These things I believe.


A couple of interesting conversations recently served as catalyst for this blog post. I am reminded that underneath and behind different approaches, there are often different beliefs. We advocate different approaches to human resources and management, governance, law enforcement, guns, education, etc., because we (sometimes) hold very different beliefs about human beings. While those underlying beliefs rarely get included in the actual conversation they are obviously a huge part of it.

I thought it might be valuable (for me at least), to try and put down on paper the beliefs that I hold on to that inform and direct my work.

  1. I want to, and believe that I can, have a special relationship with my work. I believe that my relationship with my work can be one of the great love stories of my life. I believe that my relationship with my work can be challenging, fulfilling, rewarding, and revelatory.
  2. I believe that work can be a much more healthy, meaningful and positive experience for a lot of people.
  3. I believe that the role played in the world by business can be much more healthy, meaningful and positive for a lot of people.
  4. I believe that business (and organizations in general) tend to be very wasteful with human beings, human potential, the human spirit and intangible assets in general.
  5. I believe that business (and organizations in general) cannot in any real way quantify and measure the most important things, so they treat the things that can be measured as if they were the most important things…and end up ignoring the most important things.
  6. I believe that rather than viewing profit as an obvious requirement for survival (like breathing for human beings), profit is far too often viewed as The Purpose of business. Profit and growth are poor indicators of anything other than profit and growth. And as Edward Abbey said, “growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”
  7. I believe that today business needs to be saved, primarily from itself.
  8. I believe that those with the most formal power inside the organization are the ones least able to save it…they are of, by and for what has brought us to this point, and they are the furthest from the customer and the product. They do not have the language, the competencies, the courage or the imagination required to save business…if they did, they would be doing it right now. As a few of them are.
  9. I believe there is no such thing as a war for talent. There is however a war on talent, and it shows up in the form of antiquated management and leadership practices that do not acknowledge the human spirit.
  10. I believe that much of what is done around the organization, planning and management of work is based on ideology, not evidence.
  11. I believe that organizations learn how to do many things well, but very few of them learn how to survive.
  12. I believe that for organizations (and social groups in general) innovation equals survival.
  13. I believe that innovation is born of inclusion, which provides the container for harvesting and directing the creative tension of diversity.
  14. I believe that diversity means difference and that it is a relational dynamic, taking many forms.
  15. I believe that difference is one of the most fundamental and powerful dynamics of the human experience.
  16. I believe that difference and the role it plays is poorly understood and often misunderstood.
  17. I believe that diversity, or difference, is rooted in authenticity.
  18. I believe (borrowing from Peter Block here) that leadership is the ability of a group of people to determine their future.
  19. I believe that a lack of leadership is one of the defining issues of our time.
  20. I believe that our human resources and management practices sit atop a horribly flawed and antiquated model of human behavior, and this is one of the biggest barriers to moving this work forward.

Would love to hear one or two of yours!

Be good to each other.

  1. Eric Peterson

    Great list. I would include on mine, “Having something in common is not ‘good,’ and not having much in common is not ‘bad.’ We, as a society, have assigned values to things like commonalities and difference, which are completely value-neutral, and it is this, more than anything, that keeps us from truly knowing one another.”

  2. Mary de la Fe

    I would add that I believe that innovation does not always equal new. Every staff retreat we have, we spend time talking about what new big thing we need to do over the next year. In a time where we have reduced staff and everyone is already stretched thin. Why can our innovation for the next year be focused on how to do what we are already doing better and more efficiently?

  3. Laurie

    I’m going to write a post like this. You’ve inspired me. This is really bold. I believe some of this — but I don’t believe much of it.

    When I was younger, I would see really bold and optimistic posts like this and feel bad about myself. Why don’t I see a better vision for work? Why can’t I be a creative and inspiring thinker like this?

    Then I realized: I have a whole set of experiences and beliefs that have been validated in unique and different way. My life has lead me down a different path and to a different outcome.

    And I feel right. Correct. True. Honest. But it doesn’t feel good and energetic to be right when you’re a cynic. I do, however, feel compelled to WARN people.

    So maybe it’s time I put my thoughts down in bullet-point form, yo. I hope other people do this exercise, too.

  4. joe gerstandt Diversity is. » joe gerstandt

    […] wrote a blog post recently about some of the underlying beliefs that inform my approach to my work. One of the things […]

  5. These things I believe. | The Cynical Girl

    […] Joe Gerstandt told me (and you) the things he believes. […]

  6. These things I believe | Thinking About Learning

    […] Ruettimann and Joe Gerstandt did this recently. I’m […]

  7. What I’m Reading | Spark Consulting

    […] do you believe? Are you willing to put it out there as publicly as Joe […]

  8. 10 Things I Believe - The Employment Opportunities List

    […] simple terms and using interesting expressions, fellow bloggers Joe Gerstandt and Laurie Ruettiman told me about the things they believe that inform and direct their […]

contact       brand management by venn market strategies