Making Mark Zuckerberg’s Business Philosophy Work

Image representing Mark Zuckerberg as depicted...Image via CrunchBase

The central way Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg works can be summed up in his often repeated mandate to his staff: “Move fast and break things.”

What Zuckerberg is talking about has two dimensions:

1. That speed needs to be a key component of how his people work. If they don’t have a sense of urgency then it’s unlikely that they’ll achieve anything substantial quickly. As businesses grow (and Facebook is no different) layers of bureaucracy develop that impede rapid progress. That must be countered by elevating the speed at which teams work.

(This sense of urgency was also identified as a key component of many other successful businesses. See Professor John Kotter’s work at Harvard on corporate urgency).

2. That no great achievements will occur unless Facebook’s staff maintain a spirit of challenging the status quo, even to the point of destroying what is already accepted as being best practice.

(This concept is similar to the Austrian American economist Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of ‘creative destruction’ ).

Zuckerberg urges his teams to keep these two mind filters front of mind, to ensure they don’t rest on Facebook’s existing achievements and that they keep pace with social media’s breakneck pace of progress.

We all should do the same.

A simple and effective way to do this is by continually following two strategies consistently.

1. Set Short, Unreasonable Deadlines. 

Only be putting time pressure on both yourself and your staff are you likely to push both to achieve at an unusually fast rate. Follow normal, reasonable deadlines and your chances of being faster than your competitors are low. Time pressure almost always brings out the best in people of talent.

2. Always Ask, ‘How Would the Next Great Company In My Sector Do This? ‘

We need to stop aiming for best of category and start thinking major disruption. The first gives you progress and perhaps brief leadership, the second gives you a chance at really changing the game and establishing medium to long term dominance.

In today’s uber fast business world, Zuckerberg’s simple philosophy is a potent mind tool to get the most out of yourself and your people. The two strategies above will help you bring that philosophy to life in the day to day running of your business.

Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”  by Ekatrina Walter

All great achievements start with passion. Passion is what fuels everything. Passion is what motivates you, whether your motivations are spiritual, artistic, political, economic, social, or personal. You know that you are passionate about something when you become restless, when you wake up every morning knowing that you cannot not create whatever it is that you are passionate about.

Passion is what shapes your purpose, in life and in business. When the idea for a venture starts taking shape, purpose is what ultimately helps define it. If you rally around the purpose and build a culture around it, you will meet success; if you lose your way, you will meet failure.

The success of your mission will depend on a lot of factors, one of the most critical of them is people – employees you hire and those you partner with. Whether you are a growing business or an established one, if you don’t have a team that shares your vision, your dream, and your goals, the business will not be able to reach its potential. No matter how you look at it, no matter which field you are in, no matter how brilliant your ideas are, success is a team sport. You can imagine the most amazing products or services in the world, but it requires people to make your dream a reality. That’s where culture and leadership become important.

Think Like Zuck

Think Like Zuck

In the book “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg Ekaterina  talk about the philosophy of notable leaders of our time. “Think Like Zuck” is an analogy of a leader who follows his passion, leads with purpose, builds great teams, and strives for continued excellence in her product (or services). It is a mentality that drives great leaders to building successful business and the approach they use to doing so. Facebook and its visionary Mark Zuckerberg are used as just one of the example of a leader who has a clear purpose in front of him and for whom that purpose drives all of his major personal and business decisions.

Zuckerberg believes that the world is moving toward radical transparency. To him, the information flow online shouldn’t be encumbered by, well, anything. He believes there should be no borders, no restrictions, no limitations on not only the way people connect and communicate online but in the way information is created, consumed, and shared.

In building Facebook, Zuckerberg was extremely focused on ensuring that the social graph he helped create online would be transparent and authentic. Authenticity is everything to him. Facebook was created on a principle of real-life identity and is intended to enhance your relationships with people you know in real life. One is not able to build trust inside online communities if one’s identity isn’t consistent and known to others. Hence, Facebook’s restriction of allowing only one profile per person. Believe it or not, people have been banned for creating multiple profiles. Facebook was the first social network to introduce this rule and demand compliance with it. “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity,” says Facebook’s CEO.  “The level of transparency the world has now won’t support having two identities for a person.”  He believes that such transparency will also help build a healthier society.

Throughout the existence of the social network, Zuck stuck to his passion and to the purpose of Facebook’s creation. He always ensured that users came first and revenue second. Over the past eight years, he has been criticized for sacrificing revenue for users’ interests. But he always sailed his course. “I never wanted to run a company,” Zuckerberg said. “To me a business is a good vehicle for getting stuff done.” His belief in his company and its purpose was so strong, he declined to sell it over and over, even when Yahoo executives offered him $1 billion.

Money isn’t a priority to him; he is more interested in building something genuinely amazing than selling out. For the longest time, he rented a small apartment and slept on a mattress on the floor. He drove an Acura TSX. He doesn’t have fancy clothes, preferring T-shirts and hoodies. In the letter that accompanied the IPO, Zuck wrote: “Simply put: we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.” In that he reminds me of Steve Jobs and his quote from a 1993 Wall Street Journal interview: “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.”

“The question I ask myself like almost every day is, ‘Am I doing the most important thing I could be doing?’ . . . Unless I feel like I’m working on the most important problem that I can help with, then I’m not going to feel good about how I’m spending my time. And that’s what this company is.” says Zuckerberg.

Zuck’s business interests always aligned closely with his personal philosophy. He even encourages his employees to work on the projects they are passionate about, not the ones that are forcefully assigned to them. What an incredible way to take advantage of not only human competence, but full human potential. And what a great reminder to lead with purpose.


