A Crisis of Leadership. A Crisis of Responsibility. Or Both?

April 4, 2010

Hristos a inviat!

Below, Imagine Leadership by Nitin Nohria and Amanda Pepper of Harvard Business School’s Leadership Initiative. Nohria and Pepper collaborated with XPLANE to create this video in order to generate a discussion of the value and importance of leadership to address some of society’s most pressing problems.

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Insight

“Corporations are not people…” says Klaus Bandisch (@friendsaround50) of Waikiki, Hawaii.

Global economic problems have revealed several underlying failures of modern society. Some represent recurring challenges ever bound to the human condition. Among them is the failure or lack of great leadership. It is an issue that cuts across borders, cultures, economies, industries and Hopes.

Here’s what we know: results and break-neck performance are king. And for good reason. We all love profit.

Here’s what we are starting to think about: Compassion and empathy are powerful management and leadership tools.

Business thinkers often fail, however, to emphasize that high emotional (or social) intelligence is when the heart can be applied to problem-solving with prudence and strategic practice. Alas, high emotional intelligence is not something you can easily grab off the shelf. Read the rest of this entry »


Barack Obama, Thomas Jefferson, Lincoln, et al: Viva la Vida

July 3, 2008

Friday, 04 July 2008

As I reflect on the meaning of Independence Day, I cannot help but to see the stark contrast between the freedoms which we as Americans have come to take for granted and the situation in Romania, where the Romanian people struggle to live day by day under the capricious and self-serving will of oligarchs and authoritarians and a corrupt and impetuous government.

Never you mind that the 2008 NATO Summit was held in Bucharest.

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We the people of the United States, in order to form a

more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic

tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote

the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty

to ourselves and our posterity…

United States Constitution

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The purpose of human government is to enable the people to obtain, individually, for themselves every good and moral opportunity to pursue and enjoy the common good.

Regardless of geographical differences, the purpose is everywhere the same. This, the human spirit has taught us in its longings, triumphs, and struggles through human history. And this wisdom is made more compelling by our own tears, hopes and prayers.

George Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. understood themselves as instruments of human destiny. They saw that the implications of their efforts, sacrifices and triumphs were not limited to their time; they understood that the things for which they struggled for must also belong in a wider sense to humanity and the future.

Read the rest of this entry »


A Dark Night Ahead

February 27, 2007

A Dark Night Ahead

Sometime in the second half of 2008, Americans will be asking what went wrong. They’ll call it an economic downturn or a warning sign, but they’ll know in their gut that it’s not just a hiccup.

Americans will want to know who did it and why they were allowed to screw it up so bad. Some will bemoan the greed of home-owners who aspired to greater wealth or better lifestyle. Others will talk about the cavalier irresponsibility of banks and financial institutions, the problematic of regulation, and the greed of bankers and financiers– American, European and otherwise. The real estate bubble is going to pop.

When it comes, I will be wondering how much worse it will get. I’ll be thinking about what happens in the next 40 years. I imagine that I’ll also be looking for economic signs beyond the real estate problem.

Great Expectations

Looking forward, I fear most for America. I fear for the lifestyle of Americans. But I also fear for all those other peoples who so deeply long for an American lifestyle. The American middle class lifestyle and material expectations seems to have come at a cost that hasn’t been sustainable for a decade. Of course, I could be wrong, but if I’m not, commentators will be saying the very same things that I’m writing now within the next two or three years.

Elsewhere, peoples are impatient for the American lifestyle they know from TV and the movies. Those people will compete for such opportunity with competitive advantages such as low cost labor and intensified effort (six or seven day work days and longer hours in a day). In the next ten years, corporations will ask for more and they will provide less compensation, less benefits and less compassion for those that drag their heels in the workplace.

Ahead, greater disappointment and, perhaps, social unrest may unfurl and such a sail is likely to carry us to seas uncharted – darker waters.

Armchair Economics

Looking forward, I wonder what happens across time as debt, deficit, and disappointment grow. This will not be simply an American problem.

What can we do to set a course for a brighter future – as opposed to a long, dark night?

The necessity for discipline and new vision is obvious. In America, the role of Government must be re-evaluated. Does Government provide for the common good and individual rights in an adequate and effective manner? Certainly, partisan agendas must be left behind in order for change to become possible. Government regulation, for example, is over zealous in some areas. While in other areas, it is lackluster. The cost of health care, to mention one much debated problematic, represents the undisciplined greed of corporate interests – interests that deeply conflict with the welfare of the nation and the American people.

Beyond the problematic of rampant consumerism, debt, debauchery in the financial markets, and government spending, the diminishing investment in technology is another thing to consider.

Technology

Technology was something that we were doing right. Technology has been an important force in our economy and in our confidence in our economy. That’s why this is not the time to back off from technology investments. We need a renewal and deeper commitment to investment in technologies – technologies that can produce overwhelming value and social benefit across time: five years or more.

By design, quick payoffs do not tend to offer long term ROI. Obviously, investors should not repeat the mistakes that led to the pop of the Tech bubble. Regarding technology, value will be difficult to find when it’s more about questions of “who knows who” and “does the business plan have the right catch phrases” … and not “what it does”, “how well it does it”, and “is it relevant”.

Technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation may just provide the leverage and levers to keep us above the rising tide of doubt, mistrust, and fear.

Human Potential

More worrisome to me than the lack of investment in technology and innovation is what I believe to be a wide scale failure to realize human potential at the micro and macro level. Paradoxes are increasing exponentially. At the heart of this dark matter is the absence of virtue, honor, moral character and ethic.

At the same time that there is more want, there seems to be less of a willingness to make it happen. This is a problematic at the individual level.

At a macro level, we have powerful technologies in the modern office to multiply the performance of an employee and yet there is a foreboding sense that ROI is diminishing. Getting a computer in the office was supposed to increase performance, but if it has done so, it has also become an opportunity for the employee’s exploitation of company time, resources, and capital- personal banking, online shopping, online reading, personal email, instant messaging, online message boards, online gaming and much more.

Hope

Hope is something that can unleash human potential, become opportunity for change, sacrifice and progress. Hope can move us forward- as families, as communities, as nations and as a species. As long as hope finds fuel and reason, it can stir us to do greater things than we believe ourselves capable.

Hope can even stir us to greater ambitions than our own selfish pursuit of mistaken good and all the unsatisfying metaphors which have always represented something more beautiful than we could have imagined – whether we knew it or not.

More than a renewed enthusiasm for technology and motivational strategies for the quantitative realization of human potential, we shall look eagerly for hope. And with hope, there must come faith and compassion.

Stan Faryna
February 27, 2007
Fairfax, Virginia

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FEED UPON other popular posts by Stan Faryna:

>> Outsourcing
>> Great Websites
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>> Online Strategy
>> Open Source

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About Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna is a member of the IAB European Leadership Council and National Director of the Interactive Advertising Bureau Romania. He is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna is editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2008 by Stan Faryna.

Here’s my fair use policy for my content:

If you want to share my content with your own audience, you may quote a brief excerpt, if and only if, you provide proper attribution (Source: The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna) with a direct link to the source. You may not republish or translate the entire article without my written permission. Send your request for permission by inmail through the linkedin professional network at www.linkedin.com.


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