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Corporate value statements useless, perhaps harmful

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By Harold Morgan

My odd experiences now include the strange exercise of an appeals hearing for state government employees. Everything favors the state. The hearing officer sits at a table facing the door. Flanking and facing the officer are two tables, one for the employee (and lawyer) and one for the bureaucrats, a lawyer and a paralegal. Spare. Empty. Surreal. Totally tilted to the state.
Strip everything — nice words and thick employee manuals — and the room embodies a statement of ultimate values to state employees. Something like: We are all powerful; you are an insect.
The context here — 10 reasons to not define corporate values — comes from Glenda Eoyang of Minneapolis, founding executive director of the Human Systems Dynamics Institute.
Lest anyone go parochial and sling accusations of me kneeling before uninformed outsiders, as did the critics of the Public Education Department consultants, Eoyang knows New Mexico. Her degree is from St. John’s College in Santa Fe. She chaired the college alumni association, making periodic trips here, and the spiritual home of complexity study is the Santa Fe Institute.
By “corporate,” I mean large organizations, public or private. For me, corporate value and mission statements are vague, vacuous and vapid.


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