Stand Up and Be Counted…

“If it’s never our fault, we can’t take responsibility for it.  If we can’t take responsibility for it, we’ll always be its victim.”  ~ Richard Bach  ~

Fault, in this instance, is similar to cause.  Yes, we can and do cause our own circumstances, our own trials, our own state if affairs, our own sadness, our own agony, and our own pain .  Even though many of us do it completely without realizing that WE ARE DOING ITTO OURSELVES!

There are countless hoards of self-imposed victims in this world, with the Oh, Woe Is Me mentality.  I am sure many of us are familiar with these victims, (perhaps more familiar than we are willing to admit).  As victims, we can project a sense of helplessness, and thereby justify to ourselves (because that’s the only person we are fooling), that we are powerless.

Being powerless allows us to live our lives reacting to our circumstances, rather than accepting responsibility for our realities (that we control of our destinies).  What’s really astounding, is how many people who seem to settle into the state of victimology, and buy-in to the belief that there is no hope.  

Well, to quote Dieter F. Uchdorf in his April 2012 General Conference address; “Stop It!” While President Uchdorf was speaking to gossip and backbiting, the same counsel would apply when one adopts a victim mentality…Stop It!

Until one takes and accepts responsibility for one’s actions or inactions, he or she will be a victim; not a victim of one’s circumstances or one’s lot in life, but because of self-pity; which can be overcome.  Examine our attitudes and the choices we make (which by the way, we are in full control of), make a course correction.  You don’t have to be a victim; Stop It!  Remember, you are a survivor.  You are in control of your experiences and realities, so Do It!  Take responsibility for your life, because eternity is a long time to play victim.

Do you know of any sources to help those who feel they are victims?  If so, please comment, who knows, someone may actually be reading this stuff and be reaching out for help…you may be their life-line?

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Knowledge is…

To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge” (Henry David Thoreau)

A picture is worth a thousand words“; the impression that the intricacies of one’s thoughts could be expressed through a single still image.  There is profound knowledge all around us; knowledge just waiting to be discovered by the curious and the inquisitive.  “…seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).  There are promises prepared for those who have a sincere desire to find the true treasures (even hidden treasures).  “…And [they] shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures” (D&C 89:19). 

Given the promises made to those who diligently seek knowledge, why then, do so few seek it?  Perhaps there is a misunderstanding of what knowledge is?  Maybe one imagines one’s self as undeserving or incapable of attaining knowledge?  Certainly, there are some who believe that knowledge is availed only to those, whose circumstances afford them with the financial means for academic pursuits?

To answer the question of what knowledge is, in short; knowledge is power, and with knowledge, all things are possible.  Power comes as one realizes that he/she is an agent unto themselves; in control of their own destinies.  When one has doubts as to his/her ability to attain knowledge, or believes themselves to be unworthy of temporal or spiritual growth, one relinquishes their agency, and thereby loses their power. 

Lastly, to believe that (a) education, (b) learning, (c) schooling, (d) coaching, and (e) training are knowledge, is a misnomer.  These abc’s are not knowledge, but rather a means by which knowledge “can be” (though non-exclusively) attained.  Advancement through the various levels of abc’s listed above will generally come at a cost; but know this, Knowledge is FREE!!  Knowledge is, by definition, a familiarity with someone or something, which can include facts, information, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience (practical understanding) as well as through the abc’s (theoretical understanding).

As previously stated, knowledge is obtained through familiarity.  Therefore become familiar with someone.  Become familiar with the knowledge gaining process; “…seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118).  Knowledge is gained by opening our mouths to inquire, opening our eyes to new experiences, and then closing our mouths so our ears can hear the knowledge being imparted unto us.

Please let me know your thoughts on knowledge.

Dispelling the “Ass_u_me” Myth…

I am fairly confident that many (if not all) have at one point in their life, heard that to “Assume”, makes an “Ass” out of “You” and “Me” — Ass_u_me.  In some instances, I am certain that the analogy is true, and perhaps applicable?  Assumptions are usually formed as a bi-product of rumors, tribal knowledge, and/or urban legends, passed along from person to person through the gossip network.  Further, assumptions are predominately negative in nature, and are the basis from which perceptions are formed.  Herein lies the danger; unlike criminal law, where one is “presumed innocent until proven guilty“, assumptions and perceptions are supposed a reality (guilty), until dispelled or proven otherwise (innocent).  When one forms a perception of another, based on assumptions, the stage is then set for the assumer to end up with egg on his/her face, hence the “Ass_u_me”.