Self Organized Criticality in life

Human nature, according to the Bhagwad Gita, is controlled by three qualities: Sattva, rajas and tamas signifying goodness, passion and illusion. The soul, which is invisible and incomprehensible to materials nature, apparently manifests through these qualities. By nature, a saatvik person is active, a rajasik person is good and tamasic is an ignorant person.

The saatvik person is identified by purity, transparency, stability and calmness of mind. We associate a kind of aura with this nature, which illuminates the world by knowledge and truthfulness. A rajasik person is identified by his passion. Desire for fruits of action and addiction to the fruits thus obtained, make a rajasik person dynamic, excited and action-oriented. A tamasik person suffers illusion and this  make him lazy, drowsy and ignorant.

 In science, materials qualities can also be identified, likewise, by these natures.  Sattva stands for purity, equilibrium or stress-free state, lustre, luminosity, order and stability of matter. Motion, energy and excitations are the rajasik qualities of matter. Finally, the tamasik qualities of matter are its inertia, disorder, chaos, darkness and instability.

 Thereby, materials nature is identified by concepts borrowed from Indic philosophy, particularly the 14th chapter of the Gita. Perhaps we can apply scientific nomenclatures to describe philosophic attributes.

 Currently, multiferroics is an active branch of research in physics and materials science.  It deals with three kinds of properties, namely, ferromagnetism, ferroelectrics and ferroelasticity. The prefix “ferro” in each case represents order. Thus, these three types exhibit spontaneous order, respectively, in magnetism, electrical polarisation and mechanical strain. While different materials exhibit different kinds of order, there is a fervent search to look for all or more than one order in the same material.  In the human world, it is equivalent to finding a multifaceted personality, having multiple traits in an indiviudal.

 In the 16th chapter of the Gita, Krishna describes the classification of human nature in terms of divinity and demoniacs. Divinity in a man results in fearlessness, mental clarity, commitment to knowledge, tendency for sacrifice and meditation, simplicity, non-violence, truthfulness, free from anger, and is of peaceful mind, tolerant, kind, charitable and free from greed. He is also illumined, forgiving, soft, and with internal and external purity. Even one of these traits is enough to establish order. More than one can enhance the order by several orders of magnitude. The process is reversible. These traits in turn can establish divinity in man.

 On the other hand, the demoniac nature leads one to arrogance, pride, intolerance, anger, cruelty and ignorance. Divinity leads one to enlightenment and ultimate liberation and demoniac nature to bondage. The divine believe in a “Paramatma” or Invisible Providence and attribute everything to it. The demoniacs, devoid of faith, pronounce that the world is created out of lust. All their activities are aimed in the destruction of righteousness and order.


 Whether in mythology or history, there is always conflict between the two natures. Unrighteous and demoniac people are intolerant of sattva- inspired virtuous people and try to harm them. They create discord and chaos in society. Puranas like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata depict in detail these conflicts. The conflicts end invariably and rightly with the victory of divinity over the demoniac. It happens because, when chaos resulting from demoniac activities reaches a critical point, a mechanism emerges from within the system, which restores order. In science it is termed as self-organised criticality.


Components for Innovative climate

Are you thinking about ways to transform your workplace into an environment more conducive to innovation? This article takes a closer look at six components of creative climates that have shown to be significant at facilitating creativity according to new research.


 This article will continue investigating creative climates with the goal of identifying the most substantial components that facilitates creativity.

What is a creative climate?

A climate can be seen as various aspects of the psychological atmosphere in a team and the surrounding organizational environment. The climate often conveys expectations about which behaviors and attitudes that are acceptable. In the creativity research field there has been many attempts to conceptualize the idea of a ‘creative’ climate – i.e. such a climate that facilitates outcomes that are creative. Examples of such conceptualizations are the Team Climate Inventory by Anderson & West (1996), the Creative Climate Questionnaire by Ekvall (1996) and the KEYS by Amabile et al. (1996).

Many components of a creative climate have been proposed during the years. Some examples are the degree of individual freedom, psychological safety, support and positive relationships among team members, vision provided by supervisors, creative encouragement, mission clarity, available resources, and even joy (Denti, 2011).

The search for significant components of a creative climate

we   want to highlight six components of a creative climate that have been shown to be among the most salient in predicting creative and innovative outcomes. To identify these components, we have scrutinized two recent meta-analytic studies on factors that influence creativity and innovation (Hülsheger, Anderson & Salgado, 2009, and Hunter, Bedell & Mumford, 2007). Meta analytic studies have the best ability to detect effects across multiple settings since they combine the results from a large amount of studies¹. The factors are presented in no particular order.

1. Challenge

Complex, challenging and interesting tasks and goals spur intrinsic motivation, which is a critical component of creativity. Yet here also lies an important caveat. Tasks and goals should not be too overwhelming because then the challenge risk becoming an obstacle – effectively stifling motivation.

Also see The Best Motivation for Innovation is ‘Being in Flow’ by Bengt Järrehult.

2. Intellectual debate

When working with complex and challenging tasks, problems often surface. The nature of these problems is that they are often novel to the people that encounters them and complex in that they can be solved in different ways. To ensure that a project can move forward, many viewpoints must be heard and people must feel secure enough so that they put forward their best ideas. In organizations where there is no debate people tend to stick to “tried and true” ways of doing things – applying old solutions to new problems.

