Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0215, August 2, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers....
 

Dear friends,

I recently viewed a very interesting film entitled, "The Corporation," which portrays a shocking view of this institutional culture as psychopathic. As facilitators working with teams in corporations, I share some insights and ask poignant questions to inspire discussion that will transform the corporation into a benevolent force. I look forward to your comments on this article.

Special Offer for the next 25 FacilitatorU.com Members!

I recently came across an ebook on running effective meetings called, "Miracle Meetings, 3 Simple Steps That Will End Dysfunctional behavior in Your Meetings," by Dike and Peg Drummond. After reading the book, I was surprised for two reasons. One, I've not seen many e-books out there on meeting facilitation, and two, it was an extremely well written book with easy to understand and apply tips. Knowing that this book will be useful for both beginning and advanced facilitators and group leaders, I talked to the authors and worked out a deal for the next 25 people to sign up for a FacilitatorU.com annual membership. See the details at the end of this issue.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher

 
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The Point


Living with a Psychopath
Finding ways to be healthy and empowered inside corporations.

Group Process Skill


Watching the film, "The Corporation," I was reminded that this institution, which controls most of the civilized world, is only 150 years old. It was defined with basic tenants that make it supremely successful in creating billionaire status for a few, livelihoods for many, and a land of plenty for the masses.

As corporations today routinely exploit third world countries, rape the earth, and maintain an obsessive compulsive desire for more, we now ask, "Have we created a monster?" Early in the life of the corporation, it was given the legal status of "a person" with all the rights, privileges, and protections that "people" are granted. Yet, being an impersonal entity, a corporation can't be held accountable for its actions. It can't be locked up for bad behavior, it can't be reasoned with, and it has no conscience. Further, it's sole purpose, to which it is legally bound, is to produce profits for its shareholders.

This film analyzes the actions of the typical corporation as if were a person. Many of the behavioral traits of an average corporation are found in the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In fact, at the end of the analysis, the best character definition of a typical corporation is that of a psychopath. These behavioral traits are:

1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
2. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships.
3. Reckless disregard for the safety of others.
4.
Deceitfulness: repeated lying and conning others for profit.
5.
Incapacity to experience guilt.
6.
Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior.

Is this corporation bashing? Perhaps. After all, they are wonderful instruments of good: for employment, for the economy, and for a better life. But they are also taking a tremendous toll on our planet in an unsustainable fashion, and on their people's emotional and physical well-being. Yet if you were to survey individuals in corporations, even the top executives, you would find them to be decent people with good intentions. It just seems that decent people working within the confines and value systems set forth by most corporations do things that are collectively harmful. Can good will, passion, altruism, and love survive against a bottom line psychopath?

As a case in point, when the Nazi leaders, many of whom were considered of good moral character in their communities, were questioned about their horrendous acts, they retorted, "We were just following the rules." What these "monsters" were really saying was, "The corporation did it, not me." Their claims suggested that they were simply being good corporate citizens in the Nazi Regime. Corporations aren't really people, so they really aren't responsible. Yet, when we serve them like gods, they become the scapegoat for all sorts of unsavory actions. It seems we've created these monsters to whom we pay homage and sell our souls.

Application


Over that last decade, while corporations were reaping profits higher than any time in history and while capitalism mowed down its competitors, your average corporate employee got sicker. Increasing corporate demands seem to correspond with chronic physical and mental illness that is out of control. It's tough living with a psychopath. How as facilitators can we influence a shift from sickness to wellness?

(1) Be conscious of the feelings of others. Corporations as entities are not concerned with the feelings of others because they are not really "people." Therefore, it is up to us to take responsibility for how corporate actions affect others feelings, both inside and outside of its walls. When we act this way, we will build and (2) maintain enduring relationships that benefit everyone, including the corporation.

Learning to survive with a psychopath. If the temperament of your average corporation is psychopathic and you're asked to fit in, how does this impact your consciousness? If this is normal, where do you look for sanity? These are important questions we need to start asking. After all, most leaders in corporations are always seeking ways to get more productivity out of their employees. But think about it. What would you do if you were locked up in a room for 8-10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week with a raging psychopath? Answer: Do and say as little as possible. If we individually are (3) concerned for the safety [and wellness] of ourselves and others, we'll stop tolerating the corporation's inhumane practices.