True leaders possess situational awareness, and are cognizant of avoiding the trappings of assuming, but instead, form their assessments of others through face-to-face interaction, rather than by hearsay.  Leaders who value the people in their charge, develop a form of built-in “Ass_u_me” avoidance system, which alerts them to the potential organizational catastrophes, and the ensuing casualties, which are eminent in the aftermath of assumptions having been made.

Having presented the trappings and dangers of assuming, it needs stated that not all assumptions are “negative” in nature, and in fact, some are healthy and beneficial to an organization.  I posit that those seeking to further develop their leadership presence, and fine tune their “Ass_u_me” avoidance system, do so by reviewing (adopting) the following list of assumptions from Abraham H. Maslow:

The following list contains 37 assumptions (36 plus assumption 6a), which underlie eupsychian management policy.  According to Maslow (1965), these “assumptions” are necessary preconditions for successful leadership “and” followership within organizations (Maslow, 1965, p. 17-33).  The list contains the main points of each assumption; additional commentary for each assumption can be viewed in Maslow’s Eupsychian Management: A Journal, which was re-published under the title: Maslow on Management.

  1. Assume everyone is to be trusted.
  2. Assume everyone is to be informed as completely as possible of as many facts and truths as possible…
  3. Assume in all your people the impulse to achieve…
  4. Assume that there is no dominance–subordination hierarchy in the jungle sense or authoritarian sense…
  5. Assume that everyone will have the same ultimate managerial objectives and will identify with them no matter where they are in the organization or in the hierarchy.
  6. Eupsychian economics must assume good will among all the members of the organization rather than rivalry or jealousy.  (6a).  Synergy is also assumed.
  7. Assume that the individuals involved are healthy enough.
  8. Assume that the organization is healthy enough…
  9. Assume the “ability to admire”…
  10. We must assume that the people in eupsychian plants are not fixated at the safety-need level.
  11. Assume an active trend to self-actualization…
  12. Assume that everyone can enjoy good teamwork, friendship, good group spirit, good group homonomy, good belongingness, and group love.
  13. Assume hostility to be primarily reactive rather than character-based…
  14. Assume that people can take it…
  15. Eupsychian management assumes that people are improvable.
  16. Assume that everyone prefers to feel important, needed, useful, successful, proud, respected, rather than unimportant, interchangeable anonymous, wasted, unused, expendable, disrespected.
  17. That everyone prefers or perhaps even needs to love his boss (rather than to hate him), and that everyone prefers to respect his boss (rather than to disrespect him)…
  18. Assume that everyone dislikes fearing anyone (more than he likes fearing anyone), but that he prefers fearing the boss to despising the boss.
  19. Eupsychian management assumes everyone prefers to be a prime mover rather than a passive helper…
  20. Assume a tendency to improve things, to straighten the crooked picture on the wall, to clean up the dirty mess, to put things right, make things better, to do things better.
  21. Assume that growth occurs through delight and not through boredom.
  22. Assume preference for being a whole person and not a part, not a thing or an implement, or tool, or “hand”…
  23. Assume the preference for working rather than being idle.
  24. All human beings, not only eupsychian ones, prefer meaningful work to meaningless work.
  25. Assume the preference for personhood, uniqueness as a person, identity (in contrast to being anonymous or interchangeable).
  26. We must make the assumption that the person is courageous enough for eupsychian processes.
  27. We must make the specific assumptions of nonpsychopathy…
  28. We must assume the wisdom and the efficacy of self-choice.
  29. We must assume that everyone likes to be justly and fairly appreciated, preferably in public.
  30. We must assume the defense and growth dialectic for all these positive trends that we have already listed above.
  31. Assume that everyone but especially the more developed persons prefer responsibility to dependency and passivity most of the time.
  32. The general assumption is that people will get more pleasure out of loving than they will out of hating…
  33. Assume that fairly well-developed people would rather create than destroy.
  34. Assume that fairly well-developed people would rather be interested than be bored.
  35. We must ultimately assume at the highest theoretical levels of eupsychian theory, a preference or a tendency to identify with more and more of the world, moving toward the ultimate of mysticism, a fusion with the world, or peak experience, cosmic consciousness, etc.
  36. Finally we shall have to work out the assumption of the metamotives and the metapathologies… (Maslow, 1965, pp. 17-33).

