Is There Hope for High Integrity Leaders?

April 14, 2010

Chapter 8 Pg’s 207-209 Lead With Love By: Gerry Czarnecki

 The negative conclusion of the previous section should not be where we leave the discussion of integrity. There is little doubt high integrity leaders should have a strong commitment to integrity, and therefore, we cannot assume they will be unable to change an organization from within. The previous section sounds like a particularly pessimistic view of changing an organization with rotten values. The good news is organizations can change, and recent studies reflect that American corporations are increasing efforts to improve their cultures. According to the 2005 National Business Ethics Survey, which surveyed more than 3,000 American workers, 69 percent of employees said their companies implement ethics training, which is a 14 percentage point increase from 2003.

 Tragically, much of the change that occurs in organizations, as in the world of politics, results from a crisis. Often the behavior predicated on the lack of integrity encourages or precipitates a crisis. Many organizations have found a way out of a crisis because leaders, either from within or from without, have committed to change. If the crisis is severe enough, the entire culture can be shocked into a dramatic shift. It is important the cancer of lost integrity is not so pervasive that the organization is populated by only the weak or the $awed. One example of an organization that lost its way at the top is

Hewlett-Packard (HP). This organization has very high standards and a rich culture of commitment to a value system known as the “HP Way.” It appears much of the culture remained intact, but not at the top. The tragic story of HP’s apparent illegal practice called “pretexting” demonstrates that even an organization known for its virtuous business ethics can be polluted by a breach at the top. The scandal that ensued caused many to leave the board and the organization, and several individuals, including the former chair of the board of directors, were indicted in California. Those individuals appeared to have strayed from the company’s tradition of sound values and integrity. However, the strong culture that exists deep into the organization has reportedly survived and seems to be working with the new leadership to save the company from demise.

 The HP story suggests that an ethical culture at the bottom of an organization can eventually prevail. If integrity is a value that has positive influence on the organization, then hopefully, the lack of an integrity culture at the top will eventually lead to an organization’s failure. If that is true, then the good leaders at the bottom can overcome the “bad leader” at the top, hence invalidating the Law of Bad Leadership. The mission of restoring integrity within an organization may be influenced by its size, complexity, and geographic dispersion, but it can be accomplished more easily when the top fails than when the entire organization fails.

 Some organizations manage to mask their lack of integrity for a surprisingly long time. The Enron story is once again a perfect example. Enron had been the darling of the investment community for decades, and it took a financial crisis to bring the house of cards down. In the case of WorldCom, it took the courage of an internal auditor to speak up and tell the Board Audit Committee she thought there was “something

wrong” with the accounting. In the final analysis, neither Enron nor WorldCom survived as stand-alone entities. The message is clear: eventually the “bad guys” get caught, but it is difficult for outsiders to see that a corporate culture lacks integrity. The good leaders from within must be the organization’s salvation and cause others to commit  to the value of integrity.

facebook-icon TwitterIcon linkedin-icon amazon-icon

 


Start with Your Comfort Zone

March 26, 2010

Chapter 8 Pg’s 191-193 Lead With Love By Gerry Czarnecki

 

If you do not consider yourself funny or good at telling jokes, focus on your sense of humor and what makes you laugh. Start with your comfort zone, and then expand on it. Make it a personal challenge to seek out humor and come up with creative ways to share it with your associates. Remember, humor is not just “funny”; it includes unexpected gestures that are encouraging and kind. Following is a list of ways that you can begin to incorporate humor into your daily life and work:

􀁴􀀁 Set the example for your staff.

􀁴􀀁 Smile, laugh, be upbeat and friendly.

􀁴􀀁 Take every opportunity you can to find humor in the day-today events.

􀁴􀀁 Tell a joke on yourself.

􀁴􀀁 Find humor in travail; find humor in success.

􀁴􀀁 Break the ice with a funny anecdote.

􀁴􀀁 Hold brainstorming sessions in which funny, wacky, and crazy ideas are encouraged.

􀁴􀀁 Ask your associates for anonymous suggestions on ways to

incorporate fun into their work, then select some and put them

into practice.

􀁴􀀁 Designate a humor ambassador.

