business management

All posts tagged business management

Corporate Leadership (Part 1)

Published February 18, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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(Orginal Post July 26, 2013)

Executives have the power to shape corporate culture and motivate ethical conduct. Most leaders consider themselves ethical. Some, however, question whether ethics is a relevant component of leadership. Boatright (2009) contends that it is just as important to embrace ethical behavior in public life as well as in private life. Most corporate moguls are under the impression that behaving ethically alone is enough to sustain them as an effective leader. In fact, studies suggest that leaders do not believe specialized skills or knowledge in ethics are necessary to produce effective results in the work place (Boatright, 2009). This is a false perception. Situations arise more often than not in a business environment where leaders cannot easily resolve issues without identifying the ethical implications. This research focuses on the role a leader plays in the development of an ethical corporate culture. It takes a closer look at the importance of ethical leaders and the various roles they serve in an organization.  In addition, this study will illustrate the relationship between ethical leaders and their stakeholders. The analysis will also examine various leadership styles, the impact they have on corporate culture, how they affect ethical-decision making, and draw from examples to support this investigation. The findings of this research will conclude that leaders, who engage in business practices without ethical rules and regulations, will eventually discover that ethical misconduct behavior can easily become an inevitable component in their future.

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Importance of Ethical Leadership

The most successful leaders use their power to shape corporate culture and motivate ethical conduct. Because they are in the business of making a profit, they design strategies to achieve desired outcomes. Deepak Chopra (2012) reminds us that life is riddled with challenges, obstacles, and situations that leave many individuals asking the question, “Why is this happening?” No matter what advantages an individual may possess – money, intelligence, charismatic personality, a positive disposition, or influential social connections – none of these elements offer a magic key to effective leadership (Chopra, 2012). Managing directors are continually faced with difficult challenges. How they manage these trying situations can make the difference between the prospect of success and the threat of failure (Chopra, 2012). For example, when leaders cultivate an environment of fraud and deceit, they are fertilizing the ground for failure and destruction. In order for an executive to be considered an effective leader, they must have the ability to: (a) guide a corporation to profits for the sake of the stakeholders, (b) achieve organizational goals in an ethical manner, and (c) motivate their employees to adhere to behavior that is in alignment with the organization’s code of conduct.

Consistency also plays an important role for successful executives. The most effective leaders incorporate policies that inspire high performance levels and motivate organizational behavior that goes beyond just observing regulations. When leaders establish trust with subordinates, they earn the loyalty of their staff. In return, employees trust their leaders to protect them from harm in return for their services, dedication, and loyalty. By making choices to work in partnership with their employees, leaders can help them achieve greater levels of success than perhaps even they realized were capable of achieving. Employees who respect their supervisors, feel supported and appreciated by them, are more likely to become motivated and go beyond just achieving organizational goals.

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Leaders and Stakeholders

Stakeholders provide leaders another reason to cultivate an ethical culture. As a leader, it is their responsibility to make sure the company is guided towards the path of success and profit for the benefit of the stakeholders that support them. Executives, therefore, must incorporate effective strategies and hire the appropriate talent to reach desired outcomes as part of their responsibility to the employees, consumers, suppliers, and society as a whole. Ferrell et al. (2013) posit that because stakeholders have the ability to affect corporate policies it is imperative that leaders find methods to use their power to influence positive outcomes. There are five power strategies leaders utilize to achieve their goals: (a) reward power, (b) coercive power, (c) legitimate power, (d) expert power, and (e) referent power. Studies suggest these five power bases can be implemented to achieve both ethical and unethical outcomes (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2013). For example, a leader that incorporates legitimate power believes they have the right to exert their influence and that others are obligated to accept it. This kind of power is typical in hierarchical environments where leaders are assigned titles and specific positions of authority. In this type of culture, stakeholders readily acquiesce to leaders who command legitimate power. In some instances, however, leaders use this power to engage in behavior that is opposite of their belief systems. These individuals use strict protocol and the chain of command to their advantage. This is typically one way leaders can influence individuals to engage in misconduct. In this setting, it is easier to establish a climate of deceit because subordinates are hesitant to disobey orders for fear of the punishment or termination. The leaders at the well-oiled Enron machine, for example, employed all five power strategies to maintain their grand illusion.

That wraps up part one. Stay tuned on Wednesday for the conclusion. Until then … stay organized!