3. Flexibility and risk taking

A basic reality of creative endeavors is that they are inherently uncertain. Often, there is no valid information that ensures that an idea or an innovation is guaranteed to succeed. Even a creative idea itself may not be practical enough to be realized into a new product, service or process improvement. Thus, risk is inherently built into innovation. Research shows that tolerating this risk, not minimizing it, is the best strategy. Thus, it is crucial that organizations accept and allow risk, encourage experimentation and failure.

4. Top management support

Another salient component of a creative climate is the perception of support from top management. This support entails both espoused support; when top management communicate norms that encourage innovation, risk taking and experimentation, and enacted support. This latter form of support is perhaps the most important, since it is the amount of resources such as money, time and facilities that top management is prepared to commit to innovation. If resources are not available, employees will see through the rhetoric of encouragement, effectively undermining these efforts.

5. Positive supervisor relations

Support for new ideas by the supervisor or team leader is critical for the further development and implementation of these ideas. Especially supportive leaders listen and give feedback to ideas, and tolerate a certain degree of experimentation. Furthermore, leaders should publicly recognize and reward creative efforts.

6. Positive interpersonal exchange

The last salient component of creative climates is joy. When team members experience a sense of “togetherness” that comes with a common goal, team members will want to cooperate efficiently for their mutual benefit. This increases both team performance as well as individual performance. With increased togetherness communication is facilitated, which will allow different perspectives and keep conflict away.

What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, By Michael Sandel

Harvard professor Michael Sandel examines ‘moral limits of markets’ in new book

We are reluctant to allow moral and spiritual concerns into public debate, he says. Instead, we’ve come to rely on the market to assign value.

Michael Sandel, the superstar Harvard moral philosopher, wants people to spend more time queuing. Well, he wants people not to spend money to avoid queuing, which amounts to the same thing. Except sometimes the money option is ethical. When a bus arrives at the stop, it should be first come, first served; but he agrees I should not be under an obligation to sell my house to the first buyer who arrives at the doorstep.

“There’s no reason to assume that any single principle – queuing or paying – should determine the allocation of goods,” he writes. In which case, practical moral philosophy needs to indicate which principle applies in which circumstances. Professor Sandel does not give an answer, although he is very clear that the market principle applies in far too many cases, and many readers will agree wholeheartedly.

Perhaps we can figure it out from his examples. He objects to some people being able to buy the right to board airlines faster than others; or to pay for better service from a call centre; to paying someone else to stand in a queue on your behalf; to reselling concert tickets at a higher price. He thinks children should not be paid for attaining good grades at school.

This entertaining and provocative book is full of examples of vulgar commercialisation, including US towns that have sold advertising space on police patrol cars, the Washington lobbyists who pay homeless people to queue to see a congressman, the sale of a forehead as advertising space, and the purchase of naming rights to New York subway stations by (among others) Barclays Bank. A lot of us will agree that there is far too much of this in modern life.

However, there are examples in this book of the expansion of markets in ways that many people, especially economists, would mostly regard as beneficial, but the author argues are degrading. Life insurance is one. Sandel describes it as a “wager on death”. He shares, it seems, the opposition of religious authorities to life insurance before it became increasingly widespread from the mid-19th century.

There are certainly some commercial excesses in the life insurance market. These include so-called “dead peasants insurance”, whereby corporations take out policies on the life of their employees, originally without their consent; and the investment index of “viatical” insurance policies, whereby the investor buys at a discount the insurance policies of people who are dying and trades them. Yet to put normal life insurance policies in the same category, even though they may create a theoretical incentive to murder, seems extreme.

Sandel is particularly opposed to the idea, attributed to economics, that all human relations are market relations. His opposition to market relations stems not from an argument about fairness (that rich people can afford more), or about blackmail (poor people are effectively forced to make unpalatable choices because they need the money). Instead, his argument is that introducing market choices into domains where civic values ought to prevail has a degrading and corrosive effect.

The fact that a market might lead to outcomes that improve welfare is irrelevant to the over-riding importance of civic virtue, he argues. Thus a global scheme for a market in carbon dioxide is morally unacceptable, even if it reduces the level of emissions, because it does damage “to two norms: it entrenches an instrumental attitude toward nature; and it undermines the spirit of shared sacrifice that may be necessary to create a global environmental ethic.”

I would rather see an effective scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but then I’m an economist. Economics is firmly grounded in utilitarian ethics, which can conflict with Sandel’smoral principle of virtue for its own sake. So at some point he and an economist are bound to part ways in making ethical judgments.

However, he thinks economists are more ideological than is the case (for the most part). For example, the book cites a well-known example of the use of a financial incentive proving counter-productive: a nursery that introduced a fine for parents who picked up their child late found that it increased lateness. Similarly, offering pupils payments to improve their grades does not always have the desired result.

A jobbing economist is not philosophically challenged by evidence that a financial incentive does not work, however. She will try to redesign the scheme with incentives that do work. The field of economics known as market design offers examples of market incentives whose outcomes are both effective and (I think) moral. A kidney-matching market created by economists in New England in 2004 has dramatically increased the number of kidney transplants, a result that surely outweighs any counter-argument against the commodification of body parts.

Economics does not deny the existence of limits to markets, or what are known as “repugnant” markets. On the contrary, market design tries to identify which reasons can account for the, often instinctive, moral repugnance in a specific case, and work around it. The good professor’s insistence on a domain of civic values is certainly one principle for ruling out or limiting markets, and this explains why justice is supposed to be beyond purchase, and votes too, and why states insist on providing education for their citizens.

