Steve Jobs

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Learning Organizations and Effectiveness – Part II

Published May 17, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Transitioning Into a Learning Organization

As the world continues to expand, older models of running an organization, under the direction of a unilateral black box control system, are proving ineffective. These forms of control usually develop from individuals trying to control the situation like Steve Jobs displayed during his reign at Apple. In today’s ever evolving marketplace, leaders are finding success by developing organizations that center on relationships with the intent of creating a whole entity from a variety of components. This is a type of operational control system that is attached to ongoing and real time explanations between divisions and is designed to achieve stability in organizational relationships (Espejo & Reyes, 2011).

Institutions that are making the transition into an effective, well-oiled learning-machine incorporate mechanisms to include a systematic collection of information for analysis and dissemination. They are open to new ideas and focus on cooperative education and training by conceiving programs that meet their needs. Learning is conducted over an expanse of time. Leaders implement clear communication devices, seek unfiltered information, and engage in advanced levels of problem solving. These are tools that help motivate staffers to work together in a cohesive manner and require full participation as well as accountability (Cates, 2009). Organizations that embrace openness to criticism and accept change increase their odds in succeeding.

To effectively transit into a learning organization, leaders must conduct annual and monthly reviews to help identify their strengths and weaknesses. Information collected from these reports is used to decide strategies that can assist to develop higher skill levels.  Used effectively they provide systems that serve to motivate advanced performances (Silberman, 2007). For example, annual reviews give insight to the volume of transactions an organization generates, identifies individuals who experience more developed levels of achievement, and reveals areas where improvement is needed. These systems help organizations strengthen their weaknesses.

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Four Motivational Characteristics

Companies are likely to achieve higher levels of success by becoming a learning organization because it fosters a climate of collaboration. Four motivational characteristics of an effective learning organization are: (1) collection of data and intelligence, (2) experiential learning processes, (3) experimentation with new ideas, and (4) changing unfavorable conditions by sharing information and building strong relationships (Garvin, 2000).

The Collection of Data and Intelligence – Because organizations are not always adept at delivering positive outcomes, devising methods to collect data and intelligence from personnel, suppliers, partners, distributors, consumers, and others is essential. This can be accomplished by methods that measure performance levels. This includes surveys, observation, appraisal systems, financial reviews, knowledge testing and skill assessments that are used to ascertain performance levels, and competency gaps (Roberts, 2012).

The Experiential Learning Process – Most scholars are in agreement that experience is a factor that is underestimated and in some cases disregarded. However, research reveals that experience pervades all manners of the learning process. Experiential learning encompasses an individual’s active engagement from both the inner and outer world. Active participation is the key element of experiential learning because it involves the entire person through thoughts, emotions, and physical activity (Beard & Wilson, 2006).

Experimentation of New Ideas – Experimentation is a fairly new concept in organizational management and therefore an uncommon practice other than for market research and research and development purposes. For experimentation to truly become effective, organizations must encourage an open atmosphere that considers all views. Experimentation in this context attempts to produce or prove something new and creates a series of events and activities that can be analyzed in order to discover unidentified barriers. Effective experiments gather data that is important in the development and management of the organization (McClain & Smith, 2006).

Sharing Information – Effective leaders also understand the importance of collaborative management and develop cohesive systems. They build strong relationships and create a foundation in which they become more adept at working together to achieve outcomes and desired solutions. By establishing a shared vision and clear channels to open communication where people feel safe in sharing knowledge, they build a genuine trust and camaraderie. This is an integral component that can determine a company’s failure or success. Efficient business collaboration unites individuals, increases performance and productivity, and gives an organization a competitive advantage (Peterson, 2001).

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Achieving Goals

Learning organizations that work together and collaborate are capable of achieving higher levels of success because everyone is focused on a common goal that is larger than their individual goals. For example, they strive to make their organization safer, logical, standardized, and fluid. Additionally, they are connected in more cost effective ways, upgrading their systems and policies in doing so (Galsworth, 2005).

