culture change – Perspectives & Possibilities

Tag: culture change

Title: New York City's daily carbon dioxide emissions as one-tonne spheres. | Author: Carbon Visuals | Source: carbonquilt | License: CC BY 2.0

The Constitution as Culture Audit

One of my favorite tasks as an organizational psychologist is to design, administer, and evaluate culture audits. The design process is the most important part because it entails asking the people in an organization to create norms and values of their own choosing. In focus groups, I ask people to share what they believe are the desired and required norms for their organizations, i.e. what kind of work environment would they find most exciting and Read More

Hand carrying a piece of paper of the world

Marketing and Leadership

“When you are made a leader, you aren’t given a crown; you are given the responsibility to bring out the best in others.” —Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric There is an old adage that leaders are born not made. That myth became popular as people observed that most leaders had personality traits such as intelligence, charisma, attractive appearance, and confidence. I believe the truth is that effective leaders are typically born AND made, Read More

Featured Author: George Yancy

On June 19th in the New York Times, George Yancy published a Stone article entitled “Is Your God Dead?” I was so inspired by the power and prose of his piece that I am turning the microphone over today to this brilliant scholar will not only give you a break from my endless ranting, but will hopefully rekindle your outrage and stoke your passion for justice. After I read this piece for the third time (yes, Read More

Title: Nulle chose ne peut être détruite | Author: Bruno Malfondet | License: CC0

Disruption, Destruction, and Distraction

Independence Day 2017 “Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive. And it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.” —George W. Bush, 2017 Disruption can be for better for worse. Luckily for me, the two major disruptions in my life turned out for the better. In 1968, at age 23, I was sent to Vietnam as a soldier in Military Read More

Title: orange | Author: Bob May | Source: alternative_illustrations on Flickr | License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Balance and Unity

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” —Abraham Lincoln, Nov. Read More

Image Credit: Eleanor Caves and Claire Spottiswoode | Source: African Cuckoos

Shams and Shame

In the book, Mark Twain and the Art of the Tall Tale, Henry Wonham quotes Twain as saying, “the moral responsibility of the American humorist is ‘the deriding of shams, the exposure of pretentious falsities,’ and ‘the laughing of stupid superstitions out of existence.’” Thus, he said, “the humorist is the natural enemy of royalties, nobilities, privileges, and all kindred swindles, and is the natural friend of human rights and liberties.” Twain offered high praise Read More

Title: Naturalization Ceremony September 7, 2016 | Author: Yellowstone National Park / yellowstoneps | Source: Flickr | License: CC0

Reciprocity

Are the facts you think you know about immigration in the U.S. actually myths?–and what does the psychological concept of reciprocity have to do with the concept of being an American?

facade | Author: mitchell haindfield | Flickr | | License: Attribution 2.0 Generic

Bubbles, Beliefs, and Behaviors

I grew up in a bubble. It was a very common bubble for a lot of folks in our country: Mid-western, white, Christian, republican, working class, conservative, and rural. I had very little understanding about the lives of people outside my bubble and no awareness that I was even in a bubble.

My first bubble was burst in 1968 when I served in Vietnam with Army Intelligence.

line dancing

2020 World Culture Vision

The TV show “Downton Abbey” demonstrates as well as anything I have ever read or seen how an all-pervasive cultural code can produce strange and incomprehensible behaviors in people. People will do abnormal things to look “normal” by complying with the unwritten rules of the game.

Just as financial reports need to be audited, so also do the norms and values of the culture.

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

Title: Fox at Malone Bay Campground -2 | Credit: Ray Dumas | License: CC BY-SA 2.0

The Tao of Money

I just spent a few days on Isle Royale, one of the best kept, National Park secrets in the United States. I walked ten miles a day on rugged trails on this spectacular island in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The views were stunning: pristine lakes, lush forests, breathtaking views, and occasional sightings of fox, moose, and wolves. These walks filled me with renewed appreciation for Teddy Roosevelt for founding and funding the National Parks Read More

Health, Helping and Healing

As I get older, I realize that most problems and opportunities are multi-dimensional. There are many sides to every issue and many layers to every person. Things seem more complex, nuanced, and grey these days…