In short, there are some positive assumptions, as pointed out by Maslow in the list of Eupsychian assumptions.  The principles presented are not unfamiliar to those who espouse “true” leadership.  However, for those who wear the title of “leader”, but espouse “manager” behaviors when interacting with humans, these principle will be unfamiliar and perhaps painful to adopt, but be promised this… when these principles (assumptions) are put into practice daily, there will be no need for employee oversight by managment within an organization — the people will take care of the business and WOW our customers, just move out of the way and provide them with resources.

For additional information on Eupsychian Principles of leadership, may I suggest reading the following:

Martin, B. G. (2011). Toward Gemeinschaftsgefühl: Exploring subordinate and manager perceptions of trust and perceptions regarding behavioral change potential (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (PQDT) database. (UMI No. 3486058)

Maslow, A. H. (1965). Eupsychian management: A journal. Homewood, IL: Richard D. Irwin, Inc. and The Dorsey Press.

Maslow, A. H., Stephens, D. C., & Heil, G. (1998). Maslow on management. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

What are your thoughts on this subject?  I welcome your insight, so please post your comments, and thanks for reading.

Response to: “In Search of a Word”…

A colleague of mine, Dr. Daryl Watkins posted the following to the Center for Aviation and Aerospace Leadership (CAAL) Blog (disq.us/5vq6oz): I need a word to describe what I am thinking here. Something catchy (and new) that encompasses the ideals… that leadership has to be a shared endeavor to uphold democratic values and honor personal agency.

The following is my response to Dr. Watkins’ question:

…the search for a word, which encompasses the ideals presented in this posting? I will admit that the word I have in mind is certainly not new, and in 1965, it was not very catchy either. In fact, the publisher of the book containing this word in the title did not sell many copies, and the publisher actually requested the author change the title. The author was, Abraham H. Maslow, the book, Eupsychian Management; the author refused to change the title, but after his death, a daughter along with editors retitled the book as, Maslow on Management.

In a word – Eupsychia, as posited by Maslow (1965), is recognized as the positive human potential, which could be manifested as a culture, generated by 1,000 self-actualizing people, left to their own accord on a secluded island with no external interference (p. xi). Within an organization where eupsychian principles are espoused, leadership would be a shared endeavor, and the values spoken of, would not only be upheld, but also sought after. Leaders in the eupsychian organization are not elected, nor appointed, but rather step into the role, as one’s individual skills and knowledge are needed. In other words, leadership is fluid, willingly accepted and relinquished as the need for one’s abilities are satisfied. This concept might be likened to a survivalist situation (perhaps what Maslow envisioned), where the immediate need for shelter would present an opportunity for the person experienced in shelter building, to assume the leader role. The role of leader would be transferred to another as needed based upon the situation at hand; fire starter, hunter-gatherer, cook, etc. The key ingredient in eupsychian leaders, the willingness of others to follow, without coercion, and an understanding that there may come a time when the follower may become the leader – reciprocity comes to mind.

Consider the following example: a man attempting to gain followership from an unwilling horse, as the man attempts to manage the horse to water. As strange as it sounds to for one to manage a horse to water, it should sound equally strange for one to manage people to accomplish a task. Yet, many who present themselves as leaders, seek to manage people – an impossible undertaking, if one seeks willing compliance. When one demands obedience, there will be reluctance at best, but more likely a mutiny or rebellion would ensue. People and animals are naturally reluctant to have their wills bent. In order for the leader-follower relationship to be mutual and trustworthy, one must lead rather than manage, when interacting with living beings.

Notice how this sounds now, leading a horse to water, and leading people to accomplish a task. Not only do the statements sound more correct, they are more in line with gaining followership vs. rebellion. When one acknowledges the agency of others and consciously chooses to lead, rather than manage living beings, relationships will be strengthened, and trust is established. “At the individual contributor level, adoption and application of eupsychian [leadership] principles can transform subordinate–manager interactions into leader–follower relationships, and inspire self-motivation and improved organizational commitment” (Martin, 2011).

