A Culture of Integrity?

April 5, 2010

Lead With Love  Chapter 8 Pg’s 204-206 By: Gerry Czarnecki

 Have you ever worked for an organization whose values you thought were flawed? What did you do? Did you stay and just ignore the circumstances? Did you quit? This is a tough issue, and there are no easy answers. The dilemma we frequently face in the arena of ideas is there are many views, philosophic or simply opinion that differ. If I am a current-day political conservative, I probably believe in the primacy of the individual

and individual initiative. On the other hand, if I am a political liberal, I value the use of society to support the weak individuals collectively. These two positions establish likely behaviors and set up potential conflict for any individual who might have a view of society that differs from the one currently dominant in the political party in power. This difference in views has much to do with the political arguments we hear in a variety of public media. Which side is correct? On a more abstract level, this question cannot be answered. If I believe in the position of the conservative, then I am convinced I am right and that the society should follow the path that flows from my conviction.The other side of the argument is wrong, in the conservative opinion, and vice versa.

 The core lesson here is you do not need to have an untruth to create an integrity problem. A simple disconnect between the values of an organization and those of the individual could result in an integrity violation. Consider an organization with extensive behaviors that prove to you it does not honor its customers. You come to that conclusion because you see the organization always charges the highest price the market will bear. You, on the other hand, have a deep sense that all organizations must be committed to offering customers the very best service at the very best price. How do you reconcile the organization’s behavior with your own value? In this case, a classical economist could easily conclude that the organization has a core value of profit maximization and it actually has an obligation to its shareholders to charge the highest price the market will bear.

  Hence, the behavior of charging the highest price would be consistent with a core value of the enterprise, and yet violate your sense of values. According to your value of fairness, the corporation should charge a lower price and certainly not always all the market can bear. If you believe strongly in this value, you could potentially find yourself troubled by the organization’s decision making and might even view it as evidence the organization has low integrity. Ironically, an organization with this profit maximization goal would probably believe anybody not working toward maximizing shareholder profit would be committing a breach of integrity. Our philosophy on values and the core concepts of right and wrong may differ, but each of us in the workplace will eventually be faced with situations that require value-based decisions. There will be times when our personal values appear to conflict with the organization’s values. When they do, we will inevitably be faced with the need to reconcile that conflict, resolve it, ignore it, or walk away from it. The irony is many organizations do not have a clear expression of their values, and consequently, their employees or prospective employees have no way of knowing if the corporation’s values conflict with their own personal values. As an individual with a set of values, it is imperative you understand as much as possible about the organization’s values before you join it, because if there is a wide disparity, it

 will cause you great conflict and pain. A conflict of values is difficult to resolve. If you have a strong commitment to a value that is inconsistent with an organization’s values, it may actually be a personal violation of integrity for you to remain in the organization. The organization also would probably be better off if all those who did not subscribe to its values were to leave. Indeed, any employee who did not behave consistently within the value structure probably would be viewed as creating an integrity breach.

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The Benefits of Humor

March 16, 2010

Chaper 8 Pg’s 182-183  Lead With Love By Gerry Czarnecki

 To fully appreciate the many and varied benefits of adding humor into the work environment, one can start with the research that has demonstrated that humor has a significant impact on our health. Studies in publications including the Journal of behavioral Medicine and the American Journal of Medical Science support the health

benefits of humor. Laughter releases hormones that reduce stress and enhance the immune system; it oxygenates the blood, lowers blood pressure, and relaxes muscles. We all encounter stress on some level in our professional lives, and often this is compounded by stress in our personal lives. Employers who incorporate humor into the workplace will likely have healthier, happier employees. According to Linda Melone PhD, a clinical psychologist and Pepperdine University professor, humor creates positive responses in three ways: “Laughter triggers an emotional uplift. In the work environment, it also triggers our cognitive process and gives us added perspective. Physiologically, laughter counteracts negative thinking and other emotions: chronicanger, anxiety and guilt feelings associated with an increase in the incidence of health problems.”

