#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.


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. Avoiding deeper philosophical questions, it perpetuates an anachronistic fiction that self-realisation will yield a more caring and just world. Leading the way toward a better future needs more than brilliant marketing or compassionate jamborees in Scandinavian capitals.

#Leadership

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. Avoiding deeper philosophical questions, it perpetuates an anachronistic fiction that self-realisation will yield a more caring and just world. Leading the way toward a better future needs more than brilliant marketing or compassionate jamborees in Scandinavian capitals.

#Leadership

02-09-2023

#GLYPHOSATE should be allowed in farming for another 10 years, Brussels says

Why is it that this case bears such striking resemblances with the case against cigarettes? Maybe because yet again we have a product that clearly has negative implications for humans and nature, and all the telltale signs of special interest groups ruthlessly lobbying for political influence, as well as systematic manipulation of information. What bothers me most, however, is that we cannot trust in the quality of national and supranational institutions to take decisions that are ethical, and protect the common good.

#leadership #stopbayer


Commenting on: https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jan/20/glyphosate-weedkiller-cancer-biomarkers-urine-study

#GLYPHOSATE should be allowed in farming for another 10 years, Brussels says

Why is it that this case bears such striking resemblances with the case against cigarettes? Maybe because yet again we have a product that clearly has negative implications for humans and nature, and all the telltale signs of special interest groups ruthlessly lobbying for political influence, as well as systematic manipulation of information. What bothers me most, however, is that we cannot trust in the quality of national and supranational institutions to take decisions that are ethical, and protect the common good.

#leadership #stopbayer


Commenting on: https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jan/20/glyphosate-weedkiller-cancer-biomarkers-urine-study

01-09-2023

Contrary to popular belief, EMOTION is the currency of practical WISDOM.

Reason serves mainly to prepare ourselves ahead of time, and all the time, to invest it well in our daily encounters.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

Contrary to popular belief, EMOTION is the currency of practical WISDOM.

Reason serves mainly to prepare ourselves ahead of time, and all the time, to invest it well in our daily encounters.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

01-09-2023

Caro Giovanni Molari, sembra quasi che la fortezza del sapere umano, rappresentata simbolicamente dalla più antica università del mondo, ammetta la sconfitta e offra una resa incondizionata ai cavalieri e baroni della tecnologia e del denaro che affermano di aver trovato alternative non umane e più efficienti alla educazione tradizionale. Penso che dobbiamo stare molto attenti a confondere saggezza e algoritmo e assicurarci che il ragionamento umano sia ben al di sopra dello sviluppo tecnologico. La chiave per “governare la complessità” non è una tecnologia migliore, ma persone più sagge. O in altre parole, il pericolo più grande che affrontiamo nell’Antropocene è la combinazione di tecnologia superiore e moralità inferiore.

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🇬🇧 Dear Giovanni Molari, this almost looks as if the fortress of human knowledge, symbolically represented by the oldest university in the world, is admitting defeat and offering unconditional surrender to the knights and barons of technology and money who claim to have found non-human and more efficient alternatives to traditional education. I think we must be very careful to confound wisdom and algorithm, and make sure that human reasoning stays well ahead of technological development. The key to "govern complexity" is not better technology, but wiser people. Or in other words, the greatest danger we face in the Anthropocene is the combination of superior technology with inferior morality.

#unibo #academia #leadership #tecnologia 


Commenting on: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7107022486319378433/?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_profile_view_base_recent_activity_content_view%3BZwDJNW0xS1So2JH9HzM5Xg%3D%3D

Caro Giovanni Molari, sembra quasi che la fortezza del sapere umano, rappresentata simbolicamente dalla più antica università del mondo, ammetta la sconfitta e offra una resa incondizionata ai cavalieri e baroni della tecnologia e del denaro che affermano di aver trovato alternative non umane e più efficienti alla educazione tradizionale. Penso che dobbiamo stare molto attenti a confondere saggezza e algoritmo e assicurarci che il ragionamento umano sia ben al di sopra dello sviluppo tecnologico. La chiave per “governare la complessità” non è una tecnologia migliore, ma persone più sagge. O in altre parole, il pericolo più grande che affrontiamo nell’Antropocene è la combinazione di tecnologia superiore e moralità inferiore.

---
🇬🇧 Dear Giovanni Molari, this almost looks as if the fortress of human knowledge, symbolically represented by the oldest university in the world, is admitting defeat and offering unconditional surrender to the knights and barons of technology and money who claim to have found non-human and more efficient alternatives to traditional education. I think we must be very careful to confound wisdom and algorithm, and make sure that human reasoning stays well ahead of technological development. The key to "govern complexity" is not better technology, but wiser people. Or in other words, the greatest danger we face in the Anthropocene is the combination of superior technology with inferior morality.

#unibo #academia #leadership #tecnologia 


Commenting on: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7107022486319378433/?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_profile_view_base_recent_activity_content_view%3BZwDJNW0xS1So2JH9HzM5Xg%3D%3D

01-09-2023

All MANAGEMENT THEORY AND PRACTICE is "ontologically shaped and methodologically moulded, even if these processes remain covert and scarcely acknowledged by the practitioner.

This is inescapable because theories logically entail concepts and concepts themselves include certain things and exclude others (at the methodological level) and denote some aspects of reality whilst denying others (at the ontological level). Any who think they can avoid both fall into the trap of instrumentalism: those believing that the use of [allegedly pragmatic] 'heuristic concepts' in explanation saves them from making any ontological commitment fail to recognise that terming something 'heuristic' is itself a matter of ontology." (Paraphrasing Margaret Archer)

Hence, it is a bit ludicrous that we believe we can truly increment the wisdom of leaders and managers by successful indoctrination with fundamentally unexamined collections of management tools and best practices, or simply by enhancing their enculturation and psychological "fitness" through soft skill or emotional intelligence trainings, hoping they will thus become better at (mindlessly) deploying the so-proclaimed tools of the trade.

Every theory we endorse and every tool we employ implies a personal positioning towards a version of truth, and a commitment to a specific version of the future. And an implicit belief that the two are linked.

#leadership #philosophy #education #leadershipdevelopment 

All MANAGEMENT THEORY AND PRACTICE is "ontologically shaped and methodologically moulded, even if these processes remain covert and scarcely acknowledged by the practitioner.

This is inescapable because theories logically entail concepts and concepts themselves include certain things and exclude others (at the methodological level) and denote some aspects of reality whilst denying others (at the ontological level). Any who think they can avoid both fall into the trap of instrumentalism: those believing that the use of [allegedly pragmatic] 'heuristic concepts' in explanation saves them from making any ontological commitment fail to recognise that terming something 'heuristic' is itself a matter of ontology." (Paraphrasing Margaret Archer)

Hence, it is a bit ludicrous that we believe we can truly increment the wisdom of leaders and managers by successful indoctrination with fundamentally unexamined collections of management tools and best practices, or simply by enhancing their enculturation and psychological "fitness" through soft skill or emotional intelligence trainings, hoping they will thus become better at (mindlessly) deploying the so-proclaimed tools of the trade.

Every theory we endorse and every tool we employ implies a personal positioning towards a version of truth, and a commitment to a specific version of the future. And an implicit belief that the two are linked.

#leadership #philosophy #education #leadershipdevelopment 

27-08-2023

THE ONLY CONSTANT IN LIFE IS CHANGE. "Panta rhei", everything flows, as suggested by Herakleitos. Taken to the extreme, as in the Buddhist doctrine of moments, identity over time simply does not exist.

But Heraclitus' theory, as Aristotle points out, was in danger of being logically incoherent, as was Hume’s later views on causation: if the past does not determine the future then the universe is indeed capricious. Now one might argue, like Bertrand Russell, for "Cambridge change", where change isn't necessarily intrinsic to the thing, but a "change in the descriptions [or relational predicates] (truly) borne by the thing". Still, Zeno's arrow remains an important paradox: an arrow in flight could not really be moving because at any given instant it would be at a place identical with itself. A lot has been written in modern times about the complexities and inconsistencies of spacetime, but I prefer to stick with the ancient Greek.

For Aristotle the substrate, or the matter, changes but not the substance, ie its essence. Where Plato suggests ideal forms, Aristotle posits hylomorphism. So maybe the point here isn't to reify change, whether absolute or not (as Kant suggested change is always relative to time), but rather to focus on how change can bring about essence, especially in ourself. In other words, what matters isn't change in itself, but direction. Indeed, Hegel argued, change as movement is always premised on an existing contradiction in itself. “Something moves not because at one moment of time it is here and at another there, but because at one and the same moment it is here and not here.”

This is where I believe a teleological ethics focused on the cultivation of character remains highly compelling, inspite of all the chatter about the "tyranny of now". It doesn't really matter whether life is in constant flux. What matters is that life is a vector - of ontological, not chronological time - which enables us to actualize our essence.

#philosophy #ethics #time #change #leadership

More about the complexities and inconsistencies of constant change here (attention, difficult!): https://lnkd.in/eqJaY8-q 

THE ONLY CONSTANT IN LIFE IS CHANGE. "Panta rhei", everything flows, as suggested by Herakleitos. Taken to the extreme, as in the Buddhist doctrine of moments, identity over time simply does not exist.

But Heraclitus' theory, as Aristotle points out, was in danger of being logically incoherent, as was Hume’s later views on causation: if the past does not determine the future then the universe is indeed capricious. Now one might argue, like Bertrand Russell, for "Cambridge change", where change isn't necessarily intrinsic to the thing, but a "change in the descriptions [or relational predicates] (truly) borne by the thing". Still, Zeno's arrow remains an important paradox: an arrow in flight could not really be moving because at any given instant it would be at a place identical with itself. A lot has been written in modern times about the complexities and inconsistencies of spacetime, but I prefer to stick with the ancient Greek.

For Aristotle the substrate, or the matter, changes but not the substance, ie its essence. Where Plato suggests ideal forms, Aristotle posits hylomorphism. So maybe the point here isn't to reify change, whether absolute or not (as Kant suggested change is always relative to time), but rather to focus on how change can bring about essence, especially in ourself. In other words, what matters isn't change in itself, but direction. Indeed, Hegel argued, change as movement is always premised on an existing contradiction in itself. “Something moves not because at one moment of time it is here and at another there, but because at one and the same moment it is here and not here.”

This is where I believe a teleological ethics focused on the cultivation of character remains highly compelling, inspite of all the chatter about the "tyranny of now". It doesn't really matter whether life is in constant flux. What matters is that life is a vector - of ontological, not chronological time - which enables us to actualize our essence.

#philosophy #ethics #time #change #leadership

More about the complexities and inconsistencies of constant change here (attention, difficult!): https://lnkd.in/eqJaY8-q 

25-08-2023

I fear that many who are passionately arguing against #REDUCTIONISM, in favour of some complex #system theory, might have got it wrong. At least in social sciences the point is not to single-mindedly refuse dualism in order to jump from #individualism to #holism. 

Such an approach implicitly denies human agency and the mutual link between relational action and institutional structures within society. Rather, we must recognise that a) different from nature, social reality is always CONSTITUTED through social action, and thus b) both organisational systems as wholes, and individuals and their relations as particulars, are mutually and dynamically interconnected.

This is not simply a question of micro and macro, or of individual vs groups and society, or indeed of "exploding a system into its parts". Here, we again quickly fall back on homological simplification: we either define macro as aggregation of micro, or, conversely, micro as the dominant reality which predetermines micro. Yet, 'micro' and 'macro' are relational terms that point to the difference in quality of emergent properties pertaining to each constellation, not size. For example, the divisions of labour within a team might give rise to productivity. Such productivity might, in turn, cause work to become monotonous (micro). Yet, the emergent productivity as a property of the whole organisation might generate increases in demand and profit, within a competitive market (macro) - such increased profit might impact team motivation, but cannot be reduced to the productivity of the individual worker.

