Values and Leadership
Abstract:Reflections on human values, values-based leadership and organizational ethics fill my life – intellectually, spiritually and work-wise.
In contrast to my earlier activities as CEO of a leading-edge consulting firm and as professor at several universities, my work is now both meaningful and joyful at a deep existential level. I experience harmony between my thoughts, words and deeds – and that includes the values I draw upon and that I attempt to embody when I am at work as well as the values that are important for me in my relationship to myself, to my family, my surroundings and to my society.
What is the source of my enthusiasm and joy? As to the enthusiasm, the answer is idealistic and simple: If we don't change our world views and substantiate our actions based on a far more inclusive repertoire of rationale than the materialistic: ‘it pays’, we risk destroying the foundation on which we are attempting to build a well-functioning, democratic, just and enlightened society.
It is my impression that in our rush to achieve material wealth and ‘happiness’ most of us have forgotten the existential wonder we had as children regarding who we are, what we expect from life, and what are our obligations. A wonderment, curiosity and reflection that are preconditions for our being able to experience a ‘good life’, seen both from the perspective of the individual, the organization and society.
As to the source of the joy, the answer is even more straightforward and subjective. It simply feels right to use my time and energy on matters that not only influence my own personal development, but all of us. It is paradoxical that it is liberating to feel duty-bound; freedom is no longer the ability to do whatever I want to do, whenever I want, but intuitively to know what I should do and to have the courage to act accordingly.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2009