5 Ways CEOs Can Build an Ethical Culture

Leading in Context BlogBy Linda Fisher Thornton

CEOs are in a unique position to make ethics a priority through their everyday actions, but simply modeling ethics isn’t nearly enough. Here is a starting list of 5 actions CEOs can take that move organizations toward an ethical culture, besides telling people how important ethics is and demonstrating it in everyday behavior and choices.

5 Ways CEOs Can Build an Ethical Culture

1. Expect respectful, ethical behavior, and quickly correct behavior that doesn’t measure up

2. Make it safe for people to talk about the ethical grey areas they encounter in their work 

3. Talk about the organization’s values, ethics expectations and industry ethics codes 

4.  Give people the opportunity to practice making good ethical decisions

5. Talk openly about the ethical decisions you are making, and why they are so important

Why is proactively making ethics a priority so critical? CEOs protect the character of their organizations. They set the example that others follow.  They have the responsibility for creating a ripple of ethical behavior, choices, and conversations throughout their organizations.

Forward-thinking CEOs embrace this responsibility to protect the character of the organizations. When they talk openly about their own efforts to make ethical decisions, they also magnify that learning on an organizational scale.

 

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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC 

 

 

 

Proactivity, Performance and Potential

By Linda Fisher Thornton

The Manifesto

This week, I want to continue to explore the mindset behind The Leading in Context® Manifesto. Here is an important quote from it about the positive impact of ethical leadership:

“Imagine the potential. What could we accomplish if we proactively developed ethical leaders and an ethical culture? Unleash the performance potential of our people? Transform our organizations? Improve lives and communities? Change the world?”

“Take on the mindset: We believe that ethical leadership drives business metrics including employee engagement, customer retention and innovation. Ethical leadership creates great places to work, and gives us staying power in a global marketplace.”

The Leading in Context® Manifesto

Proactivity, Performance Potential and Improving Business Metrics

Improving Organizations Through Proactive Ethical Leadership

Three important concepts in the quote above are:

Proactivity

Performance Potential 

Improving Business Metrics

Proactivity means not waiting for someone to direct us to do something. It means doing things before we have to, in order to make them better. How does being proactive about ethical leadership impact our business metrics?

When we lead proactively and seek to improve, we intentionally make changes in our leadership that improve our character, and build trust with others. We choose to continue to be better every day. Applied to ethical leadership, proactivity includes intentionally demonstrating respect and care for others, building trust, and making learning a leadership priority. That continual commitment to organizational excellence releases the performance potential of our organizations. Over time, these small daily choices that bring out the best performance in our organizations begin to improve business metrics.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. Are we more likely to lead ethically when we take a proactive (rather than reactive) approach?
  2. How do the small things that we do proactively to improve our leadership help bring out the best in those we lead?
  3. What is the positive ripple effect of many small leadership improvements on our organization’s overall performance?


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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC 

 

Cultural Competence Required

Intercultural CompetenceBy Linda Fisher Thornton

Openness to learning about other cultures has become a necessary component of leadership.  One way to help people respect cultural differences is to build what UNESCO calls “intercultural competence.” To accomplish this, we need an open mind, and a willingness to learn from others who do not think or live as we do.

“Intercultural competences are abilities to adeptly navigate complex environments marked by a growing diversity of peoples, cultures and lifestyles.”

Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework, UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.org

If we’re lucky, we’ll have the opportunity to work with people who have very different backgrounds and mindsets from our own. If they’re lucky, we’ll be open-minded and want to learn more about their culture and beliefs to understand them. Ghassan Salame′, Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs, said in his Speech to the United Nations General Assembly that “mistrust, which anthropologists have found in most cultural traditions of the past, is not necessarily higher today; it only has many more opportunities to express itself in these times of multiform interaction.”

When we are not open to learning about other cultures, of course those cultures will seem “wrong” to us.  Stephanie Quapp and Giovanna Cantatore describe such a situation well when they say “Misunderstandings arise when I use my meanings to make sense of your reality.”

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”                                                  Carl Jung

Globally-aware leaders intentionally develop cultural competence. Being open to learning from others builds a bridge that helps us overcome any differences. Judging them simply closes the door.

Resources for Learning:

Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework, UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.org

What is Cultural Awareness? Stephanie Quapp and Giovanna Cantatore


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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC 

 

8 Posts (And a Trend Report) On Global Thinking

thinkglobal

By Linda Fisher Thornton

As leaders, we do not operate in isolation. We are part of a busy global marketplace with a global economy and global communication. Because we are part of a larger global community, we need to think carefully about how our choices impact that broader community. Just as a butterfly flapping its wing in one side of the world impacts the weather on the other side, small decisions we make as leaders have ripple effects on the global economy and on the well-being of individuals, environments and societies.

This week, I decided to corral a collection of posts that help us understand ethical leadership in a global context. Ethical leaders think about their responsibilities on a global scale. Using global thinking helps us succeed in a connected economy and a global society. As you read these posts about global thinking in leadership, consider how using global thinking could transform your organization’s leadership.