As Margaret Archer convincingly argues, we must recognise that different strata of social reality possess distinct mechanisms and emergent properties; strata cannot be reduced to one another. Hence, the equation of micro with individual is misleading. Neither is there an isolated 'micro lebenswelt' insulated from the socio-cultural system, nor are social and systemic structures independent of 'micropolitics' between individuals. "Systemic properties are always the ('macro') context confronted by ('micro') social interaction, whilst social activities between people ('micro') represent the environment in which the ('macro') features of systems are either reproduced or transformed." Similarly, identity in this context can be understood as individual positioning within both relations and (discursive) structures.

Maybe some loose analogy might be drawn to VSM: Systems 1 and 2 (Operations & Coordination) emphasize micro social agency because they deal with the day-to-day interactions of people, whereas Systems 3-5 involve aspects of macro structure, as they establish rules, policies, and decision-making processes that contain agency.

Most importantly, social (inter)action and systemic environment are qualitatively different and interconnected aspects of the same society or organisation. We cannot simply abstract social reality as a complex network between nodes and connections on the same "plane".

I fear that many who are passionately arguing against #REDUCTIONISM, in favour of some complex #system theory, might have got it wrong. At least in social sciences the point is not to single-mindedly refuse dualism in order to jump from #individualism to #holism. 

Such an approach implicitly denies human agency and the mutual link between relational action and institutional structures within society. Rather, we must recognise that a) different from nature, social reality is always CONSTITUTED through social action, and thus b) both organisational systems as wholes, and individuals and their relations as particulars, are mutually and dynamically interconnected.

This is not simply a question of micro and macro, or of individual vs groups and society, or indeed of "exploding a system into its parts". Here, we again quickly fall back on homological simplification: we either define macro as aggregation of micro, or, conversely, micro as the dominant reality which predetermines micro. Yet, 'micro' and 'macro' are relational terms that point to the difference in quality of emergent properties pertaining to each constellation, not size. For example, the divisions of labour within a team might give rise to productivity. Such productivity might, in turn, cause work to become monotonous (micro). Yet, the emergent productivity as a property of the whole organisation might generate increases in demand and profit, within a competitive market (macro) - such increased profit might impact team motivation, but cannot be reduced to the productivity of the individual worker.

As Margaret Archer convincingly argues, we must recognise that different strata of social reality possess distinct mechanisms and emergent properties; strata cannot be reduced to one another. Hence, the equation of micro with individual is misleading. Neither is there an isolated 'micro lebenswelt' insulated from the socio-cultural system, nor are social and systemic structures independent of 'micropolitics' between individuals. "Systemic properties are always the ('macro') context confronted by ('micro') social interaction, whilst social activities between people ('micro') represent the environment in which the ('macro') features of systems are either reproduced or transformed." Similarly, identity in this context can be understood as individual positioning within both relations and (discursive) structures.

Maybe some loose analogy might be drawn to VSM: Systems 1 and 2 (Operations & Coordination) emphasize micro social agency because they deal with the day-to-day interactions of people, whereas Systems 3-5 involve aspects of macro structure, as they establish rules, policies, and decision-making processes that contain agency.

Most importantly, social (inter)action and systemic environment are qualitatively different and interconnected aspects of the same society or organisation. We cannot simply abstract social reality as a complex network between nodes and connections on the same "plane".

25-08-2023

The truth is: If you were to put nine "SYSTEM THINKERS" in a room and ask each “JUST WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY hashtag#SYSTEM?”, you will get nine different answers.

One might say that systems are like MACHINES, another that they are like ORGANISMS; no, say the others in turn: systems are like BRAINS, systems are in FLUX and transformation, systems are CULTURES, systems are POLITICAL, systems are actually PSYCHIC PRISONS, instruments of domination, or CARNIVALS [Jackson, 2003].

Traditionally, we have sought to overcome (or, rather, gloss over) such evident fragmentation by "multimethodological complementarianism", or what Midgley dubbed "theoretically contradictory eclecticism". Systems methodologies were grouped into ‘paradigms,’ with the idea that the discovery and choice of the most appropriate ‘systems metaphor’ within a given context could lead the practitioner to the best available methodology.

Of course, such an approach is flawed. It does not face up to the potential incommensurability between approaches, and above all evades the more fundamental questions of ontology, epistemology and axiology - of what reality is, how we can get to know or change it, and what really matters in the first place. To insist that "everything is a system" and "emergent", or even to apply multiple systemic lenses uncritically (e.g. conflating constructivism and causal closure), risks leading us towards lots of superficial truisms and platitudes, with limited descriptive and no prescriptive power whatsoever.

It is no surprise then that in spite of many business consultants who are seeking to position system thinking as the panacea for all managerial illnesses, and in spite of all its many rather superficial fans who are single-mindedly "using" it to demand self-management and autonomy, the discipline has had almost no practical - let alone, transformational - impact in the field of management.

Where are the new ideas to take it forward?

#systemthinking #leadership #philosophy #business #management #transformation

PS: Credit for the picture to Andi Roberts

The truth is: If you were to put nine "SYSTEM THINKERS" in a room and ask each “JUST WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY hashtag#SYSTEM?”, you will get nine different answers.

One might say that systems are like MACHINES, another that they are like ORGANISMS; no, say the others in turn: systems are like BRAINS, systems are in FLUX and transformation, systems are CULTURES, systems are POLITICAL, systems are actually PSYCHIC PRISONS, instruments of domination, or CARNIVALS [Jackson, 2003].

Traditionally, we have sought to overcome (or, rather, gloss over) such evident fragmentation by "multimethodological complementarianism", or what Midgley dubbed "theoretically contradictory eclecticism". Systems methodologies were grouped into ‘paradigms,’ with the idea that the discovery and choice of the most appropriate ‘systems metaphor’ within a given context could lead the practitioner to the best available methodology.

Of course, such an approach is flawed. It does not face up to the potential incommensurability between approaches, and above all evades the more fundamental questions of ontology, epistemology and axiology - of what reality is, how we can get to know or change it, and what really matters in the first place. To insist that "everything is a system" and "emergent", or even to apply multiple systemic lenses uncritically (e.g. conflating constructivism and causal closure), risks leading us towards lots of superficial truisms and platitudes, with limited descriptive and no prescriptive power whatsoever.

It is no surprise then that in spite of many business consultants who are seeking to position system thinking as the panacea for all managerial illnesses, and in spite of all its many rather superficial fans who are single-mindedly "using" it to demand self-management and autonomy, the discipline has had almost no practical - let alone, transformational - impact in the field of management.

Where are the new ideas to take it forward?

#systemthinking #leadership #philosophy #business #management #transformation

PS: Credit for the picture to Andi Roberts

20-08-2023

"We do not say that a #LEADER who shows no interest in politics is a man [sic!] who minds his own #BUSINESS; we say that he has no business here at all." (Paraphrasing Thucydides, The Pelopponesian War)

It has been said that there are only two important questions in politics: 'Who gets what?', and 'Says who?'. The first question is about the distribution of material goods - including property, dividends or bonuses, and of rights and liberties. The second query concerns the distribution of an immaterial good: power.

Contrary to much of psychology or social science, (philosophy of) politics is a normative discipline; it does not ask what is, but what SHOULD be. Sadly, today, a lot of what IS differs from what it should be. And business is, arguably, our most promising vehicle for societal transformation.

Hence, unsurprisingly, both questions above are at the bottom of most, if not all, debates about organisational leadership. It is therefore not difficult to understand that #CEOs or supervisory boards are ignoring political philosophy at their - and our - peril.

#goodleadership

"We do not say that a #LEADER who shows no interest in politics is a man [sic!] who minds his own #BUSINESS; we say that he has no business here at all." (Paraphrasing Thucydides, The Pelopponesian War)

It has been said that there are only two important questions in politics: 'Who gets what?', and 'Says who?'. The first question is about the distribution of material goods - including property, dividends or bonuses, and of rights and liberties. The second query concerns the distribution of an immaterial good: power.

Contrary to much of psychology or social science, (philosophy of) politics is a normative discipline; it does not ask what is, but what SHOULD be. Sadly, today, a lot of what IS differs from what it should be. And business is, arguably, our most promising vehicle for societal transformation.

Hence, unsurprisingly, both questions above are at the bottom of most, if not all, debates about organisational leadership. It is therefore not difficult to understand that #CEOs or supervisory boards are ignoring political philosophy at their - and our - peril.

#goodleadership

15-08-2023

DUMB, DUMBER... MANAGER?

Let's face it - many don't choose a business major as a passionate calling; they often end up there by process of elimination, or quite simply because they want to make money. And let's be honest about business education - it's rarely a very challenging journey. The hurdles are low, and even if you graduate ‘cum laude’, it probably didn't mean sacrificing your college parties. Most business courses focus on very basic concepts - like double book accounting, marketing or micro economics - leaving little room for critical thinking or integrating business with the humanities.

If you decide to pursue an MBA, you might add some technical acumen and learn a bit more about strategy, entrepreneurship or leadership (HBS case studies, anyone?!). However, let's be real, most people won't find much use for Black-Scholes option pricing models or the International Fisher Effect formula in their day jobs. And academic leadership simulations mostly remain superficial, competitive and task-oriented - in bschools that seek to justify exorbitant fees by offering privileged placement in investment banks and consultancies.

On the other hand, there's of course the technical path to management. Engineers and other technical experts often transition into managerial roles from a detailed understanding of products, technology or process. But this route has its own set of challenges. Technical folks may not only struggle to acquire the necessary 'people skills,' but specialization can often be so deep that it makes its passionate disciples lose sight of the bigger picture.

What both pathways fundamentally lack, however, is not only continuous psychological self-development, to gain sufficient self-awareness and consciously construct identity, but above all deeper “philosophical” dialectics to inquire into human behaviour, culture, and ethics. Only when both general and technical knowledge meet with psychological and moral capacity, and critical thinking combines with relational problem solving, do managers acquire practical wisdom over time.

Sadly, the initial lack of competences is rarely recovered. Daily management mostly revolves around practical challenges, and in-house education primarily focuses on shallow capacities like communicating and influencing with empathy, executive time management, or how to run effective meetings. The result? What Mats Alvesson calls 'functional stupidity.' Even top managers operate with an extremely narrow perspective, and underdeveloped character.

In today's world, where businesses are expected to be socially responsible and ethical, this cannot be enough. It's time for HR and managers to systematically bridge this gap. Combining technical expertise with a solid foundation in humanities and ethics doesn't just create better leaders; it fosters responsible and compassionate businesses. 🌐📚

#BusinessEducation #Leadership #EthicalLeadership #GoodLeadership

DUMB, DUMBER... MANAGER?

Let's face it - many don't choose a business major as a passionate calling; they often end up there by process of elimination, or quite simply because they want to make money. And let's be honest about business education - it's rarely a very challenging journey. The hurdles are low, and even if you graduate ‘cum laude’, it probably didn't mean sacrificing your college parties. Most business courses focus on very basic concepts - like double book accounting, marketing or micro economics - leaving little room for critical thinking or integrating business with the humanities.

If you decide to pursue an MBA, you might add some technical acumen and learn a bit more about strategy, entrepreneurship or leadership (HBS case studies, anyone?!). However, let's be real, most people won't find much use for Black-Scholes option pricing models or the International Fisher Effect formula in their day jobs. And academic leadership simulations mostly remain superficial, competitive and task-oriented - in bschools that seek to justify exorbitant fees by offering privileged placement in investment banks and consultancies.

