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论老子

道,领导也。领导必需要不断呼唤,教导下属以及以身作则。下属的过和错皆因领导懒惰。

 
 
 

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Cultivating Kindness in an organization  

2016-12-01 13:22:07|  分类: The Truths |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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            [i]The long forgotten three main purposes of a business leader are: one, to make sure the employees live a happy and vigorous life and at the same time, inculcate the concept of mutual love and kindness as the fundamental social fabric that glues the organization together; two, endlessly create new tangible things with the right form, fit and function to enable the customers to benefit from these articles or products that the organization is producing or create intangible services that the public wants; and three, ensure the employees can enjoy unrestricted right of freedom to pursue their ideals to do what is best for the organization and to their level best. [ii]He who is kind and he cares for all the people in his organization as equal in importance to himself, he can be entrusted to care of all of them.

Assume you are already doing very well in point two and three above. Are you making sure your employees are happy? Are you kind to them? Shall we put these questions aside for the time being and look at how you live your day (or perhaps, one of your typical employees).

Let’s describe what happened to you, yesterday.

You turned your head over and glanced at your wife. She was still sleeping soundly. Suddenly, she blinked her eyes open and greeted you, “Good morning dear. You woke up early today.” A gush of warm feeling circulated in your heart and you smiled at her, you reached out to coddle her for a short while. Reluctantly, you pulled yourself up, went into the washroom and brushed your teeth.

While walking down the staircase, your father who was reading newspaper in the living room greeted you, “Son, did you have a good night sleep?” You promptly replied, “Thanks dad. I sleep soundly last night.”

Your mom who was about to lay the table for breakfast, revealed to you, “Son, I have made your choice breakfast: two sunny-up eggs and baked sweet potatoes.” You walked over, hugged her, then and there you thanked her, “Mom, you are most lovely. A son without a caring mom indeed, is a desolated boy.” Your mom beamed with a broad smile and joyously commented, “You have the sweetest mouth, since young.”

Before you sit down, your grown-up daughter joined you at the dining table. She wished you, “Good morning dad. See that you are having a good day at work, today.” You looked at her, she was well-dressed up with light make up, unsophisticated. Immediately, you recognized she is the same sweet little adorable girl whom you have dotted with utmost care. She is your proud little darling.

After breakfast, it was time for you to leave for work. You walked down the road and a small little boy greeted you, “Good morning uncle.” You turned around and saw his mother holding his left hand. You waved at him. Meanwhile, his mom beaming with a sweet smile, waved back to you, indicating to his son to wave at you, too.   

You boarded the bus. You dropped your fare into the coin box. The bus driver greeted you, “Good morning, Eric. Have a good day.” You nodded your head and said, “All thanks to you, Sunny. I enjoy a smooth ride to work, every day.”

You alighted at the bus-stop next to your office. Since you were a little early, you took a slow walk. Peggy came up alongside you and said, “Hello, Eric. Good morning. I have compiled the report for you. It is ready for your 9:00 am meeting.” You replied, “Thanks Peggy. That is very kind of you. You are such an efficient lady.”

Right at the revolving door of the main entrance, you saw Shirley with both hands holding onto two big files, trying to use her leg to push open the door. You kindly opened the door for her. She said, “Thank you, Eric. It is very kind of you.” You replied, “It is my pleasure.” 

Before 9:00 am, you collected all your presentation materials and walked into the meeting room. You saw Bobby sitting down there in his usual seat, sipping a cup of coffee. You exclaimed, “Hi Bobby, did you watch the Man U versus Chelsea game last night?” Bobby, responded, “I did. It was one of those matches that I have always yearned to watch. I am a fan of Chelsea club.” But you sighed, “I am a Man U fan, you know. Man U lost 2:3 to Chelsea. Wayne Rooney was a big disappointment to me. How could he missed that open goal?”

Soon, the rest of the people entered the meeting room and the meeting started. The meeting began with a sweet note as usual, debates got on later, and heated arguments started flying in the meeting room. Such gruesome fights were always over some hotly contested ideas, and who shall pick up the tab to execute them. At the end of the meeting, each of you unbelievingly asked oneself, “Who spoilt my day?” In your heart, meetings should not have been in this way. Alas! This was a routine.

Let’s recall what happened yesterday. You began your day with kindnesses coming from everyone who happened to be around you. It was like almost every morning, you have been most blissful, receiving kindness from your family members, your neighbors and colleagues, aplenty. Conversely, much to your regrets, what happened in company meetings almost always unkindly destroyed your good feel of the day and some days worse, ruined your mood altogether.

Let’s take a quick look at the Kindness scale below. What has gone wrong?