8 Posts on Global Thinking

Here are 8 Leading in Context® Blog posts (and a trend report) that will help you get into the global leadership mindset:

  1. Redefining Ethical Leadership in a Global Society illustrates how our level of connected information illuminates global ethical issues.
  2. Developing Globally Responsible Leaders describes the thinking process of a globally responsible leader.
  3. Twitter Helps Leaders Think Global discusses how embracing social media helps us build a global mindset.
  4. Collaborative Leadership in a Global Society describes what collaborative leaders do.
  5. Ethical Leadership and…a Global Society explores ethical leadership trends in a global context.
  6. Global Ethics and Integrity Benchmarks describe the ethical qualities that customers, suppliers, partners and job-seekers will be looking for in your organization.
  7. C-Suite Leaders: Are You Using the Global Principles of Responsible Business? provides information about the Caux Roundtable Principles for Responsible Business.
  8. Shared Ethical Values: Global Consensus? explores whether or not there are universally shared global values.

And a Global Trend Report

You may also find Global Trends for 2013: A Top Ten for Business Leaders (Economist.com) to be an interesting read.

“Thinking global” is:

  • a critical ability for the leader of the future
  • a way to understand our leadership responsibilities on a global scale
  • a way to make ethical choices that work in a global society.

Global thinking is emerging as a critical ability that the leader of the future must have. Are we ready?


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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC 

 

What is Unethical Leadership?

The Boundaries of “Unethical Leadership”

How do we define unethical leadership?

While there are hundreds of stories that illustrate examples of unethical leadership in the news, those stories taken together still do not clearly define the boundaries of what unethical leadership includes.

To be relevant, our definition of “unethical leadership” has to be broad enough to include the many ways that leaders behave unethically. To guide ethical leadership behavior, it must also be specific enough to provide boundaries for leadership behavior and decision making.

Defining Unethical Leadership 

Our definition must be broad enough and specific enough to define what society considers to be moral behavior. Brown and Mitchell, in their 2010 Business Ethics Quarterly article Ethical and Unethical Leadership: Exploring New Avenues for Future Research , define unethical leadership as “behaviors conducted and decisions made by organizational leaders that are illegal and/or violate moral standards, and those that impose processes and structures that promote unethical conduct by followers.”

Using that definition, we quickly find ourselves trying to determine exactly what the “moral standards” are that ethical leaders are expected to follow. According to Wikianswers.com, “A moral leader is an individual who governs or makes decisions based on fairness and ethical guidelines, rather than personal, political, or financial considerations.” (wiki.answers.com, What is a moral leader?)  

Being unwilling or unable to think beyond our own personal interests and our own personal gain can lead to unethical leadership, but not all unethical leadership decisions are made intentionally.

Types of Unethical Leadership

Unethical leadership appears in a wide variety of forms and happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes unethical leadership is motivated by greed and involves harming others to make more profit.

“Dark side research has uncovered a variety of unethical leader acts. Various terms have evolved in the literature, such as abusive supervision (Tepper, 2000), supervisor undermining (Duffy et al., 2002), toxic leadership (Frost, 2004), and tyrannical leadership (Ashforth, 1994). Research shows these leaders are oppressive, abusive, manipulative, and calculatingly undermining (Tepper, 2007). Their actions are perceived as intentional and harmful, and may be the source of legal action against employers (Tepper, 2007). Therefore, destructive leader behavior is unethical.

Unethical leadership, however, transcends beyond the leaders’ own behavior. In seeking to accomplish organizational goals, leaders can encourage corrupt and unethical acts within their organizations.”

Michael E. Brown and Marie S. Mitchell, Ethical and Unethical Leadership: Exploring Avenues for Future Research, Business Ethics Quarterly

Unethical leadership may also happen when leaders fail to take the time to consider the impact of their choices on the many stakeholders involved. Decisions with unintended consequences can be just as harmful as intentionally unethical decisions.

“We need to understand the ethical challenges faced by imperfect humans who take on the responsibilities of leadership, so that we can develop morally better leaders, followers, institutions, and organizations. At issue is not simply what ethical and effective leaders do, but what leaders have to confront, and, in some cases overcome, to be ethical and effective. “

Joann B. Ciulla, “Ethics and Leadership Effectiveness,” Book Chapter in The Nature of Leadership. Eds. J. Antonakis, A. T. Cianciolo, and R. J. Sternberg.

Leaders are dealing with a high degree of complexity, yet lack a detailed road map to guide their process. As we develop leaders for success in the future, we must focus on the ethical elements of their work, and help them work through the many difficult choices they will have to make.