On the other hand, there's of course the technical path to management. Engineers and other technical experts often transition into managerial roles from a detailed understanding of products, technology or process. But this route has its own set of challenges. Technical folks may not only struggle to acquire the necessary 'people skills,' but specialization can often be so deep that it makes its passionate disciples lose sight of the bigger picture.

What both pathways fundamentally lack, however, is not only continuous psychological self-development, to gain sufficient self-awareness and consciously construct identity, but above all deeper “philosophical” dialectics to inquire into human behaviour, culture, and ethics. Only when both general and technical knowledge meet with psychological and moral capacity, and critical thinking combines with relational problem solving, do managers acquire practical wisdom over time.

Sadly, the initial lack of competences is rarely recovered. Daily management mostly revolves around practical challenges, and in-house education primarily focuses on shallow capacities like communicating and influencing with empathy, executive time management, or how to run effective meetings. The result? What Mats Alvesson calls 'functional stupidity.' Even top managers operate with an extremely narrow perspective, and underdeveloped character.

In today's world, where businesses are expected to be socially responsible and ethical, this cannot be enough. It's time for HR and managers to systematically bridge this gap. Combining technical expertise with a solid foundation in humanities and ethics doesn't just create better leaders; it fosters responsible and compassionate businesses. 🌐📚

#BusinessEducation #Leadership #EthicalLeadership #GoodLeadership

15-08-2023

ALL THE WORLD'S A GAME: ARE THE ENTRAILS OF CORRUPTION IN COMMERCIAL hashtag#FOOTBALL AUGURING BADLY FOR THE GLOBAL FUTURE THAT IS EMERGING?

"The big story of this summer transfer window has been the rise of the Sau di Pro League as a hot destination looking to attract the biggest stars in European football, and with the Sau dis, bankrolled by the $620 billion Public Investment Fund (#PIF), taking the market by storm" (#ESPN). Latest in a series, Karim Benzema, the 35-year-old France international signed a two-year contract worth €400million with #AlIttihad.

But is it only the story of a hot summer night? And is it only about football? Adopting the stratified ontology of "Critical Realism" we might suggest that intricate mechanisms beneath the surface are slowly eroding the noble ideals of a once beautiful game and the virtues of its players, as well as its audience.

Most of the time, commercial football presents itself as a glittering spectacle of talent and competition. Yet, peeling back the layers, we encounter those murky wheels that drive the sport's real interests – sponsorship deals, media contracts, profits, and political interests. These mechanisms corrupt the essence of the sport, transforming players from revered athletes to commodified assets, with their performances measured in monetary gains rather than sporting excellence.

Descending further into the catacombs of this stratified reality, we find the underlying structures of neoliberal capitalism that sustain such distortion. The pursuit of financial gain, unchecked by ethical considerations, permeates the whole ecosystem of commercial football. They shape the behaviors and decisions of agents – from players, club owners, to even regulatory bodies – altering their roles from contributors to accomplices in the corrosion of the sport's values.

And maybe, the football pitch is just the stage of a much broader societal drama. Commercial football's corruption might mirror a larger hashtag#system in a hashtag#postmodern society, where individuals play prescribed roles within a market-driven spectacle. As Shakespeare claimed: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players". We all enact our daily roles; with our actions and believs unconsciously shaped and driven by societal scripts, economic pressures, and status aspirations. As puppets in a much wider play, we often maintain and recreate the very mechanisms that are leading to our own instrumentalisation.

Maybe it's time to switch off the TV when the next "big game" is being advertised, and choose a non-commercial alternative. Maybe if we start to challenge the mechanisms and hidden powers that direct the superficial spectacles of life, we might stand a chance to reclaim our authenticity and deeper ethics, in order to enact a role that truly matters in the theatre of daily life.

Commenting on: https://lnkd.in/eGZ7Vute

ALL THE WORLD'S A GAME: ARE THE ENTRAILS OF CORRUPTION IN COMMERCIAL hashtag#FOOTBALL AUGURING BADLY FOR THE GLOBAL FUTURE THAT IS EMERGING?

"The big story of this summer transfer window has been the rise of the Sau di Pro League as a hot destination looking to attract the biggest stars in European football, and with the Sau dis, bankrolled by the $620 billion Public Investment Fund (#PIF), taking the market by storm" (#ESPN). Latest in a series, Karim Benzema, the 35-year-old France international signed a two-year contract worth €400million with #AlIttihad.

But is it only the story of a hot summer night? And is it only about football? Adopting the stratified ontology of "Critical Realism" we might suggest that intricate mechanisms beneath the surface are slowly eroding the noble ideals of a once beautiful game and the virtues of its players, as well as its audience.

Most of the time, commercial football presents itself as a glittering spectacle of talent and competition. Yet, peeling back the layers, we encounter those murky wheels that drive the sport's real interests – sponsorship deals, media contracts, profits, and political interests. These mechanisms corrupt the essence of the sport, transforming players from revered athletes to commodified assets, with their performances measured in monetary gains rather than sporting excellence.

Descending further into the catacombs of this stratified reality, we find the underlying structures of neoliberal capitalism that sustain such distortion. The pursuit of financial gain, unchecked by ethical considerations, permeates the whole ecosystem of commercial football. They shape the behaviors and decisions of agents – from players, club owners, to even regulatory bodies – altering their roles from contributors to accomplices in the corrosion of the sport's values.

And maybe, the football pitch is just the stage of a much broader societal drama. Commercial football's corruption might mirror a larger hashtag#system in a hashtag#postmodern society, where individuals play prescribed roles within a market-driven spectacle. As Shakespeare claimed: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players". We all enact our daily roles; with our actions and believs unconsciously shaped and driven by societal scripts, economic pressures, and status aspirations. As puppets in a much wider play, we often maintain and recreate the very mechanisms that are leading to our own instrumentalisation.

Maybe it's time to switch off the TV when the next "big game" is being advertised, and choose a non-commercial alternative. Maybe if we start to challenge the mechanisms and hidden powers that direct the superficial spectacles of life, we might stand a chance to reclaim our authenticity and deeper ethics, in order to enact a role that truly matters in the theatre of daily life.

Commenting on: https://lnkd.in/eGZ7Vute

15-08-2023

TOO BIG TO FAIL... AGAIN! For years, many grumbled that Dodd-Frank was riddled with loopholes. But now, little more than a decade later, the law’s shortcoming are poised to come into clear view. It’s not that the regulations born from that now decade-old law were too lax—in fact, the nation’s banks today are subject to very strict scrutiny. Rather, it’s the world of finance outside the more proscribed banking community that is stirring up a witch’s brew.

What some call “nonbank” financial firms—money managers, student lenders, mortgage companies, auto lenders, consumer lenders, hedge funds, private capital firms, internet-only banks and various other asset management and payment firms—offer many of same services banks offer, but are not required to maintain the same government license. As such, they’ve been given the okay to engage in the very sorts of risks Dodd-Frank was designed to ameliorate, but they do so with a pittance of the oversight. While in a pinch these looming financial behemoths aren’t supposed to be able to count on government to provide the same level of protection, they’re securing for themselves a different (but very familiar) point of leverage: Some have become too big to (let) fail.

Eventually, the Federal Reserve will get inflation under control, hopefully via a “soft landing”—that is, without sparking a broad-based recession. But as rising interest rates begin to impact ordinary people with variable rate mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, and more, borrowers will inevitably begin struggling to pay. Banks, of course, must be ready for that moment—they’re required to maintain large reserve funds, to comply with strong risk management protocols and, in some cases, to endure regulators literally watching over their shoulders as they work. Moreover, they are all subject to frequent “stress tests” required by Dodd-Frank. But nonbanks are not subject to the same scrutiny. And if, during any future recession, some begin to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, Washington will find itself faced with a familiar dilemma: Bail them out, or let the effects of their imprudence and/or bad luck spread across the rest of the economy.

A very insightful and important contribution by Gene Ludwig, chair of the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity and the author of The Vanishing American Dream. He is the former Comptroller of the Currency.

Commenting on: https://democracyjournal.org/arguments/too-big-to-fail-again/

TOO BIG TO FAIL... AGAIN! For years, many grumbled that Dodd-Frank was riddled with loopholes. But now, little more than a decade later, the law’s shortcoming are poised to come into clear view. It’s not that the regulations born from that now decade-old law were too lax—in fact, the nation’s banks today are subject to very strict scrutiny. Rather, it’s the world of finance outside the more proscribed banking community that is stirring up a witch’s brew.

What some call “nonbank” financial firms—money managers, student lenders, mortgage companies, auto lenders, consumer lenders, hedge funds, private capital firms, internet-only banks and various other asset management and payment firms—offer many of same services banks offer, but are not required to maintain the same government license. As such, they’ve been given the okay to engage in the very sorts of risks Dodd-Frank was designed to ameliorate, but they do so with a pittance of the oversight. While in a pinch these looming financial behemoths aren’t supposed to be able to count on government to provide the same level of protection, they’re securing for themselves a different (but very familiar) point of leverage: Some have become too big to (let) fail.

Eventually, the Federal Reserve will get inflation under control, hopefully via a “soft landing”—that is, without sparking a broad-based recession. But as rising interest rates begin to impact ordinary people with variable rate mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, and more, borrowers will inevitably begin struggling to pay. Banks, of course, must be ready for that moment—they’re required to maintain large reserve funds, to comply with strong risk management protocols and, in some cases, to endure regulators literally watching over their shoulders as they work. Moreover, they are all subject to frequent “stress tests” required by Dodd-Frank. But nonbanks are not subject to the same scrutiny. And if, during any future recession, some begin to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, Washington will find itself faced with a familiar dilemma: Bail them out, or let the effects of their imprudence and/or bad luck spread across the rest of the economy.

A very insightful and important contribution by Gene Ludwig, chair of the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity and the author of The Vanishing American Dream. He is the former Comptroller of the Currency.

Commenting on: https://democracyjournal.org/arguments/too-big-to-fail-again/

10-08-2023

People get very excited about calling each other "Left" or "Right". That seems to me, in Plato's sense, conflating shadows with forms.

Left and Right indicate where politicians go about their daily government. It focuses on party politics, deal-making and people clinging to their seats.

Yet, methinks what matters more than lazy labels and where politicians sit, is what their polity stands for, its values and ideals.

That, as the ancient Philosopher suggested, and with all respect, might have little to do with physics, of Left and Right; and much to do with metaphysics, of Up or Down.

#leadership

TOO BIG TO FAIL... AGAIN! For years, many grumbled that Dodd-Frank was riddled with loopholes. But now, little more than a decade later, the law’s shortcoming are poised to come into clear view. It’s not that the regulations born from that now decade-old law were too lax—in fact, the nation’s banks today are subject to very strict scrutiny. Rather, it’s the world of finance outside the more proscribed banking community that is stirring up a witch’s brew.

What some call “nonbank” financial firms—money managers, student lenders, mortgage companies, auto lenders, consumer lenders, hedge funds, private capital firms, internet-only banks and various other asset management and payment firms—offer many of same services banks offer, but are not required to maintain the same government license. As such, they’ve been given the okay to engage in the very sorts of risks Dodd-Frank was designed to ameliorate, but they do so with a pittance of the oversight. While in a pinch these looming financial behemoths aren’t supposed to be able to count on government to provide the same level of protection, they’re securing for themselves a different (but very familiar) point of leverage: Some have become too big to (let) fail.

