Archive | August, 2012

Organizations That Exist To Do Good

29 Aug

A truly unique characteristic of the American economy is the size, number and influence of not-for-profit organizations.

At a lunch before he departed the country, an Irish ex-patriot manager shared his impressions of the United States after a five-year stay in the Midwest. His perception of America had changed 180 degrees from cynicism and dislike to “I’m going to immigrate when I retire.” When asked why, he cited two major structural reasons. The first was the opportunity our economy offers people to be upwardly mobile. America is a meritocracy. Each of us knows a story of someone, often an immigrant, who has bootstrapped themselves to a better life through hard work, skill, knowledge, courage, and honesty. Such Horatio Alger stories are part of the American experience. In the United States, an aphorism about small companies is “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.”

The second was the generosity of Americans. “As soon as Americans develop some personal wealth, they begin to give it away.” He noted that Europeans try to keep wealth in the family across generations.

This generosity is a remarkable phenomenon. Last year, Americans gave away about $300 billion, two thirds of that from individuals and families. Americans routinely make charitable contributions that exceed the combined gifts of the rest of the world.

For a more in-depth discussion of not-for-profit organizations go to:

http://www.corridorbusiness.com/consulting/organizations-that-exist-to-do-good/

 

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Why In The Office?

22 Aug


 

Last week we looked at how technology is reducing our ability to carry out conversations and thus to be reflective.  By happenstance an article in the Sunday NY Times on August 19 noted another side effect of over dependency on technology:  A tendency to share inappropriate information.  Examples

How are you doing (from a manager)?  Well. I haven’t had sex for five years, so I guess I’m not doing so well.  Employee to HR manager” “I’m looking for a new job and it should take six to eight months.”

The article offers 5 Qs to ask yourself before you begin sharing too much too personal.

  1. Who is listening to me?
  2. Why am I sharing this?  What’s the point?
  3. In this situation would less be better?
  4. Have I left my emotional baggage outside the door?
  5. Does what I’m sharing benefit my career or the quality of my work relationships.

For those of you who have such a colleague, perhaps an anonymous pointer to the article.

 

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

Technology, Conversation & Leadership

15 Aug

 

In an excellent article in the NYTimes, Sherry Turkle notes “we have substituted connection for conversation.”  She then goes on to discuss the power of conversation and its importance in our lives.

 

Both the TED video and the article are intriguing and well worth some time, if you have any.  Most troubling to me was her statement that:

“Our flight from conversation can mean diminished chances to learn skills of self-reflection.”

 

The most recent and compelling work on leadership development places self-reflection as an essential ability.  In addition much has been written about the power of conversation as a particularly valuable leadership skill.

 

The June 2012 issue of the Harvard Business Review has an article entitled Leadership is a Conversation.  There is emphasis here on the value of listening as an ingredient of conversation and leadership.  Turkle also notes that many young people may not be developing the skill of active listening.  Food for reflection.

 

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

Manage Your Stress: Inventory Your Stressors

8 Aug

 

People are basically stimulus seekers, each of us is trying to find an optimal level of stimulation, not too low or high.

Trying to manage our arousal/stress levels is difficult because of their causal complexity and potential abundance.  Images inside our heads to conditioning from distant childhood experiences to the immediacy of a bad boss can trigger stress.  Each of us probably carries a unique set of events that set us off or accumulate to set us off.

Begin identifying the stress inducing events in your life.  Consider the following buckets with some examples of sources of stress in each.  Is this stress coming from:

  • Your head – thoughts images, expectations
  • Your body – stressing from some bodily malfunction or limitation
  • Family – relationships and money
  • Work – relationships, the job, your co-workers, your boss the company
  • Community – garbage pick up to……

I didn’t mention nation as all of you probably live in the USA.  Imagine living in North Korea

Self-deception: How honest are you with yourself?

1 Aug

 

As a brief break from stress (pun intended) the WSJ has an interesting article on self-deception:

 Answer the Qs below using a seven point scale with 1 = not true and 7 = very true:

 

  1. My first impressions are always right.
  2. I don’t care to know what other people really think of me.
  3. Once I have made up my mind, other people can seldom change my opinion.
  4. I am fully in control of my fate.
  5. I never regret my decisions.
  6. I am a completely rational person.
  7. I am very confident of my judgments.

For the scoring go to:  http://on.wsj.com/Qfmqs1

 

I would be interested dear readers to know if you agree or disagree with the author’s conclusions?

 

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.