Furthermore, organizations strive to ensure they achieve the outcomes they desire.  Once data from knowledge management systems are collected, received, interpreted, and processed, priorities and deadlines are implemented to help keep them on track to accomplish their goals. Follow ups and feedback are essential to monitor effective and ineffective systems. Evaluation of systems and experimental results also helps discern errors and is factored in for the development or adjustments that will make the organization run more efficiently and the staff work together more productively.

Organizations also implement the use of electronic communication devices as a means to achieve their goals and facilitate the learning experience. This includes the implementation of discussion boards, social networking, and instant messaging tools. These components allow organizations to communicate and coordinate events and programs in real time from remote locations removing time and space limitations. In addition, organizations work collaboratively to address and achieve larger goals like environment problems, unemployment, urban development and more (Fink, 2007).

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Identifying Obstacles

Today’s leaders are learning to become more flexible as they endure enormous amounts of external pressure to survive.  In order to achieve the desired outcomes leaders are required to identify the following types of system blindness that can hinder their goals: (a) spatial, (b) temporal, (c) relational, (d) process, and (e) uncertainty. Spatial blindness, for example, only allows a fragmented viewing of a system, not the entire whole. Relational system blindness, on the other hand, is the perception an individual may experience by perceiving only what is happening to them, not necessarily what is occurring elsewhere. Identifying system blind spots can help leaders understand some of the challenges they encounter (Oshry, 2007).

Situations that are stressful and create fear also create obstacles. For example, Reason’s (2010) studies indicate leaders who engage in methods of intimidation constrict the learning process. Because of this, leaders must learn that fostering a culture of stress and fear creates an environment that encourages learning disabilities (Reason, 2010). Leaders who are able to identify organizational disabilities can tackle elements that threaten a company’s productivity. Instead, they adopt strategies to support organizational learning by creating an environment that nurtures innovative patterns of thinking. Therefore, organizations need to work together to achieve a collective vision that thrives and must strategically implement programs and systems that are designed to help them produce the outcomes they desire. In doing so, they can motivate genuine learning. Team members are inspired because they are focused on more significant matters. Effective leaders know how to bridge teamwork and fabricate a creative climate that is free from confining attitudes (Senge, 2006). Leaders who have functioned together as part of a team or group that has achieved extraordinary goals comprehend the advantages of a collaborative learning experience. There is an acknowledgment and recognition in each other’s strengths and compensation to make up for each other’s weaknesses.

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Strategies for Successful Outcomes

Learning organizations have the ability to introduce innovative opportunities that solve issues. One fundamental element to efficient learning is the innate ability to reflect and review the learning process. This helps identify which methods are effective and which are not. Spitzer (2007) postulates the key to success is measurement because it can reveal the organization’s current position in the marketplace, identifies strengths and weaknesses, and helps in the development of new goals. For this reason, performance measures have a transformational effect (Spitzer, 2007).

Decentralization of the decision making process is another effective strategy for positive outcomes. This exists where organizations foster a climate of trust and unbiased communication systems. This model can address the needs of the whole company rather than that of one individual who is leading with a personal agenda. In addition, when organizations run into issues based on gender, race, and age, working together in collaborative effort can minimize these kinds of challenges (Peterson, 2001).

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Conclusion

The reality is that we are all discovering how to learn together and are inherently evolving into a learning community. Leaders are beginning to understand that people are capable of learning quicker when they put their attention on actions that solve problems. In the long run, an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition will likely be the key component to their longevity. This research concludes that a healthy learning environment fosters good decision making. It is derived from knowledge, hard work, experience, and in some cases, as a result of bad decision making. Organizations that learn to adapt by identifying their errors and seek new opportunities for learning will set themselves up for a prosperous existence.

A successful learning organization is the driving engine that motivates and inspires individuals. The most effective leaders today are flexible, apply active listening skills, and develop methods that will improve organizational performances. Even though it stifles growth, organizations are likely to achieve higher levels of success by becoming a learning organization because it fosters a climate of trust; creates a culture of decentralized decision making; and it integrates people, systems, and technology. Leaders that adapt a learning paradigm will most likely outlive those resistant to change.

