology #innovation #management

🔄 Generative AI vs. Washing Machine: The Battle for Human Progress! 🔄

Yes, you read it right—It's not about fancy washing machines powered by AI, but a showdown of traditional household appliances VS AI. Which technology really holds the key to revolutionizing human living?

The answer is, of course, that we do not know. But the question is intriguing. Remember all the hype around the ICT revolution 'changing the world as we know it'?

Ha-Joon Chang, in his brilliant "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism," challenges our tech obsessions. Humans, he suggests, are often dazzled by the newest, shiniest gadgets - always convinced that the technological revolution they happen to be living is the greatest of all times. It's true, in today's digital age many people might believe that they couldn't survive without constant connections to their social media "friends," quick access to online "news" (or was it something else?!), and the convenience of digital price comparisons. Yet, in many ways the radical societal changes people anticipated in the early days of the internet bubble went bust, just like the share prices of many early tech boomers. Robert Solow, the "Nobel prize" winner, aptly notes that "the evidence [for the revolutionary importance of the internet] is everywhere but in the numbers."

With equal amounts of delightful provocation and compelling data Ha-Joon demonstrates in his book how the impact of things like household appliances, the anti-baby pill, or central heating might well have outshone the ICT revolution, both in terms of their impact on societal living as well as productivity.

Now, you might argue that generative AI is still in its infancy and that it might grow to become more impactful than the internet. Maybe. But if I were to place my bets today on who humanity will eventually owe more to, Sam Altman (with all his fancy AI wizardry) or Josephine Cochrane, the mastermind behind the invention of the dishwasher in 1886, my money's on the latter.

Why does it matter, you ask? Well, our grandiose visions of post-industrial societies tend to drive economic policies. Hence, it might be time for a reality check amidst all the hype. Perhaps we should tread cautiously and ponder where our investments make the most sense. Maybe good old manufacturing isn't as antiquated as it appears, and not every gleaming tech innovation from the Silicon Valley crowd lives up to its promised benefits.

#AI #technology #innovation #management

17-01-2024

BEYOND THE BUZZ: The Shadows of Generative AI

Davos has spoken: AI is the "steam engine" of the "4th industrial revolution." In the session yesterday AI was lauded as an "absolute necessity," "revolutionary," and a "critical success factor." The consensus was clear: we must embrace GenAI or risk being left adrift, dead in the water, within seconds. But do we really buy into the hype?

I am not sure I do. While traditional AI has matured and found its niche, it certainly did not live up to its most dramatic expectations. A hybrid approach often prevails, and for good reason. GenAI, with its potential for novel digital content is undeniably powerful. Yet, it also grapples with fundamental challenges, such as:

- Lack of Real Understanding and Inability to Reason and Explain
- Lack of Contextual Understanding
- Over-Reliance on Training Data and Fine-tuning Challenges
- Open-Ended Generation

Let's face it: AI, including the generative kind, is far from human. While AI may appear impressively clever when tapping into boundless data and leveraging immense computing power, it lacks any genuine essence of human-ness. The concept of AGI is not just utopian; it's inherently oxymoronic. Hence, in spite of all the Swiss mountain hyperbole, GenAI clearly isn't a silver bullet; rather, I believe it will again be selectively productive.

However, contrary to "normal AI" it raises many more questions. Generative AI's downsides, from bias and ethical concerns; abuse of intellectual property; capacity for misinformation, exploitation and manipulation; massive resource intensiveness; vulnerability to attacks - to name just a few -pose real threats. Humans have demonstrated a not-so-intelligent capability for harming themselves and others, and the concern arises that an ever-proliferating GenAI in the hands of dumb or evil people, particularly with access to military technology, might inadvertently contribute to killing the entire planet. Curiously, that did not seem to much dampen the cheerfulness of the WEF party.

Whatever people believe, in my view one thing is certain: we should stop anthropomorphising pieces of technology. AI is not human, and GenAI isn't our "co-worker". While we may leverage technology where beneficial, we must not absolve ourselves of responsibility for the seemingly autonomous actions of pseudo-intelligent algorithms. Furthermore, there was (too) much talk about all the things we have to do to keep up with the demands of AI. This concerns me. The usage of any type of technology to exploit humans is not only improper but immoral. Gary Bolles nails it: "The long history of automation and work is that humans inevitably get displaced. The more we treat technologies as our equals, the more we create conditions to dehumanize each other."

#Leadership #Management #WEF #GoodLeadership #AI #GenAI #Technology #HumanityFirst

https://lnkd.in/e4XgAaV7

BEYOND THE BUZZ: The Shadows of Generative AI

Davos has spoken: AI is the "steam engine" of the "4th industrial revolution." In the session yesterday AI was lauded as an "absolute necessity," "revolutionary," and a "critical success factor." The consensus was clear: we must embrace GenAI or risk being left adrift, dead in the water, within seconds. But do we really buy into the hype?

I am not sure I do. While traditional AI has matured and found its niche, it certainly did not live up to its most dramatic expectations. A hybrid approach often prevails, and for good reason. GenAI, with its potential for novel digital content is undeniably powerful. Yet, it also grapples with fundamental challenges, such as:

- Lack of Real Understanding and Inability to Reason and Explain
- Lack of Contextual Understanding
- Over-Reliance on Training Data and Fine-tuning Challenges
- Open-Ended Generation

Let's face it: AI, including the generative kind, is far from human. While AI may appear impressively clever when tapping into boundless data and leveraging immense computing power, it lacks any genuine essence of human-ness. The concept of AGI is not just utopian; it's inherently oxymoronic. Hence, in spite of all the Swiss mountain hyperbole, GenAI clearly isn't a silver bullet; rather, I believe it will again be selectively productive.

However, contrary to "normal AI" it raises many more questions. Generative AI's downsides, from bias and ethical concerns; abuse of intellectual property; capacity for misinformation, exploitation and manipulation; massive resource intensiveness; vulnerability to attacks - to name just a few -pose real threats. Humans have demonstrated a not-so-intelligent capability for harming themselves and others, and the concern arises that an ever-proliferating GenAI in the hands of dumb or evil people, particularly with access to military technology, might inadvertently contribute to killing the entire planet. Curiously, that did not seem to much dampen the cheerfulness of the WEF party.

Whatever people believe, in my view one thing is certain: we should stop anthropomorphising pieces of technology. AI is not human, and GenAI isn't our "co-worker". While we may leverage technology where beneficial, we must not absolve ourselves of responsibility for the seemingly autonomous actions of pseudo-intelligent algorithms. Furthermore, there was (too) much talk about all the things we have to do to keep up with the demands of AI. This concerns me. The usage of any type of technology to exploit humans is not only improper but immoral. Gary Bolles nails it: "The long history of automation and work is that humans inevitably get displaced. The more we treat technologies as our equals, the more we create conditions to dehumanize each other."

#Leadership #Management #WEF #GoodLeadership #AI #GenAI #Technology #HumanityFirst

https://lnkd.in/e4XgAaV7

31-12-2023

Celebrating Lack: In Defence of (Meaningful) New Years Resolutions

In a world worn down by the ceaseless chase after pleasure and an endless pursuit of accomplishment, the close of the year might presents a fitting juncture to consider an alternative route—one that embraces the concept of "lack" rather than persistently striving to remedy or satiate it.

Drawing inspiration from Jacques Lacan, lack encapsulates not physical want but the existential gap between our deepest desires and the societal structures, both nomological and symbolic, that intricately mould our understanding of the world. We grapple with the inherent tension between our innate drive for individual significance and the indispensable societal frameworks that shape our meaning-making processes, offering comprehensibility and order to our lives.

In a culture fixated on the glorification of self, it is common to externalise our challenges, through avenues like ego therapy, or attempts to fill the void with accumulation of material possessions and experiences. Yet, rather than measuring our lives by the fleeting pleasure derived from achieving goals or securing social status, life might gain “realness” by our earnest endeavour to let go of an idealised self, embracing the transcendental significance inherent in the journey.

Recognizing lack, therefore, is not an admission of defeat or a call for resignation; instead, it is an earnest invitation to accept and even celebrate the vulnerability inherent in our limitations. Rather than desperately seeking to become “whole”, the essence of growth might lie in our willingness to go beyond conscious self-construction, in an attempt to draw closer to an essential meaning.

If we are willing to stay with the lack, we might find joy. Unlike pleasure, which aligns with societal benchmarks of success, joy arises from a sincere commitment to surpass the fragility of 'psychological safety' and strive to become who we are called to be — a journey inevitably riddled with failures and setbacks. Here, "normative failure" is not a cause for despair, nor the vainglorious promotion for a culture of innovation, but a necessary aspect of our exploration to lead a more 'real' and meaningful life.

Our life’s journey is destined to be one where we are never "complete" - yet, the pursuit of joy encourages us to savour the process, find meaning in the struggle, and rejoice in the continuous, courageous act of transcending our ourselves in the face of life's intrinsic lack. Embracing joy means acknowledging that our resolutions are not mere destinations but part of an ongoing journey of (self-)discovery, beyond convention.

Hence, as we set our intentions for the upcoming year, we might want to reconsider how to frame success. Joyful personal growth is found not in the pleasures of achieving what we consciously believe matters but in the essence of virtuous striving through the crucible of our daily actions. Happy New Year!

#leadership #transformation

Celebrating Lack: In Defence of (Meaningful) New Years Resolutions

In a world worn down by the ceaseless chase after pleasure and an endless pursuit of accomplishment, the close of the year might presents a fitting juncture to consider an alternative route—one that embraces the concept of "lack" rather than persistently striving to remedy or satiate it.

Drawing inspiration from Jacques Lacan, lack encapsulates not physical want but the existential gap between our deepest desires and the societal structures, both nomological and symbolic, that intricately mould our understanding of the world. We grapple with the inherent tension between our innate drive for individual significance and the indispensable societal frameworks that shape our meaning-making processes, offering comprehensibility and order to our lives.

In a culture fixated on the glorification of self, it is common to externalise our challenges, through avenues like ego therapy, or attempts to fill the void with accumulation of material possessions and experiences. Yet, rather than measuring our lives by the fleeting pleasure derived from achieving goals or securing social status, life might gain “realness” by our earnest endeavour to let go of an idealised self, embracing the transcendental significance inherent in the journey.

Recognizing lack, therefore, is not an admission of defeat or a call for resignation; instead, it is an earnest invitation to accept and even celebrate the vulnerability inherent in our limitations. Rather than desperately seeking to become “whole”, the essence of growth might lie in our willingness to go beyond conscious self-construction, in an attempt to draw closer to an essential meaning.

If we are willing to stay with the lack, we might find joy. Unlike pleasure, which aligns with societal benchmarks of success, joy arises from a sincere commitment to surpass the fragility of 'psychological safety' and strive to become who we are called to be — a journey inevitably riddled with failures and setbacks. Here, "normative failure" is not a cause for despair, nor the vainglorious promotion for a culture of innovation, but a necessary aspect of our exploration to lead a more 'real' and meaningful life.

Our life’s journey is destined to be one where we are never "complete" - yet, the pursuit of joy encourages us to savour the process, find meaning in the struggle, and rejoice in the continuous, courageous act of transcending our ourselves in the face of life's intrinsic lack. Embracing joy means acknowledging that our resolutions are not mere destinations but part of an ongoing journey of (self-)discovery, beyond convention.

Hence, as we set our intentions for the upcoming year, we might want to reconsider how to frame success. Joyful personal growth is found not in the pleasures of achieving what we consciously believe matters but in the essence of virtuous striving through the crucible of our daily actions. Happy New Year!

#leadership #transformation

28-12-2023

SOCIOLOGY: AMERICA VS EUROPE?

It's fascinating to observe the historical clash between two distinct paradigms in political sociology: the American approach, which places power at the core and, echoing von Clausewitz, views politics as an extension of economic exchange through different means; and the European tradition, which envisions the state as the guarantor of a good society.

What's particularly striking is the uncritical embrace, both in popular discourse and academic circles, of the American model of a "Corporate Society" in spite of its evident limitations and practical shortcomings.

Anyone dismissing this issue as a mere matter of taxonomy is sorely mistaken. The crux of the matter extends far beyond semantics; at stake is the pursuit of a substantive ideal of justice, contrasting sharply with the absurdity of relying on economic cost-balance analyses and GDP to guide societal decision-making.

As astutely noted once by Greg Palast, the U.S. may be touted as "the best democracy money can buy," yet the underlying concern is clear – any democracy susceptible to financial influence and special interests is inherently flawed. It's high time to part ways with the prevailing American approach to politics and reembrace a principled path toward a just political system.

#leadership #politics #responsibility #economy

26-12-2023

THE FOOLISH LEADER VS FOLLOWER DEBATE

It's curious how much effort is being spent, schizophrenically, to legitimise leaders as special, on the one hand, while at the same time demanding more leadership for everyone else (and consequentially less for the formal "leaders").

In all the cacophony of "leaderless", "unleadership", "leading without authority" etc etc it seems the most crucial parts of the conundrum are willfully ignored.

In any organisation, political rights are linked to organizational participation. Hence, there is no "free for all" in terms of organisational power - participation requires both competence and accountability. Most importantly, it isn't simply about WHO is taking decisions, but about HOW decision-making power is exercised.

In other words, the main point isn't whether some person is a leader or not, but whether Organisational decisions are guided by ideal standards of virtue and responsibility. Domination alone, even if legitimized by an authority structure, does never qualify as GOOD leadership.

Hence, the ideal quantity of leaders must be declined by quality of organisations qua political institutions, not simply individual rights or context. Herein lies another fallacy of the many proponents of alternative leadership models who conveniently conflate epistemology and ethics. Simply because the world is complex or changing doesn't imply that everybody should gain a right to lead, or that decentralising decision making necessarily "leads" to better businesses (pun intended).

The claim to leadership must always be explored in the context of the broader political system of the Organisation. As with other forms of institutions, rights and responsibilities must match - as Aristotle pointed out, political accountability implies both leadership and followership, both participation and obedience - premised on the loyalty towards the good of the Organisation as a whole.

It might be more worthwhile to discuss about that "good" Organisations are supposed to produce, rather than getting hung up all the time on who sits on which deck chair on a global economic Titanic.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

THE FOOLISH LEADER VS FOLLOWER DEBATE

It's curious how much effort is being spent, schizophrenically, to legitimise leaders as special, on the one hand, while at the same time demanding more leadership for everyone else (and consequentially less for the formal "leaders").

In all the cacophony of "leaderless", "unleadership", "leading without authority" etc etc it seems the most crucial parts of the conundrum are willfully ignored.

In any organisation, political rights are linked to organizational participation. Hence, there is no "free for all" in terms of organisational power - participation requires both competence and accountability. Most importantly, it isn't simply about WHO is taking decisions, but about HOW decision-making power is exercised.

In other words, the main point isn't whether some person is a leader or not, but whether Organisational decisions are guided by ideal standards of virtue and responsibility. Domination alone, even if legitimized by an authority structure, does never qualify as GOOD leadership.

Hence, the ideal quantity of leaders must be declined by quality of organisations qua political institutions, not simply individual rights or context. Herein lies another fallacy of the many proponents of alternative leadership models who conveniently conflate epistemology and ethics. Simply because the world is complex or changing doesn't imply that everybody should gain a right to lead, or that decentralising decision making necessarily "leads" to better businesses (pun intended).

The claim to leadership must always be explored in the context of the broader political system of the Organisation. As with other forms of institutions, rights and responsibilities must match - as Aristotle pointed out, political accountability implies both leadership and followership, both participation and obedience - premised on the loyalty towards the good of the Organisation as a whole.

It might be more worthwhile to discuss about that "good" Organisations are supposed to produce, rather than getting hung up all the time on who sits on which deck chair on a global economic Titanic.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

It's fascinating to observe the historical clash between two distinct paradigms in political sociology: the American approach, which places power at the core and, echoing von Clausewitz, views politics as an extension of economic exchange through different means; and the European tradition, which envisions the state as the guarantor of a good society.

