Organizational Health

Photos by Mike Wilson and Ky0n Cheng

Inspiration and Aspiration

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”  —Khalil Gibran, The Madman I once worked for a company that aspired to be a $10B corporation. I said to the executives at that time, “That may be a good goal but it surely isn’t a compelling vision, and it does nothing to inspire me.” I left the company after two years. Part Read More

Michigan fall landscape, by Rick Bellingham

Emptiness

I remember the knock on the door. It was 1982, and we were living in Basking Ridge, NJ. A fresh-faced and earnest 10 year-old wanted to know if he could mow our lawn. He said he was saving up to buy a car. Even though I was perfectly capable of mowing the lawn myself, I said, “Fantastic, you’re hired.” Today, 34 years later, we are still friends. Richard is now a 5th degree black belt Read More

"Pinwheel tesselation, version 2, backlit," by Eric Gjerde

Vision and Values

As an executive coach I often facilitate life-line and development planning workshops. The life-line exercise encourages people to share the significant events and important people in their life and how those people and events helped to shape their values. I challenge participants to be as open and transparent as they can be, and I ask them to risk sharing what may be outside their comfort zone. In spite of these guidelines, most people stay in Read More

Photograph of Rick and Bobbitt

Three Types of Trust

I’ve been married to the same woman for 46 years, and I can say unequivocally that I totally trust her. I trust her to do the right thing, I trust her to not throw me the under the bus (even though I have given her many opportunities), and I trust her to stand up for people in need of special help. When she makes a statement, I know it is based on sound research; she Read More

Eastern States Penitentiary, by Victoria Pickering

Jails and Justice

My daughter, Emily, asked me a great question the other day: “How did your work in jail rehab inform your work with executives?” My answer: It was the best training I could have ever had. Why? Because the same principal applies to both: to get out of jail you need to move up the scale. Here’s the context and explanation. After returning from Vietnam, I spent 8 years in jail (1970-1978)—fortunately, not as an inmate, Read More

Title: *Explored*: Deep Space Visualisation by Candaş Şişman (TR), NOHlab/Plato Media Lab (TR) | Credit: Ars Electronica / Christopher Sonnleitner | Source: Flickr | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Delusion and Discrimination

Ezra, my 4 year-old grandson, has a favorite expression: “I NEED IT, RIGHT NOW!!!!” “It’s not fair when I don’t get what I want” is a common lament we often hear from people of all ages. Employees at corporations who are in the top 1% of all wage earners frequently complain that they should be making as much or more than their peers. After all, “isn’t it obvious that my performance is far better than Jane’s?” Family members Read More

Title: Shadows 8/18/13 | Author: diane cordell

Ideas and Ideologies

The recent ISIS attacks in Egypt, Lebanon, and Paris put a chilling edge on the holiday season and the prospects for planet earth. ISIS represents a lethal ideology based on antiquated ideas. And, most importantly, it is committed to an apocalypse. By definition, an ideology is a collection of ideas and a body of doctrine, myths, and beliefs that guide an individual, social movement, or group. An idea is a thought, plan, or suggestion about Read More

Photo of Interlochen in 1966. Interlochen started off as National Music Camp in 1928--it's been around for a while. Credit: Flickr user Up North Memories https://www.flickr.com/photos/upnorthmemories/

Community and Connection

Walking onto the campus of Interlochen Arts Academy is like walking into a different world. For one, there is as much artistic genius per square foot as there is mathematical genius at MIT. There is also a richness of diversity. In a typical summer, 2,500 kids from all over the world and practically every state attend the camp for four to eight weeks of intense study in music, drama, creative writing, dance, and/or visual arts. Read More

Title: one size – fits all | Author: Cees Wouda | Source: ceesjw on Flickr | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Labels, Limits, and Levels

Dr. Bill Anthony, the highly respected, world-renowned, executive director of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center at Boston University, initiated classes with new students by throwing the DSM into the waste basket. This dramatic statement was intended to communicate to people entering the mental health field that labels limit our ability to see the potential and possibilities of another human being.

