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Medium 9781609949112

Chapter Six: Ethical Action Means Ethical Agreement

Pastin, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“You can’t agree that you can’t agree.”

—Mark Pastin

SITUATION #8 Dead River

Environmental issues are often ethically complex. When you judge the actions that governments and businesses took many years ago, there is a temptation to judge them by today’s environmental standards. This can lead to conflicting, strongly held ethical judgments.

Such a situation occurred in the 1980s with respect to the so-called Dead Pigeon River, a river that flows through North Carolina and Tennessee. Several industrial companies, including several paper plants, had dumped their waste into the river over the years. The river was widely used for recreation until dioxin was discovered in the river and a related reservoir. Dioxin tends to settle at the bottom of a waterway or reservoir, with the consequence that trying to clean it up has the unintended effect of stirring it up, thus making matters worse. When dioxin was discovered in the Pigeon River, some environmentalists began calling it “The Dead Pigeon River.” Many of the companies that had dumped dioxin into the river were no longer in business, and it was unlikely that any current employee or manager of the remaining companies was employed by them when the waste was dumped. To the environmentalists and some residents, it seemed obvious that the remaining companies were liable for the pollution. To the companies still operating, the environmentalists’ position seemed unreasonable as no one currently involved with the companies had anything to do with releasing dioxin into the river. The Pigeon River gained even more notoriety in the 1988 U.S. presidential election when Al Gore was accused of running as an environmentalist while urging compromise on the cleanup of the Pigeon River.

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Medium 9781576752708

5 Developing Training Objectives

Vaughn, Robert Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF





“Cheshire Puss, would you tell me, please, which way

I ought to walk from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk,” said the Cat.

“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if only you walk long enough.”

—Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The professional trainer knows that developing a training program, like any major activity, requires knowing where you’re going. Or, as Steven Covey puts it, you must “Begin with the end in mind.” Once the training requirements have been identified, they must be refined into explicit objectives.

ᔢ ᔢ ᔢ

As Alice learned in talking with the Cheshire Cat, deciding where to go is an essential first step in planning anything, whether business or training. Otherwise, one may end up—as the Walrus did—speaking of many things, but lacking coherence (“cabbages and sealing wax”?). Developing good training objectives is essential, tedious, and a step you may be tempted to skip. Don’t.

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Medium 9781626565661

11 Agility Maximize Speed and Flexibility

Stack, Laura Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Strength in the post–Great Recession environment is based on agility. Effective, efficient execution demands it. Agility means responding to change of any kind with speed and flexibility, whether it’s a new client demand or a paradigm shift. Handling new challenges on the fly, swerving onto a new course, stopping suddenly, and reversing direction—it’s all in a day’s work for the modern business professional.

The theme of flexibility has run through this entire book: triage tasks, embrace change, avoid techno-traps, improve continually, and facilitate tasks, to name just a few.

All that really matters in terms of productivity are results—another of this book’s primary themes. It doesn’t matter how many hours you put in or how many to-do tasks you scratch off your list; what matters is whether you’ve produced at a high level or not. No one can afford to just serve time until the end of the day, or the end of a career. Nor can you allow paralysis or procrastination to slow you down.

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Medium 9781576752944

Chapter Four Four Stages to Revolution: Devise, Interface, Accept, Evaluate

Yudkowsky, Moshe Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Revolutions don’t just happen; they have to be planned and executed. In this chapter, I’m going to discuss strategies and tactics to help accomplish the four stages of disaggregation, which are:

In this first stage, you analyze your problem, generate a solution, and then carry it out. The trick is to construct those key ideas that lead to a solution, and here are a few methods to help that process along—ways to think about disaggregation that lead to insights into the problem and its solution.28

Simple Inspection

Sometimes it’s very easy to see how to achieve disaggregation. If my problem has to do with my company’s structure, then my company is probably already divided into neat departments, sections, and divisions, and they even have convenient names like Shipping Department and Widget Solutions Division. If my problem has to do with computer hardware, I will find conveniently discrete items when I open up the computer case: disk drives, memory cards, and cables. I have no trouble imagining how to take a computer apart into separate components.

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Medium 9781605095219


Holman, Peggy Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply.

—Kahlil Gibran, The Garden of the Prophet, Lazarus and His Beloved, Sand and Foam

Order arises when individuals follow simple rules or organizing assumptions: Drive on the correct side of the road. Raise your hand and wait to be called on to speak. Rules provide structure and boundaries.

To a surprising extent, we don’t have to articulate the rules. Initial conditions tell us a lot about the principles that guide us. Think how differently we feel when we walk into a softly lit room, music playing quietly in the background. Now think about entering a sterile meeting room with chairs all facing the front of the room. With no explanation, each situation sets up a different emotional response and tells us a lot about what is expected of us. Now that’s simplicity!

Given the complexity of human systems, how can we possibly know what sort of rules will create the desired changes to a system? Finding simplicity is an art of discovery, continually doing one less thing while seeking the heart of the matter. Getting to fundamentals is key. What is our purpose in seeking change? Who needs to be involved? How do we approach it?

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