A universal moral compass–for corporate managers

A universal moral compass discussion in the book Moral Intelligence 2.0 goes this way:

Noted anthropologist Donald E. Brown, who found in his research that the moral codes of all cultures include recognition of responsibility, reciprocity and ability to empathize. Genuine differences in behavior in different cultures may distract us from what we have in common with all people – a universal moral compass. Consider a study that compared children in Asia (India) with American children. The differences in values were predictable: Asian children displayed more deference to elders and acceptance of tradition, whereas American children valued personal autonomy and freedom. But their moral codes were virtually identical. Both groups of children believed that it was wrong to lie, cheat and steal, and both thought it was important to treat the sick or unfortunate with kindness.
In another study researchers identified a short list of universal principles by analyzing earlier lists and examining the official tenets of major religions. Their rationale was that the principles held in common by major world religions are the ones most likely to be universal and enduring. They found the following principles espoused in common by all or most religions, and by secular organizations including American Atheists Inc., American Humanist Association and the UN Declaration of rights:

  • Commitment to something greater than oneself
  • Self-respect, but with humility, self-discipline, an acceptance of personal responsibility
  • Respect and caring for others (that is, the Golden Rule)
  • Caring for other living things and the environment

Six universal virtues honored in all cultures in the world:

  • wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence

What the corporate shenanigans can infer and make his or her own principles will be:

  1. Self-respect & Self-discipline
  2. Respect and caring for others
  3. Commitment to family and friends
  4. Courage
  5. Temperance
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Ten Commands for Digital Age

Was browsing through this book by Douglas Rushkoff – Program or be Programmed : Ten Commands for Digital Age.

Excerpts from it:

  1. Time: Do not always be on – no matter you tweet, email, text, Facebook or LinkedIn – don’t be always online to respond instantaneously -  you become frazzled and exhausted and no time to think but obligated to reply now & then
  2. Place: Live in Person – no matter how virtual you can be present, this can’t change the physical presence and interactivity it provides
  3. Choice: You may always choose none of the above – we’re always free to withhold choice, resist categorization or even go for something not in the list of available options
  4. Complexity:You are never completely right – Our engagements through and with the digital world tend to reduce the complexity of our real world, we lessen the risk of equating these oversimplified impressions with real knowledge and experience. Biased against contradiction and compromise, our digital media tend to polarize us into opposing camps, incapable of recognizing shared values or dealing with paradox.
  5. Scale: One size doesn’t fit all – net has turned scalability from a business option to business requirement. real world companies had a choice to be mom and pop or franchise, but then came mega malls, internationally scaled, bringing competition onto local businesses. Then came net, website shopping giving all the scale required. even jostling in the scale up phenomenon, remembering one size doesn’t fit all, we can preserve local and particular activities – by offering a great shopping experience with personal one-to-one engagement.
  6. Identity: Be Yourself – the less we take responsibility for what we say and do online, the more likely we are to behave in ways that reflect our worst natures – or even the worst natures of others. Because digital technology is biased toward depersonalization, we must make am effort not to operate anonymously, unless absolutely necessary. We must be ourselves. Don’t put words into the digital realm unless we are willing to own them.
  7. Social: Do not sell your friends – our digital networks are biased toward social connections – toward contact. Any effort to redefine or hijack those connections for profit end up compromising the integrity of the network itself, and compromising the real promise of contact.
  8. Fact:Tell the truth – Network is like truth serum – Put something false online and it will eventually be revealed as a lie. Digital technology is biased against fiction and toward facts, against story and toward reality. This means only option to communicating in these spaces is to tell the truth
  9. Openness: Share, Don’t steal – By learning the differences between sharing and stealing,we can promote openness without succumbing to selfishness
  10. Purpose: Programmed or Be Programmed – If we don’t know how they work, we have no way of knowing what is really out there. We cannot truly communicate, because we have no idea how media we are using bias the messages we are sending and receiving. Our senses and thoughts are already clouded by our own misperceptions, prejudices and confusion. Our digital tools add yet another layer of bias on top. Programming is a sweet spot, the high leverage point in a digital society. If we don’t learn programming, we risk being programed ourselves.

