Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Melissa - Thanksgiving 2005. I needed a new picture! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 15, 2005

General Electric - Corporate responsibility and citizenship

GE is beginning to play a "bigger game". CEO Jeff Immelt appears to be going green is a very big way.

Google "GE clean green machine", and you'll see more about this topic.

It's great to see GE making this big bet. Some argue that this is simply driven by economics. If so, I say that's great news. Let's prove that it is not only economically feasible, but actually advantageous to "do the right thing". And if it's driven by values, "virtue", being a "good" company in the same way we want to be "good" neighbors, I say "Yay to being good, and doing the right thing".

I see a shift coming, and big companies have the opportunity to lead now, or follow suit later. I believe the leaders - those that "stick out their necks" and make strategic risks for the sake of "Innovation that Matters... to the World" as my employer IBM states in our values statement - these leaders will set the pace, the tone, and reap incredible good will at the same time.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Business transformation through chaos theory - interview with Dee Hock

Wow, another piece of the puzzle - Chaordic organizations and systems. This is how our bodies work, how evolution happens, and it so resonates with my current thinking on what's possible and so very needed in corporations!

Here's a small bit of this article:

"Dee Hock is the founder and former CEO of Visa International, the most successful business venture on Earth. Could this former bank manager with a conscience be evolution's unlikely hero? Visa owes its success, according to Hock, to its structure, which is nothing less than an evocation of nature's "cha-ordic" laws. Hock coined the term chaordic to describe that perfect balance of chaos and order where evolution is most at home. Yes, that's right. A business venture that takes its cues from Mother Evolution, whose "trademark" dynamism, changing change, and explosive originality are forever groping to innovate, prosper, and extend creation's euphoric reach further and further into manifestation.....

And from the article - in Dee's words..."Your organization needs to be absolutely clear about purpose and principles and must be very careful to know what a purpose and a principle is—you know, a purpose is not an objective, it's not a mission statement—a purpose is an unambiguous expression of that which people jointly wish to become. And a principle is not a platitude—it is a fundamental belief about how you intend to conduct yourself in pursuit of that purpose. You have to get very precise about these things. If the purpose and principles are constructive and healthy, then your organization will take a very different form than anything that you ever imagined. It will release the human spirit and will be constructive of the biosphere. Natural capital and human capital will be released in abundance and monetary capital will become relatively unimportant. To put it another way, I believe that purpose and principle, clearly understood and articulated, and commonly shared, are the genetic code of any healthy organization. To the degree that you hold purpose and principles in common among you, you can dispense with command and control. People will know how to behave in accordance with them, and they'll do it in thousands of unimaginable, creative ways. The organization will become a vital, living set of beliefs.

I've found that it's very difficult to lead people through enough metaphors and enough thinking about this—you can only think about it so much and your circuit breakers just go out. You have to rest, reset them, and come back to it. And you go over and over it. But what I find is that once you get a group of people who really begin to understand this, then energy, excitement, and enthusiasm literally explode out of them—they know what to do. You know, it's just in their nature. You can't stop it.

So to go back to the question of change—you can see that because of these four hundred years of intense conditioning, we've been taught to fear change. If you're in a rigid, mechanistic, cause-and-effect society and/or organization, then any change becomes a crisis in self-esteem. It destroys our identity, our sense of being, our sense of time and place. And we're never sure we're going to be of any value in the new order of things. We falsely see this as terrifying. But my God, this might be the greatest, most exciting adventure for the species that ever occurred."

I could not have said it better myself :-) AND this is all about playing a "bigger game"...AND I now have at least one more book on my wishlist for Christmas - Birth of the Chaordic Age by Dee Hock.

Dee Hock in Fast Company in 1996, although an older article, is also quite insightful.

For more information on Chaordic Organizations - check out The Chaordic Commons which facilitates connection and collaboration among members. From this website "Also we facilitate access to a considerable and continuously evolving body of knowledge about chaordic organizations and organizing. From leveraging how others have discovered and expressed deep common purposes and essential principles of right relationship your intentions and projects can be realized more quickly and easily."

