The Hidden Leadership Secret of BI
It is no secret that the culture and performance of an organization
is directly impacted by leadership style. And leadership styles
vary significantly. There are those transactional leaders who consider
their actions within a framework of populism, and there are transformational
leaders who eclipse their own personal advancement for the greater
good of the business.
If we look back at the evolution of business culture and leadership
we see a clear rise from the dehumanisation of scientific management
instilled by Frederick Taylor and the convenient morality of Albert
Carr to an era where the total wellbeing of employees is being regarded.
Both Taylor and Carr disregarded human feelings in work production
and negated leaders from having any moral obligation to enrich the
lives of those who worked for them. In particular, Taylor proposed
that the brain be left outside the workplace and Carr socialised
that ethical principles of business be distinct from ethical codes
outside the corporation.
Carrs views on business morality liberated many leaders to adopt
‘personalized’ versions of the truth – many of
which have been played out in Courtrooms over recent years. The
problem with Carr’s model on business ethics is that the boundaries
slowly creep wider and wider to the point where subordinates view
sub-ethical practices as ‘normal business’. Eventually,
the point is reached where leaders and managers become totally desenstitised
to the negative impacts of their actions or the internal conflict
within individuals attempting to reconcile their business ethics
with personal ethics builds stress to a level that drives extremely
damaging personal reactions.
Much has been debated about the social responsibilities businesses
have on the communities in which they operate. Just as a good residential
neighbour moderates the volume on their stereo, checks the wind
direction when burning leaves in the yard and keeps their pets from
pooping on their neighbours lawns, businesses must be aware of the
‘pollution’ they create within their own environments
– both within the physical and moral domains. The larger the
business, the larger the potential impact. In doing so, businesses
once again became humanised – reconnected to the physical,
mental and emotional wellbeing of those who work within their walls,
and those who live around them. A key driver of this transformation
has been the regulatory demand for corporate transparency.
Corporate transparency is bringing morality and the whole person
back into the workplace, and whilst largely driven by regulatory
requirements, it has been enabled by business intelligence. The
surprise is that the payoff may impact the bottom line more than
most leaders recognise.
Between 75% and 85% of the current economy is service related,
with much of that knowledge transfer. When we transfer knowledge,
we transfer not only raw intelligence, but also the emotions of
those who perform the transfer. Thus, the inner state of your employees
is reflected in the way in which your services are delivered. From
Taylors physical exchange model, through mental exchange of the
knowledge economy we have evolved into a period of emotional intellectual
So how does one attempt to transform an organization with thousands,
even hundreds of thousands of employees into a more evolved, emotionally
enlightened enterprise? The key is not to attempt to change the
values of the organization at large, but to change the values of
the few people at the top. And where does BI fit into this picture?
By helping leaders and the organization at large become more aware
of the impact their organizational activities are having on the
emotional wellbeing of their employees and communities, by helping
them gain clarification of market and business drivers through rational
analysis and gaining a clearer vision of the impact of new initiatives
before they are launched.
BI provides an operating framework that promotes total transparency.
And overall, transparency prevents leaders from attempting to cloak
their personal agendas and ethics beneath the robes of corporate
goals. BI promotes a clearer vision, a more coherent conceptual
framework and devotion to 'the cause'. It enlightens a business
from the boardroom to the basement, releasing people from empty
physical and intellectual tasks that are best automated, and empowering
them to engage with customers on a more emotionally transparent
level. When that emotion is healthy, the exchange is healthy, and
both the customer and the employee are happier. And it all starts
with an enlightened leader.
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