References:

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Beard, C., & Wilson, J. (2006). Experiential learning: A best practice handbook (2nd ed.). London, England, UK: Kogan Page.

Bingham, T., & Conner, M. (2010). The new social learning: a guide to transforming organizations through social media. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Blevins, R. (2001). A study of association between organizational trust and decision-making, communications, and collaboration in comprehensive, regional institutions of higher education. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Ann Arbor, MI, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April24 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304707494?accountid=32521

Cates, C. L. (2009, May 17). The creation of a large scale corporate feedback system with a view toward learning organizations and sustainable change in higher education. Cincinnati, OH, USA: ProQuest LLC. Retrieved April 4, 2013

Espejo, R., & Reyes, A. (2011). Organizational systems: Managing complexity with the viable system model. New York, NY: SPi Publisher Services.

Fink, L. (2007, Jul-Sep). Coordination, learning, and innovation: The organizational roles of e-collaboration and their impacts. International Journal of E-Collaboration. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. Retrieved April 24, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/222376102?accountid=32521

Galsworth, G. (2005). Visual workplace visual thinking. Portland, OR: Visual-Lean Enterprise Press.

Garvin, D. (2000). Learning in action: A guide to putting the learning organization to work. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Haney, D. (2003). Knowledge management in a professional service firm. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Ann Arbor, IN, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/305334057?accountid=32521

McClain, B., & Smith, D. (2006). Experimentation in a collaborative planning environment. Monterey, CA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Oshry, B. (2007). Seeing systems: Unlocking the mysteries of organizational life. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Peterson, M. (2001, February). International collaboration in organizational behavior research. Journal of Organizational Behavior. Chichester, US: Wiley Periodicals Inc. Retrieved April 24, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/224884660?accountid=32521

Reason, C. (2010). Leading a learning organization. Bloomington, IN : Solution Tree Press.

Roberts, J. (2012). Beyond learning by doing: Theoretical currents in experiential education. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Schein, E. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday Publishing.

Silberman, M. (2007). The handbook of experiential learning. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Spitzer, D. R. (2007). Transforming performance measurement: Rethinking the way we measure and drive organizational success. New York, NY: AMACOM Books.

Ward, T. (2006). Implementing knowledge management to support effective decision making in a joint military environment: Key enablers and obstacles. Minneapolis, MN, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304910517?accountid=32521

Wick, C., Pollock, R., & Jefferson, A. (2010). The six disciplines of breakthrough learning. San Franciso, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Organizational Behavioral: A Personal Analysis

Published December 30, 2012 by Mayrbear's Lair

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People in all their rich diversity comprise the rudimentary building blocks of organizations.  Each individual deserves to be valued at work and content in their occupation and accomplishments.  The study of human behavior in organizations is referred to as organizational behavior (OB).  It is the academic discipline devoted to understanding the individual and group behavior, interpersonal processes and organizational dynamics (Schermerhorn, et al., 2005).  The subject of OB offers many insights into managing individuals and teams for high performance in today’s marketplace.  The focus of this analysis concentrates on the organizational behavior from personal experience at former places of employment.  An analysis of various behavioral components at the workplace will ascertain the positive and negative influences of the organizations.

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New Beginnings

Joseph Campbell (1991) is known to have said, “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so that we can embrace the life that is waiting for us” (p. 18).  That phrase became a prophecy to my own life.  I relocated to Los Angeles after college to find security and employment in the entertainment industry where I began building a career in corporate America.  After nearly a decade of service, I left the organizational structure of the music industry, putting aside personal career aspirations, to launch a business with two other partners; one of which included my former spouse, a professional magiciann.  The business was focused on building a production company to advance his career as a performing artist.