The Complexities of Unethical Leadership:

Unethical People Thrive on Ignorance of Others by Gordon Clogston, leadershipcourseware.com

Examples of Unethical Behavior in the Workplace by Victoria Duff, Demand Media at smallbusiness.chron.com

Spotting the Unethical Leader in 2010 by Dr. Daryl Green, e-zinearticles.com

Systems Thinking: Twisted Leadership Safety Ethics by Dr. James Leemann, ishn.com

Ethical Leadership Culture: The Case of the Dissenting Senior Leader by Linda Fisher Thornton, LeadinginContext.com

Moral Leadership Standards:

The Moral Foundations of Ethical Leadership by Hester and Killian, in the Journal of Value Based Leadership, valuesbasedleadershipjournal.com

Moral Leadership as Shaped by Human Evolution by Paul Lawrence, blogs.hbr.org

The Difficulties of Being a Moral Leader in an Unjust World Speech by Jim Sterba, University of Notre Dame, online at scu.edu

Leading for Ethical Performance by Linda Fisher Thornton, LeadinginContext.com


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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

Reflections on Respecting Differences

Quotations About the Importance of Respecting Differences

I hope that you enjoy this collection of quotes about respecting differences. Notice how many different compelling reasons for respecting differences are included – some from unexpected sources!

Toward no crime have men shown themselves so cold-bloodedly cruel as in punishing differences of belief.                                                                                                                                                                     James Russell Lowell  

Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.
Mahatma Gandhi  
People are pretty much alike. It’s only that our differences are more susceptible to definition than our similarities.
Linda Ellerbee
If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
John F. Kennedy  
For too long, we have focused on our differences – in our politics and backgrounds, in our race and beliefs – rather than cherishing the unity and pride that binds us together.
Bob Riley
Equality, rightly understood as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences; wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.
Barry Goldwater
More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginning of all wars – yes, an end to this brutal, inhuman and thoroughly impractical method of settling the differences between governments.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
So, let us not be blind to our differences – but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved.
John F. Kennedy  
I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other. Everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life – whoever you are, whatever our differences.
John Denver
Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.
J. K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Sources:


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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

Leading For Ethical Performance

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Discouraging Unethical Leadership 

One of the most important responsibilities of the senior leadership team is to discourage unethical behavior and build an ethical culture. Senior leaders need to work together as a team to create an organization where ethical leadership is rewarded and unethical leadership is quickly corrected.

Modeling Ethical Behavior 

To build an ethical company, every senior leader needs to model the ethical leadership behavior that is expected, and promote ongoing conversations about how to lead ethically.

Leading Organizational Ethics

Beyond modeling expected ethical behavior, each senior leader also leads the ethical aspects of their role for the organization as a whole. For example, the Chief Human Resource Officer also oversees the ethical performance management system, and the The Chief Learning Officer works to build the organization’s ethical understanding and ethical competence.

To build an ethical organization over time, Chief Learning Officers can work with leaders throughout the organization to build ethical competence in areas that support effective communication and leadership. Building ethical competence and having an ongoing dialogue about ethical leadership will make it easier to identify and correct unethical behavior (think about the headlines and lessons learned as you review this list that can get you started):

• Employees who ask tough questions of leaders are praised, not punished or ignored.

• Leaders are evaluated on how they communicate and lead, not just on their bottom line results.

• Employees are screened for ethical behavior before they are hired.

• Performance problems are corrected quickly, so that they are not given time to be considered acceptable  by others.

• Recognition is given to leaders who achieve financial goals ethically, while engaging employees and using responsible leadership (not to leaders who achieve results at the expense of employees, customers, or organizational values).

Linda Fisher Thornton, Ethical Leadership Training: Why is it So Hard to get it Right?, Training and Development Journal, Best of Leadership Development 2009

Individual Effort, Collaborative Effort

Leading for ethical performance requires a concerted effort from each member of the senior leadership team and a collaborative, integrated approach at the team level.

Leading for ethical performance requires:

  • aligning performance management around clear ethical expectations for behavior
  • hiring for ethical performance
  • modeling ethical leadership expectations at all leadership levels
  • requiring that those expectations are met every time, and
  • developing ethical leaders using ongoing dialogue and training

Building an Ethical Culture

By leading for ethical performance, senior leaders are also creating a work culture where people work well together as a team.

“Our work indicates that not only do leaders have to be moral individuals, but also have to go one step further and actively model ethical behaviors and use reward and punishment systems to influence followers’ behaviors. Thus, companies that can hire and/or train ethical leaders are more likely to create ethical and interpersonally harmonious work environments.”

Mayer, Acuino, Greenbaum & Kuenzi, Who Displays Ethical Leadership and Why Does it Matter? , Academy of Management Journal 2012, online at bus.umich.edu.

Related Article:

Ethical Leadership Culture: The Case of The Dissenting Senior Leader, Linda Fisher Thornton, Leading in Context Blog, January 26, 2011


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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

Ethical Leadership and…Vitamin D Deficiency

Author’s Note: This article is not meant to take the place of medical advice. Consult your provider about your individual situation.

Why is Vitamin D3 Important?

In my research I found that vitamin D3 deficiency is being studied as a possible missing link in the research about a number of diverse health problems including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Autism, Cardiovascular Disease, Asthma, Dementia, Depression and Cancer. It is as a factor in our DNA being able to naturally repair itself (see the details in the articles and links below).

