The Business of Ethics

MM - Ethics

I am sure there has been much written about ethics in leadership but I wanted to share some insights recently revealed to me.

I had a visit with some dear friends who have been in leadership positions and one is currently writing a book on “ethics in the university”. He is a retired professor and is a dear friend so, jokingly, I asked him if he had discovered any, to which there was a resounding NO.

The chats usually go with the state of our country then circles around to business models and ethics.

First, I’m not sure why we call it “business ethics”.

Is the place we learn business ethics, in business, or is it too late then?  Our conversation had me asking that question, “Where do we learn” ethics?

Well, I got the standard business answer we all should expect and the one you are thinking. We teach them in college and have training classes and seminars. Which isn’t bad, I might add!

As you may guess at this point in the conversation, I still had plenty of questions. So, one immediate question was; at what age do we start to teach ethics?

Where and when do “we” learn ethics?

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Listening in Leadership

I know there have been many articles written about the subject of “listening” in leadership, but, today I would like to explore the topic some more.

How interesting it is that we use the title “Leadership Voices”. One may suggest that when using this title that someone is actually reading, or “listening” to the messages contained in our material. Hopefully that is the case.

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Personally, I have found when communicating with many who are in leadership positions they may listen to what is being said, but may not HEAR what is being said. Our society has arrived at an age when we feel every word spoken should be interpreted, and while  “listening” we are actively trying to interrupt what is said. I feel this is a grave mistake for leaders!

These comments are not intended to diminish the impact a conversation has when vision casting, but rather I hope to help us exercise caution in our interactions with those we lead. Essentially the true intent of our conversations with whom we lead should be nothing less than building a stronger relationship that allows us as leaders to develop the true potential of those we lead.

Think for a moment about how you would want to be listened to. Do you want to be heard?

What characteristics of listening do you exhibit that would make anyone want to follow you?

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The Decline of a Nation?

WB20141125 - 1In the past few days we have witnessed a distinctive parting between leadership and power. Including the loss of appreciation for our fellow man and the gratitude for those who have sacrificed to give us the freedoms we enjoy. Be it immigration or the general rule of law the recent decisions from our leadership to the actions in Ferguson, MO,  lend credence to a dramatic decline in the display of appreciation and gratitude. Sadly, our society seems to be filled with more people who have very little leadership skills and a whole lot of power.

In witnessing this dramatic decline  one must present the question; What are we really seeing develop before our eyes?

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The Poser in Me


The Poser In Me - 1For the last year or so I have been facilitating a small study group with a hunger to understand not only leadership values but what has God called us to do. Out of that study there have been several revelations to the developmental phases of a young persons life. We are very blessed to have the opportunity to nurture our young into meaningful productive God fearing people.

But where do we fail them?

I believe one of the early stages of when we let them down is when we fail to “affirm” them. Now, many of you reading this will  not associate with that statement. However, when we look at the breakup of many families today one of the most telling statements heard is of how the kids are NOT valued. Do we allow boys to be boys, or girls to be girls? Certainly NOT! Neither gender can compete “honestly” in any competition. We  teach them from an early age that “misrepresenting the truth” is an OK (no winners, no losers) thing to do. The reality is there are winners and losers. Another reality is…some of those winners have turned into big losers while some of the losers have turned into some of the biggest and brightest stars we’ve seen.

Consider;  Susan Boyle, a Scottish singer who  appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. She finished second, but her amazing talent  captured the world’s attention.  Her 1999 rendition of “Cry Me a River”was watched over 100 million times!  Boyle even made 5 Million Pounds with the release of I Dreamed a Dream. How’s that for a Successful Loser

Boyle was Boyle and under pressure refused to change. She refused to be a poser!

What is a poser?

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When Standing…Falls Short

When Standaing Falls Short - 2According to a US News and World report dated December 28, 2012 “there will be more than 315 million people in the United States when the calendar flips from 2013 to 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau”.

With numbers like these there are many questions that one must ask.

As a society at large… What have we done wrong that America is experiencing a tragedy of “the breakup of the American family”?

It is reported that, “In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers”.

Has it hit yet?

I’ll be honest here, my heart breaks when I learn of the break-up of another family. What happened to the men who now refuse to stand by what they say, what they commit to and to who they have had a part in creating? I’m just reminded this past weekend of how pathetic some men really are. Just another statistic to count. Just another family without a dad. How wrong!

When Standaing Falls Short - 1To be straight… What shiny objects are we chasing? Whose fence are we looking over to see if the grass is just a little greener?

The times in which we find ourselves is quite different than it was 40 years ago but that is no excuse for the way men behave today. I visit my youth quite often because there is much to learn from those days. It is said of those who endured the depression that many didn’t know they were poor, and to that I can relate.

Kids, men, and women, today have by far many more luxuries than either the depression era or those of 40 years ago. But somehow they don’t seem to have enough. Yet somehow they allow those luxuries to come between them and their commitments. Yet somehow they don’t realize that long after moth and rust gathers on those long forgotten treasures…the product of those earlier commitments still exist. Yet somehow those who walk out on their commitments still want to be called dad, or mom. And yes…they are all still statistics.

Where did things go wrong? Who’s responsible?

There is a lot to be learned from the words of Jo Dee Messina.

I want a man that stands beside me
Not in front of or behind me.

Give me two arms that want to hold me, not own me
And I’ll give all the love in my heart

Stand beside me
Be true, don’t tell lies to me

I’m not lookin’ for a fantasy
I want a man who stands beside me

Isn’t it time we started standing on our word, and standing up for the commitments we have made?

So…Where do you stand?

