Entries in "advocacy"

June 14, 2007

work and life as two balls....

... one of rubber, one of glass. A great metaphor, from Sandra Pianalto, in her speech to the graduating class at John Carroll last month:

Imagine that in one hand you hold a rubber ball and in the other hand you hold a beautiful fragile glass ball. The rubber ball represents your work life. The fragile glass ball represents your personal life - your family, your health, your friends.

What happens if you drop the rubber ball? It will bounce. Someone will pick it up for you, or it will just stay put until you are able to pick it up again.

But if you drop the glass ball, it may smash into a million pieces. If you are lucky, it will only crack - but either way, it will never be the same again.

Don't allow your justifiable concern with your career to cause you to drop the precious ball that represents your family, your friends, and your health.

I want to end today by wishing you, our graduates, not just a successful career, but a successful life. Take a few risks - bounce that rubber ball if you need to. Learn from everyone you meet. Be kind. And be happy. Do these simple things, and we will all be astonished by what you accomplish.

November 10, 2006

a noble profession

Which is the most noble of professions? Certainly, medicine is a top contender -- and one of the reasons is the Hippocratic Oath. In the next 100 years, though, it's possible that management will give medicine "a run for its money", so to speak. Here's a quote from my colleague, Julia Grant:

"all business schools are under an imperative to try to get better at teaching strong ethics, at teaching strong business values that do have to do with creating a better world. Business cannot be just about profit."
(from Peter Krouse's October 28 article in the Plain Dealer, "Honor among managers")

The dean of Thunderbird, the Garvin School of International Management, told the story of Thunderbird's new oath during the BAWB conference in Cleveland last month. Some are skeptical about the ability of a voluntary oath taken by students at one management school to change the practices of managers around the world. Normally, I'm known for my skepticism. In this instance, though, I believe it's more important to match the high intent of those students with practical actions which will reinforce their intent.

I'm lining up beside those recent Thunderbird graduates who signed their oath, and beside any Weatherhead students who will draft and then sign our own version. I will do whatever I can to make management practice more ethical, day by day, so that we can truly say, 100 years from now, that management is a noble profession.

November 08, 2006

metaphors for social change

Remember back in May, when I wrote about the metaphors of motivating change? We need a whole new set of metaphors for understanding how social change occurs, as well -- metaphors that acknowledge the relational dynamics that accelerate or dampen social change processes.

Political social change seems to be occurring in the United States. The timeframe for that change ranges from the year (2006) to the generation (1980 to 2006), at least according to Joe Kein at Time Magazine. (Thanks to John Ettorre for his blog post bringing this article to our attention.) Klein's article is headlining 2006 as "the year the Democrats punched back", suggesting that political social change occurs in part as a battle of the fists (or at least of the political ad blows and counterblows). Klein's article ends with a very different metaphor, though -- the metaphor of tides cresting and receding:

"2006 may be remembered as the year that the Reagan Revolution finally crested and began to recede."

I recognize that some may consider 26 years more than a generation, and yet Strauss and Howe's 1992 book Generations called 1982-2003 the Millenial Generation. In political writing, this notion that great waves of right-oriented and left-oriented governing alternate is a familiar one, suggesting that perhaps no social change actually occurs; instead we are just watching a pendulum swinging back and forth very slowly... or, we are the grains of sand on the beach, washed first by one wave, and then by another.

And yet our individual experiences suggest that social change does occur, within one lifetime or less, and that relational dynamics are an important part of how social change occurs.

A generation from now, will history acknowledge that the BAWB conference in NEO two weeks ago was actually the tipping point for how business and academia began to act differently together, to make themselves agents of world benefit? Nadya Zhexembayeva is convinced that it was a tipping point, October 25, 2006. She has been watching for this tipping point for a long time -- she heads up the World Inquiry, an action research project of the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB). She also served as the host of the Virtual Conference that extended the BAWB Global Forum to additional 500+ participants from all over the world.

Be sure to read what Nadya Zhexembayeva wrote for GreenBiz about BAWB and the tipping point. Read it not just to explore some of the metaphors for social change she evokes -- but also to become your part of the social change that is happening among us and around the world.

September 03, 2006

employers vs. women, or employers supporting working families?

Equal rights for women have come a long way in the United States, since the Declaration of Independence over 240 years ago. Even in the 86 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment to the constitution, inequities between men and women have narrowed. No longer are women expected to quit their jobs when they marry, or when they become pregnant. Between 1960 and 1999, the percentage of of working mothers with infants had risen from 27 percent to almost 60 percent. And yet, huge inequities between mothers and other workers, and among women of different backgrounds still exist.

In an effort to draw attention to such inequities, last year WorldWIT initiated the Breastfeeding at Work Week, which highlights actions employers can take to level the playing field for mothers and others in the workforce, and encourage new mothers to continue breastfeeding their infants after they return to work. Since I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding, and for supporting working women in equitable ways, I am writing this blog entry as my first effort to honor Breastfeeding at Work Week for 2006.