What's particularly striking is the uncritical embrace, both in popular discourse and academic circles, of the American model of a "Corporate Society" in spite of its evident limitations and practical shortcomings.

Anyone dismissing this issue as a mere matter of taxonomy is sorely mistaken. The crux of the matter extends far beyond semantics; at stake is the pursuit of a substantive ideal of justice, contrasting sharply with the absurdity of relying on economic cost-balance analyses and GDP to guide societal decision-making.

As astutely noted once by Greg Palast, the U.S. may be touted as "the best democracy money can buy," yet the underlying concern is clear – any democracy susceptible to financial influence and special interests is inherently flawed. It's high time to part ways with the prevailing American approach to politics and reembrace a principled path toward a just political system.

#leadership #politics #responsibility #economy

24-12-2023

MAKING CHRISTMAS GREAT AGAIN: A Samaritan’s Tale

In the radiant glow of a modern city adorned with festive lights, envision a scene teeming with Christmas cheer... Yet, within this jubilation, imagine a person weathered by life's trials, abandoned on the roadside, without hope, unnoticed by the bustling crowd consumed in their own worlds.

🚶‍♂️ Along comes the celebrated business tycoon, draped in success, his silhouette exuding power and wealth, his LinkedIn profile boasting a million followers. He glances at the fallen figure but averts his eyes, indifferent to the silent needs of his neighbour. “Everybody receives what he deserves”, he might think. The clash of his footsteps against the pavement echoes the hollow isolation of his self-centred hubris.

🚶‍♂️ Following him is the prominent community leader, a beacon of political influence. His gaze briefly meets the desperate eyes of the fallen soul, yet he, too, chooses to look away, opting for the path of indifference. "I must focus on grand injustices," he probably reckons, "not be distracted by the smallness of personal fatalities." The cacophony of his hurried steps blends with the superficial festive chaos, drowning out the silent plea for help.

🤝 Finally, amidst the indifferent crowd, a compassionate figure emerges. She tends not only to the wounds of the fellow traveller, but also engages in conversation, acknowledging the person's dreams and struggles, and recognising his worth. Like a modern Samaritan, her heart is attuned to the suffering of a fellow human, while her reason is connected to greater ideals of love and justice. She senses that, at our core, we are neighbours in humanity, and understands that elevating the spirit of a fellow human uplifts ourselves and the entire community.

🌐 As Christmas draws near, it’s a fitting time for reflection: Would we have stopped? Which principles guide our own lives? Amidst the festive generosity and charity, it becomes evident that a meaningful life transcends the narrow confines of selfish material gains or the abstract commandments of justice. It's also not solely about giving to others; as in the story of the Samaritan, our lives find true significance in serving both others and something essentially good.

May you find a moment of serene respite from the holiday hustle and the commercial frenzy to reevaluate your own steps. Beyond the festive presents and merriment, the most precious gift might simply lie in the act of wholeheartedly giving yourself to something greater.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with courage and joy.

#ReflectiveChristmas #MeaningfulLife #ModernSamaritan #Leadership #Leadershipdevelopment #Responsibility

MAKING CHRISTMAS GREAT AGAIN: A Samaritan’s Tale

In the radiant glow of a modern city adorned with festive lights, envision a scene teeming with Christmas cheer... Yet, within this jubilation, imagine a person weathered by life's trials, abandoned on the roadside, without hope, unnoticed by the bustling crowd consumed in their own worlds.

🚶‍♂️ Along comes the celebrated business tycoon, draped in success, his silhouette exuding power and wealth, his LinkedIn profile boasting a million followers. He glances at the fallen figure but averts his eyes, indifferent to the silent needs of his neighbour. “Everybody receives what he deserves”, he might think. The clash of his footsteps against the pavement echoes the hollow isolation of his self-centred hubris.

🚶‍♂️ Following him is the prominent community leader, a beacon of political influence. His gaze briefly meets the desperate eyes of the fallen soul, yet he, too, chooses to look away, opting for the path of indifference. "I must focus on grand injustices," he probably reckons, "not be distracted by the smallness of personal fatalities." The cacophony of his hurried steps blends with the superficial festive chaos, drowning out the silent plea for help.

🤝 Finally, amidst the indifferent crowd, a compassionate figure emerges. She tends not only to the wounds of the fellow traveller, but also engages in conversation, acknowledging the person's dreams and struggles, and recognising his worth. Like a modern Samaritan, her heart is attuned to the suffering of a fellow human, while her reason is connected to greater ideals of love and justice. She senses that, at our core, we are neighbours in humanity, and understands that elevating the spirit of a fellow human uplifts ourselves and the entire community.

🌐 As Christmas draws near, it’s a fitting time for reflection: Would we have stopped? Which principles guide our own lives? Amidst the festive generosity and charity, it becomes evident that a meaningful life transcends the narrow confines of selfish material gains or the abstract commandments of justice. It's also not solely about giving to others; as in the story of the Samaritan, our lives find true significance in serving both others and something essentially good.

May you find a moment of serene respite from the holiday hustle and the commercial frenzy to reevaluate your own steps. Beyond the festive presents and merriment, the most precious gift might simply lie in the act of wholeheartedly giving ourselves to something greater.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with courage and joy.

#ReflectiveChristmas #MeaningfulLife #ModernSamaritan #Leadership #Leadershipdevelopment #Responsibility

19-12-2023

A Tribute To Academic Truth

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed colleagues, and those who share a profound concern for the intellectual foundation of our academic endeavours.


Today, we gather in mourning, for we bear witness to the lamentable disappearance of a cherished entity – the demise of academic truth.

In the hallowed realms of academia, we once held dear the essence of truth and education as the pillars upon which the pursuit of wisdom rested. Yet, as we stand on the precipice of postmodernity, it becomes painfully apparent that these pillars are crumbling, threatening to leave a void that echoes with the increasing disdain for intellectual integrity in a post-factual world of superficial populism.

In the realm of education, where enlightenment and knowledge should flourish, a lamentable lack of basic skills fails to spark the desire for radical thought. Many academics, entrusted with shaping the minds of the future, struggle with fundamental abilities. Their writing is subpar, their presentation skills lacking, and their understanding of effective teaching methods often absent. Yet, even worse, the sacred practice of imparting knowledge has been increasingly sabotaged by unexamined ideologies and arbitrary rankings and ratings, leaving the essence of education obscured.

Turning our gaze to the once-revered domain of academic research, an even more sombre picture unfolds. Particularly in the social sciences, researchers often persist in their misguided allegiance to post-positivistic experiments and observational studies, blissfully ignorant of methodological limitations and the nuanced philosophy of science. Yet, the problem doesn't end there. In the contemporary circus of academia, truth has often been reduced to a numbers game – a race for citations where quantity quickly eclipses quality. Academics' newfound love for meta studies, characterized by intricate word counts and senseless aggregations, further distorts the landscape. And if all else fails, truth is substituted with popularity, and academics vying for attention by mass-producing sensational concepts and flashy titles.

As we mourn the demise of academic truth, let us reflect on the root causes: a lack of infrastructures for the formation of academics, an erosion of professional ethics within the context of new public management, the missing support for institutional introspection and internal challenge, and a tinge of hubris that blinds many academics to their own shortcomings - just to name a few.

Hence, let us also cherish those few valiant exemplars, academics who combine original thinking with robust research and a critical perspective, challenging both themselves and academic orthodoxy, and who stand as guardians of a vanishing legacy of academic honour.

Rest in peace, academic truth. Your departure shall serve as a poignant reminder of our collective responsibility to uphold the sanctity of knowledge and preserve the sacred covenant between truth and academia.

A Tribute To Academic Truth

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed colleagues, and those who share a profound concern for the intellectual foundation of our academic endeavours.


Today, we gather in mourning, for we bear witness to the lamentable disappearance of a cherished entity – the demise of academic truth.

In the hallowed realms of academia, we once held dear the essence of truth and education as the pillars upon which the pursuit of wisdom rested. Yet, as we stand on the precipice of postmodernity, it becomes painfully apparent that these pillars are crumbling, threatening to leave a void that echoes with the increasing disdain for intellectual integrity in a post-factual world of superficial populism.

In the realm of education, where enlightenment and knowledge should flourish, a lamentable lack of basic skills fails to spark the desire for radical thought. Many academics, entrusted with shaping the minds of the future, struggle with fundamental abilities. Their writing is subpar, their presentation skills lacking, and their understanding of effective teaching methods often absent. Yet, even worse, the sacred practice of imparting knowledge has been increasingly sabotaged by unexamined ideologies and arbitrary rankings and ratings, leaving the essence of education obscured.

Turning our gaze to the once-revered domain of academic research, an even more sombre picture unfolds. Particularly in the social sciences, researchers often persist in their misguided allegiance to post-positivistic experiments and observational studies, blissfully ignorant of methodological limitations and the nuanced philosophy of science. Yet, the problem doesn't end there. In the contemporary circus of academia, truth has often been reduced to a numbers game – a race for citations where quantity quickly eclipses quality. Academics' newfound love for meta studies, characterized by intricate word counts and senseless aggregations, further distorts the landscape. And if all else fails, truth is substituted with popularity, and academics vying for attention by mass-producing sensational concepts and flashy titles.

As we mourn the demise of academic truth, let us reflect on the root causes: a lack of infrastructures for the formation of academics, an erosion of professional ethics within the context of new public management, the missing support for institutional introspection and internal challenge, and a tinge of hubris that blinds many academics to their own shortcomings - just to name a few.

Hence, let us also cherish those few valiant exemplars, academics who combine original thinking with robust research and a critical perspective, challenging both themselves and academic orthodoxy, and who stand as guardians of a vanishing legacy of academic honour.

Rest in peace, academic truth. Your departure shall serve as a poignant reminder of our collective responsibility to uphold the sanctity of knowledge and preserve the sacred covenant between truth and academia.

11-12-2023

CRISIS IN ACADEMIA? About the Ascent of Money and the Ascent of Academic Populism

🔍 I just started diving into Niall Ferguson's "Ascent of Money," which promises an intriguing journey through financial history. Yet, already in the introduction, a noticeable tendency emerges: the author seems to creatively conflate the role of money as a tool of exchange with its pursuit as an end in itself. Suggesting not only somewhat grandiosely that banking is at the heart of all progress, but also strongly advocating that financial literacy is the key to contemporary smartness, Ferguson seems to encourage individuals to be more strategic in exploiting money to generate wealth.

There's no need to return to the Pelagian controversy or adopt the stance of the "Sicilian Briton" to recognize the potential pitfalls of such an uncritical perspective. By the way, in "De Divitiis" its anonymous author provocatively claims, "Tolle divitem et pauperem non invenies," - get rid of the rich man and you will not be able to find a poor man. Let no man have more than he really needs, and everyone will have as much as they need, since the few who are rich are the reason for the many who are poor.

Even when writing a "dazzling... extraordinarily timely" book, "the most brilliant historian of his generation" ought to recognize, as a scholar, that while history is valuable in describing and, to some extent, interpreting the past, it falls short of providing a basis for normative statements about present or future behaviors without additional philosophical inquiry.

🤔 This to me seems to become a worrying trend. As frequently highlighted by Alex Edmans, many academics exhibit a fragile grasp of the philosophy of science, resulting in research fraught with significant errors in both methodology and conclusions. By the same token, there is a notable deficiency in ethical examinations within a considerable portion of academic writing. Researchers often struggle to contextualize their work within broader ideological paradigms, overstepping the fine line between commentary and ideology. The urgency to publish and garner citations within academia exacerbates the issue, sometimes leading to the dissemination of outright lies or propaganda.

It's disheartening to witness how the pursuit of popularity seems to supersede the commitment to scholarly rigor, gradually eroding the essence of "good academics." Perhaps, academics would benefit from taking a more skeptical position towards their own "wealth" of wisdom. Recalling Augustine: "Tolle superbiam: divitiae non nocebunt." Paraphrasing: get rid of your pride and your wealth of knowledge might do no harm.

#leadership #academia #management #finance #wisdom

CRISIS IN ACADEMIA? About the Ascent of Money and the Ascent of Academic Populism

🔍 I just started diving into Niall Ferguson's "Ascent of Money," which promises an intriguing journey through financial history. Yet, already in the introduction, a noticeable tendency emerges: the author seems to creatively conflate the role of money as a tool of exchange with its pursuit as an end in itself. Suggesting not only somewhat grandiosely that banking is at the heart of all progress, but also strongly advocating that financial literacy is the key to contemporary smartness, Ferguson seems to encourage individuals to be more strategic in exploiting money to generate wealth.

There's no need to return to the Pelagian controversy or adopt the stance of the "Sicilian Briton" to recognize the potential pitfalls of such an uncritical perspective. By the way, in "De Divitiis" its anonymous author provocatively claims, "Tolle divitem et pauperem non invenies," - get rid of the rich man and you will not be able to find a poor man. Let no man have more than he really needs, and everyone will have as much as they need, since the few who are rich are the reason for the many who are poor.

Even when writing a "dazzling... extraordinarily timely" book, "the most brilliant historian of his generation" ought to recognize, as a scholar, that while history is valuable in describing and, to some extent, interpreting the past, it falls short of providing a basis for normative statements about present or future behaviors without additional philosophical inquiry.

🤔 This to me seems to become a worrying trend. As frequently highlighted by Alex Edmans, many academics exhibit a fragile grasp of the philosophy of science, resulting in research fraught with significant errors in both methodology and conclusions. By the same token, there is a notable deficiency in ethical examinations within a considerable portion of academic writing. Researchers often struggle to contextualize their work within broader ideological paradigms, overstepping the fine line between commentary and ideology. The urgency to publish and garner citations within academia exacerbates the issue, sometimes leading to the dissemination of outright lies or propaganda.

It's disheartening to witness how the pursuit of popularity seems to supersede the commitment to scholarly rigor, gradually eroding the essence of "good academics." Perhaps, academics would benefit from taking a more skeptical position towards their own "wealth" of wisdom. Recalling Augustine: "Tolle superbiam: divitiae non nocebunt." Paraphrasing: get rid of your pride and your wealth of knowledge might do no harm.

#leadership #academia #management #finance #wisdom

11-12-2023

"As long as we think of DIFFERENCE as that which divides us, we shall dislike it; when we think of it as that which unites us, we shall cherish it."

Mary Parker Follett's profound insight might hold some valuable reflection for modern DEI practitioners. Suggesting that "unity, not uniformity, must be our aim", she mirrors Carl Jung - more than seeking an illusive authentic self, genuine "individuality is the capacity for union". In her conclusions, "the leader is more responsible than anyone else for that integrative unity which is the aim of organisation."

However, this notion prompts the challenge of defining what unites us at a fundamental level. This is where, yet again, ethics takes center stage. What inspires us to temper our behavior and willingly limit our own (negative) freedom? Is it really enough, as Rawls seems to suggest, to aim for a lowest common denominator, some procedural "live and let live" agreement that is predicated on everybody's right to "be someone", or should we aspire to a deeper connection?

Truth is, if we desire a society that is more than a church of splendid individualism, unity cannot be based only on an ephemeral notion of abstract civic reciprocity. It must relate to a more essential human capacity to create goodness, beauty and justice. Rousseau's concept of a "civic religion," as a prerequisite for a democratic society, echoes here.

This implies that our individual capacity for union might need to entail more than the empathic tolerance for our neighbour, or procedures for diverse political dialogue - it might require sympathy for the common good. We might need to embrace, as Nussbaum suggests, "civic love" as a political emotion. 🌐💙

#UnityInDiversity #EthicalLeadership #Leadership #Management #Philosophy

"As long as we think of DIFFERENCE as that which divides us, we shall dislike it; when we think of it as that which unites us, we shall cherish it."

Mary Parker Follett's profound insight might hold some valuable reflection for modern DEI practitioners. Suggesting that "unity, not uniformity, must be our aim", she mirrors Carl Jung - more than seeking an illusive authentic self, genuine "individuality is the capacity for union". In her conclusions, "the leader is more responsible than anyone else for that integrative unity which is the aim of organisation."