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He was an established professional magician in the secondary markets of his field.  Our goal was to expand our interests and achieve a similar level of success in the mainstream and primary markets.  With many failed attempts at achieving our goals and building the organizational success we envisioned, that partnership met a revolting demise due to continual interpersonal conflicts resulting from the self-serving bias that modeled his behavior.  After fourteen years of service, the climate drastically changed.  In his need for power and achievement, he ultimately chose the path of a coward and deserted us, riding off into the sunsets of Australia with a younger replica of myself to begin a new voyage.  I had been replaced by a new life-wife and faced organizational inertia from the dissolution of the union.  I came to accept that the life I had invested in and planned on was concluding.  I was about to embark on my own new journey.  One that I did not know was waiting for me.

My former partner possesses similar personality traits to Steve Jobs that include: (a) tunnel vision drive, (b) displays unhealthy levels of self-worship, and (c) suffers from extreme characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder.  Like Jobs, he uses his power to aggressively injure, dominate, manipulate and intimidate others (Baack, 2012).  The primary difference however, is that he is a master manipulator that applies impression management leadership strategies based on deception and a distorted and fragmented misrepresentation of the truth.  Jobs in contrast actually achieved a level of merit and success that shaped the global marketplace.

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Attila the Hun

He did not receive a high school diploma but instead studied his own choices of texts including books like The Silva Mind Control Method (Silva, 1977) which is based on mind expansion and manipulation techniques; and The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun which postulates how greatness can be achieved through an extreme personality (Roberts, 1985).  That personality began to rear its ugly head revealing an unscrupulous, scheming Machiavellian persona that left those close to him feeling defeated and worthless as individuals on many levels.

In addition, he was reared in an estranged dysfunctional family environment.  He did not have a mentor or many other honorable and trusted individuals for guidance and wisdom.  In other words, he had no one to answer to.  This created a climate of unlimited power which tends to encourage unethical choices with justification for his destructive behavior and ultimately abandoning the organizational culture we invested many years we painstakingly labored to build.

I was the primary focus of blame for his not having achieved the level of success he felt entitled to.  In truth, it was his coercive power that blocked his career progression in spite of his casting blame for failures in mine and everyone else’s direction.  To prove his political intelligence, he flaunted several much younger female replacement partners that left me feeling humiliated.  After a failed affair ended with one secret lover, he insisted the next one he “connected with” was an organizational fit and a long term solution to his problems.  He purported this individual was the missing link and the key component to his achieving the success he was destined to.

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As a leader, his choices reflected a severe imbalance in moral compass and an extreme deficiency in organizational citizenship.  He jumped ship, leaving me alone with our four year old trying to ascertain my options and establish role clarity (while I silently worked to avoid a psychological melt down).  I was in an extreme crisis situation that required urgent action while I searched methods for effective stress management.  After several attempts to take root in various states with family, I eventually settled in Southern Arizona where I grew up.  I still had friends and family that resided there who could offer emotional support and comfort.

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Shortly after settling into a new apartment, I was put in contact with a childhood comrade who was now the co-founder of a local mortgage company.  Following the advice of my mother, I inquired about staff position openings at his firm.  My experience and extensive training were in the entertainment industry.  I was clueless about the mortgage and loan industry, but desperate to find employment to provide for my family.  Our mothers were still best friends therefore through informal family communication systems he was privy to my achievements in Arizona and Los Angeles, as well as aware of my current predicament.

In the meantime I was psychologically broken, financially desperate and left unaided to raise my beautiful little girl.  The first step I reluctantly took was to enroll my youngster in a preschool.  The next step was to seek government aid for medical, nutrition and financial assistance with day care services while I secured employment.  The divorce proceedings took the crisis to new levels of stress that severely impacted my emotional intelligence.  I lacked self-esteem and had a low self-concept based on the cognitive components of a failed life; partnership; and business enterprise.  I felt lost and lacked focus in self-monitoring.  I mentally retreated from the world and only found solace caring for my child.  I completely removed myself psychologically from the world of adults to immerse myself in the world of my child from her viewpoint, out of the comfort and safety of our new home environment.

