Archives for ethics

Who Has Guts Like Tim Bray?

While many companies are stepping up to pivot their resources toward initiatives that benefit society during this COVID crisis, there are some companies coming under fire for not doing enough.

*Uh-hem. Amazon.*

Ooh. Excuse me. Allergies.

I don’t usually call out companies individually by name, though I tend to notice and write a lot about trends. Furthermore, if a trend either has promise as a solution or a detriment, I tend to do something about it. That’s me. And, that’s Tim Bray.

Tim Bray, however, had one of the most prestigious jobs out there for a tech guy. As VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services, Tim was kicking ass and having fun, but he also saw the bigger picture.

He saw Amazon as “a company that understands the importance of thinking big, taking ownership of hard problems, and earning trust.”

Amazon’s own vision is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company.” The argument was made that if Amazon wants to maintain its customer base, it should really look out for its well-being long-term. Sounds logical.

On May 1st, Tim said goodbye to his fun job, his valued colleagues, and what may add up to about $1M.

How many people would do that?

Amazon will survive Tim Bray’s departure, as will Tim Bray. In fact, within a week of the news breaking, he was scouted by Google, Comcast, Huawei, and “a bunch of startups.” He’s received 2,256 LinkedIn invitations. He helped build the internet, and he’s got quite a following of people now who would work under him in a heartbeat. To be fair, he had quite a fanbase of people who followed him and his career well before this, but he’s not looking for a job.

In a CBC interview, Bray notes how there was a time not too long ago when the tech sector was hero-worshipped – looked to as the potential panacea for our everyday pains. How far it has fallen is the point he makes.

And he doesn’t consider it an Amazon problem or a Jeff Bezos problem. Actually, Bezos did give $100M to Feeding America and Amazon has purchased 100,000 electric delivery vans. Amazon has also devised a plan and made a pledge to run on 100% renewable energy by 2030 and net-zero carbon by 2040, and has spent an estimated $1B to improve safety and conditions for warehouse employees. These are direct requests made in the open letter sent to Jeff Bezos and the Board of Directors of Amazon in 2019 by over 8,700 Amazon employees.

We need to draw a clear line for corporate conduct. That doesn’t mean deciding for once and for all what is “good” and “bad”, because we will never agree on that. Right now, it can seem like the line between right and wrong – and even true and false – is gone! It’s not even grey.

How much money does one man need, anyway?

Bezos needs quite a fortune to realize his next vision – people working and living in space. Has he already given up on this planet? Perhaps. Does he know something we don’t, or is he actually reading the writing on the wall more clearly?

I’m going to do something foolish and assume that the people who can live in Jeff Bezos’ space future will not be the frontline workers of Amazon or Whole Foods.

So let’s give companies, especially large powerful ones, a clear benchmark – a blueprint. Let’s move the needle toward neutral to balance profit/power and people/planet. We can restore balance – just as nature does. If we hurt nature, we hurt ourselves. Do you know what else we hurt? People who could be our customers and employees in the future. And for what?

“Our whole economy is focused on growth and efficiency, and the stress and strain on the people at the bottom of the pyramid just doesn’t bear enough weight in that equation.” ~ Tim Bray

There are numerous pivotal topics surrounding Bray’s recent high-profile departure:

  • Economic inequity
  • The problem of making things more efficient while putting undue strain on front-line workers
  • Automation vs. preserving jobs
  • Worker protection laws in the US versus the rest of the world (the latter of which is apparently holding Amazon to higher standards)
  • A company’s responsibility to commit to reducing their carbon footprint
  • The people who take the most risk are the ones who ensure profit, so protect them

All of these are highly relevant topics I’d like to dig into with some depth in the future. For right now, I want to focus on this:

Bray’s resignation was not really about Amazon’s efforts (or lack thereof) to keep workers safe or protect the planet. It was about the firing of the whistleblowers. It was about the message that it sent to employees at Amazon and, really, everywhere, that your job is not safe if you speak up, particularly if you speak out against your company.

These are all things I would really like to know:

  • Could the activists have done a better job of recognizing the efforts already made? Could they have used better channels? Could they have still been successful if they’d have kept their efforts internal, and in turn, could that have saved their jobs?
  • Could Amazon have done a better job of communicating their intentions and efforts, which, like all companies, had to keep up with shifting and evolving guidelines?
  • Could Tim Bray, who used the “proper channels” to make known his complaints and concerns about the firing of whistleblowers have done something differently to influence another outcome?
  • Could the company have been clearer with the activists? Could they have created even more defined guidelines on how to raise and elevate shared concerns about environmental corporate policy?

I think it’s important for ALL of us to know the answers to these questions so that we can do better. Tim Bray – I know you are drowning in your inbox right now, but I’d really like to help you make your sacrifice be the ripple that creates waves of conscious change!

The last thing I want to do is put leaders’ jobs in jeopardy, especially in this economy, if they don’t know how to successfully influence positive change. At the same time, in any negotiation, you have to be willing to walk away, or you hold zero power.

I know there are not many people who would leave $1M on the table to protest wrongdoings. There aren’t many people who would leave $1M on the table to be able to look themselves in the mirror, but I’m looking for these people RIGHT NOW.

I’m looking for the highly employable leaders, who trust that if they can’t effectuate change using proven protocols for doing so, they will be able to find (or start) another company where they can thrive, spread their conscious leadership wings, succeed, earn a comfortable executive salary, and look themselves in the mirror each day. They will be able to look their kids and grandkids in the eyes and say with conviction that they are doing all they can!

