Harvard College

Image via Wikipedia

Harvard, the master of all things business, status quo and losing touch with reality in its MBA program, is making a shift.  The shift is to revamp the curriculum in the wake of the financial crisis.  The elitists even recognize the pendulum has swung too far, so the response is predictable . . . we now needs ethics.

This discussion can get into religion and politics which is a road to nowhere.  Even the most ethical base their decisions on faulty theory.  Rewards and incentives drive behavior, but too often the wrong behavior.  I have seen owners and presidents of Fortune 500 organizations turn a blind eye to dysfunctional activity and then blame an individual for gaming the system to get a reward.

Who is responsible for that system that encourages cheating and damaging behavior?

The same executive and owner that promotes the bonuses and boondoggles to their staff.  What did you expect?  The employee to say, “No, no bonus for me this year.”

Ethical by design should be our aim.  Building systems that accommodate doing the right thing.  When our focus is on targets that become the defacto purpose of our work, we risk everything.

However, when our focus is on the customer there doesn’t have to be bad behavior.  Think about it, no laws to pass to protect the consumer and no outcomes that damage the economy.  The paradox is that focus on the customer actually creates more profit.  It’s all the junk we are forced to do to mitigate risk that creates costs.

Designing our systems outside-in with the focus on the customer creates more profit, less need for regulation and happier customers.  We are saved from enduring educational institutions that have to walk the tightrope of ethics classes.

Join me for the International Deming Conference in New York City on March 21 – 22.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Read his articles at Quality Digest and his column for CustomermanagementIQ.com  Download free from www.newsystemsthinking.com “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbittor LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.

Enhanced by Zemanta