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The Convictions of Man

kinopoisk.ruI have wondered for some time this one penetrating question; What happened to the convictions of man?

I’m sure the period of time in which we find ourselves probably has many of us asking the same question. Let’s consider a few quotes from Saving Private Ryan. Private Jackson says to Captain Miller: “Sir… I have an opinion on this matter.” To which Captain Miller replies: “Well, by all means, share it with the squad.”

Ok squad, to be a man we have to find where that definition comes from. Knowing that God did NOT give us the definition but instead explicitly gave us examples of what it is to be a man of God. Clearly, there are two types of men; a worldly man, and a man who reveres God. We must understand what a man looks like under God’s leadership.

It is important to know that: Responsibility = response + ability.

The Convictions of Man - 2Men have a natural tendency to avoid social responsibility,

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Misleading Leadership

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A lady I know works for a major corporation in their acquisition department. Her manager recently retired and the supposed replacement brings the team in for a meeting. In that meeting it is discussed whether he will or will not seek to be the new replacement manager. The answer rendered here was a “NO”.

Upon her return home and while going through her e-mail, she receives one that states the manager who had just told her he was not going to seek the position had in fact just been awarded the position. Ok, most of you are like me. You will put out your best efforts for someone you trust. Trust from a manager is not something that comes “with the territory”, but is something that is essential not only to the success of the company but the manager as well. The real truth is…Speak a lie once and all your truth becomes questionable.

Leadership and Integrity - 1Trust on all levels whether in a relationship or workplace setting, when violated sets the stage for many hard days at work or home, to say the least. The worst feeling in the world is to know you were used and lied to by someone you trusted. How in the world can anyone think that starting off a relationship with a lie is in the best interest of anyone?

Let’s talk “man to man” here for just a bit. What hurts the most…is a lie that draws a smile or the truth that draws a tear! Hurting people with the truth is better than killing them with a lie.

Misleading Leadership - 1Think about your family for a moment. How would you look in their eyes if all you did was lie to them? Let’s put things in the proper perspective. Misleading someone is NOT a lie when what you are passing along is accurate to the best of your understanding, only to discover that those who based their actions on your statements were mislead by your statements once you determined that they were not accurate. Lying to someone is an intentional act of deception!

Traveling the way of the world will only lead to destruction. The first person you have to lie to is yourself. From there it is the life of a “poser”. You will always need to convince self that you are something you’re not.

Who do we think we are fooling?

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The Pot Bowl?

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I want to make clear this viewpoint is from a leadership perspective and NOT a political view. It has plenty to do with the decline in leadership of core moral values that has made America a great country, and Colorado and Washington great states respectively. I have been following this issue with a keen interest for some time and feel now is an appropriate time to share my thoughts. I have arrived at this conclusion largely due to Wyoming being a peripheral state to Colorado.

As many of you know Colorado and Washington have recently embraced the use of marijuana. I have no real issues with people using marijuana, but here is where the real rub comes in. Does Peyton Manning really want to be associated with retiring after the “Pot Bowl”?

Seriously now; During this time when Colorado and Washington are embracing (according to federal law) an illegal drug, for the sake of revenue, Colorado has lost to the state of Wyoming (so far) three legal revenue generating manufactures.

Magpull Winner
abcovey / / CC BY-NC-ND

An even deeper look at the issue of safety shows these states are lacking in judgment and are neglecting to provide their residences reasonable safety measures for a “few more dollars”. This is also indicative of a continued moral decline in leadership of both the Federal and State governments by telegraphing the message, “You don’t have to step up and be responsible, we’ll lower our standards to meet you where you are”. Meanwhile signaling danger to all who travel the highways as well.

The short term effects afforded the states are as follows:

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Fatal Words

I recently facilitated a group study with some friends on a book by John Eldredge called “Wild at Heart”. It was really an eye opening study for me because it stirred memories of my childhood. Deep in this study two words presented themselves, “Fatal Words”. Honestly…I haven’t stopped thinking about their application by fathers, mothers, and leaders.

Let’s first addFatal Words - 1ress these at the fatherhood and motherhood levels. As fathers and mothers our words are just as important if not more so to a child’s life as our love. To a young son he needs to hear the words of affirmation. He needs to hear that “he is a fine young man”, or to hear the reinforcements of “how to treat a lady”, or more importantly to hear that he has what it takes to overcome the trials in life. To a young girl, she need to hear “how beautiful she is”, or to hear that she has what it takes to become whatever she wants to be. Affirmation is a very powerful tool in the early development years of our young men and women. Without it society fails!

Fatal Words - 2But sadly, too often parents are caught up in the demands of everyday living and raising children that all too easily the wrong words roll from our lips. Then just like that… without much less a thought, we have placed in the heart s of those we love, a fatal wound. Failing to support the young hearts and minds of those entrusted to us by the words we use is akin to throwing a dagger to their hearts. How we as parents all too often actually set kids up for failure by the use of words.

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Commitment = Contentment

Commitment = Contentment - 1For a number of years I have been concerned about this declining thing called “commitment”. To me it has been like peeling back the layers of an onion as it appears to become a smaller and smaller value in the list of virtues necessary to be an effective leader.

“The kind of commitment I find among the best performers across virtually every field is a single-minded passion for what they do, an unwavering desire for excellence in the way they think and the way they work. Genuine confidence is what launches you out of bed in the morning and through your day with a spring in your step”.
– Jim Collins –

Let’s face the facts…It is easier and easier to follow the ways of the world than it is to follow the convictions of our heart. Commitment and passion take a genuine conviction of the heart.

Let me begin by establishing three essential aspects of leadership that MUST have a deep seeded connection or leadership fails!

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