Fear and Freedom

“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.” —Aung San Suu Kui Raising children and having grandchildren gave me an intimate understanding of fear and freedom. I wanted my kids to have the freedom to explore the external world and to discover who they were, but I lived in constant fear of lurking dangers. I always leaned toward freeing them, but tried to establish boundaries that would keep Read More

Credit: annajasinski on Flickr | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Thinking and Believing

Believe me—Daniel Kahneman got it right: we are more likely to find stories that support our beliefs than seek out evidence in the pursuit of truth. Kahneman is a professor emeritus at Princeton University who wrote the best selling book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. His work is focused on the psychology of judgment and decision-making for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. His findings challenge the assumption of human rationality. Clearly, Read More

Lithograph by Emily Bellingham, 2009. http://www.siteesite.com

Mathematics and Metaphysics

 “Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.” “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” —Bertrand Russell I used to love algebra as a kid. It’s such an elegant language. And it’s based on a beautiful principle: you can do anything to one side of an equation as long as you do the same Read More

Meeting Barack Obama

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Every morning in my daily meditation, I give thanks for the earth, water, the sun, air, the time I have on this planet, the knowledge I have access to, the vastness of space, the healing energy of Light, my ability to think and process, sounds that I hear, love that I feel, hope that I cling to, the senses that let me experience the world, my sexuality, and my roots. Yup, starting the day with Read More

"People's Fukushima Radiation Mask," by Surian Soosay

The Morality of Normality

In our culture, it has become all too normal to abuse the environment, exploit workers, exclude groups of people, and misuse technology. In this post I share the three moral revolutions that need to happen to avoid atrocities like the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

"Porst SP Old Plank Road 2," by Flickr user J Jakobson https://www.flickr.com/photos/30811353@N04/

Concepts and Skills

Stephen Ambrose, in his new book describing the construction of the Transcontinental railroad, Nothing Like It In the World, suggests that trains were the primary vehicle for introducing the industrial revolution. He quotes an engineer who said, “where a mule can go, I can make a locomotive go.” The poetry of engineering requires both the imagination to conceive and the skills to execute. We use concepts to frame our imagination, we use skills to build Read More

https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/

The Three Dimensions of Leadership Development

Everyone has an opinion on leadership. Amazon offers over 300,000 books with “leadership” in the title and about 4 new books per day are published by aspiring gurus or established academics. It seems like leadership commands as much curiosity as religion. Why is that? I think there are three reasons. First, readers are looking for different solutions for their particular needs. Some want to learn the secrets of a one-minute manager. Others want an in-depth 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: Suburbia | Author: Caribb

Immigration and Imagination

In his book, Tortilla Curtain, published in 1995, T.C. Boyle enters deeply into the frames of reference of both immigrants and the gated community. He puts you squarely into the hearts and minds of people struggling desperately at enormous risks to establish a new life for themselves as well as people who are fighting mightily to protect the lifestyles they have established through hard work and white privilege.

Photo by Sérgio Rola, http://unsplash.com/sergio_rola

Wonder and Wondering

In 1968, I met Stephen Williams at Fort Holabird, Maryland, where we were both enrolled in Army Spy School.

Red Budlea | Author: Kevin Pulker | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Consciousness and Culture

“Love is the motive, but justice is the instrument.” —Reinhold Niebuhr I have had a lot of heroes in my life. There are, of course, the historically popular figures like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Einstein, Churchill, and the Roosevelts (Teddy, FDR, and Eleanor). Add there are people currently living who make my list as well, like Nicholas Kristof, Gloria Steinem, and Barack Obama. As a result of some recent books Read More

This “Wordscape” shows the birth of a word by mapping the data related to every utterance of the word “water” in Deb Roy’s home. Image credit: Philip DeCamp/Deb Roy, via Wired

Cultural Captivity

As I grow older I see the world with a different set of glasses. As I observe more closely, I see that context is more important than content, and that we are all held captive by our cultures. Here’s a jarring example to make the point. Imagine what might go through the mind of an Israeli police officer confronting a Palestinian teenager furiously throwing rocks at him. Without taking into account the conditions and history Read More