Monday, February 27, 2006

Ethical Power

According to Paula Caproni, author of "Management Skills For Everyday Life", there are six universal forms of influence.

  • Reciprocation
  • Committment & consistency
  • Authority
  • Social proof
  • Scarcity
  • Liking
Power emanating from these forms of influence can be considered ethical.

Founding principles:
  • You should tell people explicitly what you want.
  • Organization's interest and others' interest is at par or above your own.
  • You treat everyone fairly, follow process and do not abuse.
  • You leave yourself reasonably open to be influenced by others.
  • You back your points with valid data.
These founding principles and ethical form of influence is in direct contrast to the Robert Greene's "The 48 Laws Of Power" in which he shockingly suffocates any breath of ethics. The book is laced with a dark sense of human power perversion. For instance, #31 Control the options: Get others to play with the cards you deal. #32 Play to people's fantasies and #36 Disdain things you cannot have do not play to long term interests nor do they breed contributors who care for the greater good.

Caproni's book brings a breath of fresh air to the taboo "Power", it certainly explains in detail, and backed by research, the ethics associated with power - and how it can be put to good ethical use.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Breaking Trust: A Tutorial

Trust Breakers

Here is a list of behaviors & traits you should demonstrate, practice and implement at work in order to break the trust of your employer, employees, co-workers and clients :

  • Advance your own interest at the expense of others.
  • Be blatantly and pompously self-promoting.
  • Use inconsistent standards to evaluate employees.
  • Allow some people to break the rules and expect others to follow them.
  • Do not care about performance problems until the time to rate your employee.
  • Enable poor-performers to stay in your organization unchallenged.
  • Pigeon-hole your employees.
  • Take credit of your employee's work.

  • Withold important information.
  • Be closed minded to diverse ideas.
  • Act disrepectfully towards others.
  • Lie or cover up, rather than admit to mistakes.
  • Break promises, or use words cheaply.
  • Betray confidence by saying one thing and doing another.
  • Spin by communicating selective facts, and by lacing tone to imply a different context.
  • Act inconsistently; be incongruent in body language and intent.
  • Have frequent negative interactions with co-workers and subordinates.
  • Hide incompetence by making excuses.
  • Plagerize others' ideas and work.
  • Don't listen to others' opinions then punch holes without understanding the issue completely.
  • Don't teach others to fish, rather bring them the fist.
  • Make people dependent on you for daily work.
  • Be unconcerned about personal needs, be pompous and self-promoting.
  • Don't be humble or meek.
There are surely more ways to break trust and it is fairly simple to do so. Remember, that establishing trust is a time consuming process that requires consistency, congruency and solid principles. Leaders who are meek rise to the top and stay there. Read about meekness in Jim Collin's "Good To Great". Humility and meekness are different attributes, but I think both are equally important. "People with humility don't think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less" - Ken Blanchard and Norman Vincent Peale in the Power of Ethical Management.

The above is synthesized from Fernando Bartalome's "Nobody Trusts the Boss Completely, Now What?" (Harvard Business Review)

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Diffusion Rates Will Increase in 2006

We have seen more advances in science and technology in the last 60 years than in all of previous history. The rate of technology diffusion has progressively increased as well.
According to K.H.Hammond (2001), it took the telephone 35 years to get into 25% of all homes in the United States. It took TV 26 years. It took radio 22 years. It took PCs 16 years. It took Internet 7 years. It probably took cellphones less than 5, DVDs less than 3, and iPod, XBox, PlayStation, less than 2 years. In a hyper-competitive global market, technology will seamlessly cross boundaries quicker than ever before.
By the end of 2006, I think that successful technology products will proliferate markets in months, not years.