So, who has guts like Tim Bray?

The Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint is a yearlong personal and professional development program that focuses on expanding your power of intention and influence over self, team, and organization.

We promise – if you can’t create conscious change where you are after 18 weeks, we will help you land a new, better position where you can!

Is this you? Reach out today!

Big Balls

Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment Big Balls · AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap ℗ 1976 J. Albert & Son Pty Ltd Released on: 1976-12-17 Guitar, …

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days, is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

What Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness Training ISN’T

By Bruce Mars

Woman_mirror

Why is emotional intelligence suddenly so touted as a major leadership skill?

Because we know a lot more about what makes people tick, what motivates them, and what inspires top performance than we ever did before. HINT: It’s not the old dominant intimidation model that helped the moguls of the past become monopolists (Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie.)

Industry was built by men during a time when being a man meant being tough, not showing weakness (by ways of emotions,) making decisions and demanding compliance, or else. The line between respect and fear was very thin.

Research done in 2005 proves that greedy entrepreneurs have less customer and employee satisfaction.

The more a leader gives freely, the more they will inspire trust and reciprocated financial and emotional rewards. The more they create a climate of lack, the more survival instincts will lead to cut-throat competitiveness that kills collaboration.

I mean, science does tell us this, but common sense might also tell you that starving people of rest, sleep, joy, living wages, and sometimes actual food will inhibit their performance. But that doesn’t mean that it’s common sense to make sure that your employees get ample rest, sleep, food, vacation time, fun, and money. That sounds like common sense, right?

What about starving people from being heard, having a voice, growing in contribution, having and expressing emotions, and being human?

We are learning more about what it means to be human and what it means to be an optimized human. So much has been discovered about the brain and its relationship with the mind, body, and spirit.

Did you know there actually is a part of your brain related to spirit? The insula and anterior cingulate, which also help you process social dilemmas. These are “newer” parts of our brain, evolutionarily. However, they are also parts of the brain we didn’t know much about, especially the implications of its clinical function, when many of today’s leaders were in college. And, these areas don’t fully develop until well into your third decade of life, unless this is accelerated (and development can be with practices that take mere minutes daily.) In fact, while they are the slowest developing parts of our brain, they are critical to helping us with perception, morality, and virtues.

So, it would stand to reason that this type of training certainly benefits everyone, especially younger professionals, and perhaps even students.

However, a major focus is on leaders for obvious top-down reasons, like the fact that a leader is more effective when he or she leads by example, and leaders are expected to set the tone for the culture. But also, science now recognizes that as someone grows in ambition, they may express what is being called situational greed. Greed can contribute to amassing wealth, but can also cause people to act unfairly and selfishly, which will inspire altruistic punishment instead of cooperation and collaboration. It can also lead to full-blown crisis, such as the great recession. It needs to be kept in check, and for that, awareness is necessary. So, emotional intelligence and mindfulness training will also prevent leaders from a well-documented inclination that can lead to decisions that inspire low satisfaction, disengagement, and even sabotage.

On the upside…

What would be possible for your company if all of your employees could be trusted to act in the highest good of the company, its people, and its employees?

What would happen if, instead of having leaders who were able to leverage the strengths of his or her team, you have a team that can leverage each others’ strengths?

If this seems like a pie in the sky outcome, you may need to readjust your expectations of what is possible, and even what’s probable when you focus on enhancing individual self-awareness and empathy.

Think about all of the measures you take now to handle conflicts, ensure compliance, and mitigate human-based risks. You’ve been playing defense. I invite you to see what’s possible when you employ EI/MT (Emotional Intelligence/Mindfulness) training and start playing offense.

Small ripples create big, transformative waves.

What is EI/MT NOT?

It’s not just explaining etiquette. It’s not teaching ethics. It’s not a new way to make some people feel inferior or superior. It’s not going to make your employees “soft.” It’s not suppressing or denying emotions or emotional responses. It’s not a way to avoid conflict.

In fact, it’s going to help your employees become more self-sufficient at facilitating non-judgmental communications and consensus building. They will crave collaboration, think more creatively, and have healthier relationships with their emotions.

I have seen mindfulness be misapplied and misused to discourage people from disputing management decisions that seem to not be in the highest good. I have also seen people employ mindfulness and meditation to escape their emotions. These misuses backfire in big ways. The first is really bordering on mental abuse, and the second will lead to physical symptoms and illness. What we resist persists. Emotions need to be embraced and allowed. What the training does is release emotional bottlenecks and give them a more appropriate and healthful way to flow. It also increases awareness of the emotions so that decision making is done in an enhanced state of mind.

I have also seen those who have the training make others who are struggling emotionally feel like they need fixing. If you have been playing defense, the introduction of these trainings risks imposing these feelings. There is a way to introduce these trainings to your workforce that will help them embrace the changes and get excited about all that is possible for them rather than making them feel like they are joining a woo woo club of spiritual elitists.

Finally, these practices may produce a flow state, but that doesn’t mean that your workforce will suddenly become “soft” and unable or unwilling to deal with pressure. In fact, mindfulness has been proven to increase resilience.

I know a lot has been floating around about trainings of this type, which are not new, but have now at least been proven by small and large organizations to have a positive impact. If your interest is piqued, reach out to schedule a consultation and learn how EI and Mindfulness training can enhance your work experience and outcomes and those of your team.

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – What I Am

Music video by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians performing What I Am. (C) 1988 Geffen Records

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.