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Moral Intelligence 2.0: Enhancing Business Performance and Leadership Success in Turbulent Times by Doug Lennick & Fred Kiel

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The message is that moral competence is critical not only to the success of individual leaders and
business, but also for the survival of the global economy. For today’s leaders, moral competence is not a “nice to have;” it is a “must have.”  Therefore integrity over greed is fundamental. People who work for honest superiors relax because they know there will be no hidden surprises coming out of the organizational woodwork. People accomplish more and can work with great creativity when they don’t have to waste energy watching their back.

Emotional intelligence is the constellation of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management skills that are now commonly regarded as critical to success in the workplace. Although, emotional intelligence is important for high performance it alone is not sufficient to assure consistent, long-term performance.

In addition to emotional intelligence skills a moral compass seems be required for long-lasting business success.

Three different levels of responsibility you have for your external communities:
• The responsibility to do no harm
• The responsibility to add current value
• The responsibility to add future value

Managing destructive emotions. There will always be occasions when you feel negative emotions. Your goal should not be to eliminate all traces of negative feelings from your experience, but rather to develop the emotional control to manage destructive emotions so they don’t derail you.

Dealing with moral viruses. A good way to manage moral viruses is to scan for them in your thoughts. To figure out what you are thinking, tune in to your “self talk”—the continuous internal conversation that you have with yourself. Like computer antivirus software that periodically scans for new viruses, you should regularly scan your self talk to stay aware of the internal beliefs that are influencing your daily actions.

Of note moral viruses and destructive emotions are typically found together and often reinforce the negative effects of each.

When we are under stress, the symptoms of a moral virus can once again resurface.  When you find yourself doing something that is puzzling to you when you say to yourself, “I don’t know why I behaved that way…,” you are likely dealing with some sort of moral virus. That is a good signal to talk it out with a good friend or trusted advisor. Like a virus that thrives in the dark, moral viruses brought out into the light often wither and die.

We experiential triangle of thoughts, emotions, and behaviour, all of which mutually influence one another. Predominately emotions are usually the product of our thoughts.

A seemingly contradictory aspect of the competency of telling the truth is that it includes knowing when not to tell the truth.  To tell the truth prematurely at times can be a disservice to the business. If there are legal requirements to withhold information, the leader should simply acknowledge that.

If we feel obligated to tell someone that something “for your own good,” we need first to examine our own motivations. Are we competitive? Are we jealous? Are we trying to even up an old score? It might be wise to ask yourself one more question: Is there a way we can be compassionately honest versus
brutally honest?

An emotionally intelligent leader knows when not to trust gut reactions.  Mentions a person who gained some insight and mentions “When I get really angry, I now know to say, ‘I need some time to think about this; let’s talk tomorrow.’ I’ve also learned when to consult with someone who’s not personally involved before I decide what to do.”

It’s not easy to stay connected to the ideal self of an obnoxious co-worker. But you can keep the channel of respect open if you also call on your capacity for empathy and listening, think of this as a development opportunity for yourself. To see what is ideal in another’s mind, you have to listen and observe.

4 Rs of Financial Intelligence
• RECOGNIZE all the elements of your current situation and how you are interpreting or framing your situation.
• REFLECT on the big picture and what matters most, these are your values and guiding principles.
• REFRAME what you are thinking and how you are describing the situation to yourself.
• RESPOND in a way consistent with your values, goals, and the big picture.

Potentially you and your organization can reach higher levels of performance by capitalizing
on your strengths than by trying to remove your weaknesses. Note, it becomes harder to obtain honest feedback higher up the chain you go.  If you want feedback, here is a script you may want to use; I know we will both make a bunch of mistakes. I want us to agree to help correct each other. I’m going to mess up. Would you be willing to let me know when you see me making a mistake?

Then ask them if there are times when your performance is not consistent with the goals you have shared with me, may I let you know about that?  To do this well it is worth getting to know what your team value at work and at home, although this is fairly obvious if you want to see them as the whole person they are.

Five maxims of moral entrepreneurship

1. Build a business that helps others
2. Choose your partners wisely, word of caution about choosing a friend as a business partner.  This can make it difficult to address the business problems created by one or the other. What do you do when a partner-friend betrays your trust by putting the business at risk? By considering how your friend wants to behave ideally, you can give your friend the benefit of the doubt and avoid being overcome by destructive anger. When you believe that your partner and friend shares your values, you can discuss and jointly recommit to your vision and goals for your business. You forgive, and then you move on. Keep in mind, however, that shared values lose meaning when ongoing behaviour is inconsistent with those values. Forgiveness is not synonymous with stupidity.
3. Hold on tight to your core values
4. Surround yourself with employees who share your values.
5. Put your people—and your organization—first.

Both large and small enterprises, have the same basic requirements of moral leadership.  If you are an entrepreneur, it may seem more difficult to stay true to principles when the stakes are high and the cash flow is low, but equally when established can be difficult when cash flow is high. But your new venture simply cannot survive unless it is anchored in core principles. No matter the size of the territory, the morally competent leader weaves business and moral values together—and that makes all the difference.

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