Thursday
Jun172010

The cult of performance

...what are we doing when we don't know what we are doing?

Executive development and education have proceeded on the basis of two developments as a result of shifts in government policy over the past two decades. The first is marketisation, the belief that marketplace ideology is best, and the belief that the private sector functions better and more rationally than the public sector. The second is performance, the belief that performance can be controlled. It is argued that these trends are myths that have developed into the performance cult. This paper argues that even knowing you cannot be in control doesn’t stop you trying to be in control, but understanding what is happening enables us to stay active in negotiating our daily lives moment by moment.

» Read this paper in PDF

Thursday
Jun172010

Leadership and Spirituality

Purpose – This paper seeks to suggest that effective leadership can be achieved by, and can drive, an integral spiritual connectedness between governments, organisations and society as a whole.

Design/methodology/approach – A literature search to map the history and the underlying philosophies that have led to the current popular concept of leadership, and to suggest a different worldview to bring about a change to these underlying philosophies in order to enhance leadership effectiveness.

Findings – Effective leadership is multi-disciplinary, involving not only those disciplines of sociology, psychology and technology, but that of spirituality as well. This new approach is effective because of the different ways it offers of gaining deeper insights into a leader’s own spiritual self, but also beyond this to others with whom the leader interacts, and others who are affected by the results of their leadership.

Research limitations/implications – The paper is not an exhaustive literature search and is primarily limited to selected authors of futures studies, psychology, psychotherapy, economics and business.

Practical implications – The paper proposes steps to guide how organizational leadership can lead to more effective workplaces as well as benefiting the global society as a whole.

Originality/value – The paper is current in today’s environment and offers a practical epistemological explorative approach into what effective spiritual leadership could mean and to consider the impact of leadership decisions and actions as a result.

» Read this paper in PDF

Thursday
Jun172010

Global sustainability: How can business schools contribute?

At the recent (April 2008) UNICON (Universities Consortium) conference held at Melbourne Business School's Mt Eliza executive education campus I was given the role of facilitating a morn- ing's session on global sustainability. We were fortunate in that we had two excellent speakers to set the scene, William Kininmonth, science advisor to the Science and Public Policy Institute and former head of Australia's National Climate Centre, and Kate Vinot, General Manager, Corporate Strategy for South East Water, one of Melbourne's major water organisations.

William Kininmonth argued that Humankind faces real problems but human-caused global warming is not one. However he claims that climate will change faster than we are prepared for and that water, renewable energy and food production are each regulated by changing climate. He also warned us that human survival is at threat and this is more to do with misunderstood science and misguided policies and that survival requires different policies to those for sustainability.

Examples he gave was the current thinking that Geosequestration (burying) CO2 to burn fossil fuels (non-renewable) faster was not a good answer, nor is the redirection of agricultural practices so that Bio-fuels replace food crops to the detriment of the world's poor. Environment policies focus on reducing CO2 emission rather than clean air, clean water, ecosystem preservation, etc

Kate Vinot argued that how business schools can contribute to global sustainability issues is by first building the capacity of organisations and individuals to grow shareholder value; secondly, and more particularly, by being the thought leaders on sustainability issues; and finally, to develop tools for sustaining organisational value for the longer term. To her sustainability means business school's addressing what are the:

  • Direct impacts on many businesses
  • Indirect impacts on many businesses
  • Presents material opportunities and risks for sustained shareholder value
  • Needs to be embraced as part of core business strategy and change management

» Read the paper in PDF

Thursday
Jun172010

Future scenarios for Australian leadership

...No vision, no victory.

The inclination of Australians to look overseas for leadership is not the inevitable result of a national lack of cleverness or creativity. It is the result of an often faulty perception of ourselves and our world stemming, to a considerable extent, from our infamous and enduring 'cultural cringe'. To meet the challenges of the 21st century, we must dispense with both misleading perceptions and the cringe, not just to keep the commercial benefits of Australian inventiveness at home, but to keep control over our social and political future as well.

Certainly, our deference to things foreign has cost us dearly in economic terms. The most famous - or infamous - example of Australia failing mightily to capitalise on its people's inventiveness is probably the aircraft data records now known as black boxes. This sorry tale is worth repeating, because it's an even worse indictment of the lack of foresight and initiative in both our public and private sectors that most people realise. And, as Santayana put it, "those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it".

» Read the paper in PDF

Thursday
Jun172010

Pulse of the Planet: Leadership models in the global village

Global government is on the rise, and with it a devolution of power to the grassroots. Subjugating nature is out of fashion and ecological living is the new imperative. The next generation of leaders will emerge not from the political class but from ordinary communities, bringing with them new modes of learning and new definitions of intelligence.

» Read the paper in PDF