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I waited forty years for the privilege of motherhood.  The internal struggle I faced in joining a new organizational structure was abandoning my child to join the work force full time.  She arrived ten years into what I believed was a secure marriage.  On the contrary, I was not able to decode the nonverbal cues that indicated my former partner’s double life.  I was processing austere levels of betrayal.  Harmony within a group reflects the sharing and exchange of personal resources among the members in order to attain an equal distribution of them (Earley, 1997).  There was no room for harmony in my situation. Without a sense of identity I began to experience role ambiguity.  The life I endeavored to build was upheaved.  I was forced to abandon the world I created as an entrepreneur and a stay-at-home mother to enter the nine-to-five workforce of corporate America, in an unfamiliar industry, from a personal place of low-self-esteem that deeply affected my social skills.  I had a lot on my plate.

I was not in a healthy state of mind and was reluctant to interact, let alone converse with people.  I was humiliated, ashamed and did not have a positive story to share.  I was in crisis mode, coping alone and searching for tools to help make the transition less turbulent.  The stress levels increased every day I dropped my little one off with strangers full time at the day care center.  Furthermore, the staff was not trained nor did they possess the skills to interact or effectively connect with a four-year-old with advanced levels of intelligence.

My child is a rare bird with an independent spirit and a dominant personality that could read and tell time.  Rather than most children her age that threw temper tantrums and screamed as a means of communication, my daughter verbally articulates her views.  This quality presents challenges to adults whose primitive methods of discipline resort to yelling which reflects a lack of skills in supporting children with advanced intellect.  In short, the situation was a nightmare.  I was to be separated from my child nine hours daily while I operated in an entry level position within an organizational structure I had no passion for, in spite of my gratitude for employment.

Nonetheless, as a responsible individual, once I found employment, I reported dutifully daily, externally portraying an emotionally balanced woman while silently processing extreme levels of grief.  I was in silent rage working through tremendous levels of tension implementing whatever methods I could to manage the stress.  A voice in my head offered comfort, “Just because it is like this today, does not mean it will be like this in a week, a month, or a year.”  It offered short term serenity that enabled me to trudge through each day keeping focus on the bigger picture and the workload I was assigned in the new organizational environment.

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The Mortgage and Loan Experience

The co-founder of the mortgage company I found employment with, is a man I grew up with that goes by the name Billy A.  Our mothers had been best friends over fifty years.  P. Christopher Early (1997) in his book Face, Harmony and Social Structure, posits that, “Organizational members are influenced by the dominant norms and espoused values within a given organization and these norms and values are instilled through the socialization processes” (p. 176).  We grew up socializing and playing together from the time we were in elementary school.  In addition, we participated in group activities throughout our entire youth through our membership at the local Greek Orthodox Church.  Throughout our youth we worked together in various leadership roles within our church youth groups.  We developed an organizational relationship that fit early in life.  He welcomed me to his corporate family and seemed genuinely happy to assist when I contacted him looking for work.  He put me in touch with a woman at his firm designated to hire new employees.  She requested that I report to the office the next day.

The mortgage company was located in a beautiful neighborhood at an upscale professional office building.  It was an organization with tastefully conceived observable artifacts in an environment of cultural pluralism in so much that it was a small mortgage group within a larger society of the mortgage and loan industry.  It enjoyed success as a regional operation.  The leaders were content with the corporation’s achievements at that level with no desire to seek recognition and success on a national platform.  Intrapersonal domination and negation transitions affect interpersonal domination and negation when one psychological structure interacts with at least another and all parties attempt to minimize displeasures of the other’s unwanted influences (Carr & Hancock, 2006).  I did the best to minimize the influences of my emotional condition.  At this juncture, the climate created upon my arrival was pleasant and accommodating towards my efforts to transit into the change and acquisition phase of joining a new organizational structure.  Pleasantries were exchanged and conversations were kept to a minimum to avoid emotional triggers.

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Integration in a New Industry

I was immediately placed in an entry level, support staff position which consisted of filing, organizing, typing documents, answering phones scheduling appointments and other standard office procedures including making copies, brewing coffee and greeting guests.  At that time, the organization’s modes of communication were verbal via company telephone, intercom lines, individual cell phones and face to face meetings.  In addition messages were transmitted in written form via email, interdepartmental memos, a company newsletter, and when the occasion dictated, we engaged in formal communication as well.