How Much Does it Help Us?

A Mayo Clinic Health Newsletter in September 2009 declared that vitamin D “appears to boost health from head to toe.” Vitamin D: Many Benefits, Optimal Dose Uncertain MayoClinic.org. 

The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University mentions a form of vitamin D as an “immune system modulator.” Vitamin D, Micronutrient Information Center, LPI.OregonState.edu.

The University of California UC San Diego News Center reports that researchers from UC San Diego School of Medicine and Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha have found out more about how much vitamin D we need to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases:

“We found that daily intakes of vitamin D by adults in the range of 4000-8000 IU are needed to maintain blood levels of vitamin D metabolites in the range needed to reduce by about half the risk of several diseases – breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes,” said Cedric Garland, DrPH, professor of family and preventive medicine at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “I was surprised to find that the intakes required to maintain vitamin D status for disease prevention were so high – much higher than the minimal intake of vitamin D of 400 IU/day that was needed to defeat rickets in the 20th century.”

Higher Vitamin D Intake Needed to Reduce Cancer Risk UC San Diego

A 2011 BBC Health News article by Doctor Joseph M. Reed of Southhampton General Hospital in the UK explains how the problem affects his patients: “Alarmingly, our figures suggest that up to 40% of children presenting to the orthopaedic outpatient service in Southampton have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. But with a little knowledge, these conditions are avoidable.” Children Are at Risk of Getting Rickets, Says Doctor BBC News Health

What is Our Ethical Responsibility?

This important health information needs to be shared. I was personally diagnosed with a severe case of vitamin D3 deficiency, and learned the importance of taking a supplement the hard way. If we want to feel better, prevent disease and reduce health care costs as a society, then we must be proactive in sharing the kind of information that can help us achieve our goals. If a deficiency of vitamin D is implicated in many varied health problems, and is crucial for healing, and helps repair the body and helps prevent illness and is so affordable, then:

  • It should be part of standard patient education in every type of medical practice when patients come in for treatment or well checkups.
  • It should be discussed and recommended to patients before starting a course of treatment for any illness.
  • It should be a subject that all health and wellness practitioners follow closely.

Articles About Vitamin D Deficiency and Disease

There are co-factors that need to be present in order to maximize the absorption of the D3 you’re taking - Vitamin D Cofactors, VitaminDCouncil.org.

The most effective type of D3 is naturally derived.   Read more about that here: Vitamin D: The Most Natural Form Easily Absorbed By the Body is D3 cholecalciferol.

Vitamin D Dosing Mayo Clinic (includes list of diseases that D3 may prevent or improve)

Vitamin D  Medline Plus, National Institute of Health (Includes list of diseases that D3 may prevent or improve)

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D  Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institute of Health

Vitamin D and DNA Repair Dr. John Cannell, VitaminDCouncil.org

Cancer Research Center Study Reveals Enhanced Role of Vitamin D3 in Fighting Prostate Cancer Albany.edu

Nutrition: 4 Vitamins That Strengthen Older Brains NYTimes.com

Vitamin D Supplementation  VitaminDCouncil.org

Vitamin D: The Unknown Treasure to Health and Well-Being  Morgan Brady, WomanforAction.org

Could Lack of Vitamin D be behind Sids Cases? BBC Today  (Report includes that 40% of British population is deficient)

Oral Vitamin D May Help Prevent Some Skin Infections UC San Diego News Center

Aspects in Autism  Dr. John Cannell, VitaminDCouncil.org

Vitamin D Deficiency Related to Increased Inflammation in Healthy Women ScienceDaily.com

Experts Review Vitamin D Advice  BBC Today

Disease Prevention Chart VitaminDRevolution.com

Could the Sun Save Your Children From Depression? Exposure to Vitamin D can Lower Risk of Mental Health Problems  DailyMail.co.uk

IOG Research Colloquium : “Vitamin D Deficiency – The Missing Link in Cardiovascular Disease Disparities Wayne State University

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Hormone Mattapan Community Health Center, American Public Health Association, Public Health Action Campaign — Approved Resolution on October 28, 2008 “Call for Education and Research into Vitamin D Deficiency/Insufficiency”


522

For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

The Learning Paradox: How Too Much Homework Harms

How Much Homework is Too Much?

As we build increasing awareness about learning, motivation and the general well-being of children, more people are beginning to wonder if the way we use homework is part of the solution or part of the problem.

The National PTA recommendations fall in line with general guidelines suggested by researcher Harris Cooper: 10-20 minutes per night in the first grade, and an additional 10 minutes per grade level thereafter (e.g., 20 minutes for second grade, 120 minutes for twelfth). High school students may sometimes do more, depending on what classes they take (see Review of Educational Research, 2006).

The National PTA says that “when you add classroom time to homework time, school-age children should not be working longer than an eight-hour day.”  (Hints to Help Reduce Homework Stress pta.org)

According to my research and my own experience as a parent, children in elementary school are sometimes being given homework that takes their required school time well beyond an eight-hour day.  Spending too much time on homework means losing important family time and missing out on exercise, time outside and other stress-reducing activities. For these reasons and others, it can create more stress for children than they know how to handle if too much homework is given too early in their development.

