Excellent, actionable ideas for being true to yourself
Oct 7, 2010
Mary Gentile has written a very interesting and practical guide that helps people act on their convictions in a range of situations. Written mostly with business applications in mind, the suggestions offered by Gentile are equally applicable in other arenas, such as interactions among friends and family members.
Giving Voice to Values was originally developed as part of a curriculum for business schools. Its genesis came from the recent ethical crises in business, exemplified by Enron and many of the financial institutions on Wall Street. It seems that many people often fail to voice their objections to morally questionable behaviors within the workplace, even when those behaviors clearly run counter to the individual's internal moral compass.
The routine courses in ethics that are offered in most business schools have apparently failed to prepare graduates to speak and act on their values once out in the workplace. Gentile attributes this to the fact that most of those courses devote extensive time to analyzing ethical issues, rather than helping students develop the skills necessary to take action when they find themselves confronting moral dilemmas. The main point of Giving Voice to Values is to help readers develop mental scripts and implementation plans that they can use to voice their own values in a given situation, and to do so without appearing judgmental of colleagues.
The book is full of examples that will be familiar to many readers, along with various actionable ideas for addressing the values conflicts these situations create. Overall this is a very useful book that can help us all be more effective in standing up for our personal values.
As I began to read this brilliant book, I was reminded of James O'Toole's contribution to a book he co-authored with Warren Bennis and Daniel Goleman, Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor, when O'Toole discusses "speaking to power." He briefly examines several plays (Sophocles' Antigone, John Osborne's Luther, and Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons) whose protagonist offers a reminder to leaders in our own time of the responsibility to create a transparent "culture of candor." O'Toole … more
I own a communications consultancy in NYC called MAKE WAVES, which serves nonprofit organizations and foundations. I also hold a Visiting Lecturer position at Milano: The New School for Management & … more
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