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Medium 9781576752326

3 Virtues and Organizations

Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

Chapter 3

Virtues and Organizations

Nansook Park and

Christopher M. Peterson

One of the topics of concern to positive psychology is positive traits—characteristics like curiosity, hope, kindness, and prudence—that contribute to individual fulfillment. Over the past several years, we have attempted to classify the most important of these traits and devise assessment strategies for each. The task we have taken for ourselves is to wed the field of virtue ethics as it has emerged over the centuries within philosophy to trait theory as it exists within contemporary psychology.

Thinkers as early as Aristotle posed the question, “What is the good of a person?” and answered it by enumerating moral virtues readily interpretable as traits: general styles of behavior evident in thought, feeling, and action that develop over time and are displayed or are not in accordance with the situation broadly construed. One of the most important situations is the context provided by organizations—schools, workplaces, communities, and entire cultures—and specifically their prevailing roles, rules, norms, and reward structures. In some cases, the organizational context affords moral excellence on the part of members, and in other cases, sadly not.

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Medium 9781609949273

16. Spin doctors

de Graaf, John; Wann, David; Naylor, Thomas H. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Spin doctors

We have transformed information into a form of garbage.

author of Amusing Ourselves to Death

Government agencies are supposed to be watch-dogs, but too often they are more like lap dogs.

founder of PRWatch

In the public relations industry, the idea is to manage the outrage, not the hazard.

author of Global Spin

What happens when we ignore the symptoms of a disease? It usually gets worse. That’s why the epidemic of affluenza is spreading around the planet. Although symptoms like the stress of excess, the anxiety of resource exhaustion, and the depression of social scars are right in our faces, we tend to look the other way as we’re told over and over again that the market will provide. But will it?

The author and “adbuster” Kalle Lasn tells a metaphorical tale about a large wedding party that takes place in a spacious suburban backyard. The party oozes affluence and the good life: the live music is incredible, and everyone dances with abandon. The problem is that they’re dancing on top of an old septic system, which causes the pipes to burst. “Raw sewage rises up through the grass,” writes Lasn, “and begins to cover everyone’s shoes. If anyone notices, they don’t say anything. The champagne flows, the music continues, until finally a little boy says, ‘It smells like shit!’ And suddenly everyone realizes they’re ankle deep in it.”1

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Medium 9781567261462

CHAPTER 8: Organizing for Six Sigma

Neuendorf, Steve Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Through most of this book we have assumed that the ability to implement a significant organizational change is not an obstacle to successfully implementing six sigma. Of course, the reality is that overcoming organizational inertia presents a significant challenge to making changes, even those that may mean survival of the organization in a changing environment.

Organizational change is a topic that has been studied extensively. Some major points are relevant to project managers involved in six sigma.

Maybe you have heard the expression “getting your ducks in a row.” The etymology is not clear. I had always understood the expression to come from engineering, meaning getting organized to get things done. Back in the old days, it was common for engineering departments to be seemingly vast open spaces filled with drawing boards. Since most drawings were stored rolled up, it was not always easy to lay a drawing out flat to work on it and the drawing would generally have to be secured if it was to be worked on. The drawings were secured using specialized drawing weights that did not look unlike duck decoys. Especially when viewed across a vast expanse of green-topped drawing tables, the weights looked much like ducks on a pond. Disorganized engineers generally had their ducks scattered all over; when someone was well organized and ready to get something done, they had their “ducks in a row.”

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Medium 9781609940935

No Wasted Talents

Miller, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Debbie walked into the meeting room the next day with apprehension obviously painted on her face.

“What’s wrong, Debbie?” Javier asked. “You look as though you have a million things on your mind.”

“It’s that apparent, huh?”

“I’d say so.”

“Let’s start by creating a little community,” Jo said.

“Great idea!” Debbie agreed.

Tom was the first to speak. “My new grandbaby said, ‘Da Da.’” He was giddy—this was his first grandchild. He also had new pictures to share—he passed around his phone so everyone could take a look.

Then, as a huge surprise to everyone, Steve spoke next.

“Things haven’t been good at home. This job is killing me, and I’m glad I’ve not been fired.”

The team was stunned. No one knew what to say. Debbie decided to cut short the formal sharing time and jump in to try to help Steve.

“Steve, thanks for your transparency.” Turning her comments to the team, Debbie continued. “I knew after our last meeting that in addition to a skills gap, we might also have a talent issue as well. Steve, I think we all know you are not happy in your new role. So, Steve and I had a conversation about his life, his experience, and his contribution to the team.”

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Medium 9781605090009

First Steps to Take Today

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Now it is time for you to go and tell heroic stories and take heroic actions. If you have read this far, you have probably already recognized times in your life when you have been both a hero and a victim. As you work to become a master of heroic stories, take these three steps to move forward now:

Place your smart cards where you will see them regularly, and read them at least once a day, every day, for the next month. Awareness is the first step toward any change.

Tell someone else about these techniques. The best way to learn is to share your knowledge.

Go to www.be-the-hero.com and enter the access code HEROSTORY to find many additional tips and tools to help you think and act like a hero every day.

Remember, mastering your stories doesn’t happen automatically. Just as it takes time and practice to learn how to play the piano, swing a golf club, or cook a perfect Grand Marnier soufflé, it also takes time to master your heroic stories. And even the world’s best chefs still botch a dish every now and then.

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