As a career move I felt defeated having to start over in an industry I had no experience in, at a time when I chose to commit to motherhood – a full time job by itself.  Strong organizational commitment entails: (a) a strong belief in and the acceptance of the organization’s goals and values; (b) a willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization; and (c) a strong desire to maintain membership in the organization (Hiriyappa, 2009).  Although I was grateful for the opportunity to earn an income, I had no passion for the mortgage and loan industry.  I was lost and deeply injured trying to recover from the guilt of abandoning the child I waited so long to bear.  I was in an emotional place of torment working on self-reinforcement.  I wept silently asking what I had done to find myself in this new situation at this special time in life.  The voice reminded me, “Be patient, this is how it is today, tomorrow will be different.”  That was the motivational device I focused on to get me through that period.

Times of crisis and upheaval are tools that help us discover what we are really made of.  In his book The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, Deepak Chopra (2004) focuses on the coincidences that occur in our lives.  He calls these coincidences synchrodestiny and postulates that coincidences are messages; clues that we need to follow and pay attention to closely.  If we live our life with a better appreciation of coincidences and become sensitive to the underlying meaning of these events, we can achieve the spontaneous fulfillment of our deepest desires (Chopra, 2004).  I focused on the initiating structure and transactional leadership in the new organization, but was uninspired and unable to visualize a long-term future there.  I was merely going through the motions in an attempt to evaluate my life, formulate a plan, and redefine myself.  I was so unbalanced I was unable to observe the actions and paralanguage of my colleagues at the time.  In the broader scope of things, I came to acknowledge that this challenge presented an opportunity that taught me to adapt and sharpen my survivalist skills.

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One of the first acquaintances I made there was with a mature woman named Flo.  She was the Executive Administrator for the two founders and deeply committed to the organization in this hierarchal arena.  In fact because of role overload, she displayed a level of dedication beyond a normal employee.  She was the first person to arrive every day and usually one of the last to leave.  She was in her view, committed to pick up the slack of other employees whom she believed displayed levels of social loafing.

She was honest, trustworthy and hard working.  Her attitude however, did not reflect the good nature of her work.  Sensing my kind and introverted disposition, she took me in her confidence; revealed her assessments on the organizational structure through informal communication skills and conjectured her insights on the organizational politics shortly after my arrival.  She was opinionated, judgmental and spent most of our break time together complaining and engaged in negative feedback about other employees.  As a close friend of the organization’s founder I quickly found myself in an awkward situation.  I courteously engaged in active listening to the hardest working individual in the organization who had a beef to pick with everyone, including my childhood friend Bill.  I remained neutral and honored her work ethic.  I showed empathy allowing her a safe place to vent, keeping what she shared in strict confidence.

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Making an Organizational Fit

Billy is a leader that embraces employee empowerment, distributive justice and a style that reflected level 5 leadership skills (Baack, 2012).  He encouraged group cohesiveness, incorporated motivational techniques to inspire the staff, and guided the driving forces of influence in the organization.  The loan officers that rented office space were his colleagues and friends with established relationships built on trust.  He conducted daily and weekly meetings with staff members and loan officers going over goals, scheduling, and strategies that helped inspire individuals to build new leads and business relationships.  In addition, he was respected, had a strong family life, and displayed a high moral compass.  He embraced the component of valence by rewarding his staff with annual holiday parties, picnics, and company events for socializing and showed appreciation to personnel and clients equally.

The office support staff of administrators and loan processors identified the subculture within the organization.  The administrators consisted of the integral team that greeted clients, maintained the client database, and set-up and organized the filing systems.  The loan processors handled the extensive documentation that came through for the variety of loan transactions.

When the organization was flourishing, several members from upper management participated in programs to build their leadership skills and raise their levels of self-confidence within the corporate arena.  In addition, the co-founders were members and graduates of The CORE, one of the most elite Real Estate coaching programs in the nation.  This level of commitment to the institution was a key component in shaping the organization’s enacted and espoused values.  The extrinsic motives of the founders encouraged a strong commitment to the organization that was reflected in the intrapersonal relationships among staff members.  Flo was the only discontent staff member that I was aware of who eventually revealed she was also dealing with glass ceiling issues.

