All entries for December 2006
December 07, 2006
How to judge CSR
Today we had a session on CSR (cooperate social responsibility) and ethic. This session makes me think a lot about what is going on around the world. So what do CSR and ethic mean for us? When we judge BMW that has developed a high performance car (M5:V10, 5L) and sells it to the market, it is seemed not socially responsible due to the high fuel consumption and potentially dangerous on the road. Do we really understand what is CSR and ethic? In other word have we been socially responsible and ethical? I think the answer is ‘maybe not’. Did we realise that when an automotive company develops a new top range engine or a model, how much did they push the advanced technology level up? How many new employment opportunities have been created from varies parts of this model? And how much taxation has been generated from both the company and their customers? Or even broadly how much the automotive culture has been developed by this model? Are we still thinking this is not socially responsible? Another example we discussed this afternoon is the tobacco company. We all think that Tobacco Companies are not socially responsible. Did we ever think about how many jobs tobacco companies generate, did we ever think about how much taxation has been generated by tobacco trading? Perhaps everyone knows about how tobacco could damage our healthy, but did we all realise how tobacco could also make someone’s life much better? A lot of tobacco companies already put warning notes on their product ‘smoking seriously damage your healthy’. Can we still say they are not socially responsible? As we all know, the famous Great Wall in China which is regarded as one of the greatest symbols in the human civilization history. The culture and historical value of the Great Wall in human world is uncountable. However, how about the people who built the Great Wall in 3000 years ago? Did they think the great wall is socially responsible? Perhaps not.
Consequently, before we judge whether any organization or company are socially responsible or not, we need to know that the pure ethic and CSR are not even exist in this world. There is always a conflict between one side and the other. For instance, in the BMW’s case, by compromising all the social responsibilities, choosing to develop the new M5 would have an overall better social effect. Therefore, the BMW decided to produce it. In my opinion, any organizations which provide employment opportunities, pay taxations, and encourage the social developments have already been socially responsible. What they need to also concentrate on is whenever they doing any projects, they need to always think about the overall CSR as a key factor for the production.
Moreover, as an individual, especially academics, we also need to be socially responsible when we make any judgements on the companies. For instance, if we unilaterally judge an organization as it has not been socially responsible. We could cause an even more serious irresponsible result for the society. For instance, if we banned all the tobacco companies because they have not been socially responsible, how many people will lose their job by this? How much funds (taxation) we will lose every year for the NHS? If there are huge percentages of population in one part of the world lost their job, perhaps they could even become terrorists. Therefore, who is more likely to become socially irresponsible?
All these CSR matters require us to have a holistic view about CSR and ethic. As longer as we have an ethical attitude of CSR and a positive willingness to put this attitude in our behaviour, together we could make our world better.
December 05, 2006
Miracles come from understanding and appreciation
Today we had three sessions about the leadership and strategy employment. What a meaningful day in my life again! I wish all the people in the world could have a week EEE session in their life, and then our world would be full of miracles.
The strongest reflection of me from today was understanding and appreciation. For instance, understanding the system, understanding the people surrounding you, understanding your colleagues, understanding your team mate, understanding Jack Welch, understanding Deming, or even just understanding yourself.
As Deming emphasised a system is about interdependence relationship. We could have all kinds of different systems in our life; for instance, the world could be a system which contains human, other animals, plants, hills, lands, air and the whole environment etc. Human is interdependent to all the elements within this system. It is like teeth and lips, without lips teeth would feel cold. Similarly, an organisation could be a system, where all the members are interdependent; a CEO does not mean more than an engineering worker or a cleaner to the system. Everyone does their best for the best benefit to the system. Therefore, every single human life would situate in all kinds of different systems.
More meaningfully, we not only need to understand the systems and all the elements within them, but also need to appreciate them as well as appreciate the system. All the understandings and appreciations would wake up the miracles in our life. Think about all the greatest scientist, musicians, artist, leaders etc, the miracles in their life are come from understanding and appreciation.
December 01, 2006
what makes a good leader???
Today I was talking with a friend about how likely could we apply the fantastic theories of leadership into practices? Power and money are always the boundary. People always fight for more money, but few would ever think about money does not means better life and happiness. How much money does a person need? A bed, some foods, some clothes. When he died how much could he take away? If he prepared to leave the money to his children, he would made the case even worth.
So what makes a good leader? As the Bible emphasised, love yourself is love your neighbour (the people surround you). To be a good leader or even just to be a good person is about how much you could contribute to the world surrounding you. There was an old philosophy about how to be a good person. The story was a guy asks a friend how he can be a good person? His friend told him “imagine when you died how would you like your funeral? Think about the people was around you, will they be there? what would they think and talk about you? Then you would know how to be a good person.”
I think this philosophy is also applied to how to be a good leader. Certainly power and money are not the most meaningful things in our life. Every leader should “self-assess”, when you leave the position what would all the stakeholders in the company think about you? Will they celebrate because the hard life is over or will they always remember you because you made their life better?
I think social responsibility is always the pre-request for someone who wants to be a good leader. An excellent leader should always think in long terms, the term that longer than they could possibly lead.