However, the generally accepted boundaries on markets vary, and the tide can flow both ways. There used to be a large market in humans, now banned in international law. The US prohibited the alcohol market in the 1920s. Short-selling of shares has sometimes been banned, sometimes not.

What Money Can’t Buy will tap into a widespread unease about having to limit government and accept a larger private domain in this age of austerity; and about crass commercialisation when unemployment and inequality are too high. But it does not offer a clear guide to which markets are repugnant, and why.

We might agree that the new markets in financial indices of agricultural commodity prices, created by Goldman Sachs and others, are intolerable. For me, the reason is the utilitarian one that they are making very poor people go hungry.

But is it really morally repugnant for educational buildings to be named after rich donors? Sandel objects to a school naming its donated gym after ShopRite. Yet he, the Anne T and Robert M Bass Professor of Government, researches in Harvard’s Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, named by a grieving but rich mother after a young Harvard student who died on the Titanic. Is the passage of time enough to disinfect the transaction?

He ends the book with a question: “Are there certain moral and civic goods that markets do not honour and money cannot buy?” This is rhetorical. Of course the answer is, yes. But how do we know what they are?

We are reluctant to allow moral and spiritual concerns into public debate, says Michael Sandel.  Instead, we’ve come to rely on the market to assign value.

We are reluctant to allow moral and spiritual concerns into public debate, says Michael Sandel. Instead, we’ve come to rely on the market to assign value.

More than ever, we live in a society that sells and puts a price on just about anything.

Couples can hire an Indian surrogate mother for $6,250. Or they can invest that money in the American insurance industry, where betting on the death of strangers is a $30-billion business. Investors receive higher returns the sooner the stranger dies — a morbid spin on the adage that time is money.

Hunters can head to South Africa to kill an endangered black rhino provided they’re willing to pay $150,000 for the privilege. Or they can stay in Canada to kill a walrus for less than $10,000. Add a caribou, musk ox and polar bear and you’ll hit what hunting groups call the “Arctic grand slam.”

If it’s citizenship you’re after, $500,000 buys the right to immigrate to the United States. Many countries have similar policies, including Canada, though the price is higher here.

Even in prison, money matters. In some cities, prisoners can upgrade their cells with a nightly fee.

Teaching political philosophy at Harvard University, Sandel has practiced for years the art of merging the philosophical and the topical. His course on justice, for instance, is wildly popular. More than 15,000 students have taken it — and more than 1,100 students have registered in a single semester, making it the largest-ever class in Harvard history.

Repackaged into a 12-episode TV program produced by WGBH-TV, it’s “the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on public television,” reads the program’s website.

The series has generated millions of views on YouTube, and the lectures have been aired, translated and rebroadcast internationally. In part, that’s due to Sandel’s knack for using simple and seemingly trivial examples to reveal complex, even profound implications.

He’s been doing this outside the classroom as well. In one of his two TED Talks, he invokes Aristotle while grilling audience members about the nature of golf. Is walking across the course part of the game? Is golf still golf if players use carts to get around the course? Sandel explains that concerns about fairness and justice underlie these questions.

He recently finished an international tour that took him to Japan and Korea, countries that trace their philosophical roots to China, not the United States. Yet Sandel is a phenomenon in the region.

He threw the opening pitch at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. A few days prior, 15,000 attended a lecture he gave in an outdoor amphitheatre at Yonsei University. American political philosophers rarely attract this much fanfare at home, much less internationally.

At least one Japanese university has created a course to emulate his approach. Korean Supreme Court justice Jeon Soo-Ahn named Sandel a Western theorist worth reading, noting his emphasis on the importance of community. Perhaps that emphasis, at odds with liberal individualism, explains why China Newsweek put him on the cover, naming him the “most influential foreign figure” of last year.

“In almost every democratic society I’m familiar with,” he said, “there is a mounting frustration with politics as it is today. There’s a growing sense that established political parties are not really addressing the fundamental questions that people care about.”

Indeed, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s critics and supporters alike credit much of his success to keeping divisive moral and spiritual questions out of the public sphere. When abortion became an issue, for example, Harper quickly discouraged the discussion. A national conversation about abortion is off the table “as long as I am prime minister,” he said.

Sandel says that we are increasingly reluctant to talk about what kind of society we want. We are reluctant to allow moral and spiritual concerns into public debate. Instead, we’ve come to rely on the market to assign value.

“Part of the appeal of markets,” he writes in the book, “is that they don’t pass judgment on the preferences they satisfy. They don’t ask whether some ways of valuing goods are higher or worthier than others.”

The market is only interested in efficiently matching buyers and sellers. It is not interested in what is being distributed, or whether it is fair — let alone whether some things should be distributed at all.

Should pro-life groups be allowed to pay pregnant, abortion-seeking women to keep their children? Should those groups be allowed to pay habitually pregnant women — many addicted to drugs — to submit to sterilization? Such questions, admittedly, are less familiar in Canada than America, where both practices have arisen.

But these are precisely the questions Sandel believes we should be asking ourselves. How do we make these decisions? How should we think through them? Should certain things just not be up for sale, even if there are people who might freely consent to the exchange?

He does not oppose inequality everywhere, but believes that too much of it is dangerous. “Democracy does not require perfect equality,” he writes, “but it does require that citizens share in a common life. What matters is that people of different backgrounds and social positions encounter one another, and bump up against one another, in the course of everyday life. For this is how we learn to negotiate and abide our differences, and how we come to care for the common good.”

