Posts Tagged 'EthicalLeadership'

The Ancient Chinese Science of Organisational Transformation

by LeaderShape Faculty Member, Maiqi Ma

China Business

‘IF A GOVERNMENT becomes unpopular, neither good nor bad policies would be welcomed.’ The words illustrate how the Chinese people value the trustworthiness of leaders and remind me of the so-called ‘Tacitus Trap’ (referring to the Roman philosopher), who asks:

Why are efforts to change such hard work? And, why is changing mind-sets and behaviours hard work too?

Employees who are asked report that their companies’ initiatives most often reinforce changes through formal mechanisms; role modelling is used least often.

I am not surprised. My diagnosis is that these companies lack a culture based in human relations. I would provide a prescription to the leaders derived from the ancient Chinese science of organisational transformation: ‘Letting your people understand the reasons, moving them on with affection, guiding them through self modelling and having an attractive benefits package.’ The prerequisite for these principles is… that the leaders should be virtuous!

This is the beginning of a journey to grow future leaders and develop teams that can speak the same leadership language. Why not take a look here?

According to the ‘Doctrine of Confucius and Mencius’, a virtuous leader should meet three conditions. Firstly, (s)he should let his people have a ‘certain livelihood’. My interpretation of ‘certain livelihood’ for nowadays is a ‘fair salary’ and most definitely not the ‘zero hours contract’ model. (One complaint I heard from a small company is that the business owner’s wife did very little work, never appeared in the office and yet had a much higher salary than the full-time staff.)

Secondly, they should teach people, not only about knowledge and skills but, more importantly, human relations. For example there should be a sense of righteousness between bosses and managers; between senior and junior levels, a proper order…The core of all relations is mutual respect and differentiation. Mencius says that ‘when the prince regards his ministers as his hands and feet, his ministers regard their prince as their stomach and heart; … when he regards them as the ground or as grass, they regard him as a robber and an enemy.’

Qing_Dynasty_Chess_pawnsI have heard many middle managers say that they are treated like pawns in a game of chess by their bosses. In many organisations, the bosses often seem to regard the shareholders as the most important associates, while staff are least important. At employee level, the attitude is often ‘this is not my business. I don’t care.’

Another complaint I have heard from some renowned companies is that frontline staff’s basic wages are the same regardless of individual levels of education and length of service. This is a source of irritation for the senior staff and results in a high turnover of employees. They feel that their expertise and loyalty are overlooked.

Third and last, the leader should ensure there is a wide sense of shared pleasure. I was once having lunch with a senior manager of one of the top 100 companies. He introduced a mini golf game right there in the staff canteen and said to me: ‘If you like, you can take a golf ball home. Our boss likes golf.’ I was impressed by his pride, but I did not take a golf ball with me!

Confucius says that virtue is like the North Pole star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it. Mencius comments ‘when one by force subdues men, they do not submit to him in their hearts…when one subdues men by virtue, they are pleased deep in their hearts and will submit with sincerity.’ So, it is much better to say ‘What can I learn in order to influence or persuade my people to change?’ rather than ‘Changing mind-sets and behaviours is hard work.’

 

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The Arms Race in Journals Publishing Heats Up

Joe EI ALWAYS LOVE veteran author and publisher Joe Esposito’s thoughts. He is a witty and astute observer with the valuable eye of an experienced and passionate participant in research and scholarly publishing.

This year Joe has done a lot of work looking at society publishing, which is all well worth reading. The extent to which a professional or scientific society relies on publishing as a way of fulfilling its mission can vary greatly; some societies see their journals and books as the very core of their offering, whereas for others they are cash cows to support other member activity. Either way there are a bewildering range of options and new challenges thrown up by the digital shift. Commercial publishers have a lot to offer.

In this article Joe describes neatly what commercial publishers can and do offer societies (in addition to the obvious: sometimes enormous sums of money).

Looking at this from the publisher’s point of view, there are also untapped benefits (as well as the obvious financial return, “bulking up” and niche domination) from associating with societies. These include acquiring credibility, access to domain expertise, the creation or strengthening of communities or networks of authors, and perhaps strategic growth into new geographies and subject areas.

Of course there is also a very human side of this. Staff in publishing companies often come from academic backgrounds and look for the personal validation that comes from rubbing shoulders with society grandees. For a while I was, though a pretty humble physics grad, the publisher of the outstanding Landau and Lifshitz series of textbooks – The Course of Theoretical Physics. It makes me proud still, though all I did was keep them in print for a few years.

Club Elsevier, as mentioned at the end of Joe’s blog post, is much more fun when the disco floor is full of big-name society people and famous authors.

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A challenge for the book industry?

2014-01-09T211337Z_4_CBREA0812MG00_RTROPTP_3_BARNESANDNOBLE-RESULTS_originalWHAT IS CHANGING is not the popularity or usefulness of the book, but the way authors create and share, and readers find and enjoy them.
Continue reading ‘A challenge for the book industry?’

Thinking like a patient, acting like a taxpayer, behaving like an emotionally intelligent leader

THE NEW NHS England CEO, Simon Stevens, is a breath of fresh air. He is offering new perspectives on the challenge to leaders, and one key message, recognised by the Nuffield Trust, is the need for organisations to work across boundaries, and to abandon a top-down approach in favour of establishing new models of care that work locally.

This is demanding for board members – how can you get the right sort of change while devolving decisions about that change? The answer Simon Stevens offers, and he is right, is to develop “values-based leadership” to create a climate conducive to the right sort of change. This will take emotionally intelligent leaders, and a questioning and challenging board, working in the interests of the public and not within organisational silos.
See Simon Stevens’ speech to the NHS Confederation here

And we have provided the response from the Nuffield Trust also.

The LeaderShape Faculty has worked with many boards and directors in the NHS to develop leadership and build strategies, so please get in touch on contact@leadershape.biz if you would like to discuss these issues with us.

Regards

Duncan Enright, LeaderShape.

 

Amazon, Publishers and Us

FIRST, LET’S AGREE – Amazon is not a bookseller, though that is how it began life. It is a multiple retailer, a Walmart of the web and an internet chainstore of everything.

Amazon is one of the dominant commercial powers of our age, though not consistently profitable it has the ability to be so at the flick of a switch. It can and does put competitors out of business. It has ambitions and has made forays into product development as well as retailing. It is a behemoth, straddling the world right now. But can it be a successful book publisher? A new article in the New Yorker discusses its progress in the world of books.

Continue reading ‘Amazon, Publishers and Us’