However, this notion prompts the challenge of defining what unites us at a fundamental level. This is where, yet again, ethics takes center stage. What inspires us to temper our behavior and willingly limit our own (negative) freedom? Is it really enough, as Rawls seems to suggest, to aim for a lowest common denominator, some procedural "live and let live" agreement that is predicated on everybody's right to "be someone", or should we aspire to a deeper connection?

Truth is, if we desire a society that is more than a church of splendid individualism, unity cannot be based only on an ephemeral notion of abstract civic reciprocity. It must relate to a more essential human capacity to create goodness, beauty and justice. Rousseau's concept of a "civic religion," as a prerequisite for a democratic society, echoes here.

This implies that our individual capacity for union might need to entail more than the empathic tolerance for our neighbour, or procedures for diverse political dialogue - it might require sympathy for the common good. We might need to embrace, as Nussbaum suggests, "civic love" as a political emotion. 🌐💙

#UnityInDiversity #EthicalLeadership #Leadership #Management #Philosophy

09-12-2023

Mary Parker Follett once wisely stated that #Leadership isn't wielding power OVER people but rather awakening the power WITHIN them.

She emphasized, "Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led." She believed the primary task of a leader is to create more leaders.

I will propose an additional nuance. Power, in essence, must never be an end in itself. To hold positive meaning, power must serve a good cause.

Therefore, I contend that Leadership not only transcends power over people; it also goes beyond nurturing the power within people. It is about kindling the power within people to actualise the good inside them.

Thus, leadership, at its core, is the social practice of awakening the good within a community of people.

#LeadershipMatters #GoodLeadership

Mary Parker Follett once wisely stated that #Leadership isn't wielding power OVER people but rather awakening the power WITHIN them.

She emphasized, "Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led." She believed the primary task of a leader is to create more leaders.

I will propose an additional nuance. Power, in essence, must never be an end in itself. To hold positive meaning, power must serve a good cause.

Therefore, I contend that Leadership not only transcends power over people; it also goes beyond nurturing the power within people. It is about kindling the power within people to actualise the good inside them.

Thus, leadership, at its core, is the social practice of awakening the good within a community of people.

#LeadershipMatters #GoodLeadership

09-12-2023

Big Problems with Big Data: The Hollow Optimism of Technological Omniscience

(Playing with my previous post)

In an era where data reigns supreme, tech titans flaunt commercial thoroughfares with the hubristic confidence of someone who has unlocked the secrets of the cosmos. Big data stands high as the ultimate artillery in a relentless battleground for technological supremacy. The incessant cry for ever more “analytics” has become the absurd apotheosis in a tragic play that treats the intricacies of humanity as a tedious engineering problem. While the vampiric high priests of technology suck the world’s digital data, the ‘geist’ has left the stage for a ‘zeitgeist’ cheerleading humanity towards its own potential annihilation. All the while, Hegel is weeping.

Our modern world is entranced by the allure of scientific thought, shaping the very fabric of our existence. However, beneath a glamorous facade of technological trickery lies a deeper truth, as philosophers have been warning us since the inception of scientific empiricism.

🚨Heidegger, particularly in the Zollikon Seminars, launches a frontal assault on the reductionism inherent in modern science. He exposes the danger of "technological enframing," a mode of thinking that turns everything into calculable resources, neglecting the rich tapestry of being. His critique extends beyond the epistemic to the existential, warning against a world reduced to mere objects.
🚨In Kant's revolutionary response to Hume's empiricism, he introduces transcendental categories, rejecting the reduction of reality to isolated sensory experiences. For Kant, the danger lies in viewing objects merely as empirical data without recognizing the synthetic unity bestowed by the mind's inherent structures.

Heidegger's critique isn't confined to academic debates. It's a practical call for "revelatory thinking", to acknowledge the subjective aspects of our experiences. In a world drowning in data, he encourages us to adopt a more poetic, contemplative stance that transcends the cold calculus of scientific thought. It implores us to rediscover the richness of existence beyond the confines of empirical reduction. Kant, in parallel, challenges us to consider the limitations of empirical understanding and the interconnectedness of objects. His shift suggests a more holistic perspective, away from "big data", and encourages self-reflection and the pursuit of actions that are in harmony with a moral duty, rather than scientific calculus.

In a nutshell, philosophy implores us to scrutinize the consequences of a technological dogma that reduces our lives to bits and bytes. It compels us to combine subjective experiences with universal reasoning, while emphasizing the need to critically evaluate scientific rationality through an ethical lens. It is a grand fallacy of postmodern thought to believe that understanding the world or making better decisions simply boils down to having a larger data lake. 🚀🌍

#leadership justice #politics #management #philosophy

Big Problems with Big Data: The Hollow Optimism of Technological Omniscience

(Playing with my previous post)

In an era where data reigns supreme, tech titans flaunt commercial thoroughfares with the hubristic confidence of someone who has unlocked the secrets of the cosmos. Big data stands high as the ultimate artillery in a relentless battleground for technological supremacy. The incessant cry for ever more “analytics” has become the absurd apotheosis in a tragic play that treats the intricacies of humanity as a tedious engineering problem. While the vampiric high priests of technology suck the world’s digital data, the ‘geist’ has left the stage for a ‘zeitgeist’ cheerleading humanity towards its own potential annihilation. All the while, Hegel is weeping.

Our modern world is entranced by the allure of scientific thought, shaping the very fabric of our existence. However, beneath a glamorous facade of technological trickery lies a deeper truth, as philosophers have been warning us since the inception of scientific empiricism.

🚨Heidegger, particularly in the Zollikon Seminars, launches a frontal assault on the reductionism inherent in modern science. He exposes the danger of "technological enframing," a mode of thinking that turns everything into calculable resources, neglecting the rich tapestry of being. His critique extends beyond the epistemic to the existential, warning against a world reduced to mere objects.
🚨In Kant's revolutionary response to Hume's empiricism, he introduces transcendental categories, rejecting the reduction of reality to isolated sensory experiences. For Kant, the danger lies in viewing objects merely as empirical data without recognizing the synthetic unity bestowed by the mind's inherent structures.

Heidegger's critique isn't confined to academic debates. It's a practical call for "revelatory thinking", to acknowledge the subjective aspects of our experiences. In a world drowning in data, he encourages us to adopt a more poetic, contemplative stance that transcends the cold calculus of scientific thought. It implores us to rediscover the richness of existence beyond the confines of empirical reduction. Kant, in parallel, challenges us to consider the limitations of empirical understanding and the interconnectedness of objects. His shift suggests a more holistic perspective, away from "big data", and encourages self-reflection and the pursuit of actions that are in harmony with a moral duty, rather than scientific calculus.

In a nutshell, philosophy implores us to scrutinize the consequences of a technological dogma that reduces our lives to bits and bytes. It compels us to combine subjective experiences with universal reasoning, while emphasizing the need to critically evaluate scientific rationality through an ethical lens. It is a grand fallacy of postmodern thought to believe that understanding the world or making better decisions simply boils down to having a larger data lake. 🚀🌍

#leadership justice #politics #management #philosophy

08-12-2023

Premising that I fully support the question Rawls has taken up in his Theory of Justice, and its subsequent revision in Political Liberalism, it remains enigmatic to me how anyone could have ever endorsed either.

The fallacy of Rawls' project must be evident for anyone with the slightest understanding of political philosophy - Amartya Sen elencates the many fundamental flaws in his (far too politically correct and not entirely helpful) Ideas About Justice. Yet even Rawls own revision which at least partly acknowledges the failure of his original proposals seems to fall far short of truly addressing it.

Rather than offering a genuinely new approach Rawls seems intent to uphold the "wet dream" of liberal justice by salvaging a hollow procedural idealism through unsubstantiated assumptions and endless foolhardy "redefinitions". The result is a fragmentary, inconsistent and uninspiring apologia pro teoria sua. Where the Theory of Justice unsuccessfully sought to operationalise justice in a pluralistic society, political liberalism sacrifices the ideal of justice on the altar of a liberal ideology. In a typically American fashion it thus constructs democracy-as-ideal-in-itself which must remain fragile to all the Aristotelian criticism of it. Yet Rawls continually insinuates that his "freestanding" political ideal of overlapping consensus is also intrinsically moral - which of course it isn't, in any relevant way.

Maybe the key point is that liberalism as a political doctrine will always be limited. Its very premises do not easily permit the construction of what Rawls calls a "comprehensive political doctrine" which integrates universal foundations (and optimum social choice) and individual freedom. Which doesn't mean it is wrong or that there are simple and better solutions. But dancing around the problem with big eyes and big words - or foolishly seeking to manufacture truth where there is none by number of citations - IMHO doesn't really move us foreward. Far too quickly the veil of ignorance becomes just that: an excuse for Ignorance. And the dogma of freedom turns into a totalitarianism of "reasonable" selfishness.

I fear that if ever there was a textbook about political philosophy that at the same time was well-intentioned, terribly confused and exquisitely unintelligent it must be Rawls' Political Liberalism. Which, sadly, also makes it a very very bad book.

#leadership justice #politics #management #philosophy

Premising that I fully support the question Rawls has taken up in his Theory of Justice, and its subsequent revision in Political Liberalism, it remains enigmatic to me how anyone could have ever endorsed either.

The fallacy of Rawls' project must be evident for anyone with the slightest understanding of political philosophy - Amartya Sen elencates the many fundamental flaws in his (far too politically correct and not entirely helpful) Ideas About Justice. Yet even Rawls own revision which at least partly acknowledges the failure of his original proposals seems to fall far short of truly addressing it.

Rather than offering a genuinely new approach Rawls seems intent to uphold the "wet dream" of liberal justice by salvaging a hollow procedural idealism through unsubstantiated assumptions and endless foolhardy "redefinitions". The result is a fragmentary, inconsistent and uninspiring apologia pro teoria sua. Where the Theory of Justice unsuccessfully sought to operationalise justice in a pluralistic society, political liberalism sacrifices the ideal of justice on the altar of a liberal ideology. In a typically American fashion it thus constructs democracy-as-ideal-in-itself which must remain fragile to all the Aristotelian criticism of it. Yet Rawls continually insinuates that his "freestanding" political ideal of overlapping consensus is also intrinsically moral - which of course it isn't, in any relevant way.

Maybe the key point is that liberalism as a political doctrine will always be limited. Its very premises do not easily permit the construction of what Rawls calls a "comprehensive political doctrine" which integrates universal foundations (and optimum social choice) and individual freedom. Which doesn't mean it is wrong or that there are simple and better solutions. But dancing around the problem with big eyes and big words - or foolishly seeking to manufacture truth where there is none by number of citations - IMHO doesn't really move us foreward. Far too quickly the veil of ignorance becomes just that: an excuse for Ignorance. And the dogma of freedom turns into a totalitarianism of "reasonable" selfishness.

I fear that if ever there was a textbook about political philosophy that at the same time was well-intentioned, terribly confused and exquisitely unintelligent it must be Rawls' Political Liberalism. Which, sadly, also makes it a very very bad book.

#leadership justice #politics #management #philosophy

06-12-2023

🌐 Beyond the Bytes: Big Problems of Big Data - Philosophical Reflections

In our modern world, scientific thought reigns supreme, shaping everything from technology to healthcare. But what if such dominance comes at a cost? Philosophers have critiqued scientific empiricism since its inception. Both Immanuel Kant and Martin Heidegger offer some intriguing thoughts that are still worth reflecting on.

🔍 The Pitfalls of Reductionism:
Heidegger, particularly in the Zollikon Seminars, launches a frontal assault on the reductionism inherent in modern science. He exposes the danger of "technological enframing," a mode of thinking that turns everything into calculable resources, neglecting the rich tapestry of being. His critique extends beyond the epistemic to the existential, warning against a world reduced to mere objects.
In Kant's revolutionary response to Hume's skepticism, he introduces transcendental categories, rejecting the reduction of reality to isolated sensory experiences. For Kant, the danger lies in viewing objects merely as empirical data without recognizing the synthetic unity bestowed by the mind's inherent structures.

🎭 Navigating Objectification:
Heidegger's critique isn't confined to academic debates. It's a practical call to acknowledge the subjective aspects of our experiences. In a world drowning in data, he prompts us to recognize individual experiences (Dasein), underlining the importance of subjectivity in practical decision-making and problem-solving.
Kant, in parallel, challenges us to consider the limitations of empirical understanding and the interconnectedness of objects. This shift can suggest a more holistic perspective, away from "big data", and a more humble and humanistic exploration of experience.

🛤️ Exploring Alternative Paths:
Heidegger calls for "revelatory thinking". In practical terms, it encourages us to adopt a more poetic, contemplative stance that transcends the cold calculus of scientific thought. It implores us to rediscover the richness of existence beyond the confines of empirical reduction.
Kant's transcendental categories can prompt an awareness of personal biases and perspectives and also underscore the significance of making choices that align with universal values and principles. It encourages self-reflection and the pursuit of actions that are in harmony with a moral duty, rather than scientific calculus.

⚖️ Philosophy in Practice
In a world dominated by science, Kant and Heidegger urge us to consider the consequences of reducing our lives to data. In combination, they compel us to integrate subjective experiences with universal reasoning, while emphasizing the need to critically evaluate scientific rationality through an ethical lens. It is a grand fallacy of postmodern thought to believe that understanding the world or making better decisions simply boils down to a question bigger data. 🚀🌍

#leadership #management #bigdata #goodleadership #strategy

🌐 Beyond the Bytes: Big Problems of Big Data - Philosophical Reflections

In our modern world, scientific thought reigns supreme, shaping everything from technology to healthcare. But what if such dominance comes at a cost? Philosophers have critiqued scientific empiricism since its inception. Both Immanuel Kant and Martin Heidegger offer some intriguing thoughts that are still worth reflecting on.

🔍 The Pitfalls of Reductionism:
Heidegger, particularly in the Zollikon Seminars, launches a frontal assault on the reductionism inherent in modern science. He exposes the danger of "technological enframing," a mode of thinking that turns everything into calculable resources, neglecting the rich tapestry of being. His critique extends beyond the epistemic to the existential, warning against a world reduced to mere objects.
In Kant's revolutionary response to Hume's skepticism, he introduces transcendental categories, rejecting the reduction of reality to isolated sensory experiences. For Kant, the danger lies in viewing objects merely as empirical data without recognizing the synthetic unity bestowed by the mind's inherent structures.

🎭 Navigating Objectification:
Heidegger's critique isn't confined to academic debates. It's a practical call to acknowledge the subjective aspects of our experiences. In a world drowning in data, he prompts us to recognize individual experiences (Dasein), underlining the importance of subjectivity in practical decision-making and problem-solving.
Kant, in parallel, challenges us to consider the limitations of empirical understanding and the interconnectedness of objects. This shift can suggest a more holistic perspective, away from "big data", and a more humble and humanistic exploration of experience.

🛤️ Exploring Alternative Paths:
Heidegger calls for "revelatory thinking". In practical terms, it encourages us to adopt a more poetic, contemplative stance that transcends the cold calculus of scientific thought. It implores us to rediscover the richness of existence beyond the confines of empirical reduction.
Kant's transcendental categories can prompt an awareness of personal biases and perspectives and also underscore the significance of making choices that align with universal values and principles. It encourages self-reflection and the pursuit of actions that are in harmony with a moral duty, rather than scientific calculus.

⚖️ Philosophy in Practice
In a world dominated by science, Kant and Heidegger urge us to consider the consequences of reducing our lives to data. In combination, they compel us to integrate subjective experiences with universal reasoning, while emphasizing the need to critically evaluate scientific rationality through an ethical lens. It is a grand fallacy of postmodern thought to believe that understanding the world or making better decisions simply boils down to a question bigger data. 🚀🌍

#leadership #management #bigdata #goodleadership #strategy

06-12-2023

🚨 UNPACKING THE CURIOUS POPOLARITY OF #TRAUMA: Are we going slightly mad?! 🤯🔍

TRAUMA is defined as the "lasting emotional response that often results from living through a distressing event. Experiencing a traumatic event can harm a person's sense of safety, sense of self, and ability to regulate emotions and navigate relationships".