 The additional benefits of humor are more abstract but equally appealing for the results it produces. Humor stimulates creativity, positive attitudes, and morale, as well as lessens anger, absenteeism, and turnover. According to humor coach Ann Frey, author of Laughing Matters, “A willingness to laugh, plus a sense of lightheartedness, equals a fun, productive workplace. If your employees are happy, they will  bring greater energy and enthusiasm to their jobs and your company will function at peak performance. It’s not rocket science.”

 Indeed, humor is not “rocket science,” but it is a fundamental joy that is often absent at work. The absence of humor results in employees who are unhappy and inevitably look elsewhere for a job. Employee turnover is expensive to an organization as it takes time and money to interview, train, and integrate each new employee. The current  generation of employees expects to work longer hours than were typical for previous generations, but they’re also looking for a fun, supportive environment that is more relaxed than the formal, buttoned-up office culture of the past. Studies have also shown that organizations with a fun-at-work ethic are extraordinarily successful. Among the standouts are Southwest Airlines, General Electric, Kodak, AT&T, Money Mailer,  uaker Oats, and Playfair, a company founded by Matt Weinstein, author of Managing to Have Fun.

 Herb Keller, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, said, “If work is more fun, it feels less like work.”Southwest is often used as a case study for a company that encourages humor and fun and can demonstrate that it has a positive effect on the bottom-line results:

 * the fewest customer complaints eighteen years in a row, according to the Department of Transportation Air Travel Consumer Report *profitable for thirty-one consecutive ears

*the “Second Most Admired Company,” according to Fortune

Magazine  less than 10 percent employee turnover rate  a $10,000 investment in the airline in 1972 would be worth more than $10 million today


Planning/ Organization

February 18, 2010

Chapter 7 pg’s 170-171 Lead With Love By :Gerry Czarnecki

 Setting expectations is the first step in a plan, but plans that make a difference for the leader must be specific and detailed. Accountability needs to be measured both by the assignment of responsibility and a specified time for completion. Establishing a plan that is vague will likely create a vague result. The need for specificity includes the requirements that were set out in the chapter on expectations. Additionally, the plan must adequately detail the action steps, resources required, assigned responsibility, and deadlines to be met. Timing for completion is a critical element. Plans must be executed in a timely manner or they are not plans, but rather accidents.

 Plans must be documented, meaning they must be written. It is not bureaucratic to document a plan; it is necessary. Vague ideas about the plans will create uncertainty and confusion on the part of the staff. An added benefit of writing the plan is there is no better test of clarity in thinking than forcing thoughts onto paper.

 The assignment of staff is essential to execution, but execution will be haphazard at best if the staff and the other resources are not effectively organized to achieve results. Organization can be structured statements (organization charts) of who reports to whom. Organization can also be clear statements of which staff member does which job. It can also be a structure that not only defines who does what but precisely how it is to be done. These structures can be as informal as verbally communicated general guidance to very detailed flow process charts defining each and every step in the process. Regardless of the structure’s formality, the details of organization are essential for assigning what to do and how to do it.

 Every leader must decide how much and what type of organizational structure is required. Organizations have used the old military model of a pyramid of authority for a very long time. This model continues to be the most common structure to organize the staff. Many other structures have been developed, but few are as simple and straightforward as the “one boss” hierarchical structure. Most organizations use this model, even though shared responsibility through a “matrix” organization has become more popular as organizations grow larger and more complex. In very large organizations, there is a need to coordinate across many different pyramids, and that coordination often requires creating a decision authority to be shared. The key to success is clarity. The members of your organization must have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and assignments. Any ambiguity regarding these factors will cause confusion and, ultimately, failure to execute effectively.

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Enter Peter Drucker

February 16, 2010

Chapter 7 Pg’s 169-170 Lead With Love By Gerry Czarnecki

 Peter Drucker was probably the greatest thinker and most prolific writer on organizational leadership of the twentieth century. He is often referred to as the father of modern management because more than any other thinker, he spent a large part of his life defining the role of the leader/ manager. It is almost impossible to write a book on management without recognizing the monumental reliance we all have on his commitment to making management a “profession” rather than an art form.

