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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What's Right » User review

Excellent, actionable ideas for being true to yourself

  • Oct 7, 2010
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+5
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.

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More Giving Voice to Values: How to... reviews
review by . August 09, 2010
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 …
About the reviewer
Bonnie McEwan ()
Ranked #129
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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Gentile, director of the Giving Voice to Values curriculum and senior research scholar at Babson College, offers a powerful action-oriented manifesto for living with integrity, fighting for one's convictions, and building a more ethical workplace. Arguing that if enough of us feel empowered to voice and act on our values then the business world will be transformed, she shows how to practice and perfect speaking up, thereby building skills and confidence. While Gentile's goal is unimpeachable, the vaunted outspokenness might be a harder sell to individuals in more vulnerable positions. Nevertheless, she provides sound guidance to making the workplace fairer by appealing to the sense of purpose in others, completing a self-assessment to determine risk and personal communication style, and anticipating reasons and rationalizations for questionable behaviors. For those motivated to hear her call, Gentile presents a strong--and sorely needed--case for improving corporate culture.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0300161182
ISBN-13: 978-0300161182
Author: Mary C. Gentile
Genre: Business
Publisher: Yale University Press
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