Initiating Peace

Summer fully upon us, bizarre weather patterns occurring around the globe. We took a pass on a July blog but feel compelled to write now. Will be brief and to the point.  Friday August 8th 2014 is a Global Day of Peace.  Numerous organizations and groups around the world are asking members to focus on peace that day.  Each and every one of us needs a more peaceful personal existence. We all know too many places in the world where people are terrorized by their own governments, governments that threaten their sovereignty, terrorist organizations. and thugs. Natural disasters and the Ebola virus also terrorize innocent citizens of the world.  I long for peace and know many in my circles of influence long for it too, which is why I’m writing to you today.  Below is a link to an initiative in which I will be participating.  

Visit globalmeditation and sign up to be part of this important global meditation event of the year. You need not know how to meditate to participate. Or can just google Global Peace Day and find out about more ways to participate.  Simply if you just set an hourly reminder on your smart phone and sing (or hum)  or say the phrase "let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me" you will be adding to a ground swell of worldwide peace consciousness that day, as well as on a cellular level bringing peace consciousness to the cells of your body.


Also this weekend, on Sunday, August 10th at 2:09 PM EDT the moon enters her full stage and this is the second “super full moon” of the three that will occur this year. I looked at the moon Tuesday evening and couldn’t believe how bright she was. So I encourage all of you to spend some time gazing at what many Native peoples refer to as Grandmother Moon as she radiates in her fullness.  Treat yourselves to this awesome sight.


An earlier blog addressed some of the changes underway at BEI. It continues to be an important time as we find a new balance in our work, client base and other undertakings.  Enjoy the heat of August.  As the song says "see you in September"!

What Role Do Commitment & Trust Play In The Workplace?

I happened to catch Neville Isdell a former CEO of Coca Cola who had worked for the company for 42 years being interviewed on CBS the other day.  He’s written a new book entitled Inside Coca Cola.  Two things stood out for me from this interviewthe first that he had studied social work at university. Go to http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7385779n&tag=mncol;lst;2  Of particular interest to me as my graduate work is in Social Work.  The knowledge and skills I learned at Columbia University  School of Social Work are foundational to my skill as a consultant and inform my thinking about the role of social policy in community building.  Isn't community organization closely aligned with building a vibrant culture in a company? Isdell also commented on the importance of gaining the commitment of your workforce to the success of the business.  “You can have compliance but to be truly successful you need commitment.”  What is commitment?  Simply stated for me when workers will do what they say they will do, and if they can’t will inform you as soon as they realize it. When they feel part of something bigger than themselves and recognize the role they play is important to overall success and valued management and co-workers.

If you read my blog a few weeks ago 4S you know I am passionate about Steve Jobs.  Little did I know the biography was in print, ready to be shipped when I commented about looking forward to reading a biography of the man.  Walter Isaacson has been interviewed on most news outlets about the man and the book.  Today in the Fast Company daily journal there is a short piece with a wonderful video of Steve talking about the essence of teamwork.  He addresses the importance of collegial working relationships while speaking of his executive team, the ability to trust people will do what they say they’ll do and the importance of these elements cascading down throughout the organization. Go to  http://www.fastcompany.com/1790791/steve-jobs-biography-walter-isaacson?partner=homepage_newsletter  to hear for yourself.  He also references simplicity of organization structure which I'll talk about at another time.

Engaged organizations are built upon values and business strategy.  People are essential to building a product or delivering a service.  The role of a manager has inherent in it the accountability to build a team among those in roles directly subordinate.  Three- tier team building helps insure the cascading of ways of working and the communication flow throughout the organization.   BEI exists to assist managers to build engaged organizations and transform the world of work.  Trust and commitment are key components to this process.  Businesses, which utilize and celebrate the talents and skills of employees, are trust inducing. and characterized by a committed and loyal workforce.  When people are acknowledged for their contributions and have clarity regarding what is expected of them they are most effective.  Trust inducing work systems provide profit for shareholders, satisfaction for employees, and add value to society.

Can Politics Screw Up Engagement?

A few things happened this week that have got me wondering why and how politics can muck up systems. So bear with me as I connect some dots.  I happened to catch the end of an interview on BBC America regarding excessive executive compensation.  The interview was with someone who did or currently works at a firm like Goldman Sachs who was talking about how bonuses affected what he did throughout the year.  He talked about “sucking up to the boss”, and back stabbing fellow workers in an effort to outshine his peers. Distasteful comments, although I found it refreshing to hear someone tell the truth about the impact of incentive compensation on workers and the culture within which they work. For those interested in alternative compensation look at Elliott Jaques’ work on Felt Fair Pay.  Simply brilliant and elegant!

I also heard Teresa Heinz being interviewed on Good Morning America and a comment was made regarding how often on the 2004 campaign trail she was called out for making candid comments.  Her response this morning was and I paraphrase here, “I always speak from the heart and I’m never intending to be hurtful”.

My sweetie and I listened too president Obama’s State of the Union speech late week and both of us were struck by his comments regarding elected officials in Congress to serve the people not their own ambitions.  All of this got me to wondering….

How have we as a nation, in our institutions, corporations and even our social lives become so distanced from doing what is right in situations. Granted “what’s right” is subjective, but more importantly how have we lost sight of what is important to each of us? Work systems have become just as politicized as our political system.  In speaking with a client recently he said “this is a very political place”.  We have a senior consultant here, helping people to become more politically savvy.  To myself I wonder “why”?  Wouldn’t we want to eliminate politics from work systems?  Politics running rampant in the workplace breeds distrust and uncertainty.  An engaged organization requires a foundation of trust.  There are many ways to build trust some of which reside in individuals like knowing your moral compass and values and behaving in ways consistent to them.

From a structural standpoint political behaviors in a work system are a direct outgrowth of a poorly designed network of role relationships, managerial accountabilities and authorities.  Work is important to people-of course to earn a salary so that they can feed their families but also to provide the satisfaction that comes with completing a task and being acknowledged for your efforts.  When there is uncertainty in reference to: what is to be done, who is to do it, how one role interfaces with another, and the authority one role has over another people being the creative beings they are make it up. Uncertainty breeds fear in many. People turn to personal currency and favors to get things done.

I like President Obama am optimistic about the future of our country and the future of business. We have an opportunity to build engaged workplaces.  It requires managers to step up.  Exercise courage to speak out and begin to truly identify what needs to be altered in their companies. They need to welcome input from the frontlines. It also requires employees at all levels to learn to speak their truth and put forth ideas for improvement.  We also need to look at how we design the network of role relationships upon which we build our companies.  Managers must ask themselves and others in the organization the difficult questions.  I am not saying this is easy but its necessary.  Our future and the future of our children and grandchildren depend on it.