Remember that American political catchphrase? Sounds quite stirring – a call to action. But quite apart from the controversial question of what action, there is another: what purpose?
A few months ago, I wrote a post about humility and purpose (a part of the series called Socratic Genius). Wally Bock, of Three Star Leadership, commented that being sure of one’s purpose was indeed important. However, he went on, we also need to be sure of values:
We need to know the relative importance of beliefs and actions in our own system and how far weâ’l [go] in any direction with them.”
There is hardly a word in that sentence that isn’t important. Consider it again, viewed from these three perspectives:
- We need to know. What does that mean? Who is responsible for informing us? Are we, each, as individuals? Our boss? Our organization? Our society?
- The relative importance of beliefs and actions in our own system. There’s an interesting one for you. What is the relationship between morals and ethics? In us as members of an organization? In our organizations as expressions of – or influences on – us? Which sways which? With what relative weight? With respect to which or both of morals or ethics?
- How far we’ll [go] in any direction with them. Standards and daily life. Realism. Rationalization. Defense against the unethical behavior of others. Ends. Means.
I have wanted to do something with Wally’s wonderfully trenchant comment since then. And now Michael Wade, the Execupundit, has been touching on the topic recently, and again yesterday with a brilliant post about sitting down with your managers and simply discussing values.
So, I’d like to follow his advice. I’d like to sit down with you, over the next few days and try to have a frank discussion of values. What, after all, really does motivate that invisible hand of self-interest? And what ought to motivate us?
Please do join in – here, at your own blogs, or at your own workplaces.
Today’s tip: Speaking of frank and open dialogue, and integrative thinking, Steve Roesler, of All Things Workplace, has published an insightful piece on systemic thinking that is a must read – please stop over to view it and, as always on his site, the illuminating comment dialogue.
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