By Linda Fisher Thornton There's a problem that people don't talk about often enough. In the quest to understand things, we have divided up content and areas of science and our world in general into categories that we label (like biology, art, and psychology for example) and think of as separate. People study inside these realms intensely until they become experts in them. The problem is that these divisions and their labels are false constructs that we have imposed on a world that is much more complex than the categories convey. When we think in these simple terms (and teach using them) we are oversimplifying our decision making, and that can lead us to make choices that don't lead to the outcomes we want.
By Linda Fisher Thornton We have a "spin" problem in the media and it's out of control. Unfortunately, many media channels have decided that clicks, and the dollars they generate, are more important than journalistic integrity. So we end up with people getting what they think is "news" when what they are actually getting is from sources of "infotainment," and using that bad information to make bad decisions and even in some cases commit crimes. Infotainment sources that incite anger, violence, and bad decisions do not care about you. They are using you as a pawn for their own financial gain.
By Linda Fisher Thornton As a leadup to a keynote I'm doing for the Michigan Association of School Boards, I was invited to submit a feature article for their fall issue of the MASB LeaderBoard. In the article, "Meeting the Challenge of Ethical Decision Making," I write about how since the start of the pandemic, decision making has become more complex and requires much more intentional decision making.
By Linda Fisher Thornton When we change our position on an issue, sometimes it is because we simply can't decide. But when you look at mind-changing from the perspective of human growth and development, you can see that there is often more to it than that.
By Linda Fisher Thornton
I studied Linguistics and Communications at The University of Virginia and I am fascinated by how words shape our perception of things. Lately there has been a lot of discussion about the term "politically correct," sometimes shortened to "PC." I have noticed it is used when people refer to the pressure to be polite to all people, including those who are different from themselves.
By Linda Fisher Thornton What it means to "win responsibly" in business has changed.
By Linda Fisher Thornton Most of the time when we answer a question with a single response, that answer is only part of the picture. We have all seen leaders (who may feel a need to appear decisive) answer quickly without thinking through the implications of their response. When this happens, what they share is oversimplified and "partialized," not a relevant or responsible interpretation of the complex issues involved.
By Linda Fisher Thornton Managing the ethics of artificial intelligence is only becoming more complex over time, and the stakes are high for finding a path forward. This week I am sharing a special report "AI: Where Are We Now?" published by EDUCAUSE. This timely report includes an article I wrote for the EDUCAUSE Review titled "Artificial Intelligence and Ethical Accountability." The article (on pages 8, 9 and 10 in the EDUCAUSE Special Report) explores the intersection of AI and ethical accountability and provides practical guidance, closing with Five Steps IT Departments Can Take to Manage the Ethics of AI.
By Linda Fisher Thornton The definition of "good leadership" is changing over time as people become more aware of the long term impact of poor leadership decisions. Other factors that change our current understanding of leadership include increasing ethical awareness and stronger physical evidence of the impact we are having on the planet. Watch this video for a quick overview of this evolution and why more is expected of leaders now.
By Linda Fisher Thornton When we meet someone new, should we trust them right away? Should we assume that they are trustworthy and give them the benefit of the doubt, or should we hold back until we are sure that they are worthy of our trust?
By Linda Fisher Thornton The post “Leader Competence: Will It Be A Multiplier or Divider?” generated some great discussion on social media. Here’s a quote from the post: “Leader competence is either going to be a multiplier or a divider. When you have it, you multiply performance and trust, with exponential results. Without it, you divide your possible results by the incompetence factor.” After reading the post, one reader requested that I write more on the topic. This week I’m digging deeper into the multiplying and dividing effects of leader (in)competence, looking at how a leader’s ethical competence impacts trust, people, bottom line results and organizational adaptability:
By Linda Fisher Thornton I previously wrote about the problem of selective respect and today I'll address it's evil twin. It has been happening right in front of us and has been amplified by social media - leaders speaking from a perspective of selective inclusion. This week, I'm sharing a collection of posts that explain the importance of full inclusion and how to recognize examples that stray from it.
By Linda Fisher Thornton In part 3 of this series, I am sharing a clip from my recent talk at the Saint Anselm Center for Ethics in Society that answers the question "What happens when there is a serious conflict between two ethical values?" As you watch, think about the tradeoffs you and your organization have had to manage as you navigated the global pandemic.
By Linda Fisher Thornton Which lenses must we look through to be ethical leaders? That is the important question I answered during a recent talk at the Ethics and Governance Forum at The Saint Anselm Center for Ethics in Society. As you watch the video clip overview of the 7 Lenses of Ethical Leadership, think about how you can apply all 7 Lenses in your daily thinking and leadership.
By Linda Fisher Thornton Global unrest is being fueled by widespread misinformation campaigns. Who's fueling these campaigns? The bad actors who are creating misinformation? Or the platforms who intentionally or unintentionally share false information for profit? Or the people who believe the disinformation they read and incite violence? Or the leaders who fail to recognize the clear and present danger of the disinformation machine? Or the leaders who do recognize the danger and turn away, doing nothing? Together, all of these are fueling the disinformation machine in a systemic self-reinforcing loop.