Diagram 11-1: Kindness Scale

Cultivating Kindness in an organization - 行天麒麟 - 论老子

 A value of ‘0’ is assigned to the leftmost mark and it represents ‘Unkindness’ where one is too preoccupied with oneself and rather unkind towards other people. The values from 1 to 10 represent situations where his kindness is applied to different people. The value of ‘1’ signifies one’s kindness for his wife (spouse). The values ‘2’ to ‘10’ represent one’s kindness for his children, parents, brothers and sisters, extended family members, friends, superior and subordinates, colleagues, customers and strangers.

Everyone, from the value of ‘1’ to ‘10’ has greeted you warmly and rather had been kind to you the whole morning. You were amply showered by kindnesses. Why on earth, must the meetings or the work environment be a source of your unhappiness?

Is kindness lost in the organization? Why, fellow employees have to be unkind to one another, especially during meetings? Isn’t there some sort of a discipline or moral conduct that governs our behaviors at work?

Scarily, there seems to be a missing element in most organizations. What is it?

Well, this is one of my least known secrets. It could be the exacting answer to what the missing element is. Everybody has been telling me, “Eric, you are a very kind person. You are cautious with words. You care not to harm anyone, even with your words.” Often, I merely responded with a broad smile. I have never told anyone this other little secret.

To me, kindness is one of my most powerful secrets of success. Because I see boundless incidences of unkindness happening in a company, sometimes, I wondered, ‘If I am kind to them, they will all follow me. They would find solace in me.’ That was why, wherever I went, the employees loved to talk to me and emptied their woes, mainly about work issues and problems they faced. Almost without the need to collect data, I have gathered enough evidences from the horses’ mouth, the kind of problems they are facing, how these problems arise, and where the source of the problems are. The next day, I would walked over to these other departments and figured out what are the issues these departments are facing that led them to continuously churn out the problems which I gathered yesterday. Often, I provided simple remedies to solve their issues at the snap of my fingers. Bingo! The problems were resolved. Productivity shot up by 30% or more.

Yeah! The way in which I carried out my consultancy assignments was analogous to “when the world is blind, the one-eyed Jack is the king.” Indeed, most of the time, I found myself being the only kind person[1] in the company, where I am the lone individual making available kindness from within myself, anytime of the day in order to be kind to them all. Whether I was their leader or not that was immaterial. As a consultant hired from outside the company, I was never their superior. Yet, they all followed me, took on my suggestions to solve their issues on hand and implemented them diligently. Really, what I wanted to see then and there was this simple phrase, follow me. That means I am their unsanctioned leader. At the end of the day and the most important of all, I had effectively and efficiently led them in the implementation of a project or program that was assigned to me to assist this company.

As a leadership consultant[2], I would like to see many of my clients picking up good habits, such as kindness. This is because for 30 years, embracing kindness close to my heart was most crucial to my success as a consultant. Today, I am here, sharing with you. Please do not overlook the power of kindness proffered by employees within a factory, a company or an organization or etcetera. Kick start it now, and inspire everyone to be kind to one another. It is many times more powerful should the company existing culture is already slumming in unkindness and unkindness fills the air.

Looking back, you may want to know what had caused kindness to vanish from within the organization. This happens when one relentlessly pursues:

1.     I want this repeating line down situation eradicated. Yet, it has been bugging me for a week now;

2.     I want to hit my sale target;

3.     I want to provide a corrective action to close my customer complaint;

4.     I want the raw materials to come in on-time, otherwise, my production will stop;

5.     I want to solve this reliability issue, but no one seems to know its root cause;

6.     I want to increase the productivity of this piece of newly bought equipment;

7.     I want to reduce the amount of rejected parts to less than 1%;

8.     I want to implement this project on cost and without any delay;

9.     I want to push forward this program, despite the CEO is not personally leading it;

10.  I want to increase the company’s profitability by …

Few of us ever wonder, the moment someone is highly charged to achieve any one of these targets, automatically, he had forgotten about kindness. Straightaway, he zooms in and focuses in getting things done effectively and efficiently. In his heart, he merely feels there is a strong urge or passion in him to achieve his goal … and nothing else! Kindness is inevitably suppressed or slotted into one small corner of his heart. This is the reason why kindness is a missing element in most organizations. 

At this moment, please ask yourself, “Is unkindness occupying the emotional space among co-workers? Is unkindness permeating the atmosphere of your work environment?”

If the answer is “Yes”, the person who should bear the highest responsibility is you, the CEO of this company. If you are not bothered to ensure the work environment does not quickly degenerate into an unkind workplace, everyone would follow suit and does not care a damn about being unkind to one another or feels there is a need to curtail unkind behaviors. This is how unkindness filths the air in an organization. You really can’t openly blame the employees of the company where each quietly pile on more unkind incidences or create unpleasant events that turned the whole organization into the unkindest living hell to work in. It is all, your fault!

Can you do something about it?

Yes. The author is prescribing to you a two-prong approach.