Maslow (1965) and Maslow, Stephens, and Heil (1998) presented the Assumptions of Eupsychian Management Policy, as a list, which contains 37 assumptions (36 plus assumption 6a), that underlie eupsychian [leadership] policy, and serve as the necessary preconditions for successful leadership and followership within organizations (Maslow, 1965, p. 17-33). “In companies, depending on how those assumptions play out, there will either be a competitive marketplace for leadership, a more dynamic shifting of leader and follower identities over time as members both lead and follow in the accomplishment of organizational goals” (Payne, 2000).

I would like to know your thoughts. Is there a single word? Is Eupsychia a viable selection? I encourage those with an interest in leadership concerns, to visit the CAAL Blog, and of course please continue visiting and commenting to mine. Thanks!!

References

Martin, B. G. (2011). Toward Gemeinschaftsgefühl: Exploring subordinate and manager perceptions of trust and perceptions regarding behavioral change potential (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 3486058)

Maslow, A. H. (1965). Eupsychian management: A journal. Homewood, IL: Richard D. Irwin, Inc. and The Dorsey Press.

Maslow, A. H., Stephens, D. C., & Heil, G. (1998). Maslow on management. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Payne, R. L. (2000). Eupsychian management and the millennium. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 15(3), 219-226. Retrieved from the ProQuest database.

Life: Calibration Required…

Today, as I sat pondering my lesson material for an up-coming Social Responsibility and Ethics Management course, I was prompted as part of the discussion, to query my students, regarding their understanding of success measurements.

Choose Ye This Day...

I have been giving much contemplation as of late, regarding where one places the greatest emphasis and effort in one’s life.  Certainly, if one has the role of provider for his/her family, there must needs-be some degree of emphasis and effort on achieving success in one’s chosen profession; but at what cost?  Where does one draw a line in the sand?  When does one justify crossing the line?  At what point does one realize the eternal losses, for temporal gains?  These questions brought to my memory, an article I had once read, and would like to share with those who might read this blog post.

As is my regular routine when I travel for business, I purchase the latest edition of Harvard Business Review (HBR) to read during the flight.  During one of my trips in 2010, I was reading my then current issue July-August 2010 of HBR, and was intrigued by a Dr. Clayton M. Christensen article, entitled: How will you measure your life?  In the article, Dr. Christensen posed three questions: (a) How can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career? (b) How can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness? and (c) How can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?  This last question, is central to helping my students understand why social responsibility and ethical decision-making are essential to business and personal success.  An interesting point for discussion is that by working on questions (a) and (b), one can be fairly confident that (c) will be achieved by default.  Simarly, if one were to place considerable effort to become successful with question (c), both (a) and (b) would be satisfied respectively.

As I was reading, I had a highlight marker and pen at the ready, to mark the comments, which resonated with my beliefs and understandings.  I found that the article by Dr. Christensen presented many of my personal beliefs and philosophies on leading people.  I remember having a thought as I was reading (and marking), that the information seemed to convey what I know, to be eternal truths, in addition to business principles.  I made an entry in the margin, “Note to self: Me thinks he’s LDS”.  In my hotel room that evening, I searched online and discovered that Dr. Christensen was indeed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Having discovered Dr. Christensen’s religious affiliation, solidified to me, why the principles he espoused, were so familiar to me.  I knew these were eternal principles because I had been taught them since becoming converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; they were Christ’s teachings, and not only apply to church, but at work and at home too.  I still have the heavily-marked-up, hard copy of this publication, and it has made its rounds within my circle of influence.

Measuring Up: Are we even on the scale?  If not, how do we get there?

I have included the topic headings and some of the key points Dr. Christensen presented in the article here to share:

  • Create a Strategy for Your Life: “…spend an hour every night reading, thinking, and praying about why God put [you] on this earth, instead of learning the latest techniques [and business tools] for mastering the problems of [xyz]”1.  It may be fair to suggest that the techniques and tools of business would be used only a few times per year (monthly, quarterly, or annual metrics), but application of one’s life purpose would be employed daily.  “It’s the single most useful thing I’ve ever learned, [and] clarity about life’s purpose, will trump knowledge of [xyz]”1.
  • Allocate Your Resources: “People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers—even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness”1.  “If you study the root causes of business disasters, over and over you’ll find this predisposition toward endeavors that offer immediate gratification.  If you look at personal lives through that lens, you’ll see the same stunning and sobering pattern: people allocating fewer and fewer resources to the things they would have once said mattered most”1.
  • Create a Culture: “…use of ‘power tools’—coercion, threats, punishment, and so on—to secure cooperation”1; whether at work or in the home, the use of power tools, is a very dangerous undertaking, and one should select or use power tools sparingly, because damage to the product may occur if used incorrectly.
  • Avoid the ‘Marginal Costs’ Mistake: “…it’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time.  If you give in to ‘just this once’, based on a marginal cost analysis …you’ll regret where you end up.  You’ve got to define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place”1.
  • Remember the Importance of Humility: “…if your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited.  But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited”1.
  • Choose the Right Yardstick: “…the metric by which God will assess [your] life isn’t dollars but the individual people whose lives [you’ve] touched…  Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people”1.

