Friday, 17 February 2012

Leadership by Aristotle!


Aristotle was the most practical and business-oriented of all philosophers who asked ethical questions.

You may tempted to laugh at the idea that a person who's been dead for nearly 2,400 years has anything practical to say about modern organizations. However, Aristotle remains relevant because he is particularly interested in defining principles in terms of the ethics of leadership.

In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle concludes that the role of the leader is to create the environment in which all members of an organization have the opportunity to realize their own potential.

He says that the ethical role of the leader is not to enhance his or her own power but to create the conditions under which followers can achieve their potential.

Of course Aristotle never heard of a large business or corporation.

Nonetheless, he did raise a set of ethical questions that are directly relevant to ANY leader who wish to behave in ethical ways.

Here are some of them. (I'm only slightly paraphrasing them in turning them from a political context into an organizational context.)

Am I behaving in a virtuous way?

How would I want to be treated if I were a member of this organization?

What form of social contract would allow all our members to develop their full potential in order that they may each make their greatest contribution to the good of the whole?

To what extent are there real opportunities for all employees to develop their talents and their potential?

To what extent do employees participate in decisions that effect their work?

To what extent do all employees participate in the financial gain resulting from their own ideas and efforts?

If you translate Aristotle into modern terms, you will see a whole set of questions about the extent to which the organization provides an environment that is conducive to human growth and fulfillment.

He also raises a lot of useful questions about the distribution of rewards in organizations based on the ethical principle of rewarding people proportionate to their contributions.


Aristotle doesn't provide a single, clear principle for the just distribution of enterprise-created wealth, nor do I believe it would be possible for anyone to formulate a monolithic rule.

Nonetheless, here are some Aristotelian questions that virtuous leaders might ask:

Am I taking more than my share of rewards-more than my contribution is worth?

Does the distribution of goods preserve the happiness of the community?

Does it have a negative effect on morale? Would everyone enter into the employment contract under the current terms if they truly had different choices?

Would we come to a different principle of allocation if all the parties concerned were represented at the table?

Again, the only hard and fast principle of distributive justice is that fairness is likely to arise out of a process of rational and moral deliberation among the participating parties.

All Aristotle says is that virtue and wisdom will definitely elude leaders who fail to engage in ethical analysis of their actions.

He tells us that the bottom line of ethics depends on asking tough questions, and I for one agree wholeheartedly agree.


Thursday, 9 February 2012

How to get what you want in life


Take a look at yourself - inside and out.

Where do you live, what job do you have, how do you relate to your friends and family? What interests do you pursue, what adventures do you have?

What do you truly want from life?

Do you want wealth and success, happiness and peace of mind? Do you want a family and a garden , a yacht or a sports car? Where are you going? Do you have a particular goal or are you just wandering through life?

You can accomplish anything you want in life - that's true.

Once you have a particular goal, you can fulfill that desire by straightforward commitment and total conviction.

But what if you don't know what you want?

Maybe your goals are small ones - like losing some weight, or buying a new car. Maybe getting a promotion of finding a mate. Whether you want a bigger house or want to be a Chief Executive, any avenue of prosperity and achievement is open to you if it is truly what you want.

No goal is too small; no dream is too big.

And even if you aren't clear on your desires, you can tap into your subconscious mind to get the answers and to find the paths to success.

Can you change your life - do you want to?

Can you picture yourself as your most perfect image of accomplishment? How does it feel? If you have the desire to attain goals, the commitment to follow through and the ability to creatively imagine yourself in the position you dream of, you are more than halfway there.

The most successful leaders and artists throughout history have followed specific paths and attained their hearts' desires. Keep an open mind and a hopeful outlook - then change your thinking. Put on the clothes of success. Act as though you already have accomplished your desires. Then let the reality catch up.



Take a choice: money, health, physical energy, beauty, creativity, recognition, power, adventure, contentment, achievement, self- expression, authority, love, peace of mind, enlightenment. Would you like any of these? If you are like most people today, you probably want ALL of these.

But if you search your true desires, you might find that there are a few things you want more than others. And, if you keep going in your search, you'll find one desire that has been with you your whole lifetime and is the one path you need to follow.

Although money is the obvious desire, it is usually not the final goal. Indeed, money can, and does buy happiness - up to a point.

Once you have enough money to be financially secure or to purchase the material objects you want, the true desire might be something else.

Love is the goal of every person's heart. Whether it is love of a mate, or a family, or respect and recognition from peers and fellow workers, love is the ageless pursuit. The mystics say that love is the sole purpose of life- to give love and to find it.

But love comes in many forms. Not only is there the overt display of affection or true inner feelings, but there is the self-respect and inner contentment that goes with accomplishment. For some people, true peace of mind will never be attained until they complete some creative tasks or achieve certain heights in business.

Many people seek the authority that comes with a good position in a job. Along with that can come recognition and fame. Although you may want the money that is associated with high management levels, many people simply seek that satisfaction of working from the inner circles.

The goal of every person regardless of background and material desires, is health. A sound body is the gift that will get you to the other goals. Even a new diet and exercise plan can give you more energy - the energy you'll need to accomplish success.

Adventure and travel is a driving force for many people.


They may seek jobs that involve travel, or they may be looking forward to taking time off to visit the other side of the world. If you don't want a long journey, perhaps you'd just like a few weeks in a sunny resort or the luxury of a summer and winter holiday each year.

And then there is creativity and self-expression.

What about the book you're going to write or the watercolour class you'd like to take? Creative expression is a wonderful inner release that boosts confidence and gives you something to accomplish.

Finally, regardless of wealth and health, expression and love, everyone is looking for peace of mind. That's not to say emptiness of mind, but to be rid of petty worries and confusion, to be finished with fears and live in total awareness.

It surely is the ultimate lifetime goal.

Until the next time.....Live, love and laugh