Now, it's not likely that most major corporations are going to abandon the "command and control" paradigm entirely in the near term, but I suspect there is much to learn here - very much...

Howard Bloom: Reinventing Capitalism:
Putting Soul in the Machine

It's happening... there is a new movement afoot. My heart beats faster, my mind can't stop putting together the possible implications, the incredible possibilities ahead for our society, and for the world. In Myers-Briggs language - I am an ENFP. A fellow ENFP. Lyn Kyneston, went through Myers-Briggs training last week, and shared what this really means :-) "Every day, New and Fascinating Possibilities". Couple that with some of my core values and strength "themes" (according to Gallup's Clifton Strengthsfinder) of Maximizer, Learner, Strategic, and Connectedness, and it's no wonder that I can't stop thinking about this stuff. And it's no accident that I keep uncovering thought leaders and resources that play in the same space - let's get real intentional about what we want, and we can change the world.

Enter today's thought leader - Howard Bloom, and an incredible source of innovative thinking and journalism, a magazine called "?what is enlightenment". I encourage you to buy this back Issue 28 / March–May 2005 - Can Big Business Save the World?

Here is the description of this issue's theme - "Big business has changed the world—and brought us to the edge of ecological and social crisis. Could the capitalist engines of globalization become a positive force for global unity? In this issue, WIE takes you into the minds and offices of the new corporate change-makers who are unleashing the creativity of capitalism to serve the planet and its people. ". Worth the time - if you work in a corporation, and you would like to be part of something more that increasing corporate profits!

Here is just a sneak peak at some of Howard Bloom's thoughts - from an article in this issue:

"We have to retell the history of Western civilization in a way that hints at the rich ore beneath the slopes and plains of our history's terrain. We have to peel back the lumpy outer skin of capitalism and show the beating heart within. A semi-brain-dead capitalism has given vast new powers to humanity—powers like the ability to light our homes at night with electricity and add five hours a day to the normal human's waking life. A capitalism that knows its mission, a capitalism propelled by the troika of empathy, passion, and reason, can work far greater wonders.
Imagine what it would be like if at every staff meeting you were expected to put the care of the multitudes we mistakenly call “consumers” first. Imagine what it would be like to go to work each morning in a company that saw your passions as your greatest engines, your curiosities as your fuel, and your idealisms as the pistons of your labors and of your soul. Imagine what it would be like if your superiors told you that the ultimate challenge was to tune your empathic abilities so you could sense the needs of your firm's customers even before those customers knew quite what they hankered after. Imagine what it would be like if your superiors asked you to do what artists and psychics do—find your hidden selves in the hidden hungers of those you serve. There is an implicit code by which we in the Western system live—a code that demands that we uplift each other . . . and that we do it globally.

The “human resources” creed—the real business of business—should be one that comes from the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay:

A man was starving in Capri;
He moved his eyes and looked at me;
I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,
And knew his hunger as my own.

Mine every greed, mine every lust.
And all the while for every grief,
Each suffering, I craved relief.

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,
No higher than the soul is high.

People are the ones who demand. We do it because we desire, we hanker, we hunger, we're eager, we're roused. Or we're deadened, we're hurt, we're unsatisfied, we need. Consumerism—that wretched sin—isn't what it seems. Capitalism is what we do each day, and it can generate in our daily lives and in the place we work the exuberance of satisfying others, the exhilaration of feeling wanted, the elation of creativity, and the knowledge that we've contributed to something far, far bigger than ourselves.

We desperately need a reinvention and a re-perception of the system that has given Western civilization its long-term strength and its recent weaknesses. We need to wake up capitalism to its mission—a set of moral imperatives and heroic demands that are implicit in the Western way of life. By reinventing capitalism and injecting our own souls into the machine, you and I can raise the bar of human possibility.