Who's responsible? It's a rare person who decides that they are responsible for the long term impact of their actions. Most of us rationalize our actions as being inconsequential. We are simply cogs in a huge machine over which we have no control. The funny thing is, that even leaders of great corporations think this way when they see their corporations in the context of the entire planetary system. In order to affect change, someone, anyone, anywhere, simply has to make a choice that aligns with their truth. A choice that makes them feel good rather than regret, about their actions. As facilitators, we must help people examine the power they have in making choices, and help them discover ways that will work for everyone and for our planet.

How much is enough? This is a question few people ask. Ignorant of an answer then, one simply marches forward seeking more. This question unanswered births the insatiable drive within corporations and consequently, becomes the burden of their employees. As individuals however, we must stop and ask ourselves, "how much is enough?" get a definitive answer, and design our lives accordingly. We may find that once we've defined "enough," we'll discover that 60 hours a week is too much, and that 30 will do. We may just come to discover when enough is enough!

It's not just business. When we see (4) Deceitfulness: repeated lying and conning others for profit going on in our corporations, we simply accept that this is the way business is done. We say, "Nothing personal, it's just business." This stance is incongruent, lacks integrity, and we all pay a price for it. If we want corporations to heal, then we've got to show up differently. We must be honest, do what we feel to be the right thing, and "enough" money will follow. When we do fall back into appeasing the beast with deceit, we need to acknowledge this choice and (5) experience guilt that follows.

Increase the bottom line. Corporations work well in many ways. Where they aren't working well, we can make adjustments to them. Adjustments that allow them to survive without killing their employees. The time has come to teach corporations, paradoxically, to embrace a "bigger" bottom line. That is a bottom line that includes more than simply monetary revenue. The new bottom line has got to include the wellness of its workforce, its environment, its reputation, the well-being of its internal and external clients, and more, in order to be healthy and sustainable.

If our corporations are people, lets ask the best from them. We must measure the actions of our corporations as if they were being performed by real people. Then ask, does this person's actions (6) C
onform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior. If not, then let's do something about it and stop using the excuse, "the corporation did it and I can't do anything about it."

Expand your vision. There are some people within corporations who are challenging this monster with the sword of love, compassion, and integrity. Many of them appear in the movie, "The Corporation." Some are out there waiting to be discovered, and the rest are out there waiting to be transformed. Envision yourself working in your ideal corporation. How does this corporation look and what does it do? Let us facilitate this discussion in the corporations we work with and change the psychopath into a social path that will heal ourselves and our planet.

Action
 
How does this article speak to you with regard to your work with corporations? What does it inspire you to discuss with your groups who may be having problems living with them?. Please email us with your stories.

Last week we talked about the benefits of being present with your groups. We discussed the idea of coming prepared and giving up your need to know, say, or do anything to achieve your notion of success. We'd love to hear any feedback you have on the article or any experiences you had as a result of putting our recommendations into practice. Please email us with your stories.
Resource

The Corporation,
by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott, and Joel Bakan

The Corporation charts the spectacular rise of the corporation as a dramatic, pervasive presence in our everyday lives. With a deft mix of humor, visual panache, and seriousness, filmmakers Mark Achbar (Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomksy and the Media) and Jennifer Abbott and writer Joel Bakan have fashioned a timely, entertaining critique of global conglomerates in the modern age.

Based on Bakan's book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, the film is a graphic and engaging quest to reveal the corporation's inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts and possible futures. Featuring illuminating interviews with Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, historian Howard Zinn, author Naomi Klein, as well as corporate honchos, whistle blowers and big business spies, "The Corporation" charts the spectacular rise of an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals as it also recounts victories against this apparently invincible force.

In the Spotlight

Special Offer for the next 25 FacilitatorU.com Members!


I recently came across an ebook on running effective meetings called, "Miracle Meetings, 3 Simple Steps That Will End Dysfunctional behavior in Your Meetings" by Dike and Peg Drummond. After reading the book, I was surprised for two reasons. One, I've not seen many e-books out there on meeting facilitation, and two, it was an extremely well written book with easy to understand and apply tips that I know will be useful for both beginning and advanced facilitators and group leaders. I talked to the authors as well and got quit quickly that these people have a true passion for leading better meetings and empowering group leaders.

We've worked out an agreement with Dike to add his new ebook to our website at FacilitatorU.com and, he is graciously allowing us to give 25 copies of this $30 ebook away, in addition to the three bonuses that come with it, to the next 25 members who sign up for FacilitatorU.com. The bonuses include "The Guerilla Facilitator's" manual for group participants, a discount for one of his live trainings, and his monthly newsletter.

You can have a look at the ebook here. Or click here to join FacilitatorU.com now and receive this book as part of the many membership features.

Comments or Questions?

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