Writing: Coaching and Leadership

Good Work: The Meaning-Centered Approach (MCA)

To be published as Wong, P. T. P., Ivtzan, I., & Lomas, T. (2016). Good work: A meaning-centred approach. In L. G. Oades, M. F. Steger, A. Delle Fave, & J. Passmore (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell handbook of the psychology of positivity and strengths-based approaches at work (pp. 0-0). West Sussex, UK: Wiley Blackwell. This publication was partially supported by the research grant on Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life from the John Templeton Foundation. Introduction This chapter focuses on the notion of good work from a meaning-centered approach (MCA). MCA views good work at three levels: the individual, the organization, and society. At the...

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Lessons from the Enron Debacle: Corporate Culture Matters!

Wong, P. T. P. (2005). Lessons from the Enron debacle – Corporate culture matters. In Nasreen Taher (Ed.). Organizational culture: An introduction. Hyderabad, India: ICFAI University Press. Pp.180-192.Available online since 2002 from: http://www.meaning.ca/archives/archive/art_lessons-from-enron_P_Wong.htm   The recent Enron collapse has sent shockwaves all over the financial world and raised serious questions regarding corporate governance: How could America’s seventh largest corporation suddenly descend to bankruptcy? What has contributed to its sudden implosion? Currently, there are more than 10 separate committees investigating possible wrong doings and illegal activities, such as fraud and insider trading. Available information suggests that Enron made its money with smoke and mirrors. With a set of off-the books, unregulated private partnerships to take on debts, hide losses and kick off inflated revenues, Enron executives were able to keep bond-rating agencies happy. They were able to sustain this shell game through persistent refusal to disclose to analysts, who questioned where the money came from. Arthur Anderson, the auditing firm, turned a blind eye to questionable accounting practices because they did not want to lose the lucrative consulting fees. However, under mounting pressure, Enron’s eventual disclosure of its overstatement of profits in November 2001 immediately triggered the collapse of the company and its bankruptcy filing on December 2, 2001. A special panel of Enron’s Board recently issued a 217-page report, condemning Enron’s management for inflated profit reports and failure of...

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What Makes a Great Worker? A Positive Psychology Solution

If your future employer were to ask you: “Are you a great worker?” What would your answer be? Chances are, you would say something like: “Well, I think I am, because I am very good in what I do and I am passionate about my work.” But that sounds like the stock answer in a formal job interview. The real great workers possess some special qualities that set them apart from the merely good ones. The challenge is how to identify these illusive attributes. In today’s knowledge economy, human resources are the most important assets, because great people make great companies. Employers and human resources are always looking for great employees to gain a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, most bosses may not even recognize such valuable workers in their employ, because they are misguided by myths. Three common myths The management literature perpetuates three common myths: The talent myth – Talent is overrated. Most employers look for talents, but the best employees may not be the brightest or the most talented ones. Genius often fails! The highest scoring player in a sports team may be a liability rather than an asset, if he destroys the team spirit in his quest for personal glory. Similarly, the best sales manager may be so consumed by personal ambition to the point of poisoning the entire sales team. Talent alone does not make one...

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The PURE Strategy for Organizational Excellence

An excellent organization is not only the best place to work for, but also an agent of positive social change. Apart from excelling in what it does, such an organization is capable of uplifting the human spirit and having its influence felt for generations. There are several well-known approaches to achieve this seemingly impossible dream. The Lean principles and the Toyota Way (Liker, 2004; Liker & Hoseus, 2008; Liker & Meier, 2007; Womack & Jones, 2003) offer promising pathways. David Koichi Chao, President of Lean Sensei International, made a bold and visionary statement in his book ‘Lean Reflections’ (2009): “I believe in the power of lean to transform the world in a way we cannot begin to imagine” (p.1). Mr. Chao went on to say that the lean principles involve three things: Changing people to improve teamwork, changing the process to reduce waste, and changing the mindset to enhance the culture. Thus, transformation of people is the first step towards transforming the organization and culture. The positive psychology movement (Crabtree, 2004 a, b; Linley, Harrington, & Page, in press) offers another promising approach. Positive affects (Fredrickson, 2009; Lord, Klimoski, & Kanfer, 2002), psychological capital (Luthans, F., Luthans, K. W., & Luthans, B. C., 2004), and signature strengths (Hodges & Clifton, 2004; Peterson & Seligman, 2004) are all shown to be linked to job satisfaction and productivity. The Meaning-Centered Approach...

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Servant Leadership and Positive Management

Much has been written about organizational leadership and management. Numerous MBA and Leadership programs continue to improve their curriculum. But are the graduates from these programs adequately prepared for today’s turbulent and volatile world? Are we raising the right kind of leaders for a complex and uncertain future? The nature of both work and the workplace has changed drastically (Billett, 2006). The recent state of corporate scandals (Wong, 2002a), the increasing diversity of the workforce, and the quickening pace of social and technological change require a fundamental rethinking in leadership and management. The focus of leadership needs to be shifted from process and outcome to people and the future. The new challenge for management and leadership education is threefold: (a) How to develop workers and unleash their creative potentials, (b) How to create a positive workplace that will attract and retain talented knowledge workers, and (c) How to reinforce innovations and risk-taking to adapt to an uncertain future. New competencies are required to develop and manage the social/emotional/spiritual capital. New types of leaders are needed to create new futures. At present in every organization, huge amounts of valuable resources are wasted each day because of human problems. Many CEO’s spend most of their time “putting out fires.” Jack Welch (2001) concludes that leadership is 75 percent about people, and 25 percent about everything else. Yet, the most common weakness...

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