But trauma has long transcended its specialist medical roots, permeating conversations about any sort of personal, organizational or societal ailments. The surge in trauma consultancy and therapy raises some eyebrows, and maybe it's time to unpack this trend.

The roots of the trauma discourse can be traced back to Freud and Breuer's groundbreaking investigations into hysteria at the turn of the century. In their 'Preliminary Communication' published in the Studies in Hysteria in 1895, they proposed that trauma is a precipitating factor for hysteria. While the manifestations of hysteria are often physical, their etiology is not organically endogenous; it doesn't originate within the afflicted individual's body. The conceptualization of external causes of hysteria marked a fundamental departure from established beliefs prevailing at that time.

Of course, Freud's theory of hysteria holds broader significance as it was conceived as a comprehensive theory of the mind. Perhaps, this explains our contemporary affinity for the concept—a shared sentiment that the boundaries of sanity are blurred, and many of us feel a subtle inclination towards a collective sense of madness.

However, it is surprising that our insistence on trauma seems to also underscore our inclination to attribute our suffering to external causes. Equally problematic is our apparent eagerness to seek psychological treatment for resolution. Delving into Freud and Breuer's analysis, the specific origin of hysteria is mnemic—an emotionally charged memory of trauma that triggers its manifestations. Therapy, therefore, focuses on the "talking cure" or a more specific "abreaction", by way of an emotional response, for example by weeping or becoming aggressive. Perhaps examples of this might be observed not only in the proliferation of "trauma coaching", but also in rage-fueled public altercations, like disputes over accidents ('road rage') or attacks on green protesters.

While trauma counseling certainly has its place, its populist adoption prompts reflection. There certainly seems to be a risk that when "everything is trauma", nothing is. Could the "trauma discourse" be a convenient diversion from our collective accountability for he world's troubles? Is it possibly a misguided attempt to feel good about ourselves without actively contributing to necessary change? The question lingers: Will personal or collective displays of emotional "trauma therapy" genuinely contribute to the betterment of society? 🤔💭

Who knows...

#psychology #management #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #transformation #goodorganisations

🚨 UNPACKING THE CURIOUS POPOLARITY OF #TRAUMA: Are we going slightly mad?! 🤯🔍

TRAUMA is defined as the "lasting emotional response that often results from living through a distressing event. Experiencing a traumatic event can harm a person's sense of safety, sense of self, and ability to regulate emotions and navigate relationships".

But trauma has long transcended its specialist medical roots, permeating conversations about any sort of personal, organizational or societal ailments. The surge in trauma consultancy and therapy raises some eyebrows, and maybe it's time to unpack this trend.

The roots of the trauma discourse can be traced back to Freud and Breuer's groundbreaking investigations into hysteria at the turn of the century. In their 'Preliminary Communication' published in the Studies in Hysteria in 1895, they proposed that trauma is a precipitating factor for hysteria. While the manifestations of hysteria are often physical, their etiology is not organically endogenous; it doesn't originate within the afflicted individual's body. The conceptualization of external causes of hysteria marked a fundamental departure from established beliefs prevailing at that time.

Of course, Freud's theory of hysteria holds broader significance as it was conceived as a comprehensive theory of the mind. Perhaps, this explains our contemporary affinity for the concept—a shared sentiment that the boundaries of sanity are blurred, and many of us feel a subtle inclination towards a collective sense of madness.

However, it is surprising that our insistence on trauma seems to also underscore our inclination to attribute our suffering to external causes. Equally problematic is our apparent eagerness to seek psychological treatment for resolution. Delving into Freud and Breuer's analysis, the specific origin of hysteria is mnemic—an emotionally charged memory of trauma that triggers its manifestations. Therapy, therefore, focuses on the "talking cure" or a more specific "abreaction", by way of an emotional response, for example by weeping or becoming aggressive. Perhaps examples of this might be observed not only in the proliferation of "trauma coaching", but also in rage-fueled public altercations, like disputes over accidents ('road rage') or attacks on green protesters.

While trauma counseling certainly has its place, its populist adoption prompts reflection. Could it be a convenient diversion from our collective accountability for he world's troubles? Is it possibly a misguided attempt to feel good about ourselves without actively contributing to necessary change? The question lingers: Will personal or collective displays of emotional "trauma therapy" genuinely contribute to the betterment of society? 🤔💭

Who knows...

#psychology #management #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #transformation #goodorganisations

05-12-2023

 What exactly is the essence of STRATEGY? 🌐🚀

Strategy is more than just a fancy word—at least in a business context it implies a) a comprehensive plan or a set of coordinated actions designed to b) achieve specific goals and objectives, and c) involves making choices and allocating resources - opening up the intricate dance between ambition and practicality.

In business schools we often get caught up in the latest strategic hype —from the need for entry barriers to avoid competition to the eternal debate of differentiation vs. cost, from the power of integrated value chains to the buzz of everything being API-driven, and the latest demand for everybody to be an app or a platform. But the reality is more nuanced, and as Henry Mintzberg aptly noted, strategies are seldom perfect plants in a hothouse; they grow like weeds in a garden. Through shared experience, strategies emerge.

However, amidst the focus on methods and tools, and the popular obsession with complexity and emergence, we tend to overlook that strategic decisions shape not just outcomes but the very essence of who we are. Thus, beyond the cacophonic noise of management prophets and simplistic recipes, strategy should prompt us to question the worthiness of our path. Not every strategic option is "worth" pursuing, independent of its potential to generate cash flows downstream - and the point cannot be to make profits without deserving them.

Thus understood, strategising is a journey towards wisdom, both individually and collectively, requiring a profound understanding of the external and internal worlds, as well as our values and constraints. Hence, in the rush to close the year and generate our next beautiful annual report, we might want to take time to reflect a little deeper. We must be ready to discern and stand up for the kind of weed we are about to become. 🌿✨

 What exactly is the essence of STRATEGY? 🌐🚀

At its core, strategy is more than just a fancy word—at least in a business context it implies a) a comprehensive plan or a set of coordinated actions designed to b) achieve specific goals and objectives, and c) involves making choices and allocating resources - opening up the intricate dance between ambition and practicality.

In business schools we often get caught up in the latest strategic hype —from the need for entry barriers to the eternal debate of differentiation vs. cost, from the power of integrated value chains to the buzz of everything being API-driven, and the latest demand for everything to be an app or a platform. But the reality is more nuanced, and what tends to be overlooked is the essential reflection on who we are and who we aspire to become. Not every strategic option is "worth" pursuing, independent of its potential to generate cash flows downstream.

Beyond the noise of management prophets-of-sale, strategy also prompts us to question the worthiness of our path. Amidst the focus on methods and tools, it's crucial to remember that strategic decisions shape not just outcomes but the very essence of who we are. It's a journey of wisdom, both individually and collectively, requiring a profound understanding of the external and internal worlds, as well as our values and constraints.

As Henry Mintzberg wisely noted, strategies aren't perfect plants in a hothouse; they grow like weeds in a garden. Through experience and reflection, strategies emerge. Yet, we should not forget the essential role of judgment, and indeed accountability — we must be ready to discern and stand up for the kind of weed we intend to become. 🌿✨

#strategy #leadership #goodleadership #wisdom #StrategicWisdom #ReflectiveAction #BusinessStrategyInsights

25-11-2023

A CALL FOR WISE LEADERSHIP (& a more fruitful reading of Plato's Republic)

Paraphrasing Plato's famous assertion, genuine transformation within organizations is unachievable unless philosophers become leaders and leaders adopt a philosophical mindset. Why?

According to Plato, philosophers control their passions, in order to delve deeper into the exploration of reality. Within this reality, they uncover the forms—ideals that imbue things in our world with qualities such as goodness, beauty, or justice. Forms transcend mere common qualities; they represent essential reality, not created but only recognized by the human mind. As we learn to discern forms, knowledge transforms into wisdom. Forms begin to serve as standards against which we assess our lives, and act as deep sources of inspiration, compelling us to strive toward excellence. Plato suggests that by practicing wisdom, we not only lead good lives individually but also contribute to society. Humans are inherently social beings and genuine excellence is always the excellence of a social creature—the excellence of the citizen.

Ergo, if we want our organizations to embody worthy ideals, leaders within these organizations must turn to philosophy. Goodness and justice can only manifest themselves if they are imminent in the lives of leaders. Wise leaders strive not only for self-improvement to reach their full potential but also shape their organizations to enable every member to live a good life according to their capacity.

Herein lies a common misunderstanding of Plato's Republic. Good leadership is never pursued for the sake of the leader but for the good of the organization. When leaders deviate from reason to fulfill personal desires, especially the pursuit of power, they transform into tyrants. According to Plato, power is finite, and its pursuit as an end invariably leads to its accumulation through force by a few over the many. Conversely, wisdom and knowledge are infinite - there's a shared recognition that the more wisdom a community possesses, the more it flourishes. Hence, for Plato's philosopher-kings, there are only two ends: the understanding of the forms and their realization in the structures, routines, and life of the community. True practical wisdom consists in bringing these two ends together.

This also might serve as an appropriate reminder to all those passionately advocating for a shift from SCARCITY TO ABUNDANCE "MINDSETS" as a solution to our current troubles. Firstly, what truly matters is not the abundance of resources, opportunities, or successes but the abundance of wisdom. Secondly, the key to successful transformation is not merely mindset but actual practice!

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #philosophy #wisdom

Image: AI generator

A CALL FOR WISE LEADERSHIP (& a more fruitful reading of Plato's Republic)

Paraphrasing Plato's famous assertion, genuine transformation within organizations is unachievable unless philosophers become leaders and leaders adopt a philosophical mindset. Why?

According to Plato, philosophers control their passions, in order to delve deeper into the exploration of reality. Within this reality, they uncover the forms—ideals that imbue things in our world with qualities such as goodness, beauty, or justice. Forms transcend mere common qualities; they represent essential reality, not created but only recognized by the human mind. As we learn to discern forms, knowledge transforms into wisdom. Forms begin to serve as standards against which we assess our lives, and act as deep sources of inspiration, compelling us to strive toward excellence. Plato suggests that by practicing wisdom, we not only lead good lives individually but also contribute to society. Humans are inherently social beings and genuine excellence is always the excellence of a social creature—the excellence of the citizen.

Ergo, if we want our organizations to embody worthy ideals, leaders within these organizations must turn to philosophy. Goodness and justice can only manifest themselves if they are imminent in the lives of leaders. Wise leaders strive not only for self-improvement to reach their full potential but also shape their organizations to enable every member to live a good life according to their capacity.

Herein lies a common misunderstanding of Plato's Republic. Good leadership is never pursued for the sake of the leader but for the good of the organization. When leaders deviate from reason to fulfill personal desires, especially the pursuit of power, they transform into tyrants. According to Plato, power is finite, and its pursuit as an end invariably leads to its accumulation through force by a few over the many. Conversely, wisdom and knowledge are infinite - there's a shared recognition that the more wisdom a community possesses, the more it flourishes. Hence, for Plato's philosopher-kings, there are only two ends: the understanding of the forms and their realization in the structures, routines, and life of the community. True practical wisdom consists in bringing these two ends together.

This also might serve as an appropriate reminder to all those passionately advocating for a shift from SCARCITY TO ABUNDANCE "MINDSETS" as a solution to our current troubles. Firstly, what truly matters is not the abundance of resources, opportunities, or successes but the abundance of wisdom. Secondly, the key to successful transformation is not merely mindset but actual practice!

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #philosophy #wisdom

Image: AI generator

25-11-2023

Eureka! The difference between #LEADERS AND #MANAGERS COMES DOWN TO A RATIO OF QUESTIONS TO ANSWERS? Really? That's a good one! Would it vary with the weather?

A recent post by Gary Hamel had suggested that: "A critical distinction between leaders and managers is their ratio of questions to answers. Managers are always more inclined to tell than to ask, so their Q:A ratio is < 1. A leader, by contrast, is eager to learn, and has a Q:A ratio that's >1. What's your Q:A ratio?"

Fabulous! It seems seems like good leadership boils down to some behavioral regression analysis. What about open questions? Could there be a closed vs. open question ratio? OQ:CQ>1? Or perhaps personal questions, like a leaders-who-know-the-first-name-of-your-wife-and-children ratio? Like POQ:NPCQ>1? Language skills could play a role too, like people who can ask questions in local languages. What's your LLPOQ:NLLNPCQ ratio?! Maybe even a ratio of good questions vs. silly questions. Or perhaps the entire idea is just humbug! 😄

Let me be very clear, this is not an ad hominem critique. An iron rule in leadership is that we never become big by making other people small. Gary's work has been enlightening for me since my undergraduate days at Bologna and Berkeley, and his lectures at #LBS were absolutely iconic. However, we must be cautious not to succumb to simplistic recipes for leadership development.

Good leadership extends beyond individual leaders, and the development of leaders involves more than just simplistic and manipulative sales techniques. And as Henry Mintzberg has long emphasized, the distinction between leadership and management is largely a myth, often perpetuated by institutions that might not have a great track record in leadership AND management in the first place. 😉

Commenting on: https://lnkd.in/edsxMgCP 

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #maycontainlies #management #personaldevelopment 

Eureka! The difference between #LEADERS AND #MANAGERS COMES DOWN TO A RATIO OF QUESTIONS TO ANSWERS? Really? That's a good one! Would it vary with the weather?

A recent post by Gary Hamel had suggested that: "A critical distinction between leaders and managers is their ratio of questions to answers. Managers are always more inclined to tell than to ask, so their Q:A ratio is < 1. A leader, by contrast, is eager to learn, and has a Q:A ratio that's >1. What's your Q:A ratio?"

Fabulous! It seems seems like good leadership boils down to some behavioral regression analysis. What about open questions? Could there be a closed vs. open question ratio? OQ:CQ>1? Or perhaps personal questions, like a leaders-who-know-the-first-name-of-your-wife-and-children ratio? Like POQ:NPCQ>1? Language skills could play a role too, like people who can ask questions in local languages. What's your LLPOQ:NLLNPCQ ratio?! Maybe even a ratio of good questions vs. silly questions. Or perhaps the entire idea is just humbug! 😄

Let me be very clear, this is not an ad hominem critique. An iron rule in leadership is that we never become big by making other people small. Gary's work has been enlightening for me since my undergraduate days at Bologna and Berkeley, and his lectures at #LBS were absolutely iconic. However, we must be cautious not to succumb to simplistic recipes for leadership development.

Good leadership extends beyond individual leaders, and the development of leaders involves more than just simplistic and manipulative sales techniques. And as Henry Mintzberg has long emphasized, the distinction between leadership and management is largely a myth, often perpetuated by institutions that might not have a great track record in leadership AND management in the first place. 😉

Commenting on: https://lnkd.in/edsxMgCP 

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #maycontainlies #management #personaldevelopment 

22-11-2023

#Leadership, so pragmatists have often argued, is an incremental movement forward. We disagree. We believe it inherently involves a double-movement – progressing both forward and upwards.

As it turns out, the dichotomy between Aristotle and Plato, as depicted in Raffael’s famous “School of Athens” (1509-1511, Vatican Museums, Italy), is vastly overstated. Aristotle, pointing towards the real world, never fully abandons his master’s Platonic ideals, residing in the celestial realm. Rather, as Otto Scharmer in his less-known yet excellent work on “Aesthetics as a category of strategic leadership” illustrates, he integrates these with “telos”, providing his theory of forms with both empirical and metaphysical foundations.

Whether good leadership therefore demands love, as Saint Augustine argued, or justice, as in Plato's Republic, is debatable. It likely requires both. In the words of Martin Luther King: "Power without love is reckless, and love without power is sentimental. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love."

Echoing his sentiment, Bill Sloane Coffin, the unforgettable warrior for the human spirit, reminds us: “Let justice not charity roll down like mighty waters!”