Paradoxically, by trying to help children learn more by adding graded homework for every child,we may be hurting the learning process more than we’re helping it.

Here are some of the reasons why giving homework for additional practice is not necessarily better for learning:

…Because love of learning is driven by curiosity and exploration, not repetition.

children “lack the time to pursue interests they care about” Homework Harms Kids, Says Debunker, by Kris Rushowy, TheStar.com

“damaging our kids’ interest in learning.” The Myth About Homework, Time Magazine

“single greatest extinguisher of a child’s curiosity” Homework Harms Kids, Says Debunker, by Kris Rushowy, TheStar.com

“I’ve heard from schools in the U.S. that have banned homework that kids are more likely to read for pleasure, to follow the news in the newspaper, to pursue a question online, to show their parents a science experiment they did at school, and so on.” Homework Harms Kids, Says Debunker, by Kris Rushowy, TheStar.com

I agree with Bill Glassner (1992, p. 231) that children would be better emerging from schooling ignorant, than hating to learn. It’s the children’s willingness to learn that is most harmed by compulsory homework. Children don’t like it, many parents don’t like it, teachers don’t like it. For good reason.” Homework Hysteria by Louise Porter, Child Psychologist

…Because completing independent work requires a level of development that only comes with age and is not well developed in the elementary and early middle school years.

“One of the complicating factors is age. Most small children and early adolescents have not yet developed the kind of self-reflective or self-monitoring skills to get the benefit out of either homework or self-study” LeTedre explains.  Probing Question: Is Homework Bad for Kids? by Alexa Stevenson

…Because more homework is not better for the child.

“It is generally agreed that the younger the child, the less time the child should be expected to devote to homework. A general rule of thumb is that children do 10 minutes of homework for each grade level. Therefore, first graders should be expected to do about 10 minutes of homework, second graders 20 minutes, third graders 30 minutes, and so on. If your child is spending more than 10 minutes per grade level on work at night, then you may want to talk with your child’s teacher about adjusting the workload.” Homework: A Guide for Parents by Peg Dawson, EdD, National Association of School Psychologists Online

“The trouble seems to crop up in the elementary grades when kids do too much homework — defined by some as an hour or more. Studies have shown a negative correlation between math scores and the amount of homework completed. In other words, the more homework the students did, the worse they performed on math tests.”  Does More Homework Mean Better Grades? ABC World News With Diane Sawyer

…Because too much homework creates a burden on students and harms their academic skills.

“Prior to the late high school years, children who are given more than 30 minutes of homework a night show declines in their academic skills, compared with children who are given none. “  Homework Hysteria by Louise Porter, Child Psychologist

“The problem, he (LeTendre) adds, is that most teachers use ‘the shotgun approach,’ photocopying worksheets and giving each student the same assignment.” Probing Question: Is Homework Bad for Kids? by Alexa Stevenson

“Teachers have to set homework, police its completion, and mark it. For the majority of students who are progressing well, this extra work is an unnecessary burden on both students and teachers. If instead teachers could design specific remedial activities for the handful of struggling students, both they and their students would be less burdened.” Homework Hysteria by Louise Porter, Child Psychologist

…Because too much homework takes the place of things children need, like relaxed family time, play and rest.

“Homework eats into relaxation time, which would offset stress.” Bill Glassner, quoted in  Homework Hysteria by Louise Porter, Child Psychologist

“takes the place of “evenings for family and serendipity” The Myth About Homework, Time Magazine

“Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.1″ The Importance of Play in Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds by Kenneth Ginsberg, MD, and the Committee on Communications and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, American Academy of Pediatrics

“Homework does not meet children’s needs and indeed violates their requirements for recreational and extra-curricular activity time, and for sleep…” Homework Hysteria by Louise Porter, Child Psychologist

“homework demands can limit the time available to spend on other beneficial activities, such as sport and community activities” Homework: Is it Worth It? Memory-key.com

Bright students who are conscientious about doing homework have no time left to pursue other recreational activities; less able students do not do the homework but because this defines them as failures, they do little else either.” Bill Glassner quoted in Homework Hysteria by Louise Porter, Child Psychologist

…Because when children who have not developed the skills to handle independent work are given challenging assignments and asked to do them by themselves without parent help, it creates a stressful dilemma for them and their parents.

 “nightly grind that is stressing out children”  New Recruit in Homework Revolt: The Principal, The New York Times

“brought home homework only a parent could complete”  Do Kids Have Too Much Homework? SmithsonianMag.com

“straining parent-kid relationships” The Myth About Homework, Time Magazine

“Most homework is more easily and better done at school.” Bill Glassner quoted in Homework Hysteria by Louise Porter, Child Psychologist

“turned their living room in to an anguished battleground” Do Kids Have Too Much Homework? SmithsonianMag.com

“Then there’s the nightly nagging to get started on the homework. This policing role leads to tension in the family and disputes between parents and the many children who cannot or do not want to do the work.” Homework Hysteria by Louise Porter, Child Psychologist

…Because to get the homework done and protect free time, parents, children and teachers have to lower their standards for completing the homework, which sends the wrong message to children.