Eventually, the Federal Reserve will get inflation under control, hopefully via a “soft landing”—that is, without sparking a broad-based recession. But as rising interest rates begin to impact ordinary people with variable rate mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, and more, borrowers will inevitably begin struggling to pay. Banks, of course, must be ready for that moment—they’re required to maintain large reserve funds, to comply with strong risk management protocols and, in some cases, to endure regulators literally watching over their shoulders as they work. Moreover, they are all subject to frequent “stress tests” required by Dodd-Frank. But nonbanks are not subject to the same scrutiny. And if, during any future recession, some begin to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, Washington will find itself faced with a familiar dilemma: Bail them out, or let the effects of their imprudence and/or bad luck spread across the rest of the economy.

A very insightful and important contribution by Gene Ludwig, chair of the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity and the author of The Vanishing American Dream. He is the former Comptroller of the Currency.

Commenting on: https://democracyjournal.org/arguments/too-big-to-fail-again/

09-08-2023

OUR NEVER-ENDING TROUBLE WITH #GDP: THE DUMBEST (AND STICKIEST) MEASURE FOR SOCIETAL PROGRESS EVER ADOPTED

"GDP measures mainly market transactions. It ignores social costs, environmental impacts and income inequality. If a business used GDP-style accounting, it would aim to maximize gross revenue — even at the expense of profitability, efficiency, sustainability or flexibility. That is hardly smart or sustainable (think Enron). Yet since the end of the Second World War, promoting GDP growth has remained the primary national policy goal in almost every country.

Soaring economic activity has depleted natural resources. Much of the generated wealth has been unequally distributed, leading to a host of social problems. The philosopher John Stuart Mill noted more than 200 years ago that, once decent living standards were assured, human efforts should be directed to the pursuit of social and moral progress and the increase of leisure, not the competitive struggle for material wealth. Or as the economist John Kenneth Galbraith once observed: “To furnish a barren room is one thing. To continue to crowd in furniture until the foundation buckles is quite another.”

There is broad agreement that a global society should strive for a high quality of life that is equitably shared and sustainable. Several groups and reports have concluded that GDP is dangerously inadequate as a measure of quality of life — including those published by the French government's 2008 Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and the European Commission's ongoing Beyond GDP initiative.

Nonetheless, GDP remains entrenched."

Not only have we not introduced any more intelligent metrics - which have existed for decades; we are still insisting on RELATIVE rather than absolute GDP growth as the primary objective for economic, and often societal, success - thus perpetuating a necessity for EXPONENTIAL economic growth!

So why the heck are we stuck? Why are our governments obsessed by economic growth?

Marx once suggested that in capitalism zero growth is not possible, because market mechanisms drive competition and accumulation. But based on neoclassical theory economic theory, a market economy with profit-oriented companies is certainly compatible with zero growth. Any normal (accounting) profit - which is not economic profit in the economic sense - would suffice to cover both return on equity and entrepreneurial salary.

So, maybe vested interests are responsible. Or incompetence and economic illiteracy of politicians (with humanities and law degrees). Or public ignorance. Be it as it may, it cannot be THAT difficult to get elected politicians to update an outdated set of metrics? Or can it?! Who do we need to call?

#leadership #goodeconomy

Commenting on: https://www.nature.com/articles/505283a

OUR NEVER-ENDING TROUBLE WITH #GDP: THE DUMBEST (AND STICKIEST) MEASURE FOR SOCIETAL PROGRESS EVER ADOPTED

"GDP measures mainly market transactions. It ignores social costs, environmental impacts and income inequality. If a business used GDP-style accounting, it would aim to maximize gross revenue — even at the expense of profitability, efficiency, sustainability or flexibility. That is hardly smart or sustainable (think Enron). Yet since the end of the Second World War, promoting GDP growth has remained the primary national policy goal in almost every country.

Soaring economic activity has depleted natural resources. Much of the generated wealth has been unequally distributed, leading to a host of social problems. The philosopher John Stuart Mill noted more than 200 years ago that, once decent living standards were assured, human efforts should be directed to the pursuit of social and moral progress and the increase of leisure, not the competitive struggle for material wealth. Or as the economist John Kenneth Galbraith once observed: “To furnish a barren room is one thing. To continue to crowd in furniture until the foundation buckles is quite another.”

There is broad agreement that a global society should strive for a high quality of life that is equitably shared and sustainable. Several groups and reports have concluded that GDP is dangerously inadequate as a measure of quality of life — including those published by the French government's 2008 Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and the European Commission's ongoing Beyond GDP initiative.

Nonetheless, GDP remains entrenched."

Not only have we not introduced any more intelligent metrics - which have existed for decades; we are still insisting on RELATIVE rather than absolute GDP growth as the primary objective for economic, and often societal, success - thus perpetuating a necessity for EXPONENTIAL economic growth!

So why the heck are we stuck? Why are our governments obsessed by economic growth?

Marx once suggested that in capitalism zero growth is not possible, because market mechanisms drive competition and accumulation. But based on neoclassical theory economic theory, a market economy with profit-oriented companies is certainly compatible with zero growth. Any normal (accounting) profit - which is not economic profit in the economic sense - would suffice to cover both return on equity and entrepreneurial salary.

So, maybe vested interests are responsible. Or incompetence and economic illiteracy of politicians (with humanities and law degrees). Or public ignorance. Be it as it may, it cannot be THAT difficult to get elected politicians to update an outdated set of metrics? Or can it?! Who do we need to call?

#leadership #goodeconomy

Commenting on: https://www.nature.com/articles/505283a

23-08-2023

American Politics Has (Once Again!) Become A Dreadful Soap Opera - with Republicans shamelessly competing for recklessness and immorality

What is wrong with Americans? How is such tomfoolery even possible? The world is watching incredulously how their former President, a pathological liar and incompetent entrepreneur, is checked in to a penitentiary in Georgia where he is trialed for undermining election laws; only to be proudly marketing his own mug shot on t-shirts and campaign posters hours later, to millions of cheering minions who claim he’s their personal messiah; whilst he’s at the same time gleefully ignoring the first panel debate of the Republican primaries (“a waste of my time”) where a bunch of equally uninspiring candidates is swearing personal allegiance to him, in spite of his declared lack of respect for either democracy or their candidacy... All the while Trump’s support ratings are soaring in public opinion surveys with every new infantile rant or public immorality.

John Stuart Mill in his Considerations on Representative Government famously once wrote that the prerequisites for a good government are: that the people should be willing to receive it; that they should be willing and able to do what is necessary for its preservation; that they should be willing and able to fulfill the duties and discharge the functions which it imposes on them. The latter notably included that citizens must be willing to fight against usurpation of power by the executive.

Sadly, the United States’ “democracy” is now seriously lacking in all three regards; and most ironically, while their elected leaders are spearheading the charge towards worse and worse government, a large part of the electorate is howling with joy… it reminds me of Fintan O’Toole’s brilliant interpretation of Brexit as a deeply sadomasochistic strategy to reclaim self-worth through self-inflicted pain and heroic failure. O tempora, o mores!

#Leadership

Commenting on: https://www.politico.com/news/2023/08/23/trump-indictment-gop-debate-00112661

American Politics Has (Once Again!) Become A Dreadful Soap Opera - with Republicans shamelessly competing for recklessness and immorality

What is wrong with Americans? How is such tomfoolery even possible? The world is watching incredulously how their former President, a pathological liar and incompetent entrepreneur, is checked in to a penitentiary in Georgia where he is trialed for undermining election laws; only to be proudly marketing his own mug shot on t-shirts and campaign posters hours later, to millions of cheering minions who claim he’s their personal messiah; whilst he’s at the same time gleefully ignoring the first panel debate of the Republican primaries (“a waste of my time”) where a bunch of equally uninspiring candidates is swearing personal allegiance to him, in spite of his declared lack of respect for either democracy or their candidacy... All the while Trump’s support ratings are soaring in public opinion surveys with every new infantile rant or public immorality.

John Stuart Mill in his Considerations on Representative Government famously once wrote that the prerequisites for a good government are: that the people should be willing to receive it; that they should be willing and able to do what is necessary for its preservation; that they should be willing and able to fulfill the duties and discharge the functions which it imposes on them. The latter notably included that citizens must be willing to fight against usurpation of power by the executive.

Sadly, the United States’ “democracy” is now seriously lacking in all three regards; and most ironically, while their elected leaders are spearheading the charge towards worse and worse government, a large part of the electorate is howling with joy… it reminds me of Fintan O’Toole’s brilliant interpretation of Brexit as a deeply sadomasochistic strategy to reclaim self-worth through self-inflicted pain and heroic failure. O tempora, o mores!

#Leadership

Commenting on: https://www.politico.com/news/2023/08/23/trump-indictment-gop-debate-00112661

20-08-2023

Should we focus on LEADER or LEADERSHIP? A good question. The difference isn’t only taxonomy, or just another one of those many simplistic dichotomies (leaders vs managers, leaders vs bosses etc), but one of hashtag#ontology.

The distinction lies in the application of a “systemic lens”, where the system is treated as the causal mechanism.

In fact, if we look at hashtag#leadership, we can define it as “systemic” either in the sense of a dependent variable, where it is considered emergent from the interplay of unit-level factors, e.g. the characteristics of leaders. Think:

LEADERSHIP = fn(Leader [traits/behaviours])

Often this approach leads to a simplistic reduction of the system of leadership that is being investigated to the traits of senior leaders. Interventions are focused on changing their “styles”, or selecting certain candidates.

Alternatively, we can define leadership as the independent variable. In this sense, the leadership “structure” is the cause for behavior of organizations and their leaders. Think:

Leader [traits/behaviours] = fn(Leadership)

In this case the system-level properties (e.g. the competitive rules, roles and relations; or the engineering culture, etc) determine the shape of what the organisation strives for, and how it influences individuals to follow.

But careful. It doesn’t mean necessarily that structures have greater explanatory power than the interaction and attributes of agents - or executives - thus implying that these are distinct forces, like macro and micro. Conversely. it suggests that agents are differently “structured” by their participation in the system to produce different effects. Hence, interventions would most appropriately seek to change both context and interaction patterns, focusing on underlying mechanisms.

Paraphrasing Alfred North Whitehead, no leadership theory can be more effective than the unconscious metaphysics which tacitly it presupposes.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

Should we focus on LEADER or LEADERSHIP? A good question. The difference isn’t only taxonomy, or just another one of those many simplistic dichotomies (leaders vs managers, leaders vs bosses etc), but one of hashtag#ontology.

The distinction lies in the application of a “systemic lens”, where the system is treated as the causal mechanism.

In fact, if we look at hashtag#leadership, we can define it as “systemic” either in the sense of a dependent variable, where it is considered emergent from the interplay of unit-level factors, e.g. the characteristics of leaders. Think:

LEADERSHIP = fn(Leader [traits/behaviours])

Often this approach leads to a simplistic reduction of the system of leadership that is being investigated to the traits of senior leaders. Interventions are focused on changing their “styles”, or selecting certain candidates.

Alternatively, we can define leadership as the independent variable. In this sense, the leadership “structure” is the cause for behavior of organizations and their leaders. Think:

Leader [traits/behaviours] = fn(Leadership)

In this case the system-level properties (e.g. the competitive rules, roles and relations; or the engineering culture, etc) determine the shape of what the organisation strives for, and how it influences individuals to follow.

But careful. It doesn’t mean necessarily that structures have greater explanatory power than the interaction and attributes of agents - or executives - thus implying that these are distinct forces, like macro and micro. Conversely. it suggests that agents are differently “structured” by their participation in the system to produce different effects. Hence, interventions would most appropriately seek to change both context and interaction patterns, focusing on underlying mechanisms.

Paraphrasing Alfred North Whitehead, no leadership theory can be more effective than the unconscious metaphysics which tacitly it presupposes.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

14-08-2023

"Economists don't care about reality, economists care about models."