However, inequality isn’t Sandel’s only concern. He opposes marketization, he says, because it degrades and corrupts social values. “Certain goods have value in ways that go beyond the utility they give individual buyers and sellers,” he writes. “How a good is allocated may be part of what makes it the kind of good it is.”

An example he provides is standing in line. There is, he says, a certain ethic of the queue. In grocery stores, for example, people can’t pay to jump ahead. The ethic is: first come, first served.

Likewise, immigration policy. Sandel writes in his book about Peter Schuck, a law professor at Yale Law School, and his proposal to create a market for refugees. The plan would entrust an international body to assign and allocate refugee quotas to member countries. Countries that don’t want to admit refugees could sell their responsibility to others more willing to take them.

In the long run this might efficiently match refugees with host countries. “Anything that would allow more refugees into prosperous Western countries would be a good idea,” says Catherine Dauvergne, Canada Research Chair in migration law at the University of British Columbia.

But the proposal grates against the sensibilities of some. “There is something distasteful about a market in refugees,” Sandel writes, “even if it leads to more refugees finding asylum.”

“A market in refugees changes our view of who refugees are and how they should be treated. It encourages the participants — the buyers, the sellers, and also those whose asylum is being haggled over — to think of refugees as burdens to be unloaded or as revenue sources, rather than as human beings in peril.”

“The thesis that Sandel is presenting is one that is really controversial and is not obviously correct,” says Joseph Heath, a University of Toronto philosophy professor.

“The idea that you can get a whole theory of the welfare state out of this idea that it’s just morally unacceptable for markets to do certain kinds of things — I just think the argument’s totally wrong.”

Author of The Efficient Society and co-author of The Rebel Sell, Heath embraces markets when they’re useful. About critics of the expansion of the market, he says, “what they typically do is they point to obvious examples where we think it’s really problematic for there to be a market for something, so we think that buying and selling sex is bad and so prostitution is illegal; and we think that buying and selling transplant organs is bad and so markets for organs are illegal in North America.

“But then what they do is they move very quickly from that and say ‘well, health care and education and pensions, they’re all exactly the same thing.’ But there’s actually a huge jump from kidneys and sex to health and education.”

To this, Sandel might note that lines are not easily drawn. And wherever you stand on the issue, Sandel believes we should aspire to at least engage one another in a deep discussion about what can be bought and sold, rather than off-loading that responsibility to the market. Our hesitation to undertake the great task of creating a robust democracy will not persist without consequences.

“If you try to empty the public discourse of substantive moral and spiritual questions, what you get, on the one hand, is a managerial, technocratic politics, which is all too familiar in recent decades,” he says. “But that is never satisfying or inspiring, and so there will be a tendency to fill the moral void, and it is often filled with the most narrow and intolerant of voices.”

“Fundamentalists rush in,” he warns, “where liberals fear to tread.” And so we need a deeper discussion about what matters most to us, about what kind of society we want. “Do we want,” Sandel asks, “a society where everything is up for sale? Or are there certain moral and civic goods that markets do not honour and money cannot buy?”

Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology, primarily to promote continuity and accuracy. The term “fundamentalism” was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century, and that had its roots in the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy of that time. The term usually has a religious connotation indicating unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs. “Fundamentalism” is sometimes used as a pejorative term, particularly when combined with other epithets (as in the phrase “right-wing fundamentalists”).

Modern American liberalism combines social liberalism with support for social justice and a mixed economy. American liberal causes include voting rights for African Americans, abortion rights for women, gay rights and government programs such as education and health care.[1] It has its roots in Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalism, Woodrow Wilson’s New Freedom, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, Harry S. Truman’s Fair Deal, John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier, and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. Conservatives oppose liberals on most issues; the relationship between liberal and progressive is debated

Keynesian economic theory has played a central role in the economic philosophy of modern American liberals. The argument has been that national prosperity requires government management of the macroeconomy, to keep unemployment low, inflation in check, and growth high.

John F. Kennedy defined a liberal as follows:

…someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘Liberal’, then I’m proud to say I’m a ‘Liberal’.

Modern American liberals value institutions that defend against economic inequality. In The Conscience of a Liberal (2007), by Paul Krugman, p. 267, he states: “I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it.” Liberals often point to the widespread prosperity enjoyed under a mixed economy in the years since World War II. They believe liberty exists when access to necessities like health care and economic opportunity are available to all, and they champion the protection of the environment. Modern American liberalism is typically associated with the Democratic Party, as modern American conservatism is typically associated with the Republican Party.

How voters identify themselves has been fairly stable over the last two decades. As of August 2011, 19% of American voters identify themselves as liberals, 38% as moderates and 41% as conservatives. In 1992, 18% identified as liberal, 40% as moderate and 35% as conservative. Turnout, however, fluctuates. Liberals comprised 20% of the voters in 2006, 22% in 2008, 20% in 2010, and 25% in 2012, which was the highest rate in decades.

Tame Problems and wicked problems

The clear definition of the problem also unveils the solution.
The solution is determined according to criteria revealing the degree of effect— goal is achieved fully or partially, outcome is true or false.

Systems are difficult to work with, and seeing things for what they are is an essential first step.  Horst Rittel in the late 1960s distinguished between “tame” and “wicked” problems.  This is not the distinction between easy and hard problems—many tame problems are very hard.  But wicked problems, while not evil, are tricky and malicious in ways that tame problems are not.  The unexpected consequences we’ve seen have been because systems problems are wicked.  We will understand systems better—and why they spawn unexpected consequences—if we understand a little more of the properties of wicked problems and approach them with appropriate respect.