“schools are deciding what happens during family time” Homework Harms Kids, Says Debunker, by Kris Rushowy, TheStar.com

“To avoid arguments, teachers (and parents) accept low quality homework, sending the message that it is acceptable to do poor work.” Bill Glassner quoted in Homework Hysteria by Louise Porter, Child Psychologist

While there are differences of opinion on the impact of too much homework, I believe that we need to fiercely protect the rights of all children to keep their:

  1. curiosity
  2. love of learning
  3. time to play, and
  4. time with family and friends

…and that whatever approach we take to the homework issue should be in that context.

“When we lack choice, activities become work, and when they are joyless, they teach us very little – other than to dislike them.” Homework Hysteria by Louise Porter, Child Psychologist

Additional Resources: 

Research Spotlight on Homework National Education Association, nea.org

Homework: What the Research Says Brief National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, nctm.org

Rethinking Homework by Alfie Kohn, Principal

Research Spotlight on Homework, National Education Association, nea.org

American Students are Underwhelmed by Homework Assignments Carnegie Mellon

Do Students Have Too Much Homework?  The Brookings Institute

The Balanced View: Homework Sharingsuccess.org


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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

Precautionary Principle: Profiting With Care

What is the Precautionary Principle?

Simply stated, the Precautionary Principle asks us to err on the side of caution. Following the Precautionary Principle as business leaders, for example, we would avoid using product ingredients that may be harmful in addition to avoiding those that we know are harmful.

Using the Precautionary Principle we would do more than simply follow the law – we would make the decision that would be in the best long-term interests of our customers and other stakeholders.

Proactive Leadership for the Long Term

The Precautionary Principle (PP) is a proactive way for leaders to make decisions that are the best over the long term.  Using the PP, we take the long view and make decisions that offer the most protection to our company and its stakeholders.

It was originally formulated as a response to the constraints of policy and science in sufficiently addressing complex and uncertain risks and its consequences to human health and the environment (Tickner, 2003: xiii).

Rabbi Elamparo Deloso in “The Precautionary Principle: Relevance in International Law and Climate Change” a Masters Thesis in International Environmental Science, Lund University, Sweden

The Temptation to Squeeze Out Extra Profits

Using the Precautionary Principle as a basis for making decisions helps businesses avoid the temptation to squeeze out extra profits while something is “still legal.” The PP uses a  broader definition of what is “responsible” and a narrower definition of the level of  “harm” that is acceptable.

There is still some disagreement about how widely we should use the PP.  Some leaders think precaution is critical and others think it is unnecessary. Here are two examples of what can happen when we do and do not use the PP in business decisions:

Example 1: Embracing PP and Avoiding Suspected Carcinogen

Erring on the side of caution, a company using the Precautionary Principle would stop using ingredients that were suspected carcinogens rather than waiting for a series of studies that showed with certainty that they caused cancer.

Regulations often lag behind science and consumer experience. Waiting for scientific certainty and for an ingredient to be banned, a company could harm millions of people and poison the environment.

Precautionary companies would take action to avoid the harm that might take place while we were waiting to be “sure” that it was actually harmful.

Example 2: Choosing to Do Harm 

NPR did a news story on the cosmetics industry several years ago that revealed that some cosmetics manufacturers were using ingredients that were suspected of causing harm to people and had been banned in other countries. The cosmetics manufacturers were selling purer versions of their products in the tighter-regulation countries, but still selling the suspected harmful ingredients here in the U.S., where the Precautionary Principle had not yet fully been embraced.

Why would any business continue using ingredients suspected of being harmful? If they were using a narrow profit-based view of  responsibility it could easily happen. If the banned ingredients were cheaper, and they were not yet illegal in the US, then legally they could  be used.

……But is that a responsible decision?

The Importance of Profiting With Care

In a profit-based view of business responsibility, profits are not balanced against possible harm. That short-sighted view does not honor the way that we now understand our global leadership responsibilities. The world is more connected, and that connection informs consumers.

Businesses continuing to use ingredients that have been banned in some countries as possible carcinogens are finding that global shopping sites now rate them lower on ethical business.

The emergence of the PP has marked a shift from postdamage control (civil liability as a curative tool) to the level of a pre-damage control  (anticipatory measures) of risks.

The Precautionary Principle, UNESCO World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST)

Precaution is Gaining Momentum

The Precautionary Principle is gaining momentum as the way the world can best deal with risk and human and environmental safety.  Looking at ethics on a global scale, and our world as one global community, it makes sense to  many to err on the side of caution when evaluating possible harm that choices could cause.

…philosopher C. West Churchman had struggled with the question, “What is morality?” He eventually decided that morality is “what a future generation would ask us to do if they were here to ask.”

