An Oklahoma first grader was suspended recently for making a gun gesture with his hand because the gesture violated the school district's zero-tolerance policy against weapons and violence, according to news reports. That's just one in a handful of stories making headlines today. Stories of kids being expelled for having nail clippers or giving a cough drop to another student are refueling the debate about the wisdom of zero-tolerance policies. In 1999, Time magazine referred to the surge in these dogmatic approaches to discipline in...
Imagine our private organizations operating like the federal government. What if we belonged to parties inside our workplaces and chose to work or not based on what our party determined? What if we could refuse to implement a needed plan just because our party does not agree? I have been working in private for-profit and non-profit organizations for 30 years now and my answer is that our organizations would collapse. At the core of sustainable organizations is the discipline to act on what is right. Taking concerted action in the earliest...
Heineken just seemed to be a beer company to me; one with a ripened value due to years of good reputation. I had never thought about the company's ethics toward profitability or brand positioning until this week when I had dinner with Heineken USA's VP of Corporate Responsibility and Ethics during a business trip to Washington, D.C. During our conversation, some key discoveries were made. I learned how Heineken uses market access to help others. The company, the Heineken executive said, has a responsibility to be “of service...
Social entrepreneurs are starting new organizations that combine best management practices with a socio-ecological purpose. They are expanding the boundaries of what it means to do business and innovating new organizational structures to respond to the needs and demands of an aching society. Working with social entrepreneurs in Mexico is a very rewarding aspect of my work. My role at the Universidad del Medio Ambiente (or University of the Environment) in central Mexico is to create learning environments and facilitate processes that support...
Systems thinkers have long adopted the iceberg analogy as a way to describe the events, patterns, and underlying structures that drive the behaviors that affect performance within a system. The iceberg is a perfect metaphor because it depicts just how much of what is really going on lies beneath the surface—out of sight. For many, out of sight also means out of mind. That mindset limits an organization’s ability to improve, live up to its potential, and consistently accomplish its stated goals and objectives. In this analogy,...
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