Friday, February 13, 2009

Democracy & Valentine's Day

I know it is a stretch to find a link between democracy and Valentine's day. I decided I wanted to write a post about my wife and I needed a justification for putting it on a blog about democratic business--so bare with me while I attempt to link the two:

My wife is a lot of the reason I have an optimistic outlook on life. Spending time with her makes me realize that even though an oligarchical Wall Street is destroying our economy and will make a profit at the expense of individual rights, there is a lot of reason to have hope in humanity.

I have learned, from my wife, how important it is to nurture the goodness in people. I see her with our son and it is all too obvious to me how much greater this world would be if more women were given the voice they deserve.

My wife has taught me the importance of the democratic principle of keeping my sights fixed on a euphoric purpose. We have so much fun together. I can't think of a day of our marriage when we haven't laughed together at least once. Our common goals and ambitions inspire me to making our marriage great and not simply good.

Being married to my wife has taught me that the principles of democracy (i.e., transparency, limited power, ownership, and euphoric purpose) are just as important to every aspect of life as they are to government.

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How Will You Measure Your Life?

I recently read this article by Clayton Christiansen out of Harvard entitled, “How will you measure your life?” It is what he tells his students on the final day of his class.

One of the items that he mentions sticks out to me. It reads as follows:

“One of the theories, . . . . . how to be sure we find happiness in our careers—is from Frederick Herzberg, who asserts that the powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements. I tell the students about a vision of sorts I had while I was running the company I founded before becoming an academic. In my mind’s eye I saw one of my managers leave for work one morning with a relatively strong level of self-esteem. Then I pictured her driving home to her family 10 hours later, feeling unappreciated, frustrated, underutilized, and demeaned. I imagined how profoundly her lowered self-esteem affected the way she interacted with her children. The vision in my mind then fast-forwarded to another day, when she drove home with greater self-esteem—feeling that she had learned a lot, been recognized for achieving valuable things, and played a significant role in the success of some important initiatives. I then imagined how positively that affected her as a spouse and a parent. My conclusion: Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team. More and more [people think] that a career in business means buying, selling, and investing in companies. That’s unfortunate. Doing deals doesn’t yield the deep rewards that come from building up people."

I’m sure you can see why it sticks out.