Leaders & Social Media: 5 Reasons to Engage

Leaders and Information Overload

In today’s world of work, we have to

  • keep up with an overwhelming amount of information
  • scan trends and forecasts and
  • incorporate the needs of multiple stakeholders into workable solutions.

Our job is to make sense out of it all in order to make work life easier for those we lead. Since the world changes fast, we have to learn just as fast… and share it fast with our employees…and then adapt to what we’ve learned. Social media has become the fastest information media available, tackling emerging issues long before mainstream publications do.

Five Important Reasons to Engage in Social Media

1.  Not Embracing Social Media is a Risk

In today’s world that is connected at light speed, refusing to adapt to new communication channels means choosing to be out of the loop.  I am able to say this with confidence because I almost missed the social media information wave. Two and a half years ago I said out loud (quite confidently) “I’ll never go on Twitter.” My patient technology and learning advisor  Allison, said “Didn’t you say you were blogging?” I confirmed that yes, I was blogging. What she said next changed my understanding of social media and information. She said “People are organizing and accessing their blog subscriptions on Twitter using their smart phones. How will they find you?”

2.  Social Media Helps Us Adapt

While some people still think that social media is one more thing to add to their to-do list that they don’t have time for, I now know that social media is a great tool for keeping up with changes in the world, changes in my customer’s needs, changes in the emerging knowledge across disciplines, and changes in how we define leadership and learning.

Social media is much more than “one more thing to do” –  it’s how we do what we do in an information-connected society – and it’s an efficient filter for finding relevant information.

Searching social media platforms using multiple search terms, we can quickly access the intersection of any two, three or more fields. Learning something completely new at that intersection helps us expand our thinking, makes our work better, helps us serve our customers better, and helps our work be more relevant in today’s business context.

3. The Newest Information is Freely Shared There First

A lot of people are trying to make sense out of the sea of information.

They are sharing what they’ve learned so that we don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

They are sharing so that we can solve global problems together.

I am a social media convert who is enjoying getting insights about new research and feedback on my work from people around the globe. Social media channels shorten my research time, help me be better at what I do, and keep me in close touch with my customers, clients and readers.

4. It’s a Learning Connection to the “Global Brain”

We can even think about social media as a conduit to the “global brain.” Dean Pomerleau, a researcher at Intel labs Pittsburgh links Twitter to brain research on his blog ‘Thoughtful Cog” in a post called “Twitter and the Global Brain.”

Imagine a Twitter user as a neuron.  He/she makes the equivalent of a synapse with each of his/her followers.  When a Twitter user sends out a tweet, it is the equivalent of a neuron firing.  Followers who receive the tweet decide whether to propagate the activity by retweeting the message, in a sense by deciding whether they too should fire in response to the tweet…

On a macro scale, this will represent the equivalent of thoughts emerging in the Global Brain, in the form of rapid, coordinated firing of millions of these virtual neurons.  These thoughts will propagate and potentially trigger other thoughts in the network.

5. It’s a Hub Connecting You to the Meaningful Information You Need

Social media is really a hub that connects you to the information you need, not in a random sense, but in a way that has meaning. Whatever topic has piqued your curiosity is likely being studied by somebody else somewhere in the world. Other people who are curious about what you’re curious about have already researched it and are recommending the next article or book or blogger that you can learn from.

Social media is more than just noise, and doesn’t have to add to information overload. Its connections and knowledge-sharing help us cut through the ocean of information out there so that we can learn and grow. Those connections help us understand this global community that we find ourselves a part of.

Have you jumped into the social media information wave yet?

 

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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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses 
© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 
 


Leading in Context® Blog Index

Thank you for being committed to responsible leadership, and for following the Leading in Context® Blog. This Index includes over 550 posts that I have written since 2009 on a wide variety of subjects related to ethical leadership. May they help you find your way as you undertake the journey to authentic ethical leadership.

Helping You Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

Linda Fisher Thornton, CEO, Leading in Context LLC, LeadinginContext.com.                                                        © 2009-2018 Leading in Context® LLC. All rights reserved.

41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics
2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
 
About 7 Lenses
 
 Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses 
 
 

“Good Products”: Beyond Convenience and Flavor

What is a “Good Product?”