#leadershipdevelopment #JusticeAndLove #goodleadership #management

19-11-2023

"It is cognitive, not demographic, diversity that achieves [...] a healthy culture, reduced groupthink, new talent unlocked, and greater understanding of and provision for diverse consumer needs. The FCA’s proposals require reporting of demographic diversity statistics without any evidence that they improve cognitive diversity, let alone performance. Indeed, the equating of demographic diversity to cognitive diversity (believing the former will automatically reduce groupthink) is unfair to both men and women, pigeon-holing and stereotyping how they think by their gender (and the same is true for race, age etc.). How a person thinks is affected by far more than just their demographic characteristics. People are not prisoners of their birth."

Bravo, Alex! We've been saying it forever, but the populist #diversity dogma seems to proliferate, largely unquestioned. Truth is, quotas are no substitute for justice, nor better performance. As you suggest, while we must ensure equality of access - and be careful that our internal processes do not undermine it - we should prioritise inclusion, not diversity. And in terms of regulation we'd better focus on output, not input measures.

Commenting on: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/aedmans_in-yesterdays-post-on-the-fcas-diversity-activity-7131914059636994048-72Gc?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop

Link to full paper: https://alexedmans.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/FCA-Diversity-2023-Final.pdf

"It is cognitive, not demographic, diversity that achieves [...] a healthy culture, reduced groupthink, new talent unlocked, and greater understanding of and provision for diverse consumer needs. The FCA’s proposals require reporting of demographic diversity statistics without any evidence that they improve cognitive diversity, let alone performance. Indeed, the equating of demographic diversity to cognitive diversity (believing the former will automatically reduce groupthink) is unfair to both men and women, pigeon-holing and stereotyping how they think by their gender (and the same is true for race, age etc.). How a person thinks is affected by far more than just their demographic characteristics. People are not prisoners of their birth."

Bravo, Alex! We've been saying it forever, but the populist #diversity dogma seems to proliferate, largely unquestioned. Truth is, quotas are no substitute for justice, nor better performance. As you suggest, while we must ensure equality of access - and be careful that our internal processes do not undermine it - we should prioritise inclusion, not diversity. And in terms of regulation we'd better focus on output, not input measures.

Commenting on: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/aedmans_in-yesterdays-post-on-the-fcas-diversity-activity-7131914059636994048-72Gc?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop

Link to full paper: https://alexedmans.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/FCA-Diversity-2023-Final.pdf

#Leadership, so pragmatists have often argued, is an incremental movement forward. We disagree. We believe it inherently involves a double-movement – progressing both forward and upwards.

As it turns out, the dichotomy between Aristotle and Plato, as depicted in Raffael’s famous “School of Athens” (1509-1511, Vatican Museums, Italy), is vastly overstated. Aristotle, pointing towards the real world, never fully abandons his master’s Platonic ideals, residing in the celestial realm. Rather, as Otto Scharmer in his less-known yet excellent work on “Aesthetics as a category of strategic leadership” illustrates, he integrates these with “telos”, providing his theory of forms with both empirical and metaphysical foundations.

Whether good leadership therefore demands love, as Saint Augustine argued, or justice, as in Plato's Republic, is debatable. It likely requires both. In the words of Martin Luther King: "Power without love is reckless, and love without power is sentimental. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love."

Echoing his sentiment, Bill Sloane Coffin, the unforgettable warrior for the human spirit, reminds us: “Let justice not charity roll down like mighty waters!”

#leadershipdevelopment #JusticeAndLove #goodleadership #management

18-11-2023

🎉 CONGRATULATIONS, you've been personally selected to join the EVEN-BETTER-THINKERS49 AWARDS!

Because, let's face it, who needs Thinkers>49 when you can be part of something even more spectacularly superficial and elitist?

🌟 Brace yourself for a relentless journey into the heart of academic populism, narcissism, and the enthralling world of pointless competition—all for the glorious prize of more 'likes'!

🧠 Forget profound insights and groundbreaking ideas; here, it's all about crafting the most buzzworthy headline, the catchiest soundbite, and the most flamboyant display of anachronistic intellectual grandeur. Who cares about truth, ethics, impact or professional collaboration when you can have the adoration of the masses? Truth is so last season—'likes' are the new currency!

🏆 So, prepare for a riveting ride of shameless self-promotion, shameless name-dropping, and shameless pandering to the whims of the online audience. Because, let's be honest, who needs genuine intellectual discourse or peer reviews when you can have a popularity contest to sell more consultancy and commercial services?

🚀 Welcome to the Even-Better-Thinkers 49 Awards—an even more exclusive club for those who prefer the glittering facade of acclaim over the gritty pursuit of truth. Remember, in this arena, the only thing that matters is the applause of the masses. Happy liking! 🌐💬

#EvenBetterThinkers49 #PopularityRocks #SaturdaySatire #CourtesyOfChatGPT ;-)

🎉 CONGRATULATIONS, you've been personally selected to join the EVEN-BETTER-THINKERS49 AWARDS!

Because, let's face it, who needs Thinkers>49 when you can be part of something even more spectacularly superficial and elitist?

🌟 Brace yourself for a relentless journey into the heart of academic populism, narcissism, and the enthralling world of pointless competition—all for the glorious prize of more 'likes'!

🧠 Forget profound insights and groundbreaking ideas; here, it's all about crafting the most buzzworthy headline, the catchiest soundbite, and the most flamboyant display of anachronistic intellectual grandeur. Who cares about truth, ethics, impact or professional collaboration when you can have the adoration of the masses? Truth is so last season—'likes' are the new currency!

🏆 So, prepare for a riveting ride of shameless self-promotion, shameless name-dropping, and shameless pandering to the whims of the online audience. Because, let's be honest, who needs genuine intellectual discourse or peer reviews when you can have a popularity contest to sell more consultancy and commercial services?

🚀 Welcome to the Even-Better-Thinkers 49 Awards—an even more exclusive club for those who prefer the glittering facade of acclaim over the gritty pursuit of truth. Remember, in this arena, the only thing that matters is the applause of the masses. Happy liking! 🌐💬

#EvenBetterThinkers49 #PopularityRocks #SaturdaySatire #CourtesyOfChatGPT ;-)

17-11-2023

Ever heard those tear-jerking tales of executives who have sudden epiphanies and decide to ditch an important board meeting for their son's (sic!) impromptu football practice?

These might play well in certain old-boys golf club circles, but for the rest of us, they're just plain absurd. Leaders with a penchant for narcissism and self-obsession should never have obtained a boardroom seat in the first place. And I reckon we couldn't care less about their direct kin. Decision-making in large organisations - beyond the Italian mafia - is not a family affair and requires the balancing of diverse, equally important and often conflicting stakeholder views. Good leadership needs a genuine concern for all the multiple voices at stake.

In Greek philosophy, we find apt depictions of a leader's evolution toward elevated and mature expressions of care and love. The journey commences with the fervent Eros, embodying a self-centered craving for life and pleasure. Progressing to the enduring Philia, the leader cultivates profound friendships founded on shared values, fostering bonds grounded in mutual respect and unwavering loyalty. Finally, Agape emerges as the epitome of a charitable love for truth, good and beauty; a manifestation of selfless and gratuitous reciprocity, emphasizing the leader's capacity to transcend personal interests for the common good.

Hence, move over "authenticity" and "assertiveness"; forget the corporate sales track record! A better litmus test for a leader's maturity might be "moral sensitivity" —their ability to care. It's about the continual expansion of one's "moral circle" to ensure decisions affecting diverse stakeholders groups are thoughtfully considered within the broad context of an interdependent whole.

So, the next time you come across a "heartwarming" story about executives canceling a company dinner for their wife's wedding anniversary, maybe it's time to reconsider the applause. While personal commitments are undoubtedly important, it's much more critical that leaders are able to question the broader impact of their decisions on the team, the company, the economy, society and planet. Simply meeting the minimum requirements for showing care in their family roles doesn't exactly scream of maturity or deserve a standing ovation.

Genuine leadership demands a bit more— a commitment to aim beyond individual circles, striving to bring to life the best in ourselves for the good of all.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #transformation

Ever heard those tear-jerking tales of executives who have sudden epiphanies and decide to ditch an important board meeting for their son's (sic!) impromptu football practice?

These might play well in certain old-boys golf club circles, but for the rest of us, they're just plain absurd. Leaders with a penchant for narcissism and self-obsession should never have obtained a boardroom seat in the first place. And I reckon we couldn't care less about their direct kin. Decision-making in large organisations - beyond the Italian mafia - is not a family affair and requires the balancing of diverse, equally important and often conflicting stakeholder views. Good leadership needs a genuine concern for all the multiple voices at stake.

In Greek philosophy, we find apt depictions of a leader's evolution toward elevated and mature expressions of care and love. The journey commences with the fervent Eros, embodying a self-centered craving for life and pleasure. Progressing to the enduring Philia, the leader cultivates profound friendships founded on shared values, fostering bonds grounded in mutual respect and unwavering loyalty. Finally, Agape emerges as the epitome of a charitable love for truth, good and beauty; a manifestation of selfless and gratuitous reciprocity, emphasizing the leader's capacity to transcend personal interests for the common good.

Hence, move over "authenticity" and "assertiveness"; forget the corporate sales track record! A better litmus test for a leader's maturity might be "moral sensitivity" —their ability to care. It's about the continual expansion of one's "moral circle" to ensure decisions affecting diverse stakeholders groups are thoughtfully considered within the broad context of an interdependent whole.

So, the next time you come across a "heartwarming" story about executives canceling a company dinner for their wife's wedding anniversary, maybe it's time to reconsider the applause. While personal commitments are undoubtedly important, it's much more critical that leaders are able to question the broader impact of their decisions on the team, the company, the economy, society and planet. Simply meeting the minimum requirements for showing care in their family roles doesn't exactly scream of maturity or deserve a standing ovation.

Genuine leadership demands a bit more— a commitment to aim beyond individual circles, striving to bring to life the best in ourselves for the good of all.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #transformation

17-11-2023

Can innovative solutions solve our climate change challenge? Thus reads the newsletter from #BCG this morning...

The answer is: No. We must finally face the fact that there's no alternative to REDUCING production and consumption, and CHANGING our own behaviour. It's ludicrous how we're conspiring in avoidance of the easiest and most ethical answer to a problem we have created in the first place.

In a nutshell, this is the difference between a #sustainability myth and genuine #responsibility. Of course, it requires us to recognize that WE are the moral problem, not the world out there which we are continuing to destroy.

#leadership #Transformation #management

Can innovative solutions solve our climate change challenge? Thus reads the newsletter from #BCG this morning...

The answer is: No. We must finally face the fact that there's no alternative to REDUCING production and consumption, and CHANGING our own behaviour. It's ludicrous how we're conspiring in avoidance of the easiest and most ethical answer to a problem we have created in the first place.

In a nutshell, this is the difference between a #sustainability myth and genuine #responsibility. Of course, it requires us to recognize that WE are the moral problem, not the world out there which we are continuing to destroy.

#leadership #Transformation #management

16-11-2023

Someone suggested today that "CORPORATE CULTURE SHOULD BE EXACTLY WHAT OUR BIGGEST CUSTOMERS WANT IT TO BE". That statement still puzzles me.

Firstly, it seems to rest on a profound misunderstanding of what organizational culture truly entails. As Dave Snowden has long emphasized, culture is an emergent property of a complex social system, and not something that can simply be "shaped". Mats Alvesson, in agreement, eloquently challenges the simplistic notion that culture can be neatly abstracted and bundled up as some sort of idealised "package" which executives then send "down" on the motorways of corporate hierarchies to socialise employees.

Secondly, even if we ignore the ontological (and practical) challenge, why should a company's culture be dictated solely by the preferences of its largest customers? While customer input is valuable for product development, culture delves deeper into the core identity of an organization. It is about WHO WE ARE, how we treat each other, and what we are seeking to achieve together. Culture serves as a guiding anchor, offering clarity on the organization's purpose and influencing decisions about which customers to engage in the first place, and to what extent their preferences should be considered.

The implication that a company should tailor its culture to meet customer desires raises profound questions about the ethics of the organization itself. Should a church rewrite its gospel based on the desires of its parishioners? Should schools conform their culture to align with student preferences? Should Football clubs submit their souls to the narcissism of Qatari investors? Should McKinsey do as Purdue does? And if customers fluctuate frequently, should organisations do so, too? Such a perspective leads to implausible scenarios where the identity of organizations becomes purely contingent on external demands.

In summary, the notion that organizations should unquestioningly adhere to customer wishes appears to reflect a distinctly Americanized approach of unlimited commodification. "I sell, therefore I am".

To many European sensibilities, this idea must come across as, in a single word, absurd.

#leadership #hrcongress #hrm #business #transformation

Someone suggested today that "CORPORATE CULTURE SHOULD BE EXACTLY WHAT OUR BIGGEST CUSTOMERS WANT IT TO BE". That statement still puzzles me.

Firstly, it seems to rest on a profound misunderstanding of what organizational culture truly entails. As Dave Snowden has long emphasized, culture is an emergent property of a complex social system, and not something that can simply be "shaped". Mats Alvesson, in agreement, eloquently challenges the simplistic notion that culture can be neatly abstracted and bundled up as some sort of idealised "package" which executives then send "down" on the motorways of corporate hierarchies to socialise employees.

Secondly, even if we ignore the ontological (and practical) challenge, why should a company's culture be dictated solely by the preferences of its largest customers? While customer input is valuable for product development, culture delves deeper into the core identity of an organization. It is about WHO WE ARE, how we treat each other, and what we are seeking to achieve together. Culture serves as a guiding anchor, offering clarity on the organization's purpose and influencing decisions about which customers to engage in the first place, and to what extent their preferences should be considered.

The implication that a company should tailor its culture to meet customer desires raises profound questions about the ethics of the organization itself. Should a church rewrite its gospel based on the desires of its parishioners? Should schools conform their culture to align with student preferences? Should Football clubs submit their souls to the narcissism of Qatari investors? Should McKinsey do as Purdue does? And if customers fluctuate frequently, should organisations do so, too? Such a perspective leads to implausible scenarios where the identity of organizations becomes purely contingent on external demands.

In summary, the notion that organizations should unquestioningly adhere to customer wishes appears to reflect a distinctly Americanized approach of unlimited commodification. "I sell, therefore I am".

To many European sensibilities, this idea must come across as, in a single word, absurd.

#leadership #hrcongress #hrm #business #transformation

16-11-2023

WHAT DO YOU RECKON IS THE PREVAILING MINDSET IN HR?

HR SHOULD...

A) "help the business make more money" (Anachronistic-Instrumental)

B)"help people make more meaning" (so that the business can make more money) (Psychological-Instrumental)

C) "enable people collectively to bring to life the very best in themselves through work" (Ethical-Humanistic)

WHAT DO YOU RECKON IS THE PREVAILING MINDSET IN HR?

HR SHOULD...

A) "help the business make more money" (Anachronistic-Instrumental)

B)"help people make more meaning" (so that the business can make more money) (Psychological-Instrumental)

C) "enable people collectively to bring to life the very best in themselves through work" (Ethical-Humanistic)

16-11-2023

Maybe it is time to upgrade our understanding of #leadership, both from an epistemological and an ethical perspective. 

Otherwise it is probably not a surprise if we are continually getting stuck in the mud of semantics.

#goodleadership #hrcongress

Maybe it is time to upgrade our understanding of #leadership, both from an epistemological and an ethical perspective. 

Otherwise it is probably not a surprise if we are continually getting stuck in the mud of semantics.

#goodleadership #hrcongress

09-11-2023

The Road Less Traveled: #HR Leaders, Unite!

In a world where complexity reigns, where capitalism's grip on society threatens democracy, and where suffering pervades our organizations, we find ourselves at a crossroads. In order to reshape the future of work, HR must heed the call of transformation, daring to challenge the status quo and driving change for good.

