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Columnist Gael O'Brien thinks corporate citizenship may be entering its greatest test. Will a Trump presidency have the effect of muting CEO voices for fear of reprisals and Twitter attacks in a government now controlled by one political party? Or will corporate citizenship, acting out of a bigger sense of purpose, gain increased public trust and support?
Columnist Gael O'Brien examines efforts by a group of values-driven shareholders to pressure the scandal-ridden Wells Fargo bank for a report containing some structured self-examination. A Roman Catholic nun who's active in the campaign says Wells Fargo officials "come back to us and tell us they are living by their vision and values….We are betrayed because they haven’t been living by that.”
Recent criticisms of what's reported to be a high-pressured work environment at Amazon highlight how leaders' expectations can dehumanize a workplace, writes columnist Gael O'Brien. "It is difficult," she says,"to see how a company passionate about 'customer obsession' won’t give more attention to its own culture - finding ways to listen and respond to those who make customer satisfaction possible and sustainable."
Major U.S. retail chains like Target and K-Mart are being criticized by some consumer groups for opening on Thanksgiving Day. Columnist Gael O'Brien finds she agrees with the critics. In the rush for short-term profits, she says, companies are "losing capital" with their employees and damaging their reputations as responsible corporate citizens.
Spiritual intelligence, writes columnist Gael O'Brien, "is the ability to access deeper meaning and multiple ways of knowing to see and solve or resolve the right problems." While many elements of spiritual intelligence are already employed in business today, tomorrow's leaders need to further develop " the practices and ways of mindful listening, seeing and connecting that allow our brains to rewire."
When U.S. Senator John Walsh (pictured left) was accused of plagiarizing a masters thesis, he initially attributed the act partially to post traumatic stress disorder related to military service. He later recanted and quit the race for his seat in the Senate. The Army War College has since rescinded the masters degree. "The consequence of plagiarism," writes columnist Gael O'Brien, "is like a time-released capsule imploding at a vulnerable moment in a career."
Questions about how SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment treats dolphins and whales has placed it at the center of an intense controversy involving allegations of cruelty to animals - charges the company vehemently refutes. Columnist Gael O'Brien examines the debate and interviews Thomas I. White, an advocate for animal rights and a professor of business ethics.
Efforts by American Apparel's board to oust founder and CEO Dov Charney don't impress columnist Gael O'Brien. It's one thing to tolerate a philosophy that a sexually-charged workplace fosters creativity, she writes, but another to allow "the repugnant behavior of its leader, who sexualized the workplace as a stalking ground for employee relationships called consensual, disregarding disparity of age and power."
Columnist Gael O'Brien continues her look at the "purpose journey" and what it can mean for individuals and organizations. While having purpose helps, it also brings obligations. "The dark side of purpose," she writes, "is that once you start talking about it, you can’t lead wearing blinders because accountability for impact comes with the territory."
Olympic athletes "remind us that no one is too big to fail and rather than fear it, they train themselves to acknowledge mistakes, find out how to correct them, and try again," writes columnist Gael O'Brien. "It is a lesson of resilience that makes everyone a winner. And it works in board rooms as well."