We could define a “good product” a number of different ways. For example,

  • tasty
  • convenient
  • clean
  • colorful
  • nutritious
  • appealing
  • well-designed
  • useful
  • portable
  • visually appealing
  • functional
  • engaging

What About an Ethical Product?

If we add ethical considerations, the list also includes:

  • sustainably-made
  • free from harmful ingredients
  • safely packaged using non-toxic packaging
  • minimally packaged
  • sustainably distributed
  • responsibly sold
  • truthful in advertisements and labeling
  • tested without harming
  • produced using fair labor
  • produced using ethically-sourced ingredients
  • produced using minimal or zero production footprint
522For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses 
© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 
 
 

Are Sustainable Businesses Ethical?

“Planet Ethics” 

One way that leaders may interpret “ethics” is to consider how our decisions and actions affect the long-term health of the natural world in which we live. If I interpret ethical leadership as planet-based, then I will make decisions that maximize benefits to the planet and minimize harm to natural resources, natural life and ecosystems.

 The Sustainable Business Approach

Many businesses that focus on operating in a way that does not harm the planet’s natural resources are considered sustainable. A sustainable business may have a zero footprint (re-using or recycling everything used and avoiding using new materials from nature) or will be moving toward reusing all production materials and generating no “waste.”

“Sustainability” is much broader than just protecting the planet’s resources, although that is the most widely used interpretation. Wikipedia defines sustainability for humans as “the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions.”

Sustainability interfaces with economics through the social and ecological consequences of economic activity. Moving towards sustainability is also a social challenge that entails, among other factors, international and national lawurban planning andtransport, local and individual lifestyles and ethical consumerism. Ways of living more sustainably can take many forms from reorganising living conditions (e.g., ecovillageseco-municipalities and sustainable cities), reappraising economic sectors (permaculturegreen buildingsustainable agriculture), or work practices (sustainable architecture), using science to develop new technologies (green technologiesrenewable energy, or new and affordable cost-effective practices) to make adjustments that conserve resources.

 “Sustainability” Wikipedia.com

Are All Sustainable Businesses Ethical?

Are all sustainable businesses ethical? Not necessarily. There are ways that sustainable businesses can operate unethically, including pretending to be more sustainable than they really are, or making decisions that are dishonest or cause harm. Sustainability is multi-faceted and is just one of many areas of concern in leading an ethical organization.

All businesses, even those considered sustainable, need to include these variables (among others) in their business thinking to be sure that they are considering a broad enough spectrum of constituents and a long enough time-orientation when they make decisions:

  • The impact of my products and services on consumers and society
  • The long-term unintended consequences of my choices
  • The changing consumer mindset toward a broader definition of ethical business and avoiding harm
  • Balancing impact on the planet with impact on people and society
  • Ethical business behavior and an ethical culture

Resources

Ecological Overshoot and Sustainability Ethics  johncairns.net

The Ethics of Sustainability Dunstan and Swan, National Park Service, at nowforourturn.org

Sustainable Everything: What C-Suite Leaders Need to Know About the New Thinking Linda Fisher Thornton, Leading in Context Blog, November 24, 2010

The Ethical Leadership Puzzle: A Broader View  Linda Fisher Thornton, Leading in Context Blog, February 16, 2011

522For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 

 
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Ethical Leadership Context

The Context for Ethical Leadership is Broader Than You May Think

The context for understanding ethical leadership is evolving as we connect information from a wide variety of disciplines that have not traditionally worked together. Here are some quotes from the Leading in Context Blog that illustrate the edges of  its context:

Curiosity and Imagination

On the surface, it doesn’t seem that curiosity and imagination are related to ethics. But think about what would happen in an environment where people were not able to use them. Could employees still be relied on to consistently behave ethically in an environment where they were not engaged in their work, and where they did not feel respected or fairly treated?

Linda Fisher Thornton, in Leading in Context Blog Post “Curiosity and Imagination Necessary Ingredients in Ethical Culture” published May 18, 2011.