Edward Cornish in his book Futuring: The Exploration of the Future, published by the World Future Society

Global principles (developed by diverse global groups) are including precaution as a required element of responsible business.  The U.S. has now recognized the importance of Precaution as a guiding principle:

We believe: (number 12) even in the face of scientific uncertainty, society should take reasonable actions to avert risks where the potential harm to human health or the environment is thought to be serious or irreparable.

President’s Council on Sustainable Development. Sustainable America: A New Consensus, 1996, cited in The Precautionary Principle in Action: A Handbook

There are 17 international treaties and agreements that include the Precautionary Principle on pages 20-23 in The Precautionary Principle in Action: A Handbook, written by Tickner, Raffensperger and Myers for the Environmental Science Health Network.

Profitability is usually the reason that businesses continue using products after they are identified as possibly harmful or known to be harmful. At the same time that our economy struggles to regain stability, consumers are increasingly aware of how they are affected by the long-term greed of  business leaders who have chosen to ignore precaution and cause harm. Consumers are aware that if you use an ingredient or process that you know MIGHT be very harmful in the long run, then you know that you MIGHT be causing them great harm, and you are still choosing to use that ingredient.

Today’s more informed consumers are seeking businesses and products that go well beyond following laws to intentionally demonstrate a higher level of care and concern for constituents.

Because the Precautionary Principle is broad and still being interpreted, I’ve included resources below that explore the complexities of its various interpretations.

Questions For Discussion:

1. In what areas are we applying the Precautionary Principle?

2. Where are we ignoring precaution so that we can increase profits?

3. What are the likely long-term results of our decisions as shown in our responses to questions 1 and 2 above?

4. What could we do now to apply the Principle of Precaution and how could that improve our brand?

For Further Reading:

Debating the Precautionary Principle by Henk van den Belt, PlantPhysol.org

“A Core Precautionary Principle” article by Stephen M. Gardiner, Philosophy, University of Washington, in The Journal of Political Philosophy

For information about cosmetic safety, see Market Shift: The Story of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and the Growth in Demand for Safe Cosmetics at safecosmetics.org.


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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

Leadership and…Human Rights

Honoring Human Rights

As business leaders, it is our responsibility to honor human rights in all that we do. Article 1 of the The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

What Does Honoring Human Rights Look Like?

These sources discuss human rights issues that business people need to be aware of, and explain how to lead in ways that support human rights:

Human Rights Compliance Assessment (HRCA) Quick Check   humanrightsbusiness.org

Business and Human Rights Resource Center, Principles and Standards business-humanrights.org

Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework    United Nations General Assembly Human Right Council, ohchr.org

Top Ten Business and Human Rights Issues   Institute for Human Rights and Business, irhb.org

Profit at What Price? Amnesty International Business and Human Rights

Questions to Consider

1. How well do we understand our responsibility as leaders to protect human rights?

2. How well are we respecting human rights in our work and leadership?

3. What improvements would put us in alignment with the guiding principles listed above?


522

For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

How to Use the Leading in Context® Website

The Request That Inspired This Post

“Which of your posts reg. ethics do you recommend I start with? Your site looks really rich!”

via Twitter, December 2, 2011

The Leading in Context Mission

As leaders, we all struggle to keep up with the changing workplace, and we need tools that clarify the grey areas about how to lead responsibly.

It is my hope that the engaging materials that you find here will help you lead meaningful discussions about ethical leadership in your organizations.

All of them are designed to take discussions about leadership and ethical cultures well beyond “the right thing to do” to incorporate the complexities of work life and leadership in our connected society. 

How to Use The Leading in Context® Website

Consider how you want to find information and then click a link below:

◊ To understand the evolving definition of “leading ethically” in a global society    (Read Selected Posts)
◊ To follow my curiosity    (Scan the Blog Index for titles that interest you!)
◊ To stay on top of trends, changes & emerging issues impacting leadership    (Read Selected Posts)
◊ To learn about how to think ethically    (Read Selected Posts)
◊ To develop ethical leaders in my organization    (Visit the Store)
◊ To build an ethical culture   (Read Selected Posts)


522

For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

Thinking Beyond Disciplines: Why We Need it

What is Transdisciplinarity?

The Institute for the Future and the University of Phoenix Research Institute list transdisciplinarity as #7 in a list of skills critical for Workforce 2020. They define it as “understanding concepts across multiple disciplines.”

Why is it Important?

Why is it increasingly important to understand concepts across multiple disciplines?

  • The problems we are trying to solve are increasingly complex.
  • The view from within any one discipline can be too narrow to provide a clear solution to a complex problem
  • Looking beyond the boundaries of knowledge that define a discipline can help us solve problems and understand complex information in a new way, using a broader view.

Transdisciplinarity connotes a research strategy that crosses many disciplinary boundaries to create a holistic approach.

Transdisciplinarity at Wikipedia.org

How Does Thinking More Broadly Help Us Lead Responsibly?