We stand at a choice point in history. We can wake up and smell the coffee of our civilization—its pep, its drive, and its power to add to human lives. We can see the ideals and the creative imperatives that capitalism now hides. Or we can go with the flow of the current zeitgeist and condemn all that we have as mere consumerist trash and every workday move we make as an attempt to pick the pockets of the poor. If we fail to see the force of secular salvation, the power of messianic capitalism, in what we do each day, then we will yield the planet up to those who insist on taking the Western system's transformative powers away. "

Again - I say WOW! Now let's start "playing Bigger". It's time to change. Or perhaps is quarter past time to change. Let's go. Let's lead.

Monday, December 05, 2005

News | Leading the global health care challenge - IBM as a Social Innovator

Innovation That Matters...to the world.... one of the three IBM Values is what this IBM article is all about. We have an even more detailed article on our intranet today, for IBM'ers that can access it. And this is one of many incredible stories that demonstrate where IBM really "gets it" in my opinion. This is what makes me passionate about IBM's future.

We can make SUCH a difference in the world - and we do - when we look at innovation that matters from a societal perspective. There is no shortage of pain in the world, as we all know. And I believe there is no shortage of compassion. IBM'ers care. Our clients care. We all care - when we let ourselves. Here's the thing that we're starting to "get"... we can actually do something about this pain, and this opportunity, in each industry, and in any country around the world - if we decide to do it. We find the partners (our clients, allies in the industry, allies in governments, great thinkers, leaders). We create a vision, and we enroll these partners in a "bigger game" that matters to the world. Social innovation, not just technology innovation....

For example, IBM is fighting AIDS, and mapping the Human Proteome in order to fight other diseases on the World Community Grid. Just think about this for a minute... IBM is helping to fight diseases with spare cycles on my laptop - and maybe yours too, if you get inspired!! Here are some more details from IBM's website:

"IBM Chairman and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano announced World Community Grid on November 16, 2004, as an example of how a new technology — in this case, grid computing — can be applied in an innovative way to have a positive impact on the communities in which we live. In the first month of the initiative, more than 40,000 individuals joined as members, and by March 2005, more than 91,000 devices were part of World Community Grid. The computer cycle time they have donated now exceeds the processing power of a single computer running continuously for a six millennia.

World Community Grid is addressing global humanitarian issues, such as:

New and existing infectious disease research: researching cures for HIV and AIDS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), malaria and others.

Genomic and disease research: The Human Proteome Folding project — World Community Grid's first project — seeks to help identify the functions of the proteins that are coded by human genes.

Natural disasters and hunger: World Community Grid applications can help researchers and scientists with earthquake predictions, improving crop yields, and evaluating the supply of critical natural resources like water.

IBM encourages every individual, as well as corporations, universities and associations, to join as partners. World Community Grid also is looking for potential research projects that would benefit from grid technology. For more information and to download the simple, free software needed to help in these important research initiatives, follow the link below:


And this only highlights a couple areas where IBM is walking the talk, and truly living our values. And I absolutely know we can do a better job of this. And so can all of us - can't we? We can ALL do a better job of living our values. And boy, when we do get in touch with what's deeply important, we can absolutely evolve the world - intentionally - into a much better place. And we are, just not quite fast enough for me :-)

By the way, I work for IBM, as my profile notes. The opinions expressed in this blog are mine, personally, not necessarily those of IBM. I'm not sure if I have to post this every time I talk about IBM, but just in case... There it is.

By the way, IBM encourages us (IBM'ers) to blog inside and outside of IBM. For IBM'ers only - here's a link on how to get started with blogging - if you're so inclined! IBM also encourage our clients to understand blogging, and learn how to leverage them.

Thanks for checking in... and yes, I really do think this way. I think we can make this world a better place. And I work at it every day, as much as I can, and in big and small ways. And everyday, I learn a little, and love a little.... or a lot, on really good days!