Things began to change quickly and drastically for me in the organization when my four year old contracted Pink Eye from the preschool within a few weeks of my employment.  By this time, I had been trained on the company’s IT server collecting data on the foreclosure activity in Tucson and the surrounding area.  Bill has four children and therefore a supportive commander that understands parental requirements, the need to deal with sick children, and on occasion, participate in school events.  I explained my child was under doctor orders to remain under quarantine for a week.  He was supportive and understood I had no choice but to remain at home during the healing process.  However, staying at home meant that I was unable to collect an income – or did it?

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Virtually a New World

I had established a virtual office environment from my former production company with Berry.  I still had a home office equipped with state of the art computer technology, a high speed internet connection, and professional desktop publishing software.  I contacted my boss and asked if I could tap into his IT server from my home office to continue my task collecting data on the foreclosure project.  That was one of the wisest suggestions I made because I contracted the Pink Eye virus as well and was out sick for an additional week.  In the meantime, I continued to work as a telecommuter.

During that time, I was assigned to conceptualize a flyer for our foreclosure services.  My completion of this task revealed an expert power in graphic design and desktop publishing capabilities.  I created top notch professional advertising for the company’s needs that knocked the socks off the entire staff.  The organization realized the money they normally invested in professional advertising agencies would become a thing of the past now with a professional level graphic designer on the team. In fact, Bill was so impressed with my services he decided my telecommuting was more productive for the company.

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People are what make the difference in a successful organization.  Problems can be avoided with the right frame of mind and strategic planning.  My little girl getting sick was the key component that allowed our organization to embark on the virtual team experience.  I proved that as an employee I was more valuable in a virtual environment setting where I could provide effective and superior products as well as participate as a full time parent for my child.  The new arrangement worked out so well, that by the time my daughter was enrolled in kindergarten I was able to volunteer weekly as a helping mom at her school.

The solution we adapted was instrumental in my own personal healing process.  I discovered a means to embrace this new organizational environment and incorporate my creative training and skills.  It made me feel valued and gave me a sense of accomplishment.  In addition, I was able to continue to fulfill my duties as a stay-at-home mom, which in my view was always the priority.  I was now beginning to thrive.

I was elevated to the position of Director of Marketing within a few years of my employment at the organization and remained there for about seven years.  Unfortunately the company became another victim of the mortgage and loan crisis of 2008.  By 2009 the organization was in the process of filing bankruptcy and I was once again facing unemployment.  I quickly found a solution because of the high levels of academic success I helped my daughter achieve, and was hired as a private learning coach.  Sadly, due to an internal organizational upheaval, that occupation turned out to be short term.

In the meantime from my established virtual office I began providing social media and marketing services as an independent contractor.  Bill in the interim created a new private lending business and continues in his efforts to support us by hiring my services.  The work load is not at the same level as when I was employed full time at the mortgage company, but we are optimistic and working hard to build our businesses.

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The Seeds of Success

We exist in a culture that expresses a desire to achieve high levels of success because it makes us feel special.  It is a philosophy that conditions us to look outside ourselves for validation and is identified as object referral (Chopra, 2012).  However, when we silence the mind to find solutions, we can begin to discover that everything we desire, we have within us the power to achieve.  Each challenging situation presents new opportunities to redefine priorities, explore other options and find creative solutions.  The perceived setback I experienced in the dissolution of my marriage was actually an opportunity for me to remove myself from a toxic relationship and begin a journey to find and plant the seeds of my own desires with no limits to what I can have.

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Conclusion

An analysis of the organizational structure and of various behavioral components at my former places of employment has been instrumental in my ascertaining both the positive and negative influences of the organizational experiences that continue to shape my life and career path.  Unlimited potential can be acquired with an understanding of the true nature of reality, a willingness to recognize the interrelatedness, and inseparability of all things.  Then aided by specific techniques and strategies a world opens up with good luck and opportunities that popped up every once in a while, that begin to occur more frequently.  This is the synchrodestiny Deepak Chopra refers to.  It gives us the ability to make real decisions instead of blind guesses.  It allows us to see meaning in the world, understand the connectedness of all things and gives us the confidence to choose the kind of life we want to live.