Tame problems can be clearly stated, have a well-defined goal, and stay solved.  They work in a Newtonian, clockwork way.  The games of chess and go are tame.  Wicked problems have complex cause-and-effect relationships, human interaction, and inherently incomplete information.  They require compromises.

For example, mass transit is a wicked problem.  Everyone likes mass transit—unless it comes through their neighborhood, it consumes road lanes, or they have to pay for it.  The difference between something that works in the lab, on paper, or in one’s head versus something that works in the real world and is practical to real people is a characteristic only of wicked problems.

Tame and wicked problems differ in many ways.*  See if the traits of wicked problems as described below sound familiar, either with the examples mentioned here or with situations you have experienced yourself.

  • Problem Definition.  A tame problem can be clearly, unambiguously, and completely stated.  Math problems are tame.  By contrast, there is no absolute statement of a wicked problem.  To state a wicked problem means to also state its solution.  That is, the problem can’t be stated without a proposed solution in mind, and coming up with a new solution means seeing the problem in a new way.  Avoid locking in a problem definition too soon.
  • Goal.  A tame problem has a well-defined goal, such as the QED in a proof or the checkmate in chess.  With a wicked problem, you could keep iterating and refining your solution forever—or go back and consider other solutions.  After all, if a wicked problem is something you can’t define, how can you tell when it’s resolved?  You don’t stop because you’re done (you’ve reached the goal) but rather because of external constraints (you’ve run out of money, time, or patience, for example).  You must strive for an adequate solution, not a perfect one.
  • Solutions.  Solutions are unambiguously correct or incorrect with tame problems.  The solution to a wicked problem is not judged as correct or incorrect but somewhere in the range between good and bad.
  • Time.  The solution to a tame problem can be judged immediately (that is, there is no maturation time), and the problem stays solved.  Euclid’s geometry proofs are still valid today.  Evaluating the solution to a wicked problem takes time (because the results of implementing the solution take time to be appreciated) and is subjective.  Is that a good design?  Maybe, but maybe not.  Like the response to art, different people will have different answers, and the solution causes many side effects (unintended consequences), like medicine in the body.  Additionally, a “solved” wicked problem may not stay solved—wicked problems aren’t solved but are only addressed; they’re treated, not cured.  Your perception of how good the solution is may change over time.
  • Consequences.  Trial and error may be an inefficient approach with a tame problem, but it won’t cause any damage.  Implementing or publicizing a proposed solution doesn’t change the problem.  With a wicked problem, however, every implementation changes reality—it’s no longer the same problem after an attempted solution.  After a failed attempt, the solution you realize you should have tried may now not work.
  • Reapplying Past Solutions.  A class of tame problems can be solved with a single principle.  A general rule for finding a square root or applying the quadratic formula will work in all applicable cases.  By contrast, the solution to a wicked problem is unique.  We can learn from past successes, but an old solution applied unchanged to a new problem won’t produce the old result.  Many unexpected consequences arise when we rush to reapply (without customization) a particular solution we’ve seen before—there will likely be unseen differences between the old and new problems.
  • Problem Hierarchy.  A tame problem stands alone.  It is never a symptom of a larger problem, but a wicked problem always is.  For example, if the cost of something is too high, this can be a symptom of the higher-level problem that the company doesn’t have enough money.  Often, we can’t see the higher-level problem (“This new software is terrific!  I can’t imagine what could be better.”).

Critical problems require a different approach. Because these problems threaten the very survival of the organisation in the short term, decisive action is called for, and people are required to follow the call for action in a highly disciplined way. In the absence of time to do a detailed, objective analysis for cause, solutions may be adopted that are based on causes that are assumed to be valid. But a partially successful response is better than standing by idly as the organisation expires. A not-uncommon critical problem is a company running out of funds to support its continuing existence. With this type of problem a ‘leader’ takes charge, often using an authoritarian command and control style.

Genba – Kaizen – Japaneese Management Philosophy

Genba  is a Japanese term meaning “the real place.” Japanese detectives call the crime scene genba, and Japanese TV reporters may refer to themselves as reporting from genba. In business, genba refers to the place where value is created; in manufacturing the genba is the factory floor. It can be any “site” such as a construction site, sales floor or where the service provider interacts directly with the customer.

 In lean manufacturing, the idea of genba is that the problems are visible, and the best improvement ideas will come from going to the genba. The genba walk, much like Management By Walking Around (MBWA), is an activity that takes management to the front lines to look for waste and opportunities to practice genba kaizen, or practical shopfloor improvement.

 In quality management, genba means the manufacturing floor and the idea is that if a problem occurs, the engineers must go there to understand the full impact of the problem, gathering data from all sources. Unlike focus groups and surveys, genba visits are not scripted or bound by what one wants to ask.

 Glenn Mazur introduced this term into Quality Function Deployment (QFD, a quality system for new products where manufacturing has not begun) to mean the customer’s place of business or lifestyle. The idea is that to be customer-driven, one must go to the customer’s genba to understand his problems and opportunities, using all one’s senses to gather and process data.

A term commonly used in Japan is gemba kaizen. It is an expression that conveys commitment to continuous improvement of practices and processes as a business philosophy. Translated to English “gemba” means shopfloor and “kaizen” means continuous improvement. This certificate prepares students/workers to actively participate in implementing ongoing, world-class manufacturing activities necessary to keep their company globally competitive now and into the future.