In every normal science, models follow theories. Not in economics. Here, we are happy to reverse the logic: we shape our theories to fit our models, even when these models stray significantly from actual reality.

Indeed, most of the time we seem far too busy crafting and perpetuating the "perfect" model to bother with reality. We get excited about this framework, that strategy, those foolproof 5-steps, yet another decision-making logic, a novel 2by2 matrix... demonstrating perfectly how to get oneself into trouble when the map turns out to be very different from the territory.

Hence, there is an absolute necessity for an explicit hashtag#ontology in social sciences, including economics. And a kind reminder to all those who are rolling their eyes and prematurely dismissing the notion of "ontology" altogether - yep, exactly your lazy skepticism is part of the problem ;-).

Cheers to Tony Lawson: https://lnkd.in/eM2QC7Sz

Should we focus on LEADER or LEADERSHIP? A good question. The difference isn’t only taxonomy, or just another one of those many simplistic dichotomies (leaders vs managers, leaders vs bosses etc), but one of hashtag#ontology.

The distinction lies in the application of a “systemic lens”, where the system is treated as the causal mechanism.

In fact, if we look at hashtag#leadership, we can define it as “systemic” either in the sense of a dependent variable, where it is considered emergent from the interplay of unit-level factors, e.g. the characteristics of leaders. Think:

LEADERSHIP = fn(Leader [traits/behaviours])

Often this approach leads to a simplistic reduction of the system of leadership that is being investigated to the traits of senior leaders. Interventions are focused on changing their “styles”, or selecting certain candidates.

Alternatively, we can define leadership as the independent variable. In this sense, the leadership “structure” is the cause for behavior of organizations and their leaders. Think:

Leader [traits/behaviours] = fn(Leadership)

In this case the system-level properties (e.g. the competitive rules, roles and relations; or the engineering culture, etc) determine the shape of what the organisation strives for, and how it influences individuals to follow.

But careful. It doesn’t mean necessarily that structures have greater explanatory power than the interaction and attributes of agents - or executives - thus implying that these are distinct forces, like macro and micro. Conversely. it suggests that agents are differently “structured” by their participation in the system to produce different effects. Hence, interventions would most appropriately seek to change both context and interaction patterns, focusing on underlying mechanisms.

Paraphrasing Alfred North Whitehead, no leadership theory can be more effective than the unconscious metaphysics which tacitly it presupposes.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

14-08-2023

There certainly was a lot to be said, historically speaking, against a dogmatic pursuit of divine HEAVENS in the afterlife. However, it seems many of our problems only really started when we desperately tried to fashion our world into an "earthly heaven" and pursue pleasure in THIS LIFE.

Rather than another climate conference, maybe we need a new ORACLE, like the one at Delphi, 8th-4th centuries BCE...

Gnothi seauton - Know Thyself!

The first maxim at the Oracle at Delphi read “know thyself” - something postmodern people often like to interpret as an antique exhortation to individual self-contemplation; but of course it wasn't. In the antique pantheistic world it simply served as a warning: know that you are human, not a God; and do not strive to be a God, or thou shalt fall.

Meden agan - Nothing in Excess!

The second maxim demanded moderation. In fact, temperance is the first cardinal virtue, as posited by Plato and then Aristotle; the others are courage, phronesis, and justice. While temperance is about moderating our desires for hedonistic pleasure and material gain, courage is about our capacity to bravely face pain when appropriate. Phronesis, or practical wisdom, is the ability to use all the #virtues in the "right mean", in order to act for good in every contingent situation. #Justice, rather than being an individual is a public virtue: it means to ensure everyone is given (and only taking) their due. In ancient Greece, "pleonexia" was the much detested vice of avarice, a personal desire for more than one deserves.

Friendship and Charity

Aristotle added friendship as an all-important requirement, and the Church emphasized the importance of faith, hope and #love (charity) in the continual practice of "being a good human".

Maybe then, in simple terms, the critical insights from such ancient wisdom for modern people is that: we should not take ourselves to seriously (maxim 1); we must cultivate moderation and virtues (maxim 2); and if we seek to remodel our cosmos we should do so with love, faith and friendship - not only for ourselves, but all creatures around us.

Before it is too late.

There certainly was a lot to be said, historically speaking, against a dogmatic pursuit of divine HEAVENS in the afterlife. However, it seems many of our problems only really started when we desperately tried to fashion our world into an "earthly heaven" and pursue pleasure in THIS LIFE.

Rather than another climate conference, maybe we need a new ORACLE, like the one at Delphi, 8th-4th centuries BCE...

Gnothi seauton - Know Thyself!

The first maxim at the Oracle at Delphi read “know thyself” - something postmodern people often like to interpret as an antique exhortation to individual self-contemplation; but of course it wasn't. In the antique pantheistic world it simply served as a warning: know that you are human, not a God; and do not strive to be a God, or thou shalt fall.

Meden agan - Nothing in Excess!

The second maxim demanded moderation. In fact, temperance is the first cardinal virtue, as posited by Plato and then Aristotle; the others are courage, phronesis, and justice. While temperance is about moderating our desires for hedonistic pleasure and material gain, courage is about our capacity to bravely face pain when appropriate. Phronesis, or practical wisdom, is the ability to use all the #virtues in the "right mean", in order to act for good in every contingent situation. #Justice, rather than being an individual is a public virtue: it means to ensure everyone is given (and only taking) their due. In ancient Greece, "pleonexia" was the much detested vice of avarice, a personal desire for more than one deserves.

Friendship and Charity

Aristotle added friendship as an all-important requirement, and the Church emphasized the importance of faith, hope and #love (charity) in the continual practice of "being a good human".

Maybe then, in simple terms, the critical insights from such ancient wisdom for modern people is that: we should not take ourselves to seriously (maxim 1); we must cultivate moderation and virtues (maxim 2); and if we seek to remodel our cosmos we should do so with love, faith and friendship - not only for ourselves, but all creatures around us.

Before it is too late.

11-08-2023

The HOLY GOSPEL of #CAPITALISM

1. Private property is freedom
2. Time is money - money is power
3. People are rational and selfish
4. Businesses are engines of progress
5. Customer is king
6. Markets know best how to allocate resources
7. Social justice equals choice
8. The winner deserves all
9. Governments should do as little as possible
10. What’s good for me is good for all

Repeat 3x daily until you truly believe.
Hallelujah!

PS: Sometimes we must first acknowledge an ideology before we can fruitfully examine, and if necessary deconstruct it.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

The HOLY GOSPEL of #CAPITALISM

1. Private property is freedom
2. Time is money - money is power
3. People are rational and selfish
4. Businesses are engines of progress
5. Customer is king
6. Markets know best how to allocate resources
7. Social justice equals choice
8. The winner deserves all
9. Governments should do as little as possible
10. What’s good for me is good for all

Repeat 3x daily until you truly believe.
Hallelujah!

PS: Sometimes we must first acknowledge an ideology before we can fruitfully examine, and if necessary deconstruct it.

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

11-08-2023

The Shadows of the #PositivePersonality cult and its perilous #Trust dogma

Sigmund Freud had to escape from Vienna in 1938 and spent the last years of his life in a cozy cottage here in Hampstead. Wandering recently through his chambers, full of archeological relics, one thought kept coming up: there is a striking difference between Freud's sophisticated anthropological assumptions (the dark "id" slumbering in each of us, remember?) and the all-is-good platitudes of many modern psychologists and coaches.

In this context, I always found Freud's correspondence about "Why War?" with Albert Einstein in 1932 fascinating. Freud argues that both erotic (in the sense Plato uses the word in the symposium) and destructive impulses are innate and essential in men. Analogously, wars stem from a combination of love and hate - in the form of justice and power ("Recht und Macht") - where #power is firmly linked to violence. In fact, Freud argues, conflicts of interest, between men or animals, have always been settled by use of violence. Where justice was traditionally the right of the strongest, in modern communities violence is institutionalized by rules to subjugate the stronger individuals to the will of the collective. Of course, #justice thus is just a different form of violence and will breed new power struggles unless the community of men "subordinated their instinctual life to the dictatorship of reason". Reason, according to Freud, could come in two shapes - strong emotional ties between community members and shared identification with (cultural) ideals. None of which, Freud believed, would happen soon at a global level, so wars would remain inevitable. In the meantime, we should make sure good people are in charge.

Comparing Freud with the popular utopias of the positive thought movement, like Humankind by Rutger Bregman is insightful. Based on a bunch of compelling yet highly unscientific historical anecdotes, Rutger seeks to convince us that "a new realism" is justified: contrary to Freud's findings, he suggests "most people, deep down, are pretty decent". The problem is not humankind, but traditional #psychology which is infested by cynicism. Reaching the apotheosis of ingenuity, he claims that even if wars happen "catastrophes bring out the best in people".

Stories like Bregman's have a surprising following - many colleagues work on the premise that our role as leadership coaches is simply to amplify the "authentic self" with "unconditional regard" for coachees.

Beyond the ludicrous simplicity of such ideologies, and their lack of empirical backing, the danger of the #thinkpositive cult lies not only in its ontological individualism and ethical relativism, but in its perilous propositions: if everybody is innately good, every bad must be a consequence of context. Ergo, we do not need rules, but freedom. Not better people, but more trust. Not meritocracy, but participation.

No doubt, Freud would have asked us to lay down on his famous couch!

The Shadows of the #PositivePersonality cult and its perilous #Trust dogma

Sigmund Freud had to escape from Vienna in 1938 and spent the last years of his life in a cozy cottage here in Hampstead. Wandering recently through his chambers, full of archeological relics, one thought kept coming up: there is a striking difference between Freud's sophisticated anthropological assumptions (the dark "id" slumbering in each of us, remember?) and the all-is-good platitudes of many modern psychologists and coaches.

In this context, I always found Freud's correspondence about "Why War?" with Albert Einstein in 1932 fascinating. Freud argues that both erotic (in the sense Plato uses the word in the symposium) and destructive impulses are innate and essential in men. Analogously, wars stem from a combination of love and hate - in the form of justice and power ("Recht und Macht") - where #power is firmly linked to violence. In fact, Freud argues, conflicts of interest, between men or animals, have always been settled by use of violence. Where justice was traditionally the right of the strongest, in modern communities violence is institutionalized by rules to subjugate the stronger individuals to the will of the collective. Of course, #justice thus is just a different form of violence and will breed new power struggles unless the community of men "subordinated their instinctual life to the dictatorship of reason". Reason, according to Freud, could come in two shapes - strong emotional ties between community members and shared identification with (cultural) ideals. None of which, Freud believed, would happen soon at a global level, so wars would remain inevitable. In the meantime, we should make sure good people are in charge.

Comparing Freud with the popular utopias of the positive thought movement, like Humankind by Rutger Bregman is insightful. Based on a bunch of compelling yet highly unscientific historical anecdotes, Rutger seeks to convince us that "a new realism" is justified: contrary to Freud's findings, he suggests "most people, deep down, are pretty decent". The problem is not humankind, but traditional #psychology which is infested by cynicism. Reaching the apotheosis of ingenuity, he claims that even if wars happen "catastrophes bring out the best in people".

Stories like Bregman's have a surprising following - many colleagues work on the premise that our role as leadership coaches is simply to amplify the "authentic self" with "unconditional regard" for coachees.

Beyond the ludicrous simplicity of such ideologies, and their lack of empirical backing, the danger of the #thinkpositive cult lies not only in its ontological individualism and ethical relativism, but in its perilous propositions: if everybody is innately good, every bad must be a consequence of context. Ergo, we do not need rules, but freedom. Not better people, but more trust. Not meritocracy, but participation.

No doubt, Freud would have asked us to lay down on his famous couch!