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Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. – John F. Kennedy

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2 organizational management business skills publications nov 2014

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References

Boatright, J. (2009). Ethics and the Conduct of Business (Sixth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Chopra, D. (2012). Spiritual Solutions. New York, NY: Random House, Inc.

Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell. (2013). Business ethics and social responsibility (9th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Glanz, J. (2002). Finding your leadership style. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Hanh, T. (2012). Work: How to find joy and meaning in each hour of the day. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.

O’Neil, J. (1999). Leadership Aikido. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

Ethics and Mindful Behavior

Published July 21, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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It seems that we are constantly being bombarded with news reports of unethical behavior. What is unnerving for many of us, is that the level of misconduct is so alarming, that it comes as a shock to many of us, that these events are even occurring in the Twenty-first Century. Incidents like: (a) human trafficking, (b) government agencies controlling women’s rights, (c) world leaders who engage in tactics of genocide, and (d) corporations that mindlessly destroy and contaminate the environment in their endless pursuit to make a profit. What perplexes many of us, is that the more advanced and educated humanity becomes in fields like science, archaeology, and technology, that the special interest groups who are fearful of evolution and changes these innovations pose, become more vocal and work even harder to maintain their fixed views. In fact, some factions are so fixed in their positions they will mindlessly engage in whatever tactic they can out of sheer desperation to cleave on to their core beliefs, no matter how primitive or outdated those views are.

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For example, years ago in a private conversation, I shared my reasons to another individual why I made a conscious choice to stop eating meat when a complete stranger overheard me. This man was so overcome with emotion from my story that he felt compelled to address me. He did so however, in a defiant manner that caught me completely off guard. He was so moved by my story that it inspired him to go out and find the biggest, fattest, juiciest burgers he could to devour. I was dumbfounded that my personal dietary choice upset this person so much that he felt a need to exact revenge by eating a burger! It was clear that my conscious choice to eliminate meat from my diet for health reasons, was quite upsetting to this man. In fact, it was apparent that my being a vegetarian made this person so distraught, that he felt: (a) a strong need to make his views known loudly, (b) was motivated to take a defiant action, and (c) did so with an intent and determination to “show me a thing or two” by purchasing the most expensive piece of beef he could find to consume as an act of revenge. I was also vexed that because of his limited perceptions, he thought his actions would upset me. I can’t imagine what his response would have been if I had taken an active role in trying to convert him or others to become vegetarians as well!

I was now trying to process why this man had such a strong reaction to my being a vegetarian. It was evident that this was a man that had “communication boundary” issues in addition to his fixed position and passion about eating meat. When I was conducting extensive research for my eBook, Breaching Communication Barriers (2013) I discovered that one reason we experience difficulty penetrating these barriers is the level of maturity, or immaturity, that exists between the parties who are engaged in transmitting a message (Berry, 2013). In this case, my private communication to a friend sparked an intense emotional reaction from this man, which in turn triggered his negative response to a total stranger. This incident revealed how a person with fixed beliefs becomes closed minded and even combative when their deep rooted belief systems are questioned. In other words, this guy was so rigid in his views that he was willing to engage in a strategy of attack to defend his perception of reality regardless of the outcome.

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At times, like many others, I can become a stubborn creature as well when it comes to change. Like most, my first response is usually fear and negativity. How will this affect me and my family? How much change is involved? Will I have to make new life choices and change my behavior as a result? Experts in the field of psychology postulate that the initial negative response to change is typical in human behavior. For example, when the concept that the earth was at not the center of our solar system, scientists were incarcerated for daring to make such bold statements that went against what the church authorities dictated during that time in man’s history. Was this a position the church held due to limited knowledge and ignorance? Or was this, as some conspiracy theorists purport, a concerted effort by the leaders during that period to keep the masses level of education at a minimum so leaders could manage and control them more easily?

One thing is certain, without implementing some kind of code of ethics to help in the decision making process, behavioral misconduct will continue to escalate. It is clear that to continue on a path of evolution with positive outcomes, we must work collectively on creating opportunities to grow and prosper in an ethical manner. In his book, Work: How to Find Joy and Meaning in Each Hour of the Day, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh (2013) suggests that one way to achieve this is to engage in strategies to develop programs and systems that encourage ethical and mindful behavior. These include tactics like: (a) learning how to deal with strong emotions, (b) maintaining good relations with other people, (c) keeping channels of communication open, and (d) avoid creating negative and oppressive atmospheres that pose a threat to others or the environment (Hanh, 2012). These are a few simple and effective strategies that can help us shift into making more mindful decisions with our actions.