Credit: Ryan McGuire | License: CC0

Selecting Coaches

Forty years ago, I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the selection of counselors for public high schools. I didn’t write it to create a career-defining, landmark study. I wrote it to check off a box for the completion of my doctoral degree in counseling psychology. Little did I know that the profession of coaching and counseling would explode in the next century. Now, practically everyone either has a coach or is a coach. The question Read More

Full Rainbow | Credit: Jakob Owens | License: CC0

Step Back

In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In became a massive cultural phenomenon, and its title became an instant catchphrase for empowering women. The book soared to the top of best-seller lists both nationally and internationally, igniting global conversations about women and ambition. Sandberg packed theaters, dominated op-ed pages, appeared on every major television show and on the cover of Time magazine, and sparked ferocious debate about women and leadership.

Passion and Drive | Credit: Death to Stock Photo | License: CC0

Exploitation Masquerading as Engagement

Most companies measure employee engagement. It represents one critical way to determine the level of commitment and productivity of their human capital. An abundance of research suggests a high correlation between employee engagement and great performance. But how do we stop from crossing the line into exploitation?

Credit: Master Wen | License: CC0

Symptoms or Systems

It’s easy to see the glaring symptoms of a problem and miss the underlying systems that caused the problem in the first place. Let’s take Ferguson as the most recent example. If we look at the situation as an individual problem, we could focus on Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, or Robert McCulloch. Michael Brown was clearly the victim – he was an unarmed man who didn’t deserve to be shot. He was also not a Read More

Wellness

In 1978, when wellness was still a strange term that few people understood, I was hired to direct one of the first hospital based health promotion/wellness programs in the country. Samaritan Health System (SHS, now known as Banner Health), the largest hospital system in Arizona, started this innovative program because health care costs were escalating and consuming a continuously increasing percentage of GDP. The Center for Disease Control had just completed a study showing that Read More

Creating Organizational Soul

After publishing Corporate Culture Change, the Corporate Culture Sourcebook, and Ethical Leadership in the late 1980’s, I was retained by Lotus Development Corporation (now known as Lotus Software) in Cambridge, Massachusetts to help them align their culture behind a new network-centric strategy to better differentiate their company from its arch-rival Microsoft.

Integrated Educational Reform

If educational reform is going to be successful, we need to start with trust and healthy conflict. In my view, commitment is not the major issue. I don’t see a lack of teacher commitment as the biggest problem. To me, capability and culture are far more potent variables in the success equation.

Title: Accommodating the Newcomers | Author: Joel Penner

Building Trust

Trust is the foundational building block for organizational health.  Just as diet and exercise are the key starting points for physical health, trust is the “must have” for building a healthy, productive, and innovative work environment.  Without trust, you have no chance of creating the kind of organizational culture you may want to build. Trust has two components: indvidual and institutional. Individual trust is defined as a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or Read More

Photo of Machu Picchu by Rick Bellingham

The History of Great Ideas

Great ideas have been piling up in history’s graveyard for 3,000 years. They are left unattended and largely forgotten. When these ideas are first introduced, they are usually met with laudatory excitement and abundant enthusiasm. Then, the ideas are gradually diminished and distorted through this four step process: Trivialization, Bastardization, Privatization, Commercialization

Photo of New York City by Rick Bellingham

Inequality

The featured image of this post is a picture of the downtown area of NYC—home of Wall Street. It’s a beautiful sight with majestic buildings, but there is a story unfolding that is as ugly as the buildings are beautiful. In those spectacular buildings, and in others around the world, evil lurks. Here are some facts: The highest percentage of ultra high net worth people (greater than $30 million) lives in NYC. Unfortunately, almost 50%

Credit: Mksaunders

Corporate Spirit: Oxymoron or Possibility?

Spirituality is coming to the workplace thinly veiled as mindfulness, awareness, and stress management. As the veil gets lifted, the questions arise: does it belong, can it co-exist with profitability, and what are the dangers?

Does spirituality belong in the workplace? It depends…