11-08-2023

🎭 The Illusion of "FEARLESS" Cultures: A Closer Look 🎭

It's intriguing how many organizations champion so-called "fearless" cultures. They openly encourage employees to voice their thoughts, develop new ideas and take more risks. While on the surface it might seem empowering, digging a little deeper we often find that such movements merely seek to stimulate increased risk-taking and effort by employees, for the purpose of greater performance and profit. Seldom do such measures imply commitment to workers for their own sake, a change in political power structures, or indeed higher remuneration for workers.

🌱 Contrast this with the rarity of organizations that genuinely recognise that L&D isn't just a means to generate more profit, but an end in itself. Such businesses holistically adapt success measures, structures, routines, and leadership in order to nurture continuous mutual development and to encourage virtuous inquiry and action in everything they do. Their driver is not fear, but virtue.

Here are some hallmarks that set such #goodorganisations apart:

🛤️ Character and responsibility: While profits matter, a good organisation is deeply committed to craft institutional habits that generate a positive difference to stakeholders and society at large, in everything they touch.
🤝 Wise Decision-Making: These organizations not only value diverse perspectives and include employees in important decisions, but commit to higher aims of truth, care and justice, beyond customer or shareholder preferences.
🚀 Deliberate Development: Open communications are not only focused on short-term gains, profits, or other business metrics, but foster meaningful dialogue about mutual personal, professional, and organisational growth.
🌐 Triple-Loop Learning: Mechanisms for regular feedback enable stakeholders to systematically voice their views and continually question and improve organisational purpose, power structures, routines and behaviours.
🎗️ Mutual Empowerment: Well-designed training initiatives, mentorship programs, and resources for development demonstrate a genuine willingness to foster employee fulfillment and community building. Calculated risks are taken to promote organisational innovation in order to enable mutual and shared potential.
🌈 Good Leadership: Leaders are chosen for competence and virtue, lead by example, and prioritize individual and organisational well-being and wisdom to forge a virtuous community.
🌏 Corporate Citizenship: Beyond the workplace, virtuous cultures extend their positive impact into the larger society, reflecting a desire to contribute to the common good.

Only if we advance beyond superficial narratives, will we craft organizations that recognize that true success lies not just in outward status and share prices, but in their inward character and constitution. Treating people as means, instead of treating them as ends, might be a good starting point.

#goodorganisations #leadership #leadershipdevelopment

🎭 The Illusion of "FEARLESS" Cultures: A Closer Look 🎭

It's intriguing how many organizations champion so-called "fearless" cultures. They openly encourage employees to voice their thoughts, develop new ideas and take more risks. While on the surface it might seem empowering, digging a little deeper we often find that such movements merely seek to stimulate increased risk-taking and effort by employees, for the purpose of greater performance and profit. Seldom do such measures imply commitment to workers for their own sake, a change in political power structures, or indeed higher remuneration for workers.

🌱 Contrast this with the rarity of organizations that genuinely recognise that L&D isn't just a means to generate more profit, but an end in itself. Such businesses holistically adapt success measures, structures, routines, and leadership in order to nurture continuous mutual development and to encourage virtuous inquiry and action in everything they do. Their driver is not fear, but virtue.

Here are some hallmarks that set such #goodorganisations apart:

🛤️ Character and responsibility: While profits matter, a good organisation is deeply committed to craft institutional habits that generate a positive difference to stakeholders and society at large, in everything they touch.
🤝 Wise Decision-Making: These organizations not only value diverse perspectives and include employees in important decisions, but commit to higher aims of truth, care and justice, beyond customer or shareholder preferences.
🚀 Deliberate Development: Open communications are not only focused on short-term gains, profits, or other business metrics, but foster meaningful dialogue about mutual personal, professional, and organisational growth.
🌐 Triple-Loop Learning: Mechanisms for regular feedback enable stakeholders to systematically voice their views and continually question and improve organisational purpose, power structures, routines and behaviours.
🎗️ Mutual Empowerment: Well-designed training initiatives, mentorship programs, and resources for development demonstrate a genuine willingness to foster employee fulfillment and community building. Calculated risks are taken to promote organisational innovation in order to enable mutual and shared potential.
🌈 Good Leadership: Leaders are chosen for competence and virtue, lead by example, and prioritize individual and organisational well-being and wisdom to forge a virtuous community.
🌏 Corporate Citizenship: Beyond the workplace, virtuous cultures extend their positive impact into the larger society, reflecting a desire to contribute to the common good.

Only if we advance beyond superficial narratives, will we craft organizations that recognize that true success lies not just in outward status and share prices, but in their inward character and constitution. Treating people as means, instead of treating them as ends, might be a good starting point.

#goodorganisations #leadership #leadershipdevelopment

08-08-2023

"The greatest danger in the Anthropocene is the combination of superior technology with inferior morality."

#Leadership #leadershipdevelopment #goodleadership

"The greatest danger in the Anthropocene is the combination of superior technology with inferior morality."

#Leadership #leadershipdevelopment #goodleadership

08-08-2023

PARADISE LOST. Contrary to conventional wisdom and much populist outrage, the most fundamental challenge with INEFFECTIVE BUREAUCRACIES is not the increase in cost, but the demise of ideals.

When companies scale and increasingly turn their focus from a dedication to shared service towards an obsession with internal controls, what is often lost is the source of values that inspired their inception in the first place.

Whilst burgeoning costs can be addressed with structural interventions, the loss of "charism" cannot. Sadly, in our science-blind world of management, we far too often insist on "curing" a broken heart with cardiological surgery...

#LEADERSHIP #populism #bureaucracymustlive

PARADISE LOST. Contrary to conventional wisdom and much populist outrage, the most fundamental challenge with INEFFECTIVE BUREAUCRACIES is not the increase in cost, but the demise of ideals.

When companies scale and increasingly turn their focus from a dedication to shared service towards an obsession with internal controls, what is often lost is the source of values that inspired their inception in the first place.

Whilst burgeoning costs can be addressed with structural interventions, the loss of "charism" cannot. Sadly, in our science-blind world of management, we far too often insist on "curing" a broken heart with cardiological surgery...

#LEADERSHIP #populism #bureaucracymustlive

05-08-2023

"Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil. But for my part I have long perceived the nature of good and its nobility, the nature of evil and its meanness, and also the nature of the culprit himself, who is my brother (not in the physical sense, but as a fellow creature similarly endowed with reason and a share of the divine); therefore none of those things can injure me, for nobody can implicate me in what is degrading. Neither can I be angry with my brother or fall foul of him; for he and I were born to work together, like a man’s two hands, feet or eyelids, or the upper and lower rows of his teeth. To obstruct each other is against Nature’s law – and what is irritation or aversion but a form of obstruction."

Adding elsewhere: "the art of living is more like wrestling than dancing". Oh yes.

Marcus Aurelius, the last of the "five good emperors, Meditations

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

"Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil. But for my part I have long perceived the nature of good and its nobility, the nature of evil and its meanness, and also the nature of the culprit himself, who is my brother (not in the physical sense, but as a fellow creature similarly endowed with reason and a share of the divine); therefore none of those things can injure me, for nobody can implicate me in what is degrading. Neither can I be angry with my brother or fall foul of him; for he and I were born to work together, like a man’s two hands, feet or eyelids, or the upper and lower rows of his teeth. To obstruct each other is against Nature’s law – and what is irritation or aversion but a form of obstruction."

Adding elsewhere: "the art of living is more like wrestling than dancing". Oh yes.

Marcus Aurelius, the last of the "five good emperors, Meditations

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

05-08-2023

YES, OF COURSE!, said the Economics Professor to the student, with an indignant voice. SANTA CLAUS DOES EXIST! Only that conditions must be perfect so you can see him...


In the land of economics, full of dollars and cents,

Lives the beautiful myth of the invisible hands...

These modern superheroes, oh what a whimsical notion,
guide all our markets, with a godly devotion!

Almighty and all-knowing, they orchestrate with care,
Supply and demand; prices dancing with flair.

In boardrooms they rave, "Let the economy roam free,
Love shall beget profits, for you and for me!"

Sadly, not all is true, in the management haze,
The hands are not more than a puppeteer's craze.

So, in myths and in markets, be skeptical and wise,
See through the façade, where reality lies.

#economicpoetry #leadership #capitalism #criticalmanagementscience

YES, OF COURSE!, said the Economics Professor to the student, with an indignant voice. SANTA CLAUS DOES EXIST! Only that conditions must be perfect so you can see him...


In the land of economics, full of dollars and cents,

Lives the beautiful myth of the invisible hands...

These modern superheroes, oh what a whimsical notion,
guide all our markets, with a godly devotion!

Almighty and all-knowing, they orchestrate with care,
Supply and demand; prices dancing with flair.

In boardrooms they rave, "Let the economy roam free,
Love shall beget profits, for you and for me!"

Sadly, not all is true, in the management haze,
The hands are not more than a puppeteer's craze.

So, in myths and in markets, be skeptical and wise,
See through the façade, where reality lies.

#economicpoetry #leadership #capitalism #criticalmanagementscience

03-08-2023

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

01-08-2023

Where is the STATUE OF RESPONSIBILITY? Thinking of iconic statues in the United States, the Statue of hashtag#Liberty immediately comes to mind, symbolizing freedom and opportunity. But what about its counterpart, the Statue of Responsibility? While it may not be as widely recognized, the concept behind it is both profound and thought-provoking.

The idea of a Statue of Responsibility was proposed by Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, renowned psychiatrist and author of "Man's Search for Meaning." Frankl believed that alongside the pursuit of liberty, society should also emphasize the importance of personal responsibility. He argued that true freedom is not merely the absence of constraints but the conscious choice to take responsibility for one's actions and make meaningful contributions to the world: “Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.”

The Statue of Responsibility would thus serve as a reminder that individual freedom is intricately tied to our responsibility towards others and society as a whole. It would encourage us to reflect on the impact of our choices, emphasizing that we have a duty to use our freedom in ways that benefit and uplift others.

While the Statue of Responsibility does not physically exist at present - at least not in full scale, the concept certainly challenges us to consider the balance between freedom and responsibility in our own lives. It urges us to recognize our capacity to shape the world through our choices and actions, reminding us that true fulfillment and meaning come from living a life of purpose and service.

In a world of business, often characterized by division, competition and self-interest, the idea of the Statue of Responsibility might also serve as a powerful wakeup call for leaders, asking us to examine how and whether we truly contribute to the betterment of society and make a positive difference in the lives of those around us.

So, maybe the real question is: where is YOUR Statue of Responsibility? Like it was never physically erected on the West Coast, it might stand equally forgotten within each of us, waiting to be embodied through our conscious decisions and the impact we have on others. Maybe we should search for it more often to ensure we embrace its implied challenge, to always carefully balance freedom with responsibility, and to strive to create a better future for generations to come.

Commenting on: https://lnkd.in/eH4CqNpJ

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #goodleaders

Where is the STATUE OF RESPONSIBILITY? Thinking of iconic statues in the United States, the Statue of hashtag#Liberty immediately comes to mind, symbolizing freedom and opportunity. But what about its counterpart, the Statue of Responsibility? While it may not be as widely recognized, the concept behind it is both profound and thought-provoking.

The idea of a Statue of Responsibility was proposed by Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, renowned psychiatrist and author of "Man's Search for Meaning." Frankl believed that alongside the pursuit of liberty, society should also emphasize the importance of personal responsibility. He argued that true freedom is not merely the absence of constraints but the conscious choice to take responsibility for one's actions and make meaningful contributions to the world: “Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.”

The Statue of Responsibility would thus serve as a reminder that individual freedom is intricately tied to our responsibility towards others and society as a whole. It would encourage us to reflect on the impact of our choices, emphasizing that we have a duty to use our freedom in ways that benefit and uplift others.

