Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wealth & Wise Leadership

I got sidetracked this week when I saw a news item about CEO pay in Investor Place.  The article stated that CEO pay increases jumped almost 40% last year. It also specifically reported that the CEO for McKesson earned $145 million last year.  It was shocking to hear that anyone, let alone the CEO of a health care IT company, could earn $145 million. What Board of Directors could go along with this, helping to pick the pockets of both the stockholders and customers.  

In the meantime, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, pay increased just 1.8% for those workers in the U.S. who still had a job.  The median income for a worker in America is now $753 per week, or roughly $40,000 a year.  Compare $145 million a year versus $40,000 and check your gut reaction, your common sense – or your business sense. I'm sure no law was broken at McKesson, but it still feel like highway robbery or major fraud has taken place and someone needs to be dealt with harshly.

As the gap between CEO pay and that of their workers continues to widen out of all proportion, forces will emerge to correct this situation which is out of control.  Thus we see the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements continue to grow and gather strength. The situation could spiral out of control if business and political leaders don't work to correct the ridiculous imbalance we can all see. 

When I see something so wrong taking place and evil taking hold, I find myself turning to the Bible for wisdom, understanding, guidance, and comfort.  I accessed a copy of the Bible online and ran a quick search through Proverbs, the book of wisdom, and extracted verses on wealth and sorted them to see what God was telling us about wealth and what we should be doing – whether we be rich or poor.  Take a look at what emerged – see Proverbs on Wealth.

Like many of my fellow citizens across the U.S., I am a Christian and ultimately know we must put our trust in God, and then buckle down to do what we can to combat evil and make things better.  We need wise, righteous leadership  in our country. We can't continue to suffer under the leadership of fools or the wicked and expect our country to remain strong.

What do you think? Has the gap between the rich and poor gotten too big? Are the leaders in the public and private sectors acting wisely? What will you do to help correct the situation?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Open Revolution #6 - The 'Information Age' and the 'Open Way'

We are in the process of transitioning from the Industrial Age of the past century into the Information Age of the 21st century.  Many acknowledge this but don't really grasped what it means. We are moving from the 'closed' protective systems that worked well in the Industrial Age to the new, more effective 'open' systems approach that is the hallmark of the Information Age. We are moving to a new way of doing things – the 'Open Way'.

The Open Source Way is more than a development model; it defines the characteristics of a culture. The open source way thrives on broad collaboration and shared effort.

  • The open source way is about possibility. Open source presents a new way to solve old problems. To share ideas and effort.
  • The open source way multiplies: Knowledge; Effort; Inspiration; Creativity; and Innovation. The impact is exponential.
  • The open source way opens doors. Open source offers a new perspective. Open, not closed. Collaboration, not isolation.

Think about it. The 'Industrial Age' was primarily characterized by organizations that placed a high priority on internal development of proprietary solutions and making sure their products were patented or copyright protected. Sharing ideas, data, information, knowledge,  or resources were not generally accepted practices. The Industrial Age was characterized by hierarchical organizational structures, management styles that were heavily controlling, assembly line production processes, inhouse developed information systems, and many other 'closed' management practices.

The characteristics of the new 'Information Age' are quite different. Look around and what you will see is a growing emphasis by organizations on the 'Open Way' . Every where you look you see people advocating and working on open standards, open communities, open source, open access to data, information, and knowledge. Collaboration, sharing, open solutions, sharing, and more participative 'hands off' management styles.

We're still in the midst of the transition, so many organizations are still operating under the old rules that worked well in the fading Industrial Age.  Many owners, managers, and workers haven't fully grasped or understood the changes taking place all around them. The Tea Part movement is unhappy and fighting to retain a hold on old ways. The Occupy Wall Street movement  is unhappy because the old systems and ways of doing things no longer work in this new Information Age.

Bottom line - the war is over, but many organizations and people don't recognize this. We are leaving the Industrial Age behind and have entered the new Information Age. Unfortunately, we will be going through a somewhat chaotic period over the next decade as the changes being made continue to take hold.  It's time to start acknowledging and thinking about embracing the 'Information Age' and the 'Open Way' that will dominate this 21st century.

I will continue to blog on the Open Revolution. But let me end on this note. For many centuries, our society has been dominated by three major institutions – Government, Business, and Non-Government Organizations.  New technologies, the increasing  pace of innovation, proliferation of overwhelming global challenges, coupled with the use of new information technologies, social media, and the 'Open Way' by the 99% is leading to a major change in how societies are organized. The 99%, are learning to use the new technologies and approach to create and empower the missing fourth institution that will be at the table from now on – the people.  More to come in my next blog.

Looking for your thoughts and input on the Open Revolution.  Please share your ideas and thoughts.