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Topic: "Aligning business with the long-term health of society"
Replies: 1   Last Post: Feb 8, 2013 12:50 AM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: "Aligning business with the long-term health of society"
Posted: Feb 8, 2013 12:50 AM
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Further my post dt. Feb 7, 2013 6:33 AM (remarks interspersed):
> I believe I had recently commented on how senior
> executives (particularly in banks) managed to award
> themselves MMMMMillions and yet more MMMMMillions in
> bonuses and the like while sending their
> organizations down the path to ruin, while depending
> on governments and society at large for handouts to
> save their corporations.
> Now, at VERY long last, it seems we may hope that
> some 'appropriate action' may develop in due course
> on issues like the 'compensation of senior
> executives' (if the item below is any indication of
> the kind of thinking that is being done in specific
> sections of society):
> "Aspen Institute Business & Society Program: aligning
> business with the long-term health of society"
> February 2013
> Featured Topic
> Time is Ripe for Board Leadership on Executive Pay
> With the board of JPMorgan Chase slashing CEO Jamie
> Dimon's bonus in half in the wake of management's
> failure to rein in excessive risk taking, Executive
> Director, Judith Samuelson, believes we are at a
> turning point on the issue of executive compensation.
> She thinks boards will need to spend more time on
> this issue in the future and that means tackling the
> following: 1) the direction and power of incentives;
> 2) transparency; and 3) fairness. Read Judith's full
> take here on the Huffington Post.
> Just as "one swallow does not a summer make", so too,
> "one biz program at an Aspen Institute does not a
> wholesale reformation of business ethics make" - but
> I believe there may well be cause to raise a small
> cheer! I believe this kind of development is better
> for society as a whole than all the outraged howls of
> anger that may have been raised and calls (if any)
> from unthinking people to "PUT THE BUSINESS MAFIA IN
> JAIL!"

In general - whatever may be the degree and intensity of the outrage that one may feel about businesspeople or politicians or other malefactors 'looting the system' - it does no good whatsoever to raise such slogans as:


Such 'sloganeering' is what happens in general when we're confronted by systems that do not perform as we want them to.

By such sloganeering, we may well put a few wrong-doers in jail - but 'the system' will throw up a great many more wrong-doers and it will in general continue to perform in exactly the same unsatisfactory way as it did before! This is extremely frustrating, but such are the facts of life in complex systems.

What the situation demands is effective 'system design' to ensure that the malefactors (who're always around) find fewer weaknesses in the system that they can exploit for their own benefit.

Effective system design could happen in any system when the stakeholders in the system learn to understand how to design and maintain their needed systems (and 'sub- systems' in them). Fundamental to effective design and operation of systems is that the stakeholders do not waste their energies in such empty sloganeering.

There are tools available nowadays that can help genuine stakeholders work towards development of effective systems - and to operate them when such systems are in place. Such tools are described in outline at my post starting the thread "Democracy - how to achieve it?" - .

These tools can help stakeholders to design effective systems of any desired kind, including public school systems. It requires a very little learning (accompanied by a fair bit of 'unlearning') to apply these tools in practice to the systems around us.
> I'd feel even more hopeful for real change in these
> sections of society if such programs and seminars
> were to become the norm at Harvard Business School,
> Wharton School of Management, at Davos, and the
> like.
> Anyway, I for one shall watch developments with
> interest: I've asked the Aspen Institute to keep me
> informed about their 'Business & Society Program'.

The major lessons to learn are:

1. Most existing societal systems (relating to governance; business; education; etc) are extremely ineffective - they even seem to function to reward malefactors more than the genuine stakeholders in the system!!

2. When confronted by ineffective systems, it does no good whatsoever to sloganeer, like so:


3. What's required is to forget, for the moment, the mafia and sloganeering against the mafia - and to learn how to redesign the system so that malefactors find few system weaknesses that they can exploit to their nefarious purposes.

4. It's most unlikely that we will ever be able to design 'perfect systems with zero flaws and weaknesses' - but we certainly can design systems, in every field, that are significantly more effective than the highly unsatisfactory ones we have in place today.

("Still Shoveling!")

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