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Reclaiming Corporate Trust and Respect

For centuries the Roman Catholic Church dominated the world. In time, city states, and subsequently nation states, filled the vacuum caused by the decline of the church’s power in the world. More recently, these were replaced by corporations who have come to influence—even rule—our lives. In each case, as trust and respect for these power centers declined, so did their influence and power.   Today the Corporation is at a tipping point. We have the capacity to reclaim the reputation and trust that has been so carelessly squandered, or continue the path of decline. The choice is ours.   Recently, the Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs, modernized its statement of the purpose of a corporation. It’s chairman, Jamie Dimon, who is also Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., observed what many would see a statement of the obvious: “The American dream is alive, but fraying”. The Business Roundtable Declaration avows that the interests of shareholders are no longer the primary purpose of business, but that the purpose of a corporation is to promote “An Economy That Serves All Americans”.   Early in my career I consulted for Johnson & Johnson which had a near-Biblical set of guiding values called “Our Credo” that was ever present (and lived) by everyone in the organization. Crafted in 1943 by Robert Woods Johnson, a member of the company’s founding family, it committed the organization to living a long list of high ideals, which it argued, if met, would in the end, result in increased shareholder value. Note, this was the last imperative, not the first one. Today, the once venerable Johnson & Johnson faces over 100,000 lawsuits.   Around the same time in my career I consulted with IBM, who operated with a simple and clear Statement of Beliefs: Respect for the individual; Superlative customer service; and, The pursuit of excellence in all tasks. Today, the Mission Statement of IBM is a ramblng collection of 64 MBA-jargon-laced words in three very long sentences, which I doubt few of the 400,000 employees could recite, let alone live.   The real purpose of business is to make the world better—in every way possible. Great organizations have a dream that describes how their work is a sacred endeavor that will create a noble legacy. Our research shows that 80% of employees would give up their day jobs if they had a free choice. One of the reasons is that we have lost our way and lack a higher ideal towards which we are striving—something we share, that unites us, and inspires us.  If we get lost during a hike, we use a compass or a GPS. In the corporate world, there is such a device available for us too—it is called a dream. An organization with a dream is unstoppable. A dream for America resulted in the first landing on the moon. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. Dreams are infectious and inspiring.  They have the power to move the hearts and minds of those 80% who want to quit today, to make a difference in the world. Let’s do it!  Let’s reclaim our lost trust and respect! Let’s change the world!   What will your Dream be?   Learn more: Read the White Paper here.

Discovered: Why There are so Few Leaders

Discovered: Why There are so Few Leaders

We have been discussing the difference between "managers" and "leaders" forever. But as I have worked with leaders over the years I have discovered within this distinction an important secret that may explain why we have so few real leaders. Most leaders begin their...

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Celebrating Mary Oliver

Celebrating Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver passed away last week.  For those who loved poetry and nature, Mary Oliver was a muse, an inspiration and a lyrical writer. Famously, and metaphorically, she wrote in her poem "The Summer Day", “You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your...

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The Employee is the New Customer!

Our understanding of the role of corporations has moved through a series of evolutions. It was generally accepted 50 years ago that the main purpose of a corporation was to increase shareholder wealth. Economist Milton Friedman cemented this thinking in our culture...

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Holiday Stocking Stuffer Idea

Holiday Stocking Stuffer Idea

A Love Story: An Intensely Personal Memoir, is the story of my soulmate Tricia's and my remarkable 30-year journey together, using poetry I had written privately to her over the years, woven through the narrative. I write about leadership, so this a big departure for...

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A Gift For You

A Gift For You

There are angel cards, medicine cards, tarot cards, astrology cards, animal cards and an endless number of other cards that appeal to a wide array of interests. But in my work with leaders across the world, I noticed that no one had created a set of cards for business...

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Aren’t the “Soft Skills” the “Hard Skills”?

Aren’t the “Soft Skills” the “Hard Skills”?

I wonder why we call the easy stuff—like technical skills, professional mastery and STEM subjects—the “hard skills” and the really difficult stuff—like inspiring other people and leadership—the “soft skills”. This seems upside down to me—the “soft skills” are the...

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The Shortage of Inspiring Places to Work

The Shortage of Inspiring Places to Work

Business leaders are crying the blues about the so called, “shortage of talent”. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, where he teaches MBA students. says that when he began teaching MBA students they all wanted to work for...

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2018 EDGE (Educate Discover Grow Execute) Conference

2018 EDGE (Educate Discover Grow Execute) Conference

On October 4th, 2018, MacKay CEO Forums is holding a one-day conference at the Hilton Toronto. The theme is “Embracing Innovation and Technology”. Keynote speakers include Peter Diamandis and Amanda Lange (see the agenda here), and if you want to know about blockchain...

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Ageism

Ageism

    According to The World Health Organization: Today, there are around 600 million people aged 60 years and over worldwide. This number will double by 2025 and will reach two billion by 2050, with the vast majority of older people in the developing world. I...

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Never Give Up On Your Dream!

Never Give Up On Your Dream!

In the early 2000’s I conducted research to find out what characteristics were common among great leaders, both living and deceased. I learned that first and foremost, great leaders have a powerful connection to a higher purpose—the reason they are here on Earth—what...

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