DOING IT RIGHT: GENESYS SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR

The current edition of the Kansas City Business Journal has an excellent article by James Dornbrook about Genesys Systems Integrator (“Genesys Engineers Comeback,” January 3-9, 2012, pp. 3, 30).  Genesys understands how important employee engagement is.  Without employee engagement, you cannot build long-term stability and success, especially in and through the recession from which we are still recovering.

Genesys has executed a number of well-timed initiatives helping it to spring into the future.  An employee stock ownership plan has been implemented.  When employees know they own an equity position in the company, that changes how they approach their jobs.  Genesys projects the ESOP will put 20 to 30% of company equity into the employee’s hands by the end of 2012.

Genesys refined and expanded its business strategy, partly as a result of an employee planning session.  These outcomes will render the company more recession proof; a win for the company, the customers, and the employees.

Finally, Genesys understands its employees truly are its greatest asset.  That understanding informs every aspect of the hiring process and the corporate culture.  Genesys President Patrick Perry describes it this way:

If you hire the best people and treat them exceptionally well, they treat your customers well, and then your customers repay that with more business, and you need to hire more people.

Thank you, Genesys, for doing it right!








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ETHICAL MBAs

Just because someone is competent in business does not automatically mean he or she is ethical.  We all remember too many business scandals to deny that truth.

We also remember the outcry from the public that business schools needed to place a fresh emphasis on ethics.  Fortunately, over the last 20 years many schools responded to that outcry.

When I did my MBA (2009), I was very gratified to see that conflicts of interest, ethics, ethical dilemmas, and morality were laced throughout our discussions, assignments, papers, and research projects.  In every single case study or other major paper I wrote, I was required to include a section entitled, “Ethical Dilemmas.”  In that section I was expected to demonstrate I had fully analyzed all moral, ethical, and relational dimensions of the situation.  My solutions could not merely be business savvy; they had to be ethically defensible.

Going through that experience was richly rewarding to me for two reasons:

1). It reinforced my own intrinsic, personal commitment to a high ethical standard in all dimensions of my life.

2). It inspired me to meditate on the broader and deeper dimensions of ethical issues than I ever had in the past.  I grew deeper in my understanding and appreciation of complex ethical issues.

My observation is most MBA programs nowadays take a similar approach.  This is very encouraging.  The vital issue is that MBAs must not only be concerned for the “sell” of business, but also for the “soul” of business.





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EFFORTLESS ETHICS?

Is effortless ethics an oxymoron?

Effort is required for ethics to survive and thrive.  Of course, this comes much easier to some people than others.  Some people were raised under conditions and influences that predisposed them to difficulties in this area.  Other people were raised under conditions and influences that predisposed them to great successes in this area.  Some folks just seem to have a strong moral compass while others seem to lack it.

Although effortless ethics may be an oxymoron, it seems to me that when you do possess that strong moral compass, it takes no effort to execute your ethics.  You do so simply because you know it is the right thing to do.  (Albeit, you may struggle with certain ethical dilemmas, but that is a subject for another day.)  Nevertheless, precisely because executing your ethics is the right thing to do, you often face opposition from those who do not hold a high ethical standard.  That opposition will demand a corresponding effort.

Your effort is not to execute your ethics; your effort is to engage the oppositional forces successfully.  Now that presents a whole new set of “opportunities,” doesn’t it?





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SLEEPING ON THE JOB, OH YEAH!

Sleeping on the job?  You’re fired!

That’s an old one, isn’t it?  Maybe too old.

Most of us have read about the studies concerning sleeping on the job and the numerous benefits to all parties.  Hitting the pillow at strategic times throughout the workday brings a powerful refresher.  The employee becomes more creative and productive, benefiting both the organization and the customer.  The power nap is in.  Some companies have already embraced the practice by providing nap rooms in quiet areas.

Sleeping reboots the brain, refreshes the thinking, and informs the conscious with the subconscious, often resulting in better decisions.  We’ve all used the response, “let me sleep on it,” in considering certain decisions.  Whether the job is physical, mental, or both, a strategic nap during a workday lull can work wonders.

Unfortunately, our classic American mindset strongly inoculates us against the very thought of sleeping on the job.  And thus we trudge on, convincing ourselves we are doing the noble, productive, right thing, when in reality we are often making more mistakes and even putting ourselves and other people at risk.  You do the cost/benefit analysis on that one!

How long will it be until the siesta mindset replaces the workaholic mindset in America?  Your guess is as good as mine.  But I say the sooner the better.  Don’t get me wrong . . . I’m not advocating we become slothful.  I am advocating we work smarter by working holistically, and holistically means we constantly consider the whole condition of our body and mind.

I would be interested in hearing from people for whom the siesta workplace has been a welcomed success story.  I would also like to hear from those who may have had a very different outcome.  And what about those who may have had a bit of a back-and-forth experience in trying to implement the policy?

On that note, I think I will wrap this one up.  I’ve been working hard, and I’m going to catch a few Z’s.

CREATION THROUGH CRISIS

Christine Lagarde is the head of the International Monetary Fund.  No small leadership task especially given the ongoing international economic crises.  Lagarde began her duties in the wake of the sex scandal of her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

 

Lagarde is not an economist.  Leadership does not automatically mean you are the technical expert or that you have all the answers.  To some degree, Lagarde was in the right place at the right time.  As Christopher Dickey declares, “She was, and is, one of those leaders who are created by the crises of the times” (“The Truth Talker” Newsweek, January 30, 2012, p. 34).

 

But it was more than that.  She brought certain essential, broader skills to the table.  As Dickey explains, “Her greatest skills, according to those who work closely with her, are her ability to listen, to assess, to pull together a strong team, and to get the best out of a tough situation” (p. 32).

 

Indeed, regardless of a leader’s technical knowledge, or lack thereof, those certain essential, broader skills are what empower the leader to lead.  The technical knowledge is nice, but that alone doesn’t mean you are a leader.

 

How is your leadership doing these days?  Are you up for a crisis or two?  Learn to embrace the crises.  They create your leadership opportunities, provided you bring those certain essential, broader skills with you.