Defining by Joseph L. Badaracco Moments Reviewed by : Rafaela Artner, Jiawen Mai, Yan Shen, Ken Wong, Kai Yan Agenda • Defining moments • An individual’s defining moments • A manager’s defining moments • An organization’s defining moments • Conclusion Which choice will you make? Put yourself in the following situation: You are standing in front of a burning building. You can run to one part of the building and save a single child, or you can run to another part and save three children. There is no way to save everyone. You must choose between saving three children and saving one. The child standing alone is your daughter. Defining moments : when managers must choose between right and right P.39 Main Point of the Book Rather than choosing between right and wrong, ethical or unethical, this book focuses on business people’s choice between right and right. “This book offers practical advice for reflecting on right-versus-right conflicts and finding ways to resolve them. In exploring three such conflicts in depth, it provides a framework for thinking through these difficult decisions.” Defining Moments This book argues that right-versus-right choices are best understood as defining moments. 3 characteristics of defining moments: Revealing Shaping Testing Defining Moments Mission statements and ethical guidelines of companies • Usually, grand principles are NOT Legal responsibilities helpful in defining moments. Fundamental principles of traditional moral rules An Individual’s Defining Moment Steve Lewis, an African American, works as a junior analyst in a prestigious New York investment bank. He is a diligent employee and loves his job. Offered to go to a presentation primarily represented by Caucasian males. The Dilemma • Whether or not to participate in a presentation to help with a perspective client in St. Louis without doing any thing for the project previously. Attend Not Attend Opportunities “Serve as an African- American potted plant” For the sake of others “Phony” Capitalism “Discrimination” Guidance for Dilemma “How do my feelings and instincts define the dilemma?” “How deep are the moral roots of the conflicting values that are setting the right-versus-right conflict?” “This is my way, what is your way?” “What will work in the world as it is?” Individual’s Decision • Reluctant to be used as a token black, or his personal philosophy of “action over words,” Lewis wanted to earn his position. • “On balance, Lewis was pleased and relieved about what he had done. He believed he had defined the dilemma soundly, at least in terms of his experiences and values.” • What do we learn from this individual case? A Manager’s Defining Moment Peter Adario - head of the marketing department of Sayer Micro World He was married and had three children. A successful salesman, and a branch manager who supervised 50 people. The Dilemma Conflict between Lisa Walters and Kathryn McNeil. Lisa Walters, a senior manager, a single woman in her late twenties. McNeil worked for Walter Kathryn McNeil is a single mother with a six-year-old son. Walters wants to fire McNeil for falling behind schedule in her work and Adario had to decide whether to do so. McNeil was working 60 hours a week, she was not meeting expectations and Adario was inclined to find a replacement for McNeil and then let her go. Serving the interests of Sayer’s shareholders and customers Peter Adario believed in creating a “family-friendly” workplace. He viewed situation as an opportunity to do something. Manager’s Decision • Peter Adario plans to save McNeil’s job. • Arranged to meet with Walters and McNeil to tell them to settle an agreement before the end of the meeting. • If failed—Adario would step in with suggestions. Results and Influence Walters discuses the situation with several other managers who had offered to help fire McNeil. McNeil was fire. Families are an impediment to the efficient operation of the company. Ignoring the chain of command. Reasons for Mistakes • The role of good intentions and lofty ethical sentiments Overestimated in defining moments. • The role of management skills and effort, as well as Underestimated shrewdness and street smarts. Guidance for Dilemma What other strong, persuasive, competing interpretations of the situation or problems that I hope to use as a defining moment for my organization? What kind of interpretation is most likely to win a contest of interpretation inside an organization and influence the thinking and behavior of other people? What is the cash value of this situation? “Have I orchestrated a process that can make the values I care about become the truth for my organization?” “Am I playing to win?” What is learned? He found he had much more ambivalence about his job. He felt he had rid himself of a naive view of what it takes to redefine the values of an organization. Organization’s Defining Moment Edouard Sakiz, CEO of Roussel-Uclaf, the pharmaceutical company that developed the abortion pill, RU 486. Sakiz would make the final decisions on introducing the drug. The Dilemma Distribute Not distribute Long-term relationship Objection from the largest with the French shareholder of the government laboratory company Support from China Objection from antiabortion groups Great contribution to safe abortions Low profitability Organization’s Decision • Sakiz announced publicly that "the company was suspending distribuion of the drug because of pressure from antiabortion groups." • The decision sparked astonishment and anger from the supporters of the drug. • The French minister of health threatened that if the company did not resume distribution, the government would transfer the patent to a company that would. • Roussel-Uclaf announced afterward that it would distribute RU 486 after all. Guidance for Dilemma “Have I done all I can to secure my position and the strength and stability of my organizations?” “Have I thought creatively and imaginatively about my organization’s role in society and its relationship to its stakeholders?” “Should I play the lion or fox?” Guidance for Dilemma Sakiz played the role as a “fox” in this case. What Sakiz did What Sakiz did not do Say that "pressure from anti-abortion groups" was responsible for his say the drug is decision. immoral Test the commitment of his potential supporters, and then let the strongest say the company of them, the French government, take will abandon the responsibility for the final decision drug. Guidance for Dilemma The government was now ultimately responsible for putting RU 486 on the market. The company is relieved of the moral burden weighing on its shoulders. Guidance for Dilemma Managers need to find the Virtu balance between Virtu and Virtue, manoeuvre and ethical aspirations. Virtue Recommendations How shall we prepare ourselves for right-versus-right conflicts? Conclusion Intellectual: It synthesizes important ideas from various authors, philosophers and leaders. Thoughtful: It fills a gap in traditional academic setting and teaching. Practical: It guides us through different choices between right and right. Far-reaching: It leads us to a level of thought, analysis and decision making ability that will influence the way we make important decisions and choices in the future. Questions?
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