What has been your experience with what gets measured more in your organization?  In your home?  In your relationships?  I welcome your comments and feedback.

1.  Christensen, C. M. (2010, July-August). How Will You Measure Your Life? Harvard Business Review.

The 10×2 Rule…

I am sure we have all experienced setbacks in our lives, but consider the following debilitating thought process: I will never amount to anything, I’m poor, uneducated, and unattractive, I fail at everything, and no one likes me?  Do you know someone who may be consciously or unconsciously harboring debilitating thoughts?  To some degree, there exists a form of self-fulfilling prophesy at play; negativity breeds negativity.  People who go through life emitting negative energies tend to drive away any positive energies.  Negativity is just one, of the countless elements, which serve to keep us from achieving our full potential.  Aside from the survival needs (air, food, water, and shelter) as presented by Abraham H. Maslow, in his Hierarchy of Needs2 model, much of what restrains one from reaching loftier heights, is self-induced.  In other words, most of what we use for excuses for our situation, or what we claim to be our lot in life, is within our direct control.  

How does one begin the process of breaking free of the chains?   We (mankind) have been given agency to think and act for ourselves.  We alone control our destiny.  We are in charge of our thoughts, and what/whom we allow to influence our thoughts, decisions, and actions.  Take charge of your own mind1.  Remember the 10×2 rule; the ten two-letter words, which can change lives: If it is to be, it is up to me.  The process follows a pattern, and works for good or evil and for positive or negative; your personal thoughts develop into attitudes, which influence your decisions, which direct to your actions, which in turn, establish your habits, character, and ultimately your destiny.  So, we break the chains by simply using our mind, the most powerful tool in our toolbox.  When we choose to change our thoughts, we can reach unfathomable heights of personal achievement.

Sometimes we allow our past to dictate our futures.  Do not allow history to be a link in the chains of bondage.  Do not be afraid of leaving the known and venturing into the unknown; that is how we grow.  It is OK to be uncomfortable.  Take a leap of faith.  Start out slow; identify your passions, then stimulate that passion through sharing it with others.  Look for opportunities to give back, through selfless service, be other minded, and you will soon discover that others will see you in a different light; the light of Christ.  Who knows, you might be the source of inspiration to another, in helping them to break the chains, which hold them from eternal progression?

1. Dickow, G. (2009). The power to change today: Simple secrets to the satisfied life. New York, NY: FaithWords.

2. Maslow, A. H. (1943). Motivation and personality. New York, NY: Harper.

Servant-Hearted & Teachable…

How teachable are we?  As a leader, would you be willing to submit yourself to serve those in your charge?

“Education is going from an unconscious to conscious awareness of one’s ignorance… no one has a corner on wisdom.  All the name-dropping in the world doesn’t heighten the significance of your character.  If anything, it reduces it.  Our acute need is to cultivate a willingness to learn and to remain teachable.  Learning from your children.  Learning from your friends.  Learning even from our enemies. How beautiful it is to find a servant-hearted, teachable spirit among those who occupy high-profile positions of authority”1.

Isn’t it amazing when one makes the connection between a conscious awareness and teachableness?  From the perspective of leadership,  a humbleness, and willingness to admit the fact that one is not all-knowing; that perhaps one might learn something from another, is the essence of true leadership.  Learning requires change, and without change, learning cannot be achieved. 

What do you think?  I welcome your comments; thank you.

1. Swindoll, C. R. (2005). Great days with the great lives: Daily insight from great lives of the Bible. P. 196, Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group. Retrieved from http://www.insight.org/library/articles/leadership/servant-hearted-leaders.html