Broadening our thinking is particularly helpful in understanding concepts like “ethical leadership” which involves leading within multiple interrelated systems and meeting the needs of multiple constituents responsibly.

Sometimes looking at a problem from a single perspective may cause us to overlook important systems that are not completely within the scope of that one perspective.

Systems don’t stop where the boundaries of a discipline stop. That means that we need to broaden our view to avoid missing important pieces of the problem we’re trying to solve or the responsibility we’re trying to fulfill.

Looking at the research and information across disciplines helps us understand complex, connected systems and problems in a broader context. That broader level of thinking is the level that we’ll need to use to solve today’s complex, connected problems.

Transdisciplinarity and Ethics

Transdisciplinary ethics seeks to describe ethics in ways that transcend any particular discipline or profession.

 “Transdisciplinary Studies are an area of research and education that addresses contemporary issues that cannot be solved by one or even a few points-of-view. It brings together academic experts, field practitioners, community members, research scientists, political leaders, and business owners among others to solve some of the pressing problems facing the world, from the local to the global.”

“The values embedded in the transdisciplinary vision are basic: sharing, respect, and resolve.” “It is a distinctly postmodern point-of-view, calling on women and men, on “transdisciplinary-minded persons of all countries” to join in bringing this vision into reality, into “everyday life.” It is a bold vision; some might even say an impossible one, filled with a zeal for justice, equality, inclusion, and true democratic decision-making.”

Transdisciplinary Studies, Wikipedia.com

“As the prefix trans indicates, transdisciplinarity concerns that which is at once between the disciplines, across different disciplines, and beyond all discipline.” – Basarab Nicolecsu, 2002 quoted by the Woodbury Institute of Transdiciplinary Studies

When solving difficult problems, consider looking across disciplines for clues. Stepping back far enough to look across disciplines may lead you to an elegant solution.

Learn More

These articles discuss the broad values and value of interdisciplinary research, thinking and ethics.

Overview of Transdisciplinarity as Methodology McGregor Consulting Group

Unity of Knowledge From Transdisciplinary Research on Sustainability by G. Hirsch Hadorn

From Inter-Disciplinary Ethics to Trans-Disciplinary Ethics  NCBI, Pubmed.gov


522

For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses 
© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 
 

Ethical Leaders Care Part 2: In Action

Author’s Note: As a follow up to the October 5, 2011 post “Ethical Leaders Care”, this post explores what leading with care looks like in action.

Encouraging and Supporting Others is a Leader’s Job

It is our job as leaders to bring out the best performance each person has to offer. When we do that with care we make sure that we demonstrate care and respect for others and encourage each individual and group we lead to be the best that they can be.

Leadership is fundamentally about relationships and ethical behavior.  It’s about accomplishing the mission of the organizations we serve in ways that enhance trust and relationships with people and honor ethical principles. Caring for others and supporting their success is an important part of that responsibility.

What Does Care Look Like?

Caring as leaders includes not only leading with care but also building cultures where people treat each other with respect. Encouraging ethical behaviors in those we lead while handling complex problems is a continual challenge.

To make this responsibility easier, we need a shared understanding of what caring leadership looks like in action. To respond to that need, Leading in Context published a color graphic showing interpersonal behavior in three zones.  This color-coded graphic excerpt (originally shared with readers on April 27, 2011) provides a visual context for how leaders show they care in their day-to-day interpersonal behavior choices.

I’m hoping that this graphic generates broader conversations about responsible and appropriate interpersonal behavior. Early feedback has been very positive, with readers saying that they see this as a starting rubric for talking about expected interpersonal behavior.

A leader using this graphic could explain it to a work team by saying “Behaviors in the green zone are what we want you to do, the yellow zone means “caution” and the red zone behaviors have no place in our workplace.”


522

For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses 
© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 
 


100 Communication Future Articles

Where is Communication Going?

Our understanding of communication is changing rapidly and these articles preview what the future of communication may look like (and a history of where it’s been).

What Do We Need to Know?

Successful communication requires new approaches in a connected global society.

Some of the trends and changes that we need to keep up with are featured in these articles including:

  • collaboration
  • complexity
  • channels
  • control
  • change
  • connection
  • cause
  • authenticity
  • creativity
  • clarity
  • value and
  • innovation.
As you read, think about these questions:
  1. How will we need to change the ways we’re now doing business?
  2. How will we make those changes?
  3. What new skills will we need to build in order to communicate effectively in this new arena?
  4. How can we build on the communication skills we already have in order to succeed in the future?
  5. What help will team members need as they adapt to new communication approaches?
(More Than) 100 Communication Future Articles:

Ten Trends Shaping the Communications Agency of the Future by Index B

The End of Blogs (and Maybe Websites) as We Know Them by Scott Gillum

100 Blog Posts on the Future of Communication by Johann Ronnestam Posted Between 2005 and 2011 by Johan Ronnestam

Communication Through the Ages Infographic  atlassian.com/c4


522

For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses 
© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 
 

Ways That Leading in Context® Publications Meet Your Needs:

“I want to follow leadership and learning trends.”

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