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Unfortunately, the "Top 10 Corporate Responsibility Stories of 2011" are not good ones

Unfortunately, the "Top 10 Corporate Responsibility Stories of 2011" are not good ones | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it

The major stories about corporate doings in 2011 have not been good - whether you look at Fukushima and its handling by the Japanese, News International and the phone hacking scandal, corruption in various major sports associations, and so on and so forth.

 

No wonder the Occupy Wall Street movement has gained so much sympathy, especially when we read of some of the reactions from Wall Street.

 

Still, I hope that things improve in 2012, less scandals and more good news from the social and the sustainable front. If the increase in visibility on the Web is any indication, then at least the topics have moved from the outer fringe somewhat into the area of respectability. Let's hope!

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Steve Denning calls it: Why Customers Must Come First: The Case of Goldman Sachs - Forbes

Steve Denning calls it: Why Customers Must Come First: The Case of Goldman Sachs - Forbes | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
Why Customers Must Come First: The Case of Goldman Sachs...

Steve Denning uses today's Op-Ed in the New York Times, in which a (now former) Executive at Goldman Sachs writes about why he left the firm. It seems that the culture there is one that  is "all for GS and none for the customers".  

Denning then argues that this comes from putting employees first and not customers. I'm not so sure that I would agree with that - while he certainly has a point, and a focus on customers might alleviate some of the worst excesses, I believe that it's also a culture of greed that is at play here. 

But, read the article, form your own opinion!

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Choose your lies wisely: Why We Don't Always Tell the Truth

Choose your lies wisely: Why We Don't Always Tell the Truth | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
When I was growing up, one of the principles in our house was that we had to tell the truth, no matter how painful it might be. Lying, we were taught, wasn't something you could get away with. Like Pinocchio's nose, it would be apparent to others.

Ron Ashkeans identifies 3 main reasons that people or organizations do not tell the truth:

1. to escape consequences of the truth being known

2. to protect the person being lied to, and 

3. to protect business success.

 

The most important thing, according to Ron Ashkeans is to be honest with yourself: if you have to lie, admit that you are streching, bending or even breaking the truth, and be aware of why you are doing it.

 

I would add to that: make sure that the expected gain is really worth the potential reprisal.

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Walk your Talk: The Antidote for Toxic Corporate Culture

Walk your Talk: The Antidote for Toxic Corporate Culture | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
 
In a recent leadership development workshop I ran, one woman bravely spoke her truth about the reality of the toxic corporate culture they all worked in. It was dysfunctional.

 

As are so many corporate cultures: the vision may not be inspiring, but it's OK, the values are the same everyone has - so why are the employees unhappy and call the culture toxic?

 

Because what they experience every day is quite different from what they are told by the motivational sessions with management and the posters in the public hallways. The larger the discrepency, the more frustrated the employees become.  

 

So, to improve, the first step is to be honest and do what you say you will do - lead by doing, not by commanding. If there is a hiring freeze, don't suddenly have outsiders pop up in prominent positions, if you want to be innovative, don't sell old stuff as cutting edge. If you need to go against your own principles, be honest about why, how long and when the old rules will apply again. People are not dumb, treat them that way. 

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Authenticity is the answer. Really? When 'being yourself' at work spells disaster

Authenticity is the answer.   Really?   When 'being yourself' at work spells disaster | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
Companies that strive for greater work-life integration should be prepared to deal with issues that never entered anyone's mind when people kept personal life safely at home.
By Megan Hustad, contributor
FORTUNE -- Stressed at work?

 

Ongoing discussions about the value and usefulness of authenticity, or being yourself at work have not yet led to a clear answer. There is much to be said for allowing, yes, even encouraging people to be themselves at work, bot, as this article points out, that can have unintended consequences.  

 

Ultimately, in considering whether a team or company should to go for more authenticity at the workplace, or prefers to remain 'professional', I believe the important point is to be clear about which of the 2 versions is prefered. It probably makes sense to view this as an either/or decision, as it is very difficult to clearly define a specific point on the continuum between the two, formality and professional are such subjective concepts.

 

The main thing is, if you do decide to be informal, and people should be themselves, you will have to take some bad with the good. 

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Viewed organically: is Meaning: The "wolf" of control in trendy sheep's clothing? #leadership

There is a lot of talk about 'meaning' in the workplace lately. From studies about motivation to the reason people spend hundreds of hours playing Warcraft, 'meaning' has become an element of mental hygene that matters.

 

Anyone who remembers their Maslow Hierarchy of Needs will quickly recognize that meaning is in the top part of the pyramid. In this article at 'Management Craft' the author also points out that meaning is a very subjective thing. Meaning is something that is determined by the individual themself and therefore cannot be created by management.