First, to prevent a company culture from degrading into an atmosphere where unkindness abounds, [iii]the heart of a leader (whether the CEO, or for that matter, his directors, managers or simply any person appointed to head a meeting) has to be truly selfless. He must put the interests of everyone else at the highest priority. In every respect, he shall carry in himself a selfless heart (of gold). [iv]To all the kind and compassionate people, he shall be kind and care for them all. To those who are less kind and neither compassionate, he would shower them with the same level of kindness and care because this is the only way to guide everyone to learn to be kind and compassionate. Over time, everyone in the organization shall cultivate core moral principles of kindness and compassion, leading to the evolution of a kind and caring culture.

Definitely, it is the CEO of a company who must set the ball rolling and lead by example. If you do not embrace kindness with a heart of gold as described in the paragraph above, would your subordinates do likewise? Yet, few CEO’s ever realized this little secret of success – cultivate within the organization a culture where kindness thrives aplenty and overflows into every employee’s heart. Teamwork then, is a surety.

Second, [v]a kind and sagacious CEO places the employees’ interests ahead of his own interests, (should he has any) and when he speaks, he is modest and chooses to use humble words. For example, “Let’s carry out a kaizen on this issue.”

If he wants to take the lead in promoting kindness among his people, he must put his own interests (too busy and therefore, steal time away from supporting the kaizen movement) right at the bottom of the list or to the most unimportant position. With this in mind, when he implements the kaizen program that is going to improve the lives of the people, the employees do not think they are shouldering a heavy load.

When he courageously commits his time and pushes the people forward in the execution of one kaizen after another, the employees do not think there is any harm in doing it. The loveliest scenario of all is when the employees say, “Kaizen is our inherent job. We should not have troubled the CEO to yelp at us.”

At this instant, the biggest question in you is how to set the ball rolling?

Let pick on the first item in the list that is, “I want this repeating line down situation eradicated. Yet, it has been bugging me for a week now.”

Who are the people who are not going to be happy? Certainly, you are not going to be happy because nobody is assisting the poor operator who is troubled by the frequent line down situation. His supervisor is not. So does the production manager. Apart from them who have direct responsibility to produce the required daily output, the production planner is not going to be happy because of frequent intermittent downtime means the planned quantity for the day is short and thus, leading to missed delivery. Customers are going to complain for late delivery. It seems quite a number of people are not going to be happy. Tracing back to the source that had caused several people unhappy, it is obviously, no one bothers to carry out kaizen to help the line operator.

Why is it that everyone keeps a blind eye or blatantly ignored the call for help by the miserable line operator?

Oh! Everyone points his finger at the CEO. Deep in their heart, they are comforting themselves, “Ugh! Since the CEO doesn’t care or is concern about the line down situation, why should I care?”

Getting down to the crux of the contention, because you do not care or are concern about kaizen, who else cares? It seems to me, you are the number culprit causing the whole bunch of people who are going to be unhappy should the recurring line down situation sort of becoming a normal state of affairs and is not resolved any time sooner. The root of unhappiness within an organization is ‘nobody cares to carry out kaizen’.

Here and now, the answer rings out loud. Kaizen! Kaizen! Kaizen!

Summing up, kindness in the organization begins when everybody springs up to resolve all issues that the company is facing as soon as possible. [vi]Any line stopping issue regardless of whether it is about a big or small and regardless of its frequency of occurrences, these resentful incidences must be resolved with due care and this is exactly how kindness is going to flourish in the company because it had stopped the source of all unkindness. Without a doubt, kaizen is the best answer, and was thoroughly proven in Toyota Motor Co. Ltd.

Note: I am not going to discuss the rest of the nine items in the list of reasons that had possibly caused kindness to vanish from within the organization. They are rather complicated and require a specific methodology in problem analysis. Before a problem can be solved, we must first analyze the issue in order to get down to its root cause[3].


[1] The author must have cultivated a loving, compassionate and kind heart thenceforth, he can overcome every obstacle.

[2] The author wrote “The Wisdom of Lao Zi”. In it, there are 240 leadership principles and 60 moral principles. The author is not shy to claim he is the number one authority in subject, leadership.

[3] Perhaps, the author may go on to write an entire book on this subject in the coming book, titled, “Leadership Principles: Problem Analysis”.   



[i] “The Wisdom of Lao Zi”, Chapter 51: LP139a, b, c.

[ii] “The Wisdom of Lao Zi”, Chapter 13: LP17a, b.

[iii] “The Wisdom of Lao Zi”, Chapter 49: LP131.

[iv] “The Wisdom of Lao Zi”, Chapter 49: LP132a, b, c.

[v] “The Wisdom of Lao Zi”, Chapter 66: MP60a, b, c, d.

[vi] “The Wisdom of Lao Zi”, Chapter 63: LP170, a.

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