For far too long, HR has grappled with an existential crisis, losing sight of its purpose and its potential to be a force for positive change. We've professionalized, we've gathered brilliant minds, but the truth is, people are no longer truly at the heart of what we do. We've wandered in the wilderness of indifference, too often lost in a labyrinth of bureaucracy and technology.

The path to real change is not lined with quick fixes or superficial solutions. It's a winding road that demands introspection, courage, and radical honesty. HR must confront its own role in creating the suffering it purports to alleviate. We must stop to purchase indulgences in the form of DEI programs, or distract ourselves with the latest technological marvels to atone for our shortcomings.

If we fail to transform, the #futureofwork will be the exact mirroring of our troubled present. HR must take the reins of leadership and commit to subordinate effectiveness to #ethics, #humanism and #sustainability. This calls not only for new ways to imagine our organisations, but for a profound, inward journey. HR must shed the chains of dependency on those in power. It must once again nurture a dual loyalty, towards both the business and the ideals of its profession. It must unify practitioners across organizations in a shared quest for what is right and good.

It takes bravery to confront our deepest fears, and stand up for what is just. The bedrock of any good organization is good people, and HR must be willing to lead the way, so that others might follow. Leadership itself has grown morally mute, and herein might lie an opportunity for HR to show its metal and step into the void. A new HR has the potential to be the vanguard of a coalition of the willing, fostering systemic change within an unjust economic system.

The clock is ticking and it's time to decide which road you are willing to travel. Will you perpetuate the unhappiness of the past, with more of the same but new fancy clothes? Or will you take the courageous leap toward a better world, one where work exudes dignity, the economy serves humanity, and our organizations shine as beacons of a good life for all?

Peter Senge once spoke of leadership as a community's ability to shape its future. Within the HR community, let the spark of unwavering determination to craft a better world of work grow! Let our actions be the testament to our commitment to brighter, more humane organisations. That famous future, the future of work, is already upon us. Friends, let us not squander it!

The Road Less Traveled: #HR Leaders, Unite!

In a world where complexity reigns, where capitalism's grip on society threatens democracy, and where suffering pervades our organizations, we find ourselves at a crossroads. In order to reshape the future of work, HR must heed the call of transformation, daring to challenge the status quo and driving change for good.

For far too long, HR has grappled with an existential crisis, losing sight of its purpose and its potential to be a force for positive change. We've professionalized, we've gathered brilliant minds, but the truth is, people are no longer truly at the heart of what we do. We've wandered in the wilderness of indifference, too often lost in a labyrinth of bureaucracy and technology.

The path to real change is not lined with quick fixes or superficial solutions. It's a winding road that demands introspection, courage, and radical honesty. HR must confront its own role in creating the suffering it purports to alleviate. We must stop to purchase indulgences in the form of DEI programs, or distract ourselves with the latest technological marvels to atone for our shortcomings.

If we fail to transform, the #futureofwork will be the exact mirroring of our troubled present. HR must take the reins of leadership and commit to subordinate effectiveness to #ethics, #humanism and #sustainability. This calls not only for new ways to imagine our organisations, but for a profound, inward journey. HR must shed the chains of dependency on those in power. It must once again nurture a dual loyalty, towards both the business and the ideals of its profession. It must unify practitioners across organizations in a shared quest for what is right and good.

It takes bravery to confront our deepest fears, and stand up for what is just. The bedrock of any good organization is good people, and HR must be willing to lead the way, so that others might follow. Leadership itself has grown morally mute, and herein might lie an opportunity for HR to show its metal and step into the void. A new HR has the potential to be the vanguard of a coalition of the willing, fostering systemic change within an unjust economic system.

The clock is ticking and it's time to decide which road you are willing to travel. Will you perpetuate the unhappiness of the past, with more of the same but new fancy clothes? Or will you take the courageous leap toward a better world, one where work exudes dignity, the economy serves humanity, and our organizations shine as beacons of a good life for all?

Peter Senge once spoke of leadership as a community's ability to shape its future. Within the HR community, let the spark of unwavering determination to craft a better world of work grow! Let our actions be the testament to our commitment to brighter, more humane organisations. That famous future, the future of work, is already upon us. Friends, let us not squander it!

09-11-2023

The Power of Perspective: Friendly vs. Positional Competition

#Competition is a driving force in human endeavors, but it can take on vastly different forms and outcomes. There is a striking difference between "friendly competition" and "positional competition" and how they shape our interactions and aspirations.

  • Friendly Competition:
In the realm of friendly competition, individuals engage with one another to co-elevate and inspire human greatness. It's a platform where the primary goal isn't to vanquish others but to collectively bring out the best in each participant, to "lift each other up". Think of Olympic athletes who strive together to bring to life personal and human excellence and thus to raise the bar for humanity as a whole. They compete to make the world shine brighter. Here, competition is a catalyst for character development, mutual respect, and the celebration of meritorious achievement.

  • Positional Competition:
Conversely, positional competition is a different beast altogether. It's a scenario where individuals vie against one another with the intention of dominating or defeating the other party. The focus here is on establishing and maintaining one's position at the expense of others. It often disregards the well-being of competitors and may lead to a destructive race to the top, or to the bottom, where cooperation and collective progress are sidelined.

  • What sets these two types of competition apart?

Mindset: Friendly competition fosters a developmental mindset, encouraging individuals to learn and improve together. Positional competition often stems from a narrow insecure focus on outdoing others.

 
Outcome: Friendly competition tends to yield positive outcomes, driving innovation and collective advancement. Positional competition can lead to divisive outcomes, potentially causing harm to relationships and society as a whole.

 
Collaboration: In friendly competition, collaboration and support are highly valued. In positional competition, individuals may view cooperation as a sign of weakness.


Essence: The traditional Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius - Latin for "Faster, Higher, Stronger". It's inventor, Pierre Coubertin, said "these three words represent a programme of moral beauty. The aesthetics of sport are intangible". When true athletes compete, they showcase the best of human spirit. Coubertin's Olympic ideals are expressed in the Olympic creed: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

Understanding the distinction between these two forms of competition is vital. While competition can be a force for progress, choosing the right type can make all the difference in creating a harmonious and prosperous society. The choice is ours: to compete to co-elevate and shine together or to compete to dominate and cast shadows over one another.

The Power of Perspective: Friendly vs. Positional Competition

#Competition is a driving force in human endeavors, but it can take on vastly different forms and outcomes. There is a striking difference between "friendly competition" and "positional competition" and how they shape our interactions and aspirations.

  • Friendly Competition:
In the realm of friendly competition, individuals engage with one another to co-elevate and inspire human greatness. It's a platform where the primary goal isn't to vanquish others but to collectively bring out the best in each participant, to "lift each other up". Think of Olympic athletes who strive together to bring to life personal and human excellence and thus to raise the bar for humanity as a whole. They compete to make the world shine brighter. Here, competition is a catalyst for character development, mutual respect, and the celebration of meritorious achievement.

  • Positional Competition:
Conversely, positional competition is a different beast altogether. It's a scenario where individuals vie against one another with the intention of dominating or defeating the other party. The focus here is on establishing and maintaining one's position at the expense of others. It often disregards the well-being of competitors and may lead to a destructive race to the top, or to the bottom, where cooperation and collective progress are sidelined.

  • What sets these two types of competition apart?

Mindset: Friendly competition fosters a developmental mindset, encouraging individuals to learn and improve together. Positional competition often stems from a narrow insecure focus on outdoing others.

 
Outcome: Friendly competition tends to yield positive outcomes, driving innovation and collective advancement. Positional competition can lead to divisive outcomes, potentially causing harm to relationships and society as a whole.

 
Collaboration: In friendly competition, collaboration and support are highly valued. In positional competition, individuals may view cooperation as a sign of weakness.


Essence: The traditional Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius - Latin for "Faster, Higher, Stronger". It's inventor, Pierre Coubertin, said "these three words represent a programme of moral beauty. The aesthetics of sport are intangible". When true athletes compete, they showcase the best of human spirit. Coubertin's Olympic ideals are expressed in the Olympic creed: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

Understanding the distinction between these two forms of competition is vital. While competition can be a force for progress, choosing the right type can make all the difference in creating a harmonious and prosperous society. The choice is ours: to compete to co-elevate and shine together or to compete to dominate and cast shadows over one another.

02-11-2023

Truth be told, we're not "losing ourselves to find ourselves". 

We're developing ourselves to find out that we never were in the first place, so that we can eventually find "the Other".

Everything else is a myth.

Truth be told, we're not "losing ourselves to find ourselves". 

We're developing ourselves to find out that we never were, so that we can eventually find the Other.

Everything else is a myth.

02-11-2023

ARE YOU TRULY MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TIME? HOW WOULD YOU KNOW?

Time is a concept that has captivated the human imagination for centuries. Maybe a transcendental category, maybe the eternal timekeeper, it oscillates between chronological and ontological, existence and essence, serving as both means and end. Our appreciation of time is deeply intertwined with our values.

a) Time is Volume
Time is an elusive essence, an endless entity we strive to grasp, yet it remains enigmatic. As expression of our becoming, it is a vessel filled with the potential for creation and love. We create time, as we gift ourselves to the world, infusing our actions with beauty and meaning.

b) Time is Pleasure
Time is a finite and tangible resource that we cherish and savor as an end in itself. It is a source of delight. Like the artist, we craft time to experience concrete moments of joy. Time, in this sense, is a precious gift to us that we must cherish and make the most of, by making each moment eternal.

c) Time is Productivity
Time is a measure for our capacity to gain productivity and achievement. Time is a tool and each moment, literally, counts. Like the scientist, we are managing our time to make the most of it. We are the product of our time.

d) Time is Money
Time is a flat, scarce, mechanistic entity. It ultimately controls and manipulates the world. We must account for our time not with who we are, but with what we have. Our abstract greed for the accumulation of money is driven by existential fear. Time is what we have to lose.

Time shapes us and we shape time. We must carefully consider how we interact with time, whether we let go of it, or succumb to it. Either way, time will shape the world in which we live.

Sed fugit interea irreparabile tempus (Virgil)

#Leadership #Leadershipdevelopment #Philosophy

ARE YOU TRULY MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TIME? HOW WOULD YOU KNOW?

Time is a concept that has captivated the human imagination for centuries. Maybe a transcendental category, maybe the eternal timekeeper, it oscillates between chronological and ontological, existence and essence, serving as both means and end. Our appreciation of time is deeply intertwined with our values.

a) Time is Volume
Time is an elusive essence, an endless entity we strive to grasp, yet it remains enigmatic. As expression of our becoming, it is a vessel filled with the potential for creation and love. We create time, as we gift ourselves to the world, infusing our actions with beauty and meaning.

b) Time is Pleasure
Time is a finite and tangible resource that we cherish and savor as an end in itself. It is a source of delight. Like the artist, we craft time to experience concrete moments of joy. Time, in this sense, is a precious gift to us that we must cherish and make the most of, by making each moment eternal.

c) Time is Productivity
Time is a measure for our capacity to gain productivity and achievement. Time is a tool and each moment, literally, counts. Like the scientist, we are managing our time to make the most of it. We are the product of our time.

d) Time is Money
Time is a flat, scarce, mechanistic entity. It ultimately controls and manipulates the world. We must account for our time not with who we are, but with what we have. Our abstract greed for the accumulation of money is driven by existential fear. Time is what we have to lose.

Time shapes us and we shape time. We must carefully consider how we interact with time, whether we let go of it, or succumb to it. Either way, time will shape the world in which we live.

Sed fugit interea irreparabile tempus (Virgil)

#Leadership #Leadershipdevelopment #Philosophy

01-11-2023

It seems to me that the more we emphasize complexity, the more critical it becomes to examine the inherent ethics of our actions and the character of those responsible for taking them. Consequentialist ethics, based on predicting outcomes, seems destined to diminish in effectiveness.

Paradoxically, this may necessitate a decrease in the (negative) freedom for individual action and an increased reliance on rules. Neither the fervent call for long-term thinking and sustainability nor the fixation on agile iterations can fully insulate us from the challenge of anticipating the repercussions of our actions in a profoundly interconnected and uncertain world.

Calls for the market to resolve paradox, or for technology to fix it, appear to be, at best, wishful thinking and, dangerous, at worst.

#leadership #complexity #ethics #transformation #management

It seems to me that the more we emphasize complexity, the more critical it becomes to examine the inherent ethics of our actions and the character of those responsible for taking them. Consequentialist ethics, based on predicting outcomes, seems destined to diminish in effectiveness.

Paradoxically, this may necessitate a decrease in the (negative) freedom for individual action and an increased reliance on rules. Neither the fervent call for long-term thinking and sustainability nor the fixation on agile iterations can fully insulate us from the challenge of anticipating the repercussions of our actions in a profoundly interconnected and uncertain world.

Calls for the market to resolve paradox, or for technology to fix it, appear to be, at best, wishful thinking and, dangerous, at worst.

#leadership #complexity #ethics #transformation #management

25-10-2023

The obsessive quest for self-determination, in nation states as much as individuals, quickly leads to positional competition with others, and, ultimately, war.

Kate Raworth describes its modern epitome, the economic man: standing alone, money in hand, calculator in head, nature at his feet, and an insatiable appetite in his heart. 

The obsessive quest for self-determination, in nation states as much as individuals, quickly leads to positional competition with others, and, ultimately, war.

Kate Raworth describes its modern epitome, the economic man: standing alone, money in hand, calculator in head, nature at his feet, and an insatiable appetite in his heart. 

25-10-2023

Defending Academic Freedom and Promoting Unrestricted Debate on Israeli Politics

I am both surprised and deeply concerned by the ongoing polarization in the discourse surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a world fraught with complexity, it is disheartening to witness the rise of overly simplistic narratives in Western media and politics, alongside attempts to quell essential dialogue, particularly within academic institutions. Amidst the intricate web of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the myriad of conflicts worldwide, it becomes ever more apparent that open and critical discussions are not just necessary—they are the very embodiment of democracy and academic freedom.

The unwavering support of global leaders for one side or the other, the outright banning of Pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Germany, and the audacious efforts by certain individuals, wielding immense financial power, to compel universities to silence critical voices—all these serve as stark reminders of a troubling trend. While we collectively denounce terrorism and extend our boundless compassion to all victims, we must also acknowledge that this conflict defies facile categorization into a neatly defined "right side of history." Thus, democratic and open dialogue becomes paramount for examining diverse perspectives and holding all involved parties accountable.

In the voices of numerous astute commentators and a chorus of UN resolutions, the Israeli occupation of Palestinians emerges as anything but "just." Let there be no ambiguity: terrorism can never find justification. However, this stance is in no way contradictory to our equal commitment to confronting the weight of history. It is history that guides us towards ethical standards, such as the principles of just war theory, that demand the safeguarding of innocent lives and an unwavering dedication to the principle of "proportionality" in warfare.

Amidst the tapestry of diverse beliefs and perspectives, one undeniable truth stands before us: it is absolutely intolerable that powerful, undemocratic forces and vested interests seek to stifle critical dialogue concerning the many grievous wars and aggressions that trouble humanity, often resulting in far too many innocent casualties. The freedom to explore and exchange a spectrum of viewpoints, particularly within the academic realm, is a sacred trust. The role of a University isn’t to simply take sides, but to nurture our human capacity for wisdom and justice. Whether in academia or in the public sphere, labeling critical voices categorically as antisemitic, or conversely, anti-Palestinian, does an immense disservice to the pursuit of such truth.

If we are to achieve a collective pursuit of justice, peace, and enlightenment, our academic institutions must steadfastly remain bastions of unbridled thought, unrestricted speech, and unfettered dialogue.

#AcademicFreedom #OpenDialogue #IsraeliPolitics #PalestinianConflict #Harvard #Leadership 

Defending Academic Freedom and Promoting Unrestricted Debate on Israeli Politics

I am both surprised and deeply concerned by the ongoing polarization in the discourse surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a world fraught with complexity, it is disheartening to witness the rise of overly simplistic narratives in Western media and politics, alongside attempts to quell essential dialogue, particularly within academic institutions. Amidst the intricate web of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the myriad of conflicts worldwide, it becomes ever more apparent that open and critical discussions are not just necessary—they are the very embodiment of democracy and academic freedom.