 

While this is certainly true, management can do much to either foster or stifle the visible meaning in a job or task. Just as with goals, size plays a role. If you are responsible for making sure a client gets a completed, correct contract so that service xyz can be provided, how you do that will have clear consequences and hopefully meaning to you. However, if the last Six-Sigma team has divided the contract creation process into 8 steps, and yours is step 6, which, by the way, is not all that critical..... Well, what precisely are the consequences if you do step 6 correctly or not? How do you infuse that with meaning?

 

Sure, meaning is subjective, but it needs an environment that helps it to develop and stay alive. The more we try to industrialize processes of service, the less options are left to those performing the process and the harder it is for 'meaning' to flourish.

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The "Atrribution Error" and "Halo Effect" in Action: we predict others' behaviour much better than our own

The "Atrribution Error" and "Halo Effect" in Action: we predict others' behaviour much better than our own | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it

The Attribution Effect or Error, along with the Halo Effect, both describe our tendencies to misjudge others. In short, the attribution error attributes our own good circumstances to character strengths but those of others to circumstance. "I did well on the test because I studied/am smart..., but Mary got lucky", on the other hand "I failed because the professor grades unfairly, asked trick questions...., but Mary is just a goof-off and didn't study".

 

On top of this favorable judgement of our own circumstances, add the Halo Effect, which says that our opinions of actions or situations are affected by our basic attitude towards the person or thing being judged. If I have a basically good opinion of you, you get away with much worse behavior than those I am neutral towards or maybe even dislike (does "teacher's pet" ring a bell?).

 

These effects occur not only in our private lives, but also in our public lives, whether as consumer, employee, or manager. They appy to all of us. So, maybe having some awareness about them can help us to be a bit more open to rethinking some of our intuitive judgements of others and even question our picture or ourselves? 

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Unfortunately, the "Top 10 Corporate Responsibility Stories of 2011" are not good ones

Unfortunately, the "Top 10 Corporate Responsibility Stories of 2011" are not good ones | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it

The major stories about corporate doings in 2011 have not been good - whether you look at Fukushima and its handling by the Japanese, News International and the phone hacking scandal, corruption in various major sports associations, and so on and so forth.

 

No wonder the Occupy Wall Street movement has gained so much sympathy, especially when we read of some of the reactions from Wall Street.

 

Still, I hope that things improve in 2012, less scandals and more good news from the social and the sustainable front. If the increase in visibility on the Web is any indication, then at least the topics have moved from the outer fringe somewhat into the area of respectability. Let's hope!

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If you must lie, do it face-to-face: Lies, lies, lies (Management Issues)

If you must lie, do it face-to-face - that way, if you get caught the repercussions may be less than if you had lied in writing.

Some more things that we may intuitively feel are now proven through studies: 

  1. we tend to lie more easily in writing than face-to-face (video counts as face-to-face),
  2. because it is harder, they can see us sweating, squirming, looking everywhere but at them, being on the spot, having no time to carefully craft that unspecific statement
  3. when we do get caught, people tend to be more lenient when it was a face-to-face encounter

So, for business, if you want to get at the truth, face-to-face is the way to go - video tends to count as face-to-face. 


Does that make you rethink the use of eMails in organizations?

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Seeing Without Knowing: How the Conscious Mind Messes With Memory

Seeing Without Knowing: How the Conscious Mind Messes With Memory | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
Our memories aren’t very reliable. The sobering truth is that we forget most of what we experience, our memories are usually distorted after they are formed and we have the tendency to accept misinformation about the past and faithfully adopt it as...

It is ironic that our conscious mind is not only unable to counteract most of the cognitive biases to which we are all subjected, but can also work to falsify memories. Peer pressure, cognitive dissonance, etc. - boy, not only can you not rely on what you think, you also can't really believe your memories.


The good news? This should make for more tolerance, but note, the emphasis is on should.

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Your daily 'duh': Employees Who Identify with the Company Boost Financial Performance

Your daily 'duh': Employees Who Identify with the Company Boost Financial Performance | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
This post is part of the HBR Forum, The Future of Retail.
Executives spend a lot of time worrying about their companies' products and prices, but they don't spend nearly enough time worrying about corporate character.

 

It seems silly and also sad that we need studies and statistics to 'prove' that engaged employees are good for business, especially in the retail sector, where the effects can so easily be obsorved.

 

It is silly because we can all instantly ask whom we would rather have assist us in a store, or any kind of service: the person doing a job, or the person who sees themself as a representative of their organization, there to help a customer.

 

This is also sad because it implies that business owners and/or managers need 'proof' of ROI to actually treat their employees as human assets, rather than 'human resources'.

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Measuring How We Do Business - Huffington Post

Measuring How We Do Business - Huffington Post | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
Measuring How We Do BusinessHuffington PostStakeholders also want to know how our organization behaves in all of its relationships, how our company creates the products and services they deliver, how profits can be generated in a sustainable manner...