Beyond Profit

The trouble with using a profit-based definition of “ethics” is that by using profitability as a way to make decisions an entire spectrum of other issues is conveniently ignored. In order to avoid this trap and to move away from profit-based thinking, it’s important to broaden the variables we consider when making business decisions to include:

  • The impact of my products and services on consumers and society
  • The impact of my business operations on the planet
  • The long-term unintended consequences of my choices
  • The changing consumer mindset toward ethical business and avoiding harm
  • The erosion of customer confidence in my products, services and ethics
Linda Fisher Thornton, in Leading in Context Blog Post “Profit-Based Ethics: The Mindset Behind It” published May 11, 2011.
Harm and Inclusion

As we better understand how we are connected as a global society, and our thinking about ethical leadership evolves, our standards of  expected behavior begin to change.

We don’t accept treating people disrespectfully or abusively.

We tolerate less harm.

We think of harm more broadly.

We expect leaders to be inclusive.

We think of inclusion more inclusively.

…It raises the stakes for all of us.

Linda Fisher Thornton, in Leading in Context Blog Post “Curiosity and Imagination Necessary Ingredients in Ethical Culture” published May 18, 2011.

Respect and Trust
Have you noticed a trend toward more respectful behavior? Customers and employees aren’t accepting anything less. People are helping each other more, and sharing what they know more. They are expecting a higher standard of trust, respect and ethics.
Linda Fisher Thornton, in Leading in Context Blog Post “Leadership and…Respect: The New Minimum Standard for Workplace Behavior” published February 2, 2011.

 

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For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 

Ethics at the Intersection

How Do We Determine Our Ethics as Leaders?

Why is it such a challenge to determine how we interpret “ethical leadership?” Because there are many different ways of determining what we consider to be ethical.  Even while trying to be responsible we can still miss the mark by a mile.

Consider some of the possible ways that a leader might interpret ethics.

Ethics in a Vacuum

  • Looks at “ethics” in a silo, investigating deeply rather than broadly
  • Excludes areas that others consider to be part of ethical leadership
  • Ignores how emerging knowledge in other areas of practice should impact ethical leadership
Ethics of Convenience
  • Determines what is ethical based on individual values and selectively chosen research
  • Defines “ethics” in the context that provides the most benefits for the interpreter
  • Often fiercely defends own decisions as “ethical” using judgemental words and blame

Ethics in a Historical Context

  • Defines ethics based on the knowledge of  ethics scholars and historical thinkers
  • Uses historical ideas to solve today’s complex challenges
  • Ignores the current evolving leadership context and new research
  • Limits the boundaries of ethics to those that have been extensively written about and studied

Ethics at the Intersection

  • Determines what is ethical based on a holistic view of ethics
  • Changes definition of “ethical” based on new research. .. not finite… ever evolving
  • Considers research beyond the boundaries of “formal ethics” to include the impact of  choices on employee engagement, innovation and more
  • Takes an integrative perspective, looking at what we can learn from the places where many disciplines intersect (for example:  philosophy, psychology, sociology, ecology and leadership)
While we cannot ignore what we have learned from the past, we also cannot ignore what we are learning in the present. It is equally important to take a broad and integrative approach, not limiting the scope of our view to incorporate only that which is personally familiar or personally beneficial.  A combination of approaches is probably the most responsible, studying the historical understanding of ethics but not being restricted by its boundaries, and studying the emerging knowledge without losing sight of its historical context.
522For 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 

People-Based “Ethics”: The Mindset Behind it

How People-Based Ethics Plays Out in the Business World

If I interpret ethical leadership as people-based, then I will make decisions that maximize people benefits and reduce harm to people.  Using “People-Based Ethics” I may choose to help people manage workplace stress, ensure a healthy culture for them to work in, hold people accountable for good leadership and offer generous benefit and vacation programs so that employees may balance work and home responsibilities. I may offer community volunteer programs and support local programs that feed the hungry or support other human needs.

The Trouble With Using Only People-Based “Ethics”

Being concerned about people is a very important aspect of ethical leadership. The trouble with using only a people-based definition of “ethics” is that by using the impact on people as the only way to make decisions we may be ignoring these other variables:

  • The impact of our business operations on the planet
  • The long-term unintended consequences of our choices
  • The changing consumer mindset toward sustainable business and avoiding harm

Moving Beyond “People-Based” Thinking

Whenever we think about ethics in only one dimension, even though we are diligently managing that area of focus, we are always ignoring another. In order to avoid limiting our ethical thinking to “people” we need to broaden the variables that we consider when making business decisions to also include the planet and long-term consequences of our actions on society.