The unwavering support of global leaders for one side or the other, the outright banning of Pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Germany, and the audacious efforts by certain individuals, wielding immense financial power, to compel universities to silence critical voices—all these serve as stark reminders of a troubling trend. While we collectively denounce terrorism and extend our boundless compassion to all victims, we must also acknowledge that this conflict defies facile categorization into a neatly defined "right side of history." Thus, democratic and open dialogue becomes paramount for examining diverse perspectives and holding all involved parties accountable.

In the voices of numerous astute commentators and a chorus of UN resolutions, the Israeli occupation of Palestinians emerges as anything but "just." Let there be no ambiguity: terrorism can never find justification. However, this stance is in no way contradictory to our equal commitment to confronting the weight of history. It is history that guides us towards ethical standards, such as the principles of just war theory, that demand the safeguarding of innocent lives and an unwavering dedication to the principle of "proportionality" in warfare.

Amidst the tapestry of diverse beliefs and perspectives, one undeniable truth stands before us: it is absolutely intolerable that powerful, undemocratic forces and vested interests seek to stifle critical dialogue concerning the many grievous wars and aggressions that trouble humanity, often resulting in far too many innocent casualties. The freedom to explore and exchange a spectrum of viewpoints, particularly within the academic realm, is a sacred trust. The role of a University isn’t to simply take sides, but to nurture our human capacity for wisdom and justice. Whether in academia or in the public sphere, labeling critical voices categorically as antisemitic, or conversely, anti-Palestinian, does an immense disservice to the pursuit of such truth.

If we are to achieve a collective pursuit of justice, peace, and enlightenment, our academic institutions must steadfastly remain bastions of unbridled thought, unrestricted speech, and unfettered dialogue.

#AcademicFreedom #OpenDialogue #IsraeliPolitics #PalestinianConflict #Harvard #Leadership 

20-10-2023

I have to admit that I am still grappling with lots of different theories and concepts in this space :-), but it appears to me that much of the trendy discourse surrounding "complexity" tends to conflate ontology and morality.

To begin with, if we consider what Alan Watkins and Ralph Stacey have highlighted, a significant portion of what we label as complexity in social systems essentially revolves around the diversity of opinions or, as Stacey suggests, the absence of social consensus, and it becomes evident that we're essentially dealing with a problem of social choice, more than the possible non-linearity of behavioural consequences.

Furthermore, the idea that we can only comprehend a system by engaging with it directly may, at some level, hold true. (It of course also implies that we can't rely on our conventional methods of scientific "experimentation" in closed systems - something most people seem to ignore.) However, even if we gain a more precise understanding of a social system through "probing," it doesn't automatically equip us with the knowledge of how to respond. This, to me, appears to be a question of ethics, rather than of "sensing".

Consequently, rather than obsessing about complexity itself, I would argue that our focus should be on cultivating wisdom, at least in the context of executive decision-making. Wisdom entails the exploration of reality (let it also be through probing and sensory input), but it centers on judgment (what is the right course of action?) and necessitates a commitment to a particular stance (what shall we hope for?). Practical wisdom must take into consideration our best predictions regarding the potential outcomes of any intervention, but of course any "response" will have to be enacted and iterative.

Here, I'm reminded of Bill Torbert's concept of "action inquiry," which combines the ability to investigate reality with ego development in order to foster the "right" actions required to generate "transformative" power. This sketch also aligns with Archer's idea of morphogenesis, where emergence results from underlying social structures that PRECEDE social interaction, and their development or replication through social actions, allowing for individual and collective reflexivity.

More to ponder.

I have to admit that I am still grappling with lots of different theories and concepts in this space :-), but it appears to me that much of the trendy discourse surrounding "complexity" tends to conflate ontology and morality.

To begin with, if we consider what Alan Watkins and Ralph Stacey have highlighted, a significant portion of what we label as complexity in social systems essentially revolves around the diversity of opinions or, as Stacey suggests, the absence of social consensus, and it becomes evident that we're essentially dealing with a problem of social choice, more than the possible non-linearity of behavioural consequences.

Furthermore, the idea that we can only comprehend a system by engaging with it directly may, at some level, hold true. (It of course also implies that we can't rely on our conventional methods of scientific "experimentation" in closed systems - something most people seem to ignore.) However, even if we gain a more precise understanding of a social system through "probing," it doesn't automatically equip us with the knowledge of how to respond. This, to me, appears to be a question of ethics, rather than of "sensing".

Consequently, rather than obsessing about complexity itself, I would argue that our focus should be on cultivating wisdom, at least in the context of executive decision-making. Wisdom entails the exploration of reality (let it also be through probing and sensory input), but it centers on judgment (what is the right course of action?) and necessitates a commitment to a particular stance (what shall we hope for?). Practical wisdom must take into consideration our best predictions regarding the potential outcomes of any intervention, but of course any "response" will have to be enacted and iterative.

Here, I'm reminded of Bill Torbert's concept of "action inquiry," which combines the ability to investigate reality with ego development in order to foster the "right" actions required to generate "transformative" power. This sketch also aligns with Archer's idea of morphogenesis, where emergence results from underlying social structures that PRECEDE social interaction, and their development or replication through social actions, allowing for individual and collective reflexivity.

More to ponder.

10-10-2023

We talk much about #diversity these days, often conveniently conflating shaky epistemological premises, questionable normative claims, and unexamined efficiency considerations. The result, more often then not, is an unhealthy mix of superficial relativism, denial of professional authority and neglect of (shared) community obligations.

But whilst diversity of thought, correctly understood, offers a valuable expansion of our understating, it remains mostly flat. That is why historical analysis, as Bhaskar implies and Bronowski emphasizes, is equally important: "The study of history [is] liberation - a liberation from accepted ideas, and a perspective into their evolution which brings them sharply into focus. History liberates because it refines our understanding of men, of ideas, and of events."

Maybe it's an idea to promote programmes in comparative history to further wisdom in Organisations. Certainly it will be less fashionable and more effort than creating "equal share of voice" in meetings, but then it's also potentially more impactful.

We talk much about #diversity these days, often conveniently conflating shaky epistemological premises, questionable normative claims, and unexamined efficiency considerations. The result, more often then not, is an unhealthy mix of superficial relativism, denial of professional authority and neglect of (shared) community obligations.

But whilst diversity of thought, correctly understood, offers a valuable expansion of our understating, it remains mostly flat. That is why historical analysis, as Bhaskar implies and Bronowski emphasizes, is equally important: "The study of history [is] liberation - a liberation from accepted ideas, and a perspective into their evolution which brings them sharply into focus. History liberates because it refines our understanding of men, of ideas, and of events."

Maybe it's an idea to promote programmes in comparative history to further wisdom in Organisations. Certainly it will be less fashionable and more effort than creating "equal share of voice" in meetings, but then it's also potentially more impactful.

08-10-2023

Sunday morning: Which stance do you take?

William James suggested that in the realm of philosophy, there are two distinct postures for examining the complexities of life—tough-minded and tender-minded philosophies. Each of these philosophical outlooks approaches the world with its unique perspective, leading to distinct theories and worldviews.

Tough-Minded Philosophy: Tough-minded philosophers, like those who adhere to empiricism and rationalism, prefer an empirical and scientific approach. They emphasize observable facts, rigorous analysis, and skepticism. The tough-minded posture seeks clear, precise, and objective knowledge. Philosophical theories like logical positivism and materialism fall under this category. These theories aim to understand the world through empirical evidence and the laws of reason.

Tender-Minded Philosophy: In contrast, tender-minded philosophers adopt a more idealistic and rationalistic approach. They focus on abstract principles, metaphysical concepts, and speculative thinking. Thinkers such as Immanuel Kant and idealists belong to this category. Their philosophical theories often explore the realms of ethics, metaphysics, and spirituality, seeking to uncover profound and transcendent truths about life.

The beauty of philosophy lies in its capacity to embrace diversity and complexity. By integrating both tough-minded and tender-minded philosophies, acknowledging the contributions of both postures, we might gain a richer understanding of the intricate tapestry of life, where facts and ideals coexist harmoniously.

So which posture do you take up today?

#philosophy #leadership #ethics #personaldevelopment #leadershipdevelopment

Sunday morning: Which stance do you take?

William James suggested that in the realm of philosophy, there are two distinct postures for examining the complexities of life—tough-minded and tender-minded philosophies. Each of these philosophical outlooks approaches the world with its unique perspective, leading to distinct theories and worldviews.

Tough-Minded Philosophy: Tough-minded philosophers, like those who adhere to empiricism and rationalism, prefer an empirical and scientific approach. They emphasize observable facts, rigorous analysis, and skepticism. The tough-minded posture seeks clear, precise, and objective knowledge. Philosophical theories like logical positivism and materialism fall under this category. These theories aim to understand the world through empirical evidence and the laws of reason.

Tender-Minded Philosophy: In contrast, tender-minded philosophers adopt a more idealistic and rationalistic approach. They focus on abstract principles, metaphysical concepts, and speculative thinking. Thinkers such as Immanuel Kant and idealists belong to this category. Their philosophical theories often explore the realms of ethics, metaphysics, and spirituality, seeking to uncover profound and transcendent truths about life.

The beauty of philosophy lies in its capacity to embrace diversity and complexity. By integrating both tough-minded and tender-minded philosophies, acknowledging the contributions of both postures, we might gain a richer understanding of the intricate tapestry of life, where facts and ideals coexist harmoniously.

So which posture do you take up today?

#philosophy #leadership #ethics #personaldevelopment #leadershipdevelopment

02-10-2023

The #FutureofWork discourse is becoming ‘hegemonic’.

A hegemony is a dominating narrative that leads people to voluntarily submit themselves to the forces in power.

#business #transformation #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #hr #hrm #goodorganisations #goodwork

The #FutureofWork discourse is becoming ‘hegemonic’.

A hegemony is a dominating narrative that leads people to voluntarily submit themselves to the forces in power.

#business #transformation #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #hr #hrm #goodorganisations #goodwork

01-10-2023

It is somewhat uncanny. Much of today's business improvement rhetoric builds on a positive psychology dogma of increased freedom, wellbeing, authenticity, meaning, pleasure. Our work, so the story goes, shall enable every person to do only what they REALLY REALLY want, to self-actualise, self-improve, be authentic, creative, innovative... Hallelujah!

Beyond it being rather unclear how any "regular job" could accommodate such a high degree of personalisation - and, hence, to what extent we might be hypocritically using all such big words only to make the same old activities sound more appealing to the workers; is it not funny that very few people know what they "really really" want?

Here, the linkage between the whole "future of work" discussion and basic philosophical questions becomes eminently clear. Without a solid philosophy of work (& life) our passionate debate about organisational transformation is ephemeral and rather pointless.

And maybe the fact that most adults are uncertain about what they truly desire is not a cause for depression, but simply proves the point that it is a worthwhile endeavour to go after. Maybe, at the end of the day, that great transformation that we're all so anxious to achieve is not about work at all, but about us. About the necessary encounter with those most existential questions: why are we here, who are we, and whither are we going.

Maybe it isn't simply about skilling people up to survive the encounter with AI and robotics, or make processes more effective, or redistribute work, or the proceeds from work, and not even about creating more innovative, agile, participative, psychologically safe, authentic, who-knows-what-other-buzz-wordsy workplaces. Maybe it is about enabling dialogic development.

In fact, it is in the nature of development that it is not just "give and take". It is not something leaders can hand out to followers. But it equally is not only about giving people autonomy, or being more democratic and prosocial. Instead, it requires guided and reciprocate cultivation of identity and character, through work. As Nietzsche points out, the postmodern man risks to lose not only God, but also himself. It is not easy to emancipate from being a means to becoming an end, and to turn a "job" into a calling. It requires, first and foremost, to recover a desire "to be" - which, in turn, needs facilitation, experimentation, coordination.

So maybe what we need to look for is not a 4-day work week, but a 4+1 day week. Where on 4 days we work - highly productively - for our businesses. But on the +1 time the business works - highly supportively - for us. Enabling us to understand what we really, really (should) want and helping us to try it out - to see if it makes us and our community grow and flourish. What does this mean for governance, processes, objectives, structures, policies? Who knows. Let's think it through.

#business #work #development #transformation #leaders #futureofwork #wellbeing #agile

It is somewhat uncanny. Much of today's business improvement rhetoric builds on a positive psychology dogma of increased freedom, wellbeing, authenticity, meaning, pleasure. Our work, so the story goes, shall enable every person to do only what they REALLY REALLY want, to self-actualise, self-improve, be authentic, creative, innovative... Hallelujah!

Beyond it being rather unclear how any "regular job" could accommodate such a high degree of personalisation - and, hence, to what extent we might be hypocritically using all such big words only to make the same old activities sound more appealing to the workers; is it not funny that very few people know what they "really really" want?

Here, the linkage between the whole "future of work" discussion and basic philosophical questions becomes eminently clear. Without a solid philosophy of work (& life) our passionate debate about organisational transformation is ephemeral and rather pointless.

And maybe the fact that most adults are uncertain about what they truly desire is not a cause for depression, but simply proves the point that it is a worthwhile endeavour to go after. Maybe, at the end of the day, that great transformation that we're all so anxious to achieve is not about work at all, but about us. About the necessary encounter with those most existential questions: why are we here, who are we, and whither are we going.

Maybe it isn't simply about skilling people up to survive the encounter with AI and robotics, or make processes more effective, or redistribute work, or the proceeds from work, and not even about creating more innovative, agile, participative, psychologically safe, authentic, who-knows-what-other-buzz-wordsy workplaces. Maybe it is about enabling dialogic development.

In fact, it is in the nature of development that it is not just "give and take". It is not something leaders can hand out to followers. But it equally is not only about giving people autonomy, or being more democratic and prosocial. Instead, it requires guided and reciprocate cultivation of identity and character, through work. As Nietzsche points out, the postmodern man risks to lose not only God, but also himself. It is not easy to emancipate from being a means to becoming an end, and to turn a "job" into a calling. It requires, first and foremost, to recover a desire "to be" - which, in turn, needs facilitation, experimentation, coordination.

So maybe what we need to look for is not a 4-day work week, but a 4+1 day week. Where on 4 days we work - highly productively - for our businesses. But on the +1 time the business works - highly supportively - for us. Enabling us to understand what we really, really (should) want and helping us to try it out - to see if it makes us and our community grow and flourish. What does this mean for governance, processes, objectives, structures, policies? Who knows. Let's think it through.

#business #work #development #transformation #leaders #futureofwork #wellbeing #agile

25-09-2023

"Decency long left the building at X." Indeed. But that might be our smallest problem. As Rousseau pointed out, and many others after him, democracy can only function when people have civic competences and harbour an interest and a commitment towards a 'general will'. When institutions nurture reciprocity and social virtues. Mill insisted that a citizen's vote in an election wasn't a private affair, but an expression of public duty. "Like the juryman" everybody was supposed to judge the political programs on offer and choose whichever promised to bring about the greatest common good. He even demanded open ballots so that neighbors could scrutinize their respective electoral decisions for selfishness and special interests.

It seems to me the algorithms deployed in modern social media are the ravagers of Rousseau's utopia. Not only do they provide one-sided and often misleading or false information, they incentivise strong emotions and thrive on public vices and anti-social behaviours. Hailed originally for the democratisation of the internet, and celebrated for the liberation of free speech, we might have let these platforms grow too big and too reckless. As mere pet projects of their megalomanic owners, in service of both economic and personal interests, social media networks might have become a deadly spectre to haunt the democratic dream.