How to manage performance decisively & morally in enterprises?

Moral Intelligence 2.0 by Doug Lennick & Fred Kiel was an eye-opener, at an appropriate time, as I was reflecting on my dear friend’s departure from the one of the best 25 IT employers for 2011 by Business Insider. He had a stellar and long standing service amidst management & BD revolving doors (every 2 years for former and every quarter for latter on an average during his long stint). If every company follows this to its true colors, perhaps misunderstandings can be minimized and productivity maximized.

4 pronged approach to manage employee performance, excerpts from the book, below:

Communicating belief in the employee
Actions may speak louder than words but communicating a belief in the goodness of the follower needs to be actively spoken as well. In reality most of us starved of affirmation. The effective leader affirms employees most powerfully by acknowledging their strengths, by verbally referencing employees’ accomplishments and abilities. Best affirmative would be – “I believe in you, I know that you’re capable of even more than you have already achieved”. When an employee makes a serious mistake, however, stating your belief in that employees’ ideal self helps him or her deal more productively with the fallout of his or her real self failure. Emphasizing an employees’ weakness is rarely useful.  Managers must be sensitive to the emotional minefields that all negative messages must navigate.

Reciprocal disclosure of moral compass and goals
Sharing your beliefs and goals and inviting your employee to do the same provides the basis for both to support the other’s actions. You may want to introduce this idea to your employee by saying this:
To be a good manager, I need to know where I‘m and disclose that you – w.r.t. to my principles, values and beliefs. I also need to know where you’re at, and our shared knowledge of each other will give us the foundation for a trusting relationship.
Begin by sharing yours that forms the moral compass because many employees will not have had a previous experience with a superior who asked for this kind of info. Your willingness to disclose personal beliefs will usually minimize any discomfort on the part of your employee. Also make sure your disclosure is not a formality and sharing this is to help your employee and tell employee that with this, you hope that together you can be enablers of each other. After discussing your beliefs, values and principles, your dialogue as manager might be like:
My job as your boss is to help you develop the necessary habits and routines that will help you to achieve your goals while honoring your principles and beliefs. I start with a belief in you, but if we’re going ti work together closely, I need to do more than imagine greatness in you. I want to know what you really want your life to be about-the things that really matter to you. what roles do you play, and how good do you want to be at each of them?

Contracting for feedback
The manager should seek permission to offer feedback and to solicit feedback from the employee about the manager’s own performance. Seeking permission to give feedback and asking for feedback levels the emotional playing field for the employee. In a 2 way communication, employee feels empowered rather than ashamed. Finally if a manager can characterize the feedback as an opportunity to help the employee accomplish important personal or professional goals, the employee will see the feedback as a performance aid rather than an attack. In contracting mutual feedback, you might want to say something like:
I know we will both make a bunch of mistakes.I want us to agree to help correct each other. I’m going to mess up. Would you be willing to let me know when you see me making a mistake?
Now who would not agree to that? when you have your employees’ agreement, you may then ask this:
If there are times when your performance is not consistent with the goals you have shared with me, may I let you know about that?
Now you have the stage for discussing performance problems in the context of goals that are important to your employee

Mutual Accountability:
Contracting for feedback sets the stage for confronting performance gaps that will inevitably arise. When employee provides feedback on you, responding well to that does not necessarily mean that you agree and instantly change your behavior. It does require at a minimum that you actively listen to their feedback, play it back to ensure that your employees know they have been heard, tell them how you plan to respond (even if you plan simply to think about it), and thank them for the respect they showed you by offering their feedback.
When you need to give negative feedback to your employees, it is important to reinforce the context of your belief in them. You might say something like:
Based on everything you’ve shared with me, I know you want to be great at the work you do. I’m sure that you are aware that [your performance in this area] has not been good, and we need to focus on these few areas to help you reach the goals you agreed were important to you.