On Wednesday we will take a closer look at what mindfulness is and identify different practices that can help support mindful behavior. That’s it for this time. Until then … keep working on your leadership and organizational skills!

References:

Berry, M. A. (2013). Ethics in the Real World. USA: Kindle Direct Publishing.

Hanh, T. N. (2012). Work: How to find joy and meaning in each hour of the day. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.

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“It doesn’t matter what you say you believe – it only matters what you do.” ― Robert Fulghum

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Success in Management and Communication

Published June 9, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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There are two themes that are relevant in the world of communication, learning communication skills to help navigate a successful career and adapting these skills to succeed in a leadership or managerial position. Baack (2012) suggests that leaders with superior communication skills not only gather information, they comprehend and communicate that information in a way that empowers others while earning their respect and loyalty. These are the architects that establish new career models as a framework that can be applied to any industry (Baack, 2012). In other words, these leaders have developed a strong set of principles to guide their interpersonal relationships as well as the communication constructs that motivates them to achieve successful outcomes.

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In my eBook, Breaching Communication Barriers (2013), I reveal how communication problems in the workplace can become hostile and toxic as well as the role employees play in tearing down a company’s reputation (Berry, 2013). In the meantime, employees that communicate a positive view of their organization are also happy to offer their loyalty to a firm. For example, Southwest Airlines, (SWA) one of America’s success stories, provides an ideal example of how effective communication played an integral role in helping them build a successful business model. Herb Kelleher, the firm’s leader, worked hard with his employees to build and maintain a reputation influenced by his management style which included the following concepts: (a) revealing the company’s purpose, vision and values, (b) making people heroes, (c) being honest and consistent with communication, (d) maintaining a flow of open communication between all divisions, and (e) providing staff members with applicable information to help them make the most effective decisions.

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While many leaders focus their strategies by keeping the customer happy, the SWA leader focused his model on keeping the employees happy. He believed this was the most effect method to succeed in the aviation industry because employees that are content and valued at the workplace are also motivated to perform at higher levels.

On Wednesday we will take a closer look at the similarities and differences in business and management communication. Until then … keep working on reaching your highest potential!

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A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem. – Albert Einstein

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References:

Baack, D. (2012). Management Communication. San Diego, CA, USA: Bridgepoint Education.

Berry, M. A. (2013). Breaching Communication Barriers (Vol. 2). (C. Angela, Ed.) USA: Kindle Direct Publishing.

 

 

 

The Value of Strategic Management

Published February 7, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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There are many challenges and complexities that leaders encounter when running an organization. In the music industry, for instance, new technology transformed the way we listened to music. When musical recording albums were initially introduced, for example, they were presented to the public as porcelain discs. Later, the manufacturers adapted their products to albums that were made from vinyl discs until the 8-track format came along. The industry took another leap when they changed formats yet again that led to the manufacturing of cassettes, which was followed by the compact disc format that eventually brought us to the digital download format we have now have access to. In other words, the music industry adapted to include these technological changes as a strategy to offer consumers higher quality products. Regardless of industry, whether e-commerce, retail sales, food, or manufacturing, in order to achieve their outcomes, business leaders participate in strategic mangement in order to stay successful and maintain a competitive edge.

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To further explain these concepts, I published an article that was compiled from my graduate research work, entitled, The Value of Strategic Management. It reveals how implementing effective strategic plans can help run an organization more efficiently. In addition, I examine various components including (a) the strategic management process, (b) the systems implemented to monitor performance measures, (c) the importance of establishing the firm’s target audience strategies, and (d) how a company’s vision statement can not only help shape the future of an organization, if constructed effectively, it can also serve as a motivational tool to help staff members achieve their desired outcomes.

The Value of Strategic Management

That’s all for this week! In the meantime, please stay tuned for the next article I’m working on that explains the differences between vision statements and mission statements and how firms, like the Walt Disney Company, whose mission as one of the world’s leading producers of entertainment, have incorporated strategic plans to help them live up to their promises and the tactics they use to differentiate themselves so  that they stand out above their competitors.

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Until then … Commit to your  vision … and stay organized!