Commenting on: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2023-10-05/the-moral-case-for-no-longer-engaging-with-elon-musk-s-x?srnd=opinion&embedded-checkout=true

"Decency long left the building at X." Indeed. But that might be our smallest problem. As Rousseau pointed out, and many others after him, democracy can only function when people have civic competences and harbour an interest and a commitment towards a 'general will'. When institutions nurture reciprocity and social virtues. Mill insisted that a citizen's vote in an election wasn't a private affair, but an expression of public duty. "Like the juryman" everybody was supposed to judge the political programs on offer and choose whichever promised to bring about the greatest common good. He even demanded open ballots so that neighbors could scrutinize their respective electoral decisions for selfishness and special interests.

It seems to me the algorithms deployed in modern social media are the ravagers of Rousseau's utopia. Not only do they provide one-sided and often misleading or false information, they incentivise strong emotions and thrive on public vices and anti-social behaviours. Hailed originally for the democratisation of the internet, and celebrated for the liberation of free speech, we might have let these platforms grow too big and too reckless. As mere pet projects of their megalomanic owners, in service of both economic and personal interests, social media networks might have become a deadly spectre to haunt the democratic dream.


Commenting on: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2023-10-05/the-moral-case-for-no-longer-engaging-with-elon-musk-s-x?srnd=opinion&embedded-checkout=true

20-09-2023

The HR Congress is at the Horizon. It's not meant to be just another event on the corporate calendar. It is supposed to be a journey to the essence of HR, a quest to rediscover its true purpose, and a collective dialogue to determine its potential to shift the Future of Work. In a world inundated with buzzwords and the relentless pursuit of the 'next big thing,' it seeks to offer a time to pause and reflect.

Much has been said, written, and proposed in regards to all those new roles that - allegedly - HR should play; those capabilities that - supposedly - HR should build; the mindsets HR - ideally - should foster... and yet, much of it feels simply like old wine in new bottles.

As Kochan points out: ‘The human resource management profession faces a crisis of trust and a loss of legitimacy in the eyes of its major stakeholders. The two-decade effort to develop a new ‘strategic human resource management’ role in organizations has failed to realize its promised potential of greater status, influence, and achievement’

So, are we really evolving, or simply repackaging the old? Are we, in our quest for a seat at the management table, losing sight of what truly matters? Are we, by outsourcing HR services to distant corners of the globe inadvertently distancing ourselves from the people we are meant to serve? Are we, by jumping on the technology train, desperately seeking to turn HR into "something new", jeopardising what it once was and what it is meant to be?

And, maybe most importantly, are we fooling ourselves about the sustainability of HR's pet Human Capital imperative, and the effectiveness of its ephemeral High Performance Practices - in the face of an increasingly financialised capitalism?

Perhaps it's time to embrace a more radical idea – the idea that HR should relinquish its relentless pursuit of corporate recognition and the 'partner in crime' role we've carved for ourselves. Maybe, it should stand tall in the face of the 'tyranny of now,' the ceaseless whirlwind of 'continuous change,' and the dogma of 'fail fast' agility. Possibly, what matters most in times of global crises and pervasive anxiety, is that a more professional, more ethical, more reflexive and balanced HR safeguards the noble spirit of humanity in all our daily work practices, in order to genuinely foster a better Future of Work...

The HR Congress is at the Horizon. It's not meant to be just another event on the corporate calendar. It is supposed to be a journey to the essence of HR, a quest to rediscover its true purpose, and a collective dialogue to determine its potential to shift the Future of Work. In a world inundated with buzzwords and the relentless pursuit of the 'next big thing,' it seeks to offer a time to pause and reflect.

Much has been said, written, and proposed in regards to all those new roles that - allegedly - HR should play; those capabilities that - supposedly - HR should build; the mindsets HR - ideally - should foster... and yet, much of it feels simply like old wine in new bottles.

As Kochan points out: ‘The human resource management profession faces a crisis of trust and a loss of legitimacy in the eyes of its major stakeholders. The two-decade effort to develop a new ‘strategic human resource management’ role in organizations has failed to realize its promised potential of greater status, influence, and achievement’

So, are we really evolving, or simply repackaging the old? Are we, in our quest for a seat at the management table, losing sight of what truly matters? Are we, by outsourcing HR services to distant corners of the globe inadvertently distancing ourselves from the people we are meant to serve? Are we, by jumping on the technology train, desperately seeking to turn HR into "something new", jeopardising what it once was and what it is meant to be?

And, maybe most importantly, are we fooling ourselves about the sustainability of HR's pet Human Capital imperative, and the effectiveness of its ephemeral High Performance Practices - in the face of an increasingly financialised capitalism?

Perhaps it's time to embrace a more radical idea – the idea that HR should relinquish its relentless pursuit of corporate recognition and the 'partner in crime' role we've carved for ourselves. Maybe, it should stand tall in the face of the 'tyranny of now,' the ceaseless whirlwind of 'continuous change,' and the dogma of 'fail fast' agility. Possibly, what matters most in times of global crises and pervasive anxiety, is that a more professional, more ethical, more reflexive and balanced HR safeguards the noble spirit of humanity in all our daily work practices, in order to genuinely foster a better Future of Work...

18-09-2023

The real enemies of mankind are not viruses, global warming, or poverty, but man's uncontrolled desires and appetites.

These, Plato would point out, have not been subdued by man's control over nature, they have only been given greater opportunities for gratification.

Thus, the appetite for aggression has been sharpened by the increased power of control and destruction which science and technology have placed in our hands, while the motive of ambition and exploitation has been strengthened by media and marketing.

To conquer external nature is of no avail, while human nature remains unconquered; indeed, the conquest of nature is worse than useless, since it increases man's powers without increasing his wisdom in the use of them.

It is for this reason that the progress of science has been accompanied by the retrogression of man.

(Based on: C.E.M. Joad in "Philosophy", 1977, on Plato's Republic)

#leadership #responsibility #technology #business #management #transformation

The real enemies of mankind are not viruses, global warming, or poverty, but man's uncontrolled desires and appetites.

These, Plato would point out, have not been subdued by man's control over nature, they have only been given greater opportunities for gratification.

Thus, the appetite for aggression has been sharpened by the increased power of control and destruction which science and technology have placed in our hands, while the motive of ambition and exploitation has been strengthened by media and marketing.

To conquer external nature is of no avail, while human nature remains unconquered; indeed, the conquest of nature is worse than useless, since it increases man's powers without increasing his wisdom in the use of them.

It is for this reason that the progress of science has been accompanied by the retrogression of man.

(Based on: C.E.M. Joad in "Philosophy", 1977, on Plato's Republic)

#leadership #responsibility #technology #business #management #transformation

18-09-2023

Dedicated to my friends Geoff and Antoinette, whilst reflecting together on yet another sponsored HBR article, full of buzzwords and empty of relevant truth...

Anthem On (The Lack of) Management Wisdom
[based on J Lennon, by ChatGPT]

Imagine there's no Harvard Business Review,
It's easy if you try,
No sponsored articles to fool us,
No consultants up in the sky,
Imagine all the truth and intellect,
Just waiting to be found.

(Chorus)
You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one,
I hope someday you'll join us,
And we'll expose the management con.

(Verse 2)
Imagine there's no "management bullshit,"
It isn't hard to do,
No empty jargon to bewilder,
And no false expertise too,
Imagine all the people,
Seeing through the charade.

(Chorus)
You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one,
I hope someday you'll join us,
And we'll expose what's truly done.

(Bridge)
Imagine no more blind consumption,
No praise for the emperor's invisible clothes,
Just critical minds seeking wisdom,
In a world where the truth freely flows.

(Verse 3)
Imagine there's no HBR,
I wonder if you can,
No more corporate propaganda,
A world where we all understand,
Imagine all the knowledge shared,
Without the need for disguise.

(Chorus)
You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one,
I hope someday you'll join us,
And together, we'll see what can be done.

(Outro)
So let's break free from the illusion,
Question the status quo,
In a world of true reflection,
Imagine how much we'll grow.

Abeunt.

Dedicated to my friends Geoff and Antoinette, whilst reflecting together on yet another sponsored HBR article, full of buzzwords and empty of relevant truth...

Anthem On (The Lack of) Management Wisdom
[based on J Lennon, by ChatGPT]

Imagine there's no Harvard Business Review,
It's easy if you try,
No sponsored articles to fool us,
No consultants up in the sky,
Imagine all the truth and intellect,
Just waiting to be found.

(Chorus)
You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one,
I hope someday you'll join us,
And we'll expose the management con.

(Verse 2)
Imagine there's no "management bullshit,"
It isn't hard to do,
No empty jargon to bewilder,
And no false expertise too,
Imagine all the people,
Seeing through the charade.

(Chorus)
You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one,
I hope someday you'll join us,
And we'll expose what's truly done.

(Bridge)
Imagine no more blind consumption,
No praise for the emperor's invisible clothes,
Just critical minds seeking wisdom,
In a world where the truth freely flows.

(Verse 3)
Imagine there's no HBR,
I wonder if you can,
No more corporate propaganda,
A world where we all understand,
Imagine all the knowledge shared,
Without the need for disguise.

(Chorus)
You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one,
I hope someday you'll join us,
And together, we'll see what can be done.

(Outro)
So let's break free from the illusion,
Question the status quo,
In a world of true reflection,
Imagine how much we'll grow.

Abeunt.

09-09-2023

ABOLISH THE "NOBEL PRIZE" IN #ECONOMICS!

Today at noon the 2023 winners of this year's "Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences" will be announced.

Yet, the Prize has a murky history and in its current form, arguably, has done more harm than good. Since it's inception, many have argued it should be abolished.

Peter Nobel, a human rights lawyer and great-grandnephew of Ludvig Nobel, accused the hashtag#Nobel Foundation for misusing his family’s name, and stated that no member of the Nobel family ever had any intention to establish a Prize in economics. He suggested that “Nobel despised people who cared more about profits than society’s well-being”, saying that “there is nothing to indicate that he would have wanted such a prize”, and that the association with the Nobel prizes is “a PR coup by economists to improve their reputation”.

According to Samuel Brittan of the Financial Times, both former Swedish minister of finance (Kjell-Olof Feldt) and Swedish former minister of commerce (Gunnar Myrdal) wanted the prize abolished. Even Friedrich Hayek, in his famous acceptance speech six years later, stated that had he been consulted on the establishment of a Nobel Prize in economics, he would “have decidedly advised against it”. He said: “The Nobel Prize confers on an individual an authority which in economics no man ought to possess. … This does not matter in the natural sciences. Here the influence exercised by an individual is chiefly an influence on his fellow experts; and they will soon cut him down to size if he exceeds his competence. But the influence of the economist that mainly matters is an influence over laymen: politicians, journalists, civil servants and the public generally.”

Moreover, not only is the Price tainted by an obscure selection procedure, and exposed to numerous evident biases in the choice of candidates, it also clearly favours Economics as a doctrine focused on people’s individual interactions with free markets, drawing heavily on abstract theory, mathematical models, and the assumption that people will act in rational self-interest — rather than a paradigm that situates the #economy inside society and requires public policy decisions to further sustainable prosperity for all citizens.

Overall, the Economics Prize has promoted an insular set of academics and too often put forward an anachronistic and limiting understanding of Economics - rather than igniting and supporting a novel economic eutopia for the benefit of humanity.

Hence, any decent economist selected as the winner this year should probably act like Jean-Paul Sartre in 1964 when he famously declined the Nobel Prize for literature. Sartre suggested that accepting the award would mean to “let himself be transformed into an institution” and thus “expose his readers to a pressure” that is not desirable. A “Nobel Prize” in Economics that is both genealogically illegitimate and politically unfortunate is an undesirable pressure indeed.

Full story: https://lnkd.in/ebqAYGRf

ABOLISH THE "NOBEL PRIZE" IN #ECONOMICS!

Today at noon the 2023 winners of this year's "Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences" will be announced.

Yet, the Prize has a murky history and in its current form, arguably, has done more harm than good. Since it's inception, many have argued it should be abolished.

Peter Nobel, a human rights lawyer and great-grandnephew of Ludvig Nobel, accused the hashtag#Nobel Foundation for misusing his family’s name, and stated that no member of the Nobel family ever had any intention to establish a Prize in economics. He suggested that “Nobel despised people who cared more about profits than society’s well-being”, saying that “there is nothing to indicate that he would have wanted such a prize”, and that the association with the Nobel prizes is “a PR coup by economists to improve their reputation”.

According to Samuel Brittan of the Financial Times, both former Swedish minister of finance (Kjell-Olof Feldt) and Swedish former minister of commerce (Gunnar Myrdal) wanted the prize abolished. Even Friedrich Hayek, in his famous acceptance speech six years later, stated that had he been consulted on the establishment of a Nobel Prize in economics, he would “have decidedly advised against it”. He said: “The Nobel Prize confers on an individual an authority which in economics no man ought to possess. … This does not matter in the natural sciences. Here the influence exercised by an individual is chiefly an influence on his fellow experts; and they will soon cut him down to size if he exceeds his competence. But the influence of the economist that mainly matters is an influence over laymen: politicians, journalists, civil servants and the public generally.”

Moreover, not only is the Price tainted by an obscure selection procedure, and exposed to numerous evident biases in the choice of candidates, it also clearly favours Economics as a doctrine focused on people’s individual interactions with free markets, drawing heavily on abstract theory, mathematical models, and the assumption that people will act in rational self-interest — rather than a paradigm that situates the #economy inside society and requires public policy decisions to further sustainable prosperity for all citizens.

Overall, the Economics Prize has promoted an insular set of academics and too often put forward an anachronistic and limiting understanding of Economics - rather than igniting and supporting a novel economic eutopia for the benefit of humanity.

Hence, any decent economist selected as the winner this year should probably act like Jean-Paul Sartre in 1964 when he famously declined the Nobel Prize for literature. Sartre suggested that accepting the award would mean to “let himself be transformed into an institution” and thus “expose his readers to a pressure” that is not desirable. A “Nobel Prize” in Economics that is both genealogically illegitimate and politically unfortunate is an undesirable pressure indeed.

Full story: https://lnkd.in/ebqAYGRf

07-09-2023

WHY THE #IDGs ARE WRONG: Marketing Cannot Replace Morality

While I much appreciate intentions and convictions behind the "Inner Development Goals", we must seek to address some of their fundamental flaws. As I used to emphasize in strategic marketing lectures, nothing is worse than excellent marketing for a bad product. And it becomes downright perilous when the product in question is education.

The first glaring issue with the IDGs is its uncritical alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, both ideologically and as a means to attract support from corporations and institutions. As others have adeptly pointed out, the hashtag#SDGs are an incoherent set of loosely connected objectives, lacking a clear ethical foundation for global development. While it's easy to argue that they represent a pragmatic compromise among diverse interests and provide specific targets for stakeholders to rally behind, they can also serve as a smokescreen for maintaining the status quo. By failing to question their underlying morality, IDGs lack the potency to be genuinely disruptive and transformative; instead, risking to become another tool for perpetuating existing power structures.

Secondly, the development of IDGs relies on a simplistic clustering analysis. Soliciting input from supposed development experts worldwide, a small team of PhD students has constructed a linear, analytical set of skills intended to aid individual hashtag#development. The approach is fundamentally flawed in multiple aspects. It oversimplifies the intricate nature of individual and collective inner lives. It treats input from supposed experts as (equally) valid and commensurable. It lacks scientific evidence to support the resulting amalgamation of skills. It disregards potential interdependencies between skills, which would only become apparent within a coherent (synthetic) framework. The outcome is a hodgepodge of skills, methods, and tools superficially held together by a thin veneer of marketing tactics, self-promoting sponsors and community enthusiasm.

Thirdly, and perhaps most critically, the essence of #IDGs remains fundamentally rooted in modernity. Ignoring the glaring incongruity between "inner development" and "goals", and between personal freedom and shared responsibility, it promotes self-improvement and self-instrumentalization as a route to collective success. Despite well-meaning intentions, it thus inadvertently fosters a culture of heroic self-centeredness rather than genuine moral development.

While undoubtedly harbouring noble intentions, the concept of IDGs requires urgent revision. Void of a coherent educational approach, it must reduce personal growth to a bunch of acquirable skills.