Many writers on leadership make such a distinction between leading and managing that they imply the term management is a lower order of skill, a position that has no merit. In the world of work, those “in charge” are required to lead and manage. Leading is what we do for, with, and to people; managing is what we do to assure ourselves those goals we are responsible for are actually achieved. Peter Drucker was one of the first to define several critical functions of management that earlier in this book were referred to as the mechanics of management. The critical functions he identified and those most critical to being an effective leader who implements “systems” to lead, are planning, organizing, directing, and controlling. Remember, these are not a lower order of activity; they are added activities the leader must deploy in order to effectively execute the unit’s goals. They are complementary to the first six LEADERSHIP principles discussed earlier.

These functions generally define the activities required to maintain the process disciplines (systems) all leaders must have if the results of their efforts are to be superior and timely. Any leader focused on results must recognize that leading without effective execution by the organization is simply wandering. Effective execution is only possible if the leader has people and processes (systems) in place to generate superior results. As discussed in an earlier chapter, every organizational leader must establish expectations. But simply establishing goals without plans is fruitless. Plans are the pathways that define how we will achieve the results. The leadership function of “assignment” requires the right people to be assigned to the right jobs. Assignment is a critical first step, but those people must be “organized” and “directed,” with organizational structure, effective work processes, and systems to support the plan’s execution. In addition to those processes, there needs to be some way to assure the processes are executed properly, and that is the critical role of direction. The leader and his managerial assistants must assure execution occurs. With “direction” in place, the leader and his staff. Must have the “controls” to make certain that systems are in place to monitor progress and make any mid-course corrections required to achieve peak performance. The leader should delegate many aspects of the plan’s execution, but delegation without control is abrogation.

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Embracing change, with love

October 26, 2009

Panic and fear of change is contagious.  In corporate America, what enables organizations to grow and thrive is change.  Ironically, it is this very change that most employees fear.  So it would follow that how an organization socializes change with employees is key to whether or not the changes are embraced and inevitably successful.  The companies that do it best employ a comprehensive change acceptance process and include decision-making at all levels.  Employees tend to accept change if they have been a part of the process from the very beginning.

 Some time ago, US News and World Report featured a cover story on Cisco Systems and the company’s successful acquisitions.  Acquisitions and mergers create a host of changes impacting an organization.  In particular, employee retention is a huge problem during an immediately following an acquisition.  In this regard, Cisco Systems has a stellar record.  What sets Cisco apart?  According to Dan Scheinman, the senior vice president for corporate development who reports directly to Chairman and CEO John Chambers, “People have to like each other and trust each other.” 

 In my book, Lead with Love, I emphasize the difference between liking associates and loving them: liking can hurt your mission as your bias for them or against them; loving them makes you care about them as human beings. With that in mind, I will take Scheinman’s saying a step further and say that “People have to love each other and trust each other.” 

 In order for employees to not fear change, they must be part of that change, they must not only see it coming, but they must be operative in the planning of it.  Open communication and collaboration—regardless of how trite this sounds—really is instrumental to success.  And just what defines a successful transition?  Any change that minimally disrupts your business is successful.  When planning an organizational change, that should be your primary goal.  While it’s hard to keep employees focused on “business as usual” amidst upheaval and uncertainty, it can be done and with positive results. 

 Any management team can successfully implement change.  It simply takes planning and communication.  Openness with employees facilitates trust and credibility.  In that respect, the management/employee relationship is not unlike any other.  The bottom line?  “People have to love each other and trust each other.” 

 Join the experience and read Lead with Love BEFORE publication date. Get all the insights BEFORE everybody else will, and before it becomes the huge phenomenon we anticipate it to be. 

 You can pre-order Lead with Love now,

 Aloha,

 Gerry Czarnecki

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