Perhaps you have read about some of the challenges that mothers who wish to continue breastfeeding face, when they return to work. Recently, Jodi Kantor wrote in the New York Times about the differences between new mothers in white collar and working class jobs in terms of their access to support for pumping breastmilk at work. Kantor noted that "federal law offers no protection to mothers who express milk on the job", despite the efforts of Congressional Representative Carolyn Maloney, who has repeatedly introduced legislation which would create such a protection.

Why wouldn't Congress want to protect a woman's health after childbirth, and specify that new mothers who return to the workplace must be protected from harrassment? Read on for some historical background, and some predictions for the future.

Continue reading "employers vs. women, or employers supporting working families?"

September 01, 2006

food for thought

NB: This blog entry was redistributed with permission in the CoolCleveland eNewsletter, also available online.

Yesterday I attended Convocation, drawn by the promise of ritual and the prospect of hearing Michael Ruhlman, author of Case's Common Reading for this year, speak. He wrote The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection more than 5 years ago, and so I hoped that his speech would go beyond the book into more elaborated thinking about what it takes to become an expert in one's chosen field. He did not disappoint.

He addressed head-on a criticism he has probably heard many times about his writing on cooking: Isn't it frivolous to write about fancy food in a time when there is so much serious stuff happening in world politics? His answer started with this assertion:

"Great cooking, in the end, has such power because it allows us to connect with our past, our future, and all of humanity, if we let it. I believe that America's insatiable appetite for food and cooking know-how is really the beginning of a spiritual quest for the bigger things: a search for meaning, order and beauty in an apparently chaotic and alienating universe."

President Eastwood looked quite comfortable listening to Ruhlman's speech up until that point, but when Ruhlman made his next main point, suggesting that sharing what he learned about master chefs brought into relief how all of America has become a culture of mediocrity, the President started to look a little nervous...

Continue reading "food for thought"

August 07, 2006

Saving Peter's leg

Be sure to click through and read Kelly’s blog entry about Saving Peter’s leg. Such good work she is doing in Uganda!

See also my post from back in April about the Global Night Commute and the demonstration of support from Clevelanders. It includes links to a DVD and bracelets you can buy to support the work of IC's work in Uganda. I own a copy of the main DVD, and would be happy to lend it to anyone I know.

April 30, 2006

outcomes of the Global Night Commute

There was an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Friday about plans for the Saturday night event. Similarly, in California, KGET reported on plans in Bakersfield and 10news reported on plans in San Diego. In Seattle, over 1000 people were expected to participate.

News is also beginning to come in about attendance at the events around the world. In Rochester, NY, there is already a report from WROC, a local television station, saying that 200 people in that city participated in the night commute last night. In Augusta, GA, more than 25 people participated in the march, and in Aiken County, GA, participants numbered over 200 (story here, login required or use bugmenot.com). In Austin, TX, the Austin American Statesman reported that hundreds of college students walked from the clock tower at the UT campus to the grounds of the state capitol to participate in the night commute. There are also photos of this event available at Flickr already, and here's a story from an Austin TV station. In San Francisco, over 500 people gathered, according to the local CBS news station. In Chicago, over 2000 people gathered in Grant Park, including one teenager from Uganda who now attends a private school in the US thanks to the folks at Invisible Children. And here's a personal account of the San Diego event, which was huge -- 5000 people in Balboa park! Participants in other cities have been checking in on MySpace with updates about what the Global Night Commute was like for them. The pictures are really inspiring!

Unfortunately, I can't find any information from anyone who was at the Free Stamp last night. If you were there, would you please leave a comment and let me know what it was like?

April 29, 2006

tonight, far away...

... children will walk to the center of a city in fear, seeking security amidst war.

Tonight, in downtown Cleveland at the Free Stamp, an estimated 250 people will gather to draw attention to the injustice of a war in Africa and to ask the world's superpower to take an active role in peacemaking.

I will not be able to participate in the Global Night Commute to recognize the Invisible Children of Uganda, at least not by staying the whole night. I cannot bring myself to tell this story to my 5-year-old daughter, and I want to spend the night with her. She would not understand why I want to go camping without her. I hope that someone who reads this message will be inspired to attend in my place.

Here's the story:

An estimated 20,000-50,000 children in Northern Uganda have been abducted and forced into service as child soldiers.

1.7 million people have been forcibly displaced.

Americans tonight will band together to demand that our government do its part to put an end to the longest-running war in Africa, and one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today.

No child should be forced to hide in the center of a city at night to avoid kidnapping and forced conscription.

I heard about this from one of my former students, who is now living in Taiwan. Around the world, over 50,000 people are signed up to recognize the children of Uganda tonight. If you read about this event in the paper on Sunday, please remember that you heard about it here first... and if you *don't* read about it in the paper on Sunday, ask your editor why not!

