A Crisis of Attitude

In January, Gallup reported that 70% of Americans believe the U.S. healthcare system is “in a state of crisis” or having “major problems.” This is really more than a healthcare issue. It’s a basic leadership and management crisis. Organization leaders (and MBA Education in general) is often organized to teach parts rather than wholes. Professors teach one part and students major in one part of business administration to get their MBA, such as finance, accounting, or marketing.

Yet a whole organization needs a holistic leadership and management, too, and not just a parts manager! Leadership has to be customer-employee-community-planet and quality-focused; transparent and accountable to everyone and not just Wall Street’s monetary profits expectations; having a triple bottom-line of people, planet and profits; using participative management system protocols like the Baldrige Criteria for performance excellence.

In today’s crowded, fast-paced, 24/7/365 globalized economy we have nations, societies and organizations in constant crisis. Cooperation is important for well-being.

The good news is that solutions are readily available and affordable. Top management just needs to use them. I have heard from people who have used the Baldrige Criteria For Performance Excellence tell me that life is better when they use the Criteria in their workplace.

I wonder if the real problem is that top management mistakenly believes that command-and-control leadership is more important to them than a participative leadership system. I recall a passage in Milton’s Paradise Lost saying it is better to rule, though it be in hell, than to serve in heaven.

About Larry Smith

Larry Smith is Principal of The LeaderShip. He is a presidential-award winning chamber of commerce CEO (for finding innovative solutions to public problems), a teacher/facilitator in organization management, and Editor of a quality- and systems-thinking management journal.
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