The term “gemba” was introduced to Westerners by Masaaki Imai in 1997 to describe the “real place” where products are developed and made, and where services are provided. Small kaizen enhancements to these key operations will multiply into greater success and profits many times over. One of the more attractive features of gemba kaizen as a management philosophy is its independence from technology, complex procedures, or equipment, because gemba kaizen techniques focus on techniques like total quality management, just-in-time, total product maintenance, and visual management to deliver maximum quality. For some companies, gemba kaizen has become a leading philosophy for implementing “lean thinking” into their processes and products. The result has been elimination of waste (in terms of materials, effort, money, time, etc.) and an improvement in fiscal performance. Not surprisingly, gemba kaizen’s approaches to eliminating waste are also one of the easiest and least costly steps to take in improving environmental performance.

The concept of gemba management has its own “golden rules”, and the first rule is: when a problem arises, go to gemba first. Much of what occurs in gemba can be passed off as routine, repetitive, and even boring work tasks, but it’s amazing how often we tend to overlook the importance of understanding the processes in gemba to financial and environmental performance. To take the concept of gemba performance to its ultimate level of simplicity, gemba kaizen offers the “5S” steps of good housekeeping:

Seire: Distinguish between necessary and unnecessary items in gemba and discard the latter.
Seiton: Arrange all items remaining after seiri in an orderly manner.
Seiso: Keep machines and working environments clean.
Seiketsu: Extend the concept of cleanliness to oneself and continuously practice the above three steps. Shitsuke: Build self-discipline and make a habit of engaging in the 5S by establishing standards.

Western companies typically modify the above approach into the following 5S:
Sort: separate out all that is unnecessary and eliminate it.
Straighten: Put essential things in order so that they can be easily accessed.
Scrub: Clean everything — tools and workplaces — removing stains, spots, and debris and eradicating sources of dirt.
Systematize: Make cleaning and checking routine.
Standardize: Standardize the previous four steps to make the process one that never ends and can be improved upon.

If  pondering what steps to take to improve environmental, health, and safety performance as operating budgets continue to tighten, go to gemba.

Gemba Kaizen is a practical guide to implementing kaizen in any business by teaching employees how to pay attention to details, use common sense and work smarter to boost results where they will do the most good.

kaizen masaki

It is a method of improving operations in order to convert our business into a self-sustaining, continually improving, visually controlled workplace.

In Japanese gemba means real place, the place where real action occurs and where the value-adding activities occur. When the earthquakes shook Kobe in January 1995, TV reporters at the scene referred to themselves as “reporting from gemba”. In business, the value-adding activities that satisfy the customer happen in gemba. In particular all businesses practices three major activities directly related to earning profit: developing, producing and selling. Without these activities a company cannot exist. Therefore in a broad sense, gemba means the sites of these three major activities.

Masaaki Imai says “Gemba Kaizen is when Kaizen is used in the gemba, for which there are three basic steps—pay attention to housekeeping, eliminate waste and standardize”.
As Masaaki Imay says “the workplace is viewed with a great deal of reverence in Japan. The place where your product is being manufactured is sacred. In many Western firms, managers treat the gemba as lowly and fit only for lower level employees. So they sit in their fancy cabins and make decisions based on what we would call ‘fabricated data’.
visit the gemba for a more hands-on experience”. In kaizen management are encouraged to take a deep interest in and to keep in close touch with gemba and to visit it regularly. This is quite different from western practices. In the West it is suggested that the management generally have little contact with gemba. They are largely desk-bound. They are happy to distance themselves from what actually happens at gemba.

After Toyota achieved Just in Time production, they starter looking at their vendors. Their autonomous study group was formed under Taiti Ohno. The group visited gemba of a vendor each month and conducted Gemba kaizen for three or four days. This proved to be very effective.
Toyota began conducting Kaizen Blitz to suppliers in the early seventies, which involved the movement of machinery, modifying equipment, change in electrical connection, etc.

Masaaki Imai first advanced his kaizen theory in his book “Kaizen the key to Japan’s competitive success” in the mid-1980s. He expanded this idea in late 1990s in “Gemba kaizen: a commonsense, low-cost approach to management”, a sequel to the first book. In this book Imai emphasizes how to maximize the results of kaizen by applying it to gemba – business processes involved in the manifacture of products and the rendering of services, areas of business where the real action takes place.
He posits that Japan has succeeded in implementing this philosophy because of the way the role of the Japanese supervisor evolved. According to Imai, Japanese supervisors are given precise descriptions of their roles and accountability, enabling them to control processes on a regular basis.

They are empowered to manage the work and the workforce through specific supervisory skills. Moreover, the emphasis on learning and performing these skills at the actual work site provided the groundwork for the gemba philosophy, a central component of both kaizen and the Toyota Production System.

Kaizen gives supervisors the responsibility of managing the five Ms (manpower, material, machines, methods and measurement) that allow workers to produce the output of production identified as: quality, cost, delivery, morale and safety.
How this translates onto the job floor can be seen in the following list of supervisory responsibilities:

  • prepare work standards (job instructions)
  • provide training and make certain that operators do their job according to standards
  • improve the status quo by improving standards
  • take notice of abnormalities and address them right away
  • create a good working environment

Gemba kaizen advocates that manager must maintain meaningful contact with the operational side of the event in order to track potential sources of risk.

Gemba is a place where manufacturing activities are conducted, as well as the place where employees have direct contact with customers in the service sector. Gemba can be dining room of a hotel, a car dealer’s service department or a doctor’s examination room. One place that is not gemba is the manager’s desk. According to Imai, managers often avoid going to gemba because they do not want to be embarrassed by their ignorance.