We gain the ability to transform our lives according to what we put attention on, how we focus our intentions, and by tuning in to the environment; each dancing to the rhythm of the cosmos.  The intelligence of the spiritual province is what organizes energy soup into knowable entities.  It is what binds quantum particles into atoms, atoms into molecules, and molecules into structures (Chopra, 2004).  It is the blind faith that knowingly guides us to where we need to go to emerge into the wonderful individuals we are destined to become.  In conclusion, challenges, once we are willing to embrace them, present the seeds of success that open us to the lavish banquet of life that unfolds before us in all its magnificence.

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Personal note: I will be taking a brief winter break. Look for new posts in mid January of 2013.
Warm wishes to everyone for a Happy New Year!

References:

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Campbell, J. (1991). A Joseph Campbell reader: Reflections on the art of living. (D. Osbon, Ed., p. 18). New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishing.

Carr, A., & Hancock, P. (2006). Space and time and organization change. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing, Ltd.

Chopra, D. (2004). The spontaneous fulfillment of desire. New York, NY: Harmony Books.

Chopra, D. (Composer). (2012). The seeds of success. [D. Chopra, Performer] On 21 day meditation challenge: Creating abundance [Audio Sound Recording]. San Diego, CA, USA: D. Chopra.

Earley, P. C. (1997). Face, harmony and social structure. (p. 176). New York NY: Oxford University Press.

Hiriyappa, B. (2009). Organizational behavior. New Delhi, India: New Age International Publishing.

Roberts, W. (1985). Leadership secrets of Atilla the Hun. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc.

Silva, J. (1977). The Silva mind control method. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

A Culture of Ethics

Published December 27, 2012 by Mayrbear's Lair

ethical-leaders

It is said that a person who has no one to answer to can become a dangerous individual. Unlimited power without unlimited compassion encourages unlimited corruption. In addition, it leads to the development of a character disorder rendering individuals the inability to recognize inappropriate behavior. In fact, they can become so disturbed they are unable to see they have a problem.

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For numerous generations, people have encountered and coped with individuals suffering from character disorders. One of the most noteworthy, yet least understood, is the narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Narcissists have a tendency to self-worship. According to family therapist, Eleanor Payson (2002), NPD is an all too common affliction among those who wield great political and corporate power in contemporary society. The complete self-absorption of an NPD person results in a treacherous propensity to devalue those within their sphere of influence, either subtly with condescension, or openly with criticism (Payson, 2002). Based on what I read about Steve Jobs, I have come to the conclusion that although he was indeed a very effective and productive leader, his personality also revealed a deeply disturbed individual that lacked emotional intelligence which was displayed by the unethical choices he made throughout his career and in the manner he treated people both in his professional and personal life.

steve-jobs1

As confident self-assured individuals, most charismatic leaders display an inclination towards narcissistic behavior. However, there are healthy and unhealthy levels of narcissism. It appears Jobs exhibited many traits of an NPD persona. It is clear he demonstrated severe limitations in understanding other people feelings or their needs (Baack, 2012). He did not engage in rules of reciprocity and appeared to have no concern over the consequences of his choices due to the tunnel vision focus he incorporated as a means to achieve his goals.

narcissistic-personality-disorder

I have lived and worked with individuals that displayed symptoms of NPD and only recently have I begun to identify these individuals to heal from their abusive behavior and make sense of this unorthodox mindset. I do not respect individuals who do not value others and consciously make choices when I am able, to avoid engaging with them or supporting their institutions. In fact, after reading about the kind of leader Steve Jobs was, I’m seriously rethinking my Apple products!

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References:

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Payson, E. (2002). The Wizard of oz and other narcissists (3rd ed.). Royal Oak, MI: Julian Day Publications.