􀁴􀀁 Arrange an office contest for something silly such as the best

self-portrait done with finger paint.

􀁴􀀁 Establish a casual attire day.

􀁴􀀁 Organize one fun outing each month.

􀁴􀀁 Create a welcoming ritual for new employees.

􀁴􀀁 Play “yes and …” to promote creative ideas.

􀁴􀀁 Recognize when stress levels have reached a high and call a

time-out.

􀁴􀀁 Take the staff to lunch.

􀁴􀀁 Order in a pizza.

􀁴􀀁 Send everyone outside for some fresh air.

􀁴􀀁 Hold staff meetings in a variety of locations.

􀁴􀀁 Break up the routine with a surprise.

􀁴􀀁 Take the staff to see a comedy !lm.

􀁴􀀁 Give each associate a joke-a-day calendar.

􀁴􀀁 Subscribe to an online humor newsletter.

􀁴􀀁 Humor involves elements of surprise, exaggeration, and fun.

Think of ways to surprise your staff and encourage them to

enjoy the moment.

􀁴􀀁 Seek out humor in your own life so that you feel comfortable

when it’s time to lighten up and elicit a laugh.

􀁴􀀁 Attend a comedy club show.

􀁴􀀁 Read the strange but true news at http://www.news.aol.com/strange.

􀁴􀀁 Play with kids as they are sure to make you laugh.

􀁴􀀁 Visit a toy store.

􀁴􀀁 Practice random acts of kindness.

􀁴􀀁 Have the staff spend a day doing charitable work because it

promotes good feelings.

􀁴􀀁 Pay the toll for the car behind you and watch the driver’s

expressions of confusion and delight.

􀁴􀀁 Buy popcorn for the person in line next to you.

􀁴􀀁 Build a collection of funny cartoons, articles, bumper stickers,

jokes, photos, and stories, and share it with others.

􀁴􀀁 Give a surprise gift of recognition that must be passed on.

􀁴􀀁 Send humorous cards to associates on special occasions.

􀁴􀀁 Celebrate the holidays with themed decorations and parties.

􀁴􀀁 Organize a staff retreat at an amusement park.

􀁴􀀁 Post a bulletin board with jokes, quotes, and cartoons.

􀁴􀀁 Create a humor zone at work and fill it with toys and games.

􀁴􀀁 Use silly props because they’re so absurd they overcome our

programming to behave like adults.

􀁴􀀁 Have a backup plan for jokes that fall $at, such as “the problem

with that joke is that I outsourced the punch line to X” (X

being the company’s competitor).

􀁴􀀁 Take an improve class.

􀁴􀀁The next time you laugh, make it so loud that everyone around

you can hear it.


The Benefits of Humor

March 18, 2010

Chapter 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  hD, 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: chronic anger, 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, Quaker 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 years

* 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


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.

facebook-icon TwitterIcon linkedin-icon amazon-icon


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.

facebook-icon TwitterIcon linkedin-icon amazon-icon


Process Management Disciplines

February 11, 2010

Chapter 7 168-169 Lead With Love By: Gerry Czarnecki

Given that much of the “hard core” leadership work is left brained, many of us search for a compromise that would allow us to be creative and flexible. Leaders in management tend to make one of two assumptions: 1) when they tell one of their employees to do something, that is sufficient; or 2) they need to follow up constantly to assure compliance with the instructions. Both of these can have disastrous impacts. In most cases, leaders who assume compliance are setting themselves up for failure. In the case of the second assumption, the process of constant follow-up is one of those major irritations imposed on a capable staff.

  Excessive control, or micromanaging, is a fool’s burden because once you start that “overkill,” you create mistrust with the staff. You also then own all the responsibility for completing the tasks. Your staff will “allow” you to manage the duties, since they then have no bottom-line responsibility for the work. Left-brain thinking is the essential “added principle” that complements the required right-brain behavior of the leader. One way to avoid micromanaging is to have the systems in place to assure you know what the current state of the unit’s performance truly is. Together, the leading and the systems give those “in charge” the ability to achieve results.

facebook-icon TwitterIcon linkedin-icon amazon-icon