While the Statue of Responsibility does not physically exist at present - at least not in full scale, the concept certainly challenges us to consider the balance between freedom and responsibility in our own lives. It urges us to recognize our capacity to shape the world through our choices and actions, reminding us that true fulfillment and meaning come from living a life of purpose and service.

In a world of business, often characterized by division, competition and self-interest, the idea of the Statue of Responsibility might also serve as a powerful wakeup call for leaders, asking us to examine how and whether we truly contribute to the betterment of society and make a positive difference in the lives of those around us.

So, maybe the real question is: where is YOUR Statue of Responsibility? Like it was never physically erected on the West Coast, it might stand equally forgotten within each of us, waiting to be embodied through our conscious decisions and the impact we have on others. Maybe we should search for it more often to ensure we embrace its implied challenge, to always carefully balance freedom with responsibility, and to strive to create a better future for generations to come.

Commenting on: https://lnkd.in/eH4CqNpJ

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #goodleaders

01-08-2023

Almost every adult today believes, or claims to believe, that TRUTH is relative. Whatever people’s backgrounds, their absolute embrace of relativism and their allegiance to equality unites them.

For them, the relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society. "The true believer is the real danger!", they will claim. What we should fear is not error, but intolerance! Men thinking they were right has led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism, and chauvinism. The point is not to correct mistakes but rather not to aim for right at all.

When challenged, their response is a combination of disbelief and indignation: "Are you a socialist?” - the only alternative they know. Relativism is necessary, they decree, to openness; and this is the virtue, the only virtue. Openness— and the relativism that makes it plausible —is, allegedly, the great insight of our times.

Such people, of course, cannot defend their opinions. It is something with which they have been indoctrinated from early age. The best they can do is point to different cultures they have seen and ask: what right do I or anyone have to say one is better than another?

Very often, it is not that they know much about other nations, or about their own. In fact, their education did not mean to make them scholars. Every political system has an educational goal it tries to attain. It wants to produce a certain kind of human being. Aristocracies want gentlemen, oligarchies want people who pursue money, and democracies need lovers of equality.

If we pose a routine question designed to make them think, such as, "If you had been a British administrator in India, would you have let the natives burn the widow at the funeral of their husband?" they either remain silent or reply the British should never have been there in the first place.

The traditional view was that by recognizing natural rights and duties people undergirded unity and solidarity. The modern education of openness rejects all that. Old beliefs are said to be flawed and regressive. There are no absolutes; only freedom is absolute! The inflamed sensitivity of a radicalized democratic theory outlaws any limit as arbitrary and tyrannical. There is no enemy other than the man who is not open to everything; who is closed to the emergent.

But when there are no shared goals or vision of the public good, is a good society any longer possible? Of course, the ultimate result of such simplistic relativism is that the argument justifying freedom itself disappears. Eventually the quest for openness is no longer a virtue to discover the good, but merely a thoughtless pursuit of one’s own prejudice. As Plato states in the Republic, to the tyrant’s mind, any restriction on his greed is an affront: a sign that he does not yet rule supreme. From pleonexia to lawlessness is often just a small step...

(Based on The Closing of The American Mind, Allan Bloom)


#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #goodleaders

Almost every adult today believes, or claims to believe, that TRUTH is relative. Whatever people’s backgrounds, their absolute embrace of relativism and their allegiance to equality unites them.

For them, the relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society. "The true believer is the real danger!", they will claim. What we should fear is not error, but intolerance! Men thinking they were right has led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism, and chauvinism. The point is not to correct mistakes but rather not to aim for right at all.

When challenged, their response is a combination of disbelief and indignation: "Are you a socialist?” - the only alternative they know. Relativism is necessary, they decree, to openness; and this is the virtue, the only virtue. Openness— and the relativism that makes it plausible —is, allegedly, the great insight of our times.

Such people, of course, cannot defend their opinions. It is something with which they have been indoctrinated from early age. The best they can do is point to different cultures they have seen and ask: what right do I or anyone have to say one is better than another?

Very often, it is not that they know much about other nations, or about their own. In fact, their education did not mean to make them scholars. Every political system has an educational goal it tries to attain. It wants to produce a certain kind of human being. Aristocracies want gentlemen, oligarchies want people who pursue money, and democracies need lovers of equality.

If we pose a routine question designed to make them think, such as, "If you had been a British administrator in India, would you have let the natives burn the widow at the funeral of their husband?" they either remain silent or reply the British should never have been there in the first place.

The traditional view was that by recognizing natural rights and duties people undergirded unity and solidarity. The modern education of openness rejects all that. Old beliefs are said to be flawed and regressive. There are no absolutes; only freedom is absolute! The inflamed sensitivity of a radicalized democratic theory outlaws any limit as arbitrary and tyrannical. There is no enemy other than the man who is not open to everything; who is closed to the emergent.

But when there are no shared goals or vision of the public good, is a good society any longer possible? Of course, the ultimate result of such simplistic relativism is that the argument justifying freedom itself disappears. Eventually the quest for openness is no longer a virtue to discover the good, but merely a thoughtless pursuit of one’s own prejudice. As Plato states in the Republic, to the tyrant’s mind, any restriction on his greed is an affront: a sign that he does not yet rule supreme. From pleonexia to lawlessness is often just a small step...

(Based on The Closing of The American Mind, Allan Bloom)


#leadership #leadershipdevelopment #goodleaders

01-08-2023

Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain - A reflective book for the summer.

Since arriving in the UK I’ve always been curious (and somewhat taken aback) by the English obsession with the second world war. It goes much beyond any endeavour in other European countries to remember and prevent the horrors of military conflict. In the UK, remembrance often turns into a highly ritualized celebration of the nation's moral superiority, mixed with a longing and self-pitying nostalgia for a bygone era of British greatness. Self-criticism is rarely invited. In my over twenty years here, I have seldom witnessed a public voice that vigorously addressed the country's history of brutality and cruelty in places like India, Kenya or South Africa during its colonial past.

Therefore, Fintan O'Toole's book turned out to be an incisive and insightful exploration. He delves deeply into the intriguing and perplexing neuroticism of the English search for a lost identity as a driving force behind Brexit. With a wealth of anecdotes and references from literature and media, O'Toole skillfully unveils how England has cultivated a distinct 'structure of feeling,' oscillating between a sense of victimhood and grandiosity. The iconic backdrop of World War II is deliberately used and reused as a touchstone for constructing a narrative of national martyrdom, wherein the former colonial power defies an imagined intolerable oppression from a 'soft-Nazi European superstate,' while at the same time harboring ludicrous dreams of an 'Empire 2.0' in the Anglosphere.

O'Toole contends that the pinnacle of English heroism lies in a stoic embrace of self-inflicted failure. He describes a sado-masochistic dynamic of dominance and submission, where England craves recognition but knows that "they hate us because we saved them". The Brexit movement becomes a theater of sadopopulism, where concepts of freedom are bizarrely intertwined with self-inflicted pain: it doesn't greatly matter what the EU is doing, nor that between the British self-image as exemplars of liberty and civility and the brutal realities of its imperial history there is a yawning gap. What matters is that it shall not yield from its imaginary moral high ground, even if it perishes. Hurt yourself if you truly love your country! Take back control! Propelled by insidious racism and the reckless mendacity of a shameless class of political buffoons, it defiantly sets out on mission as rebellious as it is senseless, to salvage such grandiose tokens of English greatness as prawn cocktail flavoured crisps.

O'Toole doesn't discount critiques of the EU: being angry about the EU is not a psychosis - it's a mark of sanity. Yet, he skillfully uncovers the irony in how a self-serving political elite manipulates hurtful nationalism while eluding the consequences of their actions. The UK’s dilettante political class is the one that suffers least from ...

Full review: https://lnkd.in/dBDgdjhK

Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain - A reflective book for the summer.

Since arriving in the UK I’ve always been curious (and somewhat taken aback) by the English obsession with the second world war. It goes much beyond any endeavour in other European countries to remember and prevent the horrors of military conflict. In the UK, remembrance often turns into a highly ritualized celebration of the nation's moral superiority, mixed with a longing and self-pitying nostalgia for a bygone era of British greatness. Self-criticism is rarely invited. In my over twenty years here, I have seldom witnessed a public voice that vigorously addressed the country's history of brutality and cruelty in places like India, Kenya or South Africa during its colonial past.

Therefore, Fintan O'Toole's book turned out to be an incisive and insightful exploration. He delves deeply into the intriguing and perplexing neuroticism of the English search for a lost identity as a driving force behind Brexit. With a wealth of anecdotes and references from literature and media, O'Toole skillfully unveils how England has cultivated a distinct 'structure of feeling,' oscillating between a sense of victimhood and grandiosity. The iconic backdrop of World War II is deliberately used and reused as a touchstone for constructing a narrative of national martyrdom, wherein the former colonial power defies an imagined intolerable oppression from a 'soft-Nazi European superstate,' while at the same time harboring ludicrous dreams of an 'Empire 2.0' in the Anglosphere.

O'Toole contends that the pinnacle of English heroism lies in a stoic embrace of self-inflicted failure. He describes a sado-masochistic dynamic of dominance and submission, where England craves recognition but knows that "they hate us because we saved them". The Brexit movement becomes a theater of sadopopulism, where concepts of freedom are bizarrely intertwined with self-inflicted pain: it doesn't greatly matter what the EU is doing, nor that between the British self-image as exemplars of liberty and civility and the brutal realities of its imperial history there is a yawning gap. What matters is that it shall not yield from its imaginary moral high ground, even if it perishes. Hurt yourself if you truly love your country! Take back control! Propelled by insidious racism and the reckless mendacity of a shameless class of political buffoons, it defiantly sets out on mission as rebellious as it is senseless, to salvage such grandiose tokens of English greatness as prawn cocktail flavoured crisps.

O'Toole doesn't discount critiques of the EU: being angry about the EU is not a psychosis - it's a mark of sanity. Yet, he skillfully uncovers the irony in how a self-serving political elite manipulates hurtful nationalism while eluding the consequences of their actions. The UK’s dilettante political class is the one that suffers least from ...

Full review: https://lnkd.in/dBDgdjhK

29-07-2023

As a successful lawyer, so the saying goes, you spend the first part of your career chasing the bad guys, and then the second half representing them.

As a business leader, if you’re lucky and so inclined, you spend the first half of your career playing the game, so that in the second part you have the freedom to redeem yourself by trying to change the game. A sign of certain failure is, therefore, when instead we continue playing, and only try to appease our conscience with unsubstantial philanthropy. Whatever the market and the Wall Street journal might say.

As Chesterton quipped : we have often sneered at the cowardice of medieval barons who gave lands to the church to wipe out the memory of their raids or robberies; but modern capitalists seem to have exactly the same tendency; only that in the case of capitalists - sadly - the memories of their robberies is often really wiped out.

#business #leader #lawyer


Ps: the interesting book triggering this thought was Patrick Keefe’s Empire of Pain. It tells the story of the Sackler Dynasty - one of the 20 richest families in the US worth $13bn in 2016 and well-known for their generous philanthropy as much as for their evil role in hard selling Roche's Valium and their own Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin - a catalyst of the opioid crisis which cost more than 42000 lives (and 450000 opioid-related overdoses). In 2022, Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family reached a $6 billion OxyContin settlement.

As a successful lawyer, so the saying goes, you spend the first part of your career chasing the bad guys, and then the second half representing them.

As a business leader, if you’re lucky and so inclined, you spend the first half of your career playing the game, so that in the second part you have the freedom to redeem yourself by trying to change the game. A sign of certain failure is, therefore, when instead we continue playing, and only try to appease our conscience with unsubstantial philanthropy. Whatever the market and the Wall Street journal might say.