In kaizen management go to gemba regularly. They stay in one spot for several minutes and observe reality. In so doing they learn much. They will identifiy many areas that can be improved with little, or no, cost to the organization. Imai provides five simple but golden rules for gemba management:

  • when an abnormality arises go to gemba first
  • check the gembutsu (the relevant item)
  • take temporary countermeasures on the spot
  • find and remove the root cause
  • standardize to prevent recurrence

Gemba should be the site of all improvements and the source of all information. Therefore, magement must maintain close contact with the realities of gemba in order to solve whatever problems arise there.


Maintaining gemba at the top of the management structure requires committed employes. Workers must be inspired to fulfil their roles, to feel proud of their jobs, and to appreciate the contribution they make to their company and society. Instilling a sense of mission and pride is an integral parte of management’s responsibility for gemba.

Komatsu’s Genba Philosophy Underpins a Tradition of Product Support

As a means of finding customer solutions, Komatsu has been using an approach that places emphasis on the genba, or workplace where the customer actually operates the equipment, to steadily solve each issue. Especially in the early days, when  business centered on exports from Japan, many Japanese engineers were assigned around the world to provide product support. In order to carry on this tradition throughout the Komatsu Group Network, including  distributors,  have been making concerted efforts to provide training.

Komatsu Support Extends to Managerial Training
Komatsu has been hosting Global Training Institute (GTI), an 11-week program to strengthen and promote the professional development of middle management staff of product support divisions at its subsidiaries and distributors. Besides business strategies in the mining and construction and utilities businesses, the GTI program focuses on quality assurance activities, the KOMATSU Way as exemplified by the concept of a Win-Win-Win (beneficial for customers, distributors and Komatsu as a manufacturer) relationship and Kaizen activities, as well as various programs for the execution of business operations. Training is provided at optimal genbas, mainly at Komatsu bases in Europe and the United States in addition to Japan, in order for participants to learn about respective business fields. Lecturers are primarily from within Komatsu, including members of top management, directors and managers. Thanks to this training program, Kaizen activities, which have been formulated during the program period and brought back to participants’ home countries, have contributed to producing tangible results.

Five Principles in Enterprise

Principles are general rules and guidelines, intended to be enduring and seldom amended, that inform and support the way in which an organization sets about fulfilling its mission.
The name of the principle should be short and recognizable. Its definition describes “what” the principle means in language understood by stakeholders. The motivation describes “why” the principle is important to achieving the organizational mission. The implications describe “how” the principle changes behavior.

1.    Principles in Overall Business

First, principles are statements of belief that reflect the values, culture and real-world concerns of the organization. They normally have a longer shelf life than objectives, strategies, etc . Principles are certainly there to guide the organization, not just for the professional, they are not the same as ethics; but also for decision making, governance., etc.
    • Principle – general guideline that requires judgment and informs decisions
    • Policy – clear governable rules. Not following these kills a project (or worse).
    • Standard – specific requirements that projects/artifacts/roadmaps shall meet.
    • Procedure – standardized activities and deliverables to reduce risk and minimize errors.
    • Guideline – best practices and reference models that we collectively agree will improve delivery, quality, and reduce cost.

2.    Principle in Decision Making

 Enterprise principles provide a basis for decision-making throughout an enterprise, and inform how the organization sets about fulfilling its mission.
Principles are those core decisions values (not value as in benefit, but values as in beliefs) that shape behavior and define culture.
Principles allow many people to individually make their own decision to run in the same direction to meet the same objectives in a rapid manner. Not everyone will follow. But many will.  As principles provide guideline of harmonizing decision-making across a distributed organization. In particular, they are a key element in a successful architecture governance strategy.

3.    Principle in Talent Management

Principles are used to guide professionals along with ethics and values. Normally the common bound between departments, business units, divisions and branches are strategic goals and objectives. Principles are also used to help people identify choices and make appropriate decisions.
Cultural values shape behaviors and principles help to articulate these values. Principles power individual and group dynamics, as it defines expected behavior;

4.    Principle in Enterprise Architecture

Principles can be used to reduce the set of options that a solution architect may choose from, and may be used to guide teams to address key challenges that plague an organization and which are often overlooked.
They can drive behavior or architectural decision, architecture is largely about coordinating action across heterogeneous communities. Principles help these communities agree on what they will do in concert and equally important, what they won’t do.

5.    Principle in Governance

Governance: Don’t step out of line, and the line is drawn sharply. 😦
Principles: Please step into line, and the line is drawn with broader strokes. 🙂
There is often a difference between what organizations say and what organizations do, corporate governance has a responsibility to set and develop enterprise culture. So, it will certainly articulate the highest level of values / principles.
The standards can change without changing the principle.  Principles underpin governance, and governance follows principles. Principles provide a more robust foundation that makes it possible to straightforwardly derive solution-level governance from enterprise-level governance.
 Principle is philosophy, based on  business value and strategy, 3P: Principle, Purpose, and Progress are inter-related with each other, as principle is a positive guideline, helps business make progress and fulfill the purpose.
“Purpose and principle, clearly understood and articulated, and commonly shared, are the genetic code of any healthy organization. To the degree that you hold purpose and principles in common among you, you can dispense with command and control. People will know how to behave in accordance with them, and they’ll do it in thousands of unimaginable, creative ways. The organization will become a vital, living set of beliefs.”
Dee Hock, Founder of VISA, quoted by Alan Hirsch in The Forgotten Ways