 

Very interesting piece in Huffington Post using central points of the film 'Moneyball' as a starting point for some organizational insights. Dov Seidman presents a number of metrics showing that self-organization is actually beneficial to the enterprise - absolutely worth a read.

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A cure for the common job title

Manager of this, vice president of that -- yawn. A maker of business cards spots a spate of colorful monikers like Sales Ninja, Web Kahuna, and Head Cheese.

 

Recently, I spent some time on some of the career networks reading colleagues profiles. It was absolutely fascinating to see the number of Vice Presidents our Company has - I never knew! Apart from the fact that, as an Austrian enterprise, that title does not exist, we seem to have sprouted Vice Presidents like crazy.

 

The title-mania is not limited to our company, look at any "about us" page and you will find nothing but Presidents, Directors, Managers and so on.   These tittles have become so pervasive, everyone trying to stand out (similarly), so that the meaning has gotten lost. 

 

So yeah, the idea of calling myself "Insistent Instigator" has a certain charm.

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No longer intuitive, this now needs teaching/preaching: If you love your Business, get involved!

um,..... yes !?! With some of these articles it is so hard to not just say: "duh!". 

 

Iwan Jenkins describes very different experiences at 2 lounges in Toronto's Pearson Airport. In one, open only to frequent flyers at Air Canada, a group of AC pilots are enjoying a preflight get-together. Nice to see them have a good time.

 

In the other lounge, which is open to the public, a pilot of Porter Airlines actually comes to talk to Jenkins and engages him in conversation about what could Porter do to improve service. This so much impressed Jenkins that he wrote the airline to commend the pilot.

 

Which, to me, is the main point of the article: truly excellent service and authentically engaged staff have become such an unusual experience that people find it worth blogging about!

 

How absolutely counter-intuitive is that?

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A journey through ideas: The Arts, Sciences and Medicine: INTUITION

A journey through ideas: The Arts, Sciences and Medicine: INTUITION | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
INTUITION. Cognitive Science and Acquired Intelligence. It was a cold day, I remember that vividly. The wind carried the cold in waves and crashed it upon the exposed skin like tiny little needle pricks.

 

So starts this interesting and very creative journey. It begins with a very common story, someone attends their first  board meeting, is warned to "just listen", but speaks up (and is eventually ignored). But the journey is not about being ignored, it is about intuitive versus rational decisions. The path takes a number of interesting detours, and is well worth taking.

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Listen up! Changing demographics require new leadership styles | TechRepublic

Listen up! Changing demographics require new leadership styles | TechRepublic | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
The role of women in the organization is changing and the role of men in the home has shifted. John M.

 

While you wouldn't know it to see most organizations, their ways of working and the way they treat theit female employees and customers, women are slowly becoming a dominant factor in business.  Yay!

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Is 'Mindset' the same as 'Haltung’ ?

Is 'Mindset' the same as 'Haltung’ ? | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it

With all the chatter about cognitive processes going on lately, one aspect I have missed in the discussions is that of one's mindset. It wasn't until this morning, when I was looking for a translation of "Haltung", that I realized that mindset is what I believe we need to reflect on before trying to 'overcome' or deal with our biases.

 

In fact, I would propose that any kind of change that goes beyond purely mechanical routine will require a change in mindset. Can mindset be changed? How 'set' is your mind?

 

Is it like concrete, so hard that it crumbles and breaks rather than change its form?  Or is it pliable, bendable, it bends (how easily?).

 

Are you aware of your mindset? 

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How to reduce healthcare costs: Workplace flexibility boosts employee health

How to reduce healthcare costs: Workplace flexibility boosts employee health | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
A new study indicates workplace flexibility delivers improvements in employee health and can boost morale, management-issues reports.

 

I am continually fascinated by the way rather mundane facts are studied and the results published as if it were some dramatic discovery.

 

This is one such case: of course a flexible, humanized workplace will make for a healthier workforce! Apart from the obvious positive effects of better morale (or engagement), what great potential this has to help reduce health care costs.

 

Now that it has been proven in yet another study, maybe more companies will consider adopting the ROWE (Results Only Work Environment).

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Truth behind Stereotypes: The Face of Leadership | Psychology Today

Truth behind Stereotypes: The Face of Leadership | Psychology Today | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
CEOs with wider faces lead companies that perform better. By Christopher Peterson, Ph.D....

 

Fascinating how more and more of our preconceived notions about people are now 'proven' in studies, although this one may fall under the heading of self-fulfilling-prophecy. It seems that men with wider faces are perceived as more agressive, which may lead to others deferring to them more often. In any case, companies whose CEOs have wider faces perform better.

 

Another intuitive judgement or stereotype 'proven'.