As Chesterton quipped : we have often sneered at the cowardice of medieval barons who gave lands to the church to wipe out the memory of their raids or robberies; but modern capitalists seem to have exactly the same tendency; only that in the case of capitalists - sadly - the memories of their robberies is often really wiped out.

#business #leader #lawyer


Ps: the interesting book triggering this thought was Patrick Keefe’s Empire of Pain. It tells the story of the Sackler Dynasty - one of the 20 richest families in the US worth $13bn in 2016 and well-known for their generous philanthropy as much as for their evil role in hard selling Roche's Valium and their own Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin - a catalyst of the opioid crisis which cost more than 42000 lives (and 450000 opioid-related overdoses). In 2022, Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family reached a $6 billion OxyContin settlement.

28-07-2023

Whilst realising that most of those fervent apostles of individual freedom and organisational liberation will not like to hear it, I firmly believe that good leadership requires obedience to civic duty. As Cicero pointed out, it is a common saying that "many pecks of salt" must be eaten together before the duties of friendship can be discharged. Equally, it requires continual cultivation of virtue in service of the common good in order to attain mastery in leadership, let alone to become a good human being.

As the Roman philosopher famously admonished us: "The higher we are placed, the more humbly should we walk.”

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

Whilst realising that most of those fervent apostles of individual freedom and organisational liberation will not like to hear it, I firmly believe that good leadership requires obedience to civic duty. As Cicero pointed out, it is a common saying that "many pecks of salt" must be eaten together before the duties of friendship can be discharged. Equally, it requires continual cultivation of virtue in service of the common good in order to attain mastery in leadership, let alone to become a good human being.

As the Roman philosopher famously admonished us: "The higher we are placed, the more humbly should we walk.”

#leadership #leadershipdevelopment

26-07-2023

LET'S NOT FOOL OURSELVES. #INEQUALITY HAS A FACE: A FEW "STINKING RICH". 

As Oxfam states: "Richest 1% bag nearly twice as much wealth as the rest of the world put together over the past two years, worth $42 trillion created since 2020, almost twice as much money as the bottom 99 percent of the world’s population."

“While ordinary people are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food, the super-rich have outdone even their wildest dreams. Just two years in, this decade is shaping up to be the best yet for billionaires —a roaring ‘20s boom for the world’s richest,” said Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International.

"Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest men, paid a “true tax rate” of about 3 percent between 2014 and 2018. Aber Christine, a flour vendor in Uganda, makes $80 a month and pays a tax rate of 40 percent."

Similar, the World Inequality Report: "The wealth of the top 10% globally, which constitutes the middle class in rich countries and the merely rich in poor countries is actually 76%, but growing slower than the world average, while the top 1% is growing much faster: between 1995 and 2021, the top 1% captured 38% of the global increment in wealth, while the bottom 50% captured a frightening 2%. The share of wealth owned by the global top 0.1% rose from 7% to 11% over that period and global billionaire wealth soared.

A the heart of this explosion is the extreme concentration of the economic power in the hands of a very small minority of the super-rich. With the boom in the stock market, the picture does not seem to be getting better."

And the phenomenon is not simply a US-based one, albeit in the US inequality is simply at indecent levels. "While Europe has witnessed a 45% increase in average wealth over the last decade, wealth is increasingly concentrated. The wealthiest 10% of European households make up no less than 51% of the total net European wealth. The wealthiest 1% of Europeans occupy 19% of total European wealth. Equally, wealth increase is not equal across countries. Spain, Switzerland, and Germany had some of the highest percentage increases in average wealth, at 94%, 83%, and 51%, respectively. Switzerland - another irresponsible tax haven - led the way, pocketing nearly EUR 2 trillion in wealth over the previous ten years, representing a doubling in the net wealth of the period."

The solution is indeed very simple: “Taxing the super-rich and big corporations is the door out of today’s overlapping crises. It’s time we demolish the convenient myth that tax cuts for the richest result in their wealth somehow ‘trickling down’ to everyone else. Forty years of tax cuts for the super-rich have shown that a rising tide doesn’t lift all ships —just the superyachts.”

So how the heck is it not happening?! It really makes me angry.

Oxfam: https://lnkd.in/evTwWZSt
World Inequality Report: https://lnkd.in/eH48tw_q
European wealth report: https://lnkd.in/ehuegqJz

#leadership #justice #goodeconomy

LET'S NOT FOOL OURSELVES. #INEQUALITY HAS A FACE: A FEW "STINKING RICH". 

As Oxfam states: "Richest 1% bag nearly twice as much wealth as the rest of the world put together over the past two years, worth $42 trillion created since 2020, almost twice as much money as the bottom 99 percent of the world’s population."

“While ordinary people are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food, the super-rich have outdone even their wildest dreams. Just two years in, this decade is shaping up to be the best yet for billionaires —a roaring ‘20s boom for the world’s richest,” said Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International.

"Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest men, paid a “true tax rate” of about 3 percent between 2014 and 2018. Aber Christine, a flour vendor in Uganda, makes $80 a month and pays a tax rate of 40 percent."

Similar, the World Inequality Report: "The wealth of the top 10% globally, which constitutes the middle class in rich countries and the merely rich in poor countries is actually 76%, but growing slower than the world average, while the top 1% is growing much faster: between 1995 and 2021, the top 1% captured 38% of the global increment in wealth, while the bottom 50% captured a frightening 2%. The share of wealth owned by the global top 0.1% rose from 7% to 11% over that period and global billionaire wealth soared.

A the heart of this explosion is the extreme concentration of the economic power in the hands of a very small minority of the super-rich. With the boom in the stock market, the picture does not seem to be getting better."

And the phenomenon is not simply a US-based one, albeit in the US inequality is simply at indecent levels. "While Europe has witnessed a 45% increase in average wealth over the last decade, wealth is increasingly concentrated. The wealthiest 10% of European households make up no less than 51% of the total net European wealth. The wealthiest 1% of Europeans occupy 19% of total European wealth. Equally, wealth increase is not equal across countries. Spain, Switzerland, and Germany had some of the highest percentage increases in average wealth, at 94%, 83%, and 51%, respectively. Switzerland - another irresponsible tax haven - led the way, pocketing nearly EUR 2 trillion in wealth over the previous ten years, representing a doubling in the net wealth of the period."

The solution is indeed very simple: “Taxing the super-rich and big corporations is the door out of today’s overlapping crises. It’s time we demolish the convenient myth that tax cuts for the richest result in their wealth somehow ‘trickling down’ to everyone else. Forty years of tax cuts for the super-rich have shown that a rising tide doesn’t lift all ships —just the superyachts.”

So how the heck is it not happening?! It really makes me angry.

Oxfam: https://lnkd.in/evTwWZSt
World Inequality Report: https://lnkd.in/eH48tw_q
European wealth report: https://lnkd.in/ehuegqJz

#leadership #justice #goodeconomy

24-07-2023

TONIGHT I HAD A DREAM

Tonight I had a dream, a dream where virtue shone bright like a beacon, illuminating the path of humanity towards a better life for all.

I saw a world where honesty, integrity and love were the currency of our interactions and transactions. A world where we sought wisdom, beauty and truth, nurturing the thirst for learning and personal growth. Where our actions were guided by goodness.

In my dream, we rose above the petty differences that divide us and united as one human family. We treated each other with respect and kindness, cherishing deeply how we are all interconnected.

Like Scipio, I saw a society where justice and compassion prevailed. Where we lifted each other up instead of tearing each other down. Where we built bridges of understanding and empathy, eradicating hatred and prejudice.

Suddenly I knew that we have a choice. If we seed virtue, cultivate it in each other and our institutions, and nurture it with love, it can blossom into a world of justice and good. If we let our mutual uniqueness inspire us, rather than divide us, we can become our best for all.

Yet, it takes courage to be virtuous leaders in our communities. To stand up for what is right, even in the face of adversity. To put the whole before the part.

But leading by example, together, we can create a reality where humanity rises higher. Citius, altius, fortius! Let us dare to dream! Speak for the world! And act for good! ❤️🌍

#DreamBig #VirtuousLeadership #GoodLeadership #leadership

TONIGHT I HAD A DREAM

Tonight I had a dream, a dream where virtue shone bright like a beacon, illuminating the path of humanity towards a better life for all.

I saw a world where honesty, integrity and love were the currency of our interactions and transactions. A world where we sought wisdom, beauty and truth, nurturing the thirst for learning and personal growth. Where our actions were guided by goodness.

In my dream, we rose above the petty differences that divide us and united as one human family. We treated each other with respect and kindness, cherishing deeply how we are all interconnected.

Like Scipio, I saw a society where justice and compassion prevailed. Where we lifted each other up instead of tearing each other down. Where we built bridges of understanding and empathy, eradicating hatred and prejudice.

Suddenly I knew that we have a choice. If we seed virtue, cultivate it in each other and our institutions, and nurture it with love, it can blossom into a world of justice and good. If we let our mutual uniqueness inspire us, rather than divide us, we can become our best for all.

Yet, it takes courage to be virtuous leaders in our communities. To stand up for what is right, even in the face of adversity. To put the whole before the part.

But leading by example, together, we can create a reality where humanity rises higher. Citius, altius, fortius! Let us dare to dream! Speak for the world! And act for good! ❤️🌍

#DreamBig #VirtuousLeadership #GoodLeadership #leadership

22-07-2023

TELL ME WHO YOU ARE WITH & I TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE! In the light of modern science, maybe the old adage should read: tell me who you are COMPARING yourself with, and I tell you how HAPPY you will be!

In a world increasingly interconnected through social media and societal pressures, it's all too easy to fall into the trap of constant comparison. We often find ourselves measuring our achievements, appearance, and success against (the wrong) others, leading to unhappiness and lack of development.

In fact, research in positive psychology and happiness consistently shows that excessive social comparison can be detrimental to well-being. It leads to feelings of envy, low self-esteem, and dissatisfaction with our own lives. This negative impact stems from a tendency to focus on others' perceived advantages rather than nurturing our unique strengths and values, and a continuous adaptation to “higher” standards when we progress in societal roles.

Identity theories also emphasize the importance of cultivating a strong sense of self and coherent self-narrative. If we internalise external standards uncritically, in order to be accepted, or depend on constant validation from others, we will quickly suffer maladaptive attachments or find ourselves anchorless when circumstances change. Personal development requires the letting go of unexamined “accidental” selves.

Yet, the outstanding human capacity to compare with others can also operate to our advantage:

Rather than comparing ourselves to peers solely based on superficial achievements or material possessions, we can benefit from selecting inspirational role models who master skills or embody values we admire. Choosing the right idols and mentors can thus inspire us to emulate their virtues in our own lives and strive for personal excellence.

It is also important to differentiate between unhealthy, envy-driven comparisons and healthy, growth-oriented comparisons. Engaging in friendly “Olympic” competition can help us to achieve our best, by sharing inspiration with others and striving together to learn, grow, and lift each other up, rather than seeking to surpass others. And we can cultivate gratitude for our own blessings and accomplishments.

Hence, based on all research, we should not only choose friends with care, but also select colleagues and reference groups wisely. Choosing who to compare ourselves with is a powerful tool that can significantly influence our happiness and personal growth. By shifting our focus from external and material comparisons to internal virtues, embracing inspirational role models, engaging in healthy competition, and cultivating gratitude and authenticity, we can avoid much unhappiness.

And maybe the best lesson is to focus mostly on comparing ourselves to the (wo)man in the mirror: happiness lies not in outshining others, but in becoming the best version of ourselves, for the sake of the communities we live in. Happy Sunday!

#leadershipdevelopment