The Magazine of Corporate Responsibility

Tag Archive for ‘Leadership’

The Work Culture at Amazon: Does the Tin Man Have a Heart?

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.”

It’s Not Easy: The Challenge of Paying Employees a $70,000 Minimum Salary

Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price made headlines four months ago when he announced that his Seattle-based credit card payment processing startup was raising employees’ minimum annual salary to $70,000. Columnist Gael O’Brien says the ensuing maelstrom offers insights into resistance, the need for new work paradigms and how leaders give voice to convictions.

Why More Companies Are Speaking Out on Social Issues

Boeing and IBM were among the large employers in South Carolina calling for the Confederate Flag to end its reign over the state capital last week. They are among a larger group of companies increasingly speaking out on issues such as anti-gay discrimination, immigration and race relations. Columnist Gael O’Brien offers thoughts on what’s driving the trend – social conscience or self-interest – and whether it matters.

Leadership: Bold New Programs Need Strong Foundations

Columnist Gael O’Brien examines two ambitious initiatives in leadership and corporate social responsibility – at Starbucks and Zappos – and wonders whether they are taking on too much or simply doing what’s necessary to develop bridges to a sustainable future. “We need more leaders to have big, out-of-the box ideas that have the potential to transform business and society,” she writes. At the same time, “change, even for the noblest purposes, needs to take hold internally and locally and build slowly owned by many.”

Corporate Values in Action: How They Make a Difference

“A shared sense of values can create a ‘we’ powerful enough to head off crises, transform organizations and propel strategic business decisions,“ writes columnist Gael O’Brien. She takes a look at three different organizations – a Fortune 500 company, a family-owned regional business and an online company – to see how values could affect challenges each will confront in 2015.

Internal Survey Shows the Red Cross’ Own Employees Doubt the Charity’s Ethics

A survey of American Red Cross employees shows a crisis of trust in the charity’s leadership and deep internal doubts about the Red Cross’ commitment to ethical conduct. In response to the statement, “I trust the senior leadership of the American Red Cross,” just 39 percent responded favorably.

Plagiarism: Why Some Smart People Do Some Very Stupid Things

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.”

Olympic Lesson for Business: Failure Can Build Resilience

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.”

GM’s New CEO: Demonstrating How Less Can Be More

Since taking over the top job at General Motors in January, Mary Barra has been low-key about the fact that she’s the first woman ever to lead the giant auto maker. And that is a good thing, says columnist Gael O’Brien. “Because there are so few women CEOs,” she writes, “there is a danger that in celebrating them we can go too far — celebrity status conferred on, cultivated or accepted creates a rock star status which when associated with leadership has real risks.”

Leadership: When the Boss Offers a Shoulder to Cry On

A good boss helps create an environment where employees can succeed. But that dynamic can grow complicated when employees have issues that blur the boundary between work and home. “What, if anything, is owed when a boss offers help if personal problems or negative emotions affect an employee on the job?” asks columnist Gael O’Brien. “Does good leadership merit a quid quo pro?”