The pendulum swings back and forth.
The NY Times ran an article called Hot Ticket in B-School: Bringing Life Values to Corporate Ethics in today’s Business section. The piece discusses a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School. He is very popular. He is Stewart D. Friedman.
Stewart D. Friedman is an expert in leadership. He teaches a view called the four-way wins, which include work, personal life, community involvement, and family life. Friedman believes you can be successful in each of these areas at once. One task he asks his students to do is to complete a summary of themselves for 15 years from now. Once that is complete the students will have reflected on their core values. This often creates a different path for people to take as they prepare to leave business school.
But that is the thing – these people are business schoolers who mostly haven’t made the tough choices yet. And that is what business is all about – making difficult choices. The risk and reward of making them carries a few byproducts with it. Suppose you had to layoff 10 people from an office of 40, wouldn’t you want a laser focus and leave no stone unturned in an attempt to stop it? Wouldn’t you feel a certain remorse for not succeeding?
Now I’m not saying that it is all doom and gloom. What I am saying is the pendulum goes back and forth. People like Friedman are needed to push us for greater humanity. But at the end of the day it comes down to the bottom line.