 

522

For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 

11 Learning & Development Reports 2011

In 2011 we know more about how people learn, and as leaders we have a responsibility to adapt our corporate learning practices as times change. Here is an index for leaders of current research, articles and predictions about learning:

Special Report: Learning Delivery 2011 Chief Learning Officer, clomedia.com

10 Predictions for 2011: Trends That Will Reshape the Training Industry Training Industry Inc, trainingindustry.com

Top Tools for Learning: Emerging Trends  Jane Hart, in Learning Technologies Magazine

Learning Technology Trends to Watch in 2011 theelearningcoach.com

Business Training Trends in 2011 Integration Training, integrationtraining.co.uk

Learning and the State of Business 2011 Bob Lee, in Chief Learning Officer

Directory of Learning Tools 2011 Center for Learning and Performance Technologies, c4lpt.co.uk

Trends in Learning and Development 2010 2012 Summary Overlap R & D Team, on slideshare.net

The State of Learning Delivery on Mobile Devices in 2011  Marci Paino in Chief Learning Officer, clomedia.com

Continued Dedication to Workplace Learning Laleh Patel, at astd.org

Evaluating Training and Learning Circa 2011 Tom Gram, at performancexdesign.wordpress.com

522For 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 

100th Blog Post: The Ethical Leadership Training Challenge

I am delighted to report that this is the 100th Leading in Context blog post! Special thanks to all of you who are subscribers and regular readers!

Today’s graphic is a Wordle of my article “Ethical Leadership Training: Why is it So Hard to Get it Right?”  published in the September 2009 issue of Training and Development by the American Society of Training and Development and reprinted in The Best of Leadership 2009: Leadership Development issue.

The scope of leadership ethics is broadening. Leadership ethics used to be about honesty, integrity, fairness, following rules and laws, and being true to your values. Now, in the global marketplace, with fierce competition for business and resources, the scope of problems that can occur in leadership ethics has expanded exponentially.

The global scope means that the issues we encounter may involve the widely differing values, rules, and laws of multiple companies and cultures. The way that we define “leadership ethics” has to be different in this new marketplace and has to incorporate more than individual values.

Linda Fisher Thornton in “Leadership Ethics Training: Why is it So Hard To Get It Right?, Training and Development Journal, American Society for Training and Development,  September 2009.

To read the complete article:  LeadinginContext.com/Articles 

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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

© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 

Top Resources for Implementing Leadership Ethics Training

After my article about leadership ethics training (Full-Text Article) ran in the September issue of Training and Development magazine,  I learned that readers were having trouble finding resources for implementing ethics programs for leaders that incorporated the broader definition of “ethical leadership.”  Here are some of my favorite sites to get you started.

  • Darden.Virginia.edu   This site is the Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics at UVA Darden, and includes direct links to business ethics organizations.
  • OCEG.org  This link takes you to an interesting interview published in the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, about a training view of leadership ethics.
  • SCU.edu  This link takes you to a research paper on Organizational Ethics Education and Training Best Practices.

For New Blog Posts, visit LeadinginContext.com/Blog

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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2009 Leading in Context LLC 

“Leadership Ethics Training: Why is it So Hard to Get it Right?”

“The headlines are full of stories about unethical leaders. We know from following those stories that unethical leadership can ruin a company. Why, then, are experienced Chief Learning Officers having difficulty implementing effective training in Leadership Ethics?”

My article “Leadership Ethics Training: Why is it So Hard to Get it Right?” featured in the September issue of Training and Development Journal explains why it is so difficult for Chief Learning Officers to know how to develop ethical leaders within their organizations.

As detailed in to the article, there are a number of factors that make it difficult for CLOs to come up with solutions. “There are a variety of reasons why CLOs are finding that the leadership ethics problem is not easily solved:  The definition of leadership ethics is still unclear; its scope is broadening, making it a moving target; ethics is hard to talk about; and the most useful leadership ethics programs are company-specific. So, we have an unclear topic that is in flux, on a subject that is itself a “grey area.” We have a general discomfort talking about the subject, and an off-the-shelf training program isn’t going to fix the problem.”

As the definition of “ethical leadership” continues to evolve, CLOs will need to stay on top of new skills that will be required of leaders at all levels in their organizations.

For New Blog Posts, visit LeadinginContext.com/Blog

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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2009 Leading in Context LLC 

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