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What Popular Psychology Books Forget: The Danger of Storytelling

What Popular Psychology Books Forget: The Danger of Storytelling | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it

Human beings are simplifiers. Thales thought that everything was made of water; Aristotle thought that all human action was to achieve happiness; Freud thought that all human action was to avoid anxiety...

and we all use some form of heuristics (mental shortcuts) in order to deal with the pure magnitude and complexity of the world around us. I absolutely agree with this article that life (and work) is much messier, more complex and richer than what we learn in Business-School. Yet, while it may be true that some of the newer books on various aspects of neuroscience are absolutely in the category of "pop-psychology" - to suggest that they are misleading because some readers may simplify their messages too much is stretching things.

A paper or book that focuses on one aspect does not relieve the reader from putting things into context, or of thinking for him- or herself. 

By the way, the same thing applies to work - having that great consultant, guru, or expert advise doing 'abc' does not alleviate us from the responsibility of making our own choice as to whether that is the right thing to do.

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A Joyous Christmas Wish to All

A Joyous Christmas Wish to All | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
Wishing a joyous Christmas and Health, Peace and Happiness in the new Year...
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Obviously not intuitive for most managers: How to honor your workers’ dignity

Obviously not intuitive for most managers: How to honor your workers’ dignity | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it

This post is by Donna Hicks, an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University and author of “Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict.”


She speaks of the importance of treating people with dignity and also, of recognizing when someone's dignity has been injured. Then she describes the negative effects of injured dignity as well as some tips to avoid doing so.


Now, dealing with injuries to dignity, especially when we ourselves may have contributed to them is very, very hard.  Most people I know prefer to pretend that nothing has happened, to ignore the injury, or tell others not to 'take it personally'.


Both as a coach and as someone who has experienced both sides of such dramas, I can assure you that ignoring injuries to dignity is the worst thing you can do. Many of my clients suffered most when they not only felt the blow to their dignity, but also the expectation to 'suck it up', or 'be professional' about it.


So, as a manager, try to overcome your natural reticence to deal with the emotional messiness and see the other person as a human being, and at least acknowledge the blow.

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How to shape reality to contorm to your beliefs: Correlation or Causation?

How to shape reality to contorm to your beliefs:  Correlation or Causation? | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it

Need to prove something you already believe? Then just make a graph.


Using a number of very strange correlations, Businessweek shows how correlations suddenly become possible cases of causation.  To do this, you just find 2 elements with either similar or totally divergent curves and then ask a question which implies causation.


The effect is a bit like the old "Did you stop beating your wife?" question in that the correct answer is "the question is invalid" - how do you go about proving that?


So, while such graphs may or may not be intuitively correct, they are still wrong.


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Watch your mouth: Your Use of Pronouns Reveals Your Personality

Watch your mouth:  Your Use of Pronouns Reveals Your Personality | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it

"Language creates reality": the way we talk says more about us and 'our world' than we think.
On the one hand what we talk about shows where our focus is, what are our interests and concerns are, where we place our intentions and attention. On the other hand, HOW we talk about these things defines 'us'. Pronouns, adverbs and adjectives give insight to our state of mind and even our personalities.
This article tells of studies showing pronounced differences of speech in depressed people as opposed to 'normal' people. Of course, these differences are subtle and can often not be detected just by listening - but they do form some of the intuitive basis that we use to judge one another.
If you want to get a feel for your own speech patterns, try copying some text you have written, a memo, letter, mail, or blog post, an plug it in to something like wordle.net and create a wordgraph - you might be very surprised at the result!

 

PS: You can be certain that this was written very carefully!

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Using Social Networks to Improve Operations

Using Social Networks to Improve Operations | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it
This post is part of the HBR Forum, The Future of Retail. For decades the mystery shopper was the main way retailers assessed operations from a customer's point of view.

How can organizations use social media to do more than broadcast messages to an indifferent audience? This HBR blog post describes 2 examples where companies manage to turn customers with complaints into customer advocates.

 

It takes some time, incentives for customers either through reactively apologizing and improving service or by incentivizing, maybe via a coupon for reduced charges?

Either case helps to grow customer base and or improve your reputation.

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The GREEN MARKET: Patagonia Shows the Way with Responsible Business Leadership

The GREEN MARKET: Patagonia Shows the Way with Responsible Business Leadership | Intuitive Business | Scoop.it

I defy you to read this and not think "WOW!"

 

Have you ever heard of a business that will actually ask you if you really need to buy their product/services? Well, Patagonia does! They actually ask customers theather they REALLY need that new jacket and offer to repair the old on.

 

Can you imagine the effect on our garbage dumps if more consumer product brands followed this example?

 

Makes me wish we had Patagonia here in Vienna, I would go buy a jacket just to support this idea.

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