April 26, 2006

reinventing jobs, careers, and the w

"Reinventing Jobs, Careers, and the World of Work"

It's a good sign when three posts emerge in the same morning of blog reading, all ready to be packaged up in a theme. It probably indicates that all the cultivation I have been doing of online relationships -- reading blogs, adding some to my Bloglines so I can read them again later, commenting, making my own posts -- is starting to yield fruit for intellectual enjoyment.

Click through to read on if you'd like to learn more about Diane at Zaadz, Miriam Peskowitz, and David Pollard, and how the different social movemnts they help to advance are converging.

Continue reading "reinventing jobs, careers, and the w"

December 22, 2005

sophomores are careful of some very careful thinking (and writing)

Daniel Jurek wrote:

"Tom becomes bored with his work easily and his performance drops when this happens. Our half of the class suggested that the company look into adopting a method of allowing workers to change to different positions (i.e. operate drill presses for a period of time instead of only tightening nuts and bolts). Assembly line jobs are boring; ask any worker who has had to repeat tasks for long periods of time. I even injured myself out of boredom when operating a drill press for an extended period. By allowing employees to rotate through different positions, a company can change the rhythm of the work and keep workers interested in their job.

This procedure has risks. I'll rewrite that sentence with different styling: This procedure has risks. To execute this properly, management needs to set up a list of workers and desired rotation positions. Training and orientation sessions will then be given to all workers for each position they specify. Workers will be rotated in and out of positions over a regular and stated period of time and all positions will have trained and experienced workers at all times. That way, the number of people moving into a position that are relatively new to that position is small compared to the number of experienced workers at that position at all times."

November 21, 2005

Don't look away: Support the Southeast Asian quake victims now

Yesterday, the Plain Dealer republished Salman Rushdie's op-ed from The Times of London on November 12, 2005, warning that the response to the Kashmiri earthquake has been dramatically inadequate. He says:

"If the flow of aid does not increase at once, then it is probable that more people will die in the earthquake’s wintry aftermath than perished in the quake itself. It is entirely possible that the final death toll will be greater than the tsunami’s. We may be looking at the greatest natural calamity in human history. But in this case we have the power to avert it. We can send the money to fly the helicopters and tend to the sick and build the winter shelters. If we do this, people will live. People who have already lost everything may yet be prevented from losing their own lives."

"If we can accomplish this, it will be a great good thing. If we fail — because we are tired of disasters, or because Kashmir is far away and remote and quarrelsome and doesn’t feel like our business — well, then shame on us."

Aid is still needed, even after the recent donor conference. As was written in the Washington Post on Friday, November 18, "Last month's earthquake ... left perhaps 3 million people homeless. But so far only about 340,000 tents have been distributed. Doctors are trying to immunize 1.2 million children put at risk by bad shelter, diet and sanitation. But the immunization drive has only half the $8 million that it needs."

"The contrast with the Indian Ocean tsunami is distressing. After the tsunami, the United States sent nearly $1 billion in government aid, 16,000 soldiers, 57 helicopters, 42 other aircraft and 25 ships. After the Kashmir quake, the United States has offered Pakistan $156 million in aid, including military equipment; deployed 950 soldiers; and sent 24 helicopters."

"The tsunami triggered a tsunami of generosity because it hit during the holiday season and because Western tourists were affected. ... the risk of an after-disaster in Kashmir is real."

We have sent a donation to Oxfam today. Other charities accepting donations specifically for the Kashmir earthquake include UNICEF , Mercy Corps, and Relief International. All these charities have a three- or four-star rating from Charity Navigator. Please do what you can!

If you can't donate, please write to your political representatives in Washington, DC, to urge that they release aid immediately, rather than attaching strings.

October 18, 2005

tangling with critics of the democratization of knowledge

I had read a while back that some academics were hostile toward Wikipedia, but I had not encountered it myself till this weekend. I attended an academic retreat on worthy puzzles in the field of organizational studies, and in between formal sessions, had several conversations in which I suggested that Wikipedia was a fascinating example of self-organizing that was worthy of study. In response, I encountered derision from two faculty who advanced the first two on Wikipedia's list of criticisms of Wikipedia. I found myself motivated to become an evangelist for Wikipedia, countering their criticisms so that they would consider exploring the community from my point of view, as a potentially interesting phenomenon to study.

Continue reading "tangling with critics of the democratization of knowledge"

February 02, 2005

The Status of Breastfeeding in NEOhio

The latest research from the Centers for Disease Control shows that in Cuyahoga County, only 55% of infants are ever breastfed, and only 25% continue to be breastfed at 6 months of age, which is below the average rates in other parts of the country, and far below the target rates that were set for 2010 by the Department of Health and Human Services Blueprint for Action.

See this entry in the Frequently Asked Questions category for additional information.

If we wish to invest in our children's health, we must not accept this status quo. A team of researchers from the Weatherhead School of Management is working to create a learning and advocacy network to support breastfeeding in Northeast Ohio. Learn more at the NorthEast Ohio Breastfeeding Education and Advocacy Network (NEOBEAN).