[Opinion] It’s Up to MBAs to Save the World

Business students—modern day, Internet savvy, native users of the information superhighway we’ve all built for the last twenty or so years—can save the corporate world.

The unfortunate thing is that somewhere along the way to cashing out in a cushy consulting position, or advancing in organizations by whose culture they are troubled, someone forgot to tell them.

This is not unusual. Partially it’s due to the echo chamber of higher education—the faculty who teach from a worldview and frame set on preserving the world they teach in—and partially it’s due to a corporate world still focused (in spite of all the evidence of disruption to the contrary) on achieving cookie-cutter, command-and-control outcomes on a quarterly basis.

There are, of course, a range of types and varieties of business students, from undergraduate business majors, dutifully studying their work at second, third, and fourth tier institutions, all the way to community and junior college students “older-than-average” who return to business programs to either run a small business better, or to provide for their families.

Finally, there are the top tier, classic business school students from elite institutions who are studying to become the next masters of the universe. These are the ones that we traditionally think of as dominating the salaries and cultures of corporations and organizations where MBAs are hired.

Except, at all levels, the work that matters is shifting away from what a human used to do well toward what a computer can do better. Accounting, spreadsheet analysis, financial reporting, supply chain management, and on and on, really matter less and less as topical areas of focus and interest in a world where information is changing hands faster than the left to right swiping motion on a smartphone screen.

The work that does matter, in organizations, to individuals, and the work that is going to reshape the global paradigm of the next fifty years, doesn’t show up on spreadsheet, and can’t be open to analysis. And it never did; but, industrialists of the past century who built the old paradigm want MBAs and anyone in a business program of any kind to continue to believe otherwise.

Philosophically, there must be a change in how we teach bright, young, ambitious, people at all levels (from community college programs to the Ivy League) in order to succeed with outcomes that will be measurable, not in terms of dollars and cents (though that will come) but in terms of people, connection, and the continuing malleability of human nature.

But what would a two-year immersive, MBA experience look like?

Here’s a rough idea of how practically, an MBA program would look, one focused on getting bright, ambitious, Internet native, students to develop and nurture the kind of work that will grow organizations in the 21st century:

  • Year One:
    • Semester One:
      • Ethics
      • Sustainability
      • Conflict/Dispute Resolution Skills
      • Failure, Success, and Resilience
    • Semester Two:
      • People Management
      • Psychology of Supervision
      • Storytelling
      • Listening
  • Capstone Project: Peer Reviewed and Focused on Building a Functioning Business in the Real World
  • Year Two:
    • Semester One:
      • Finance
      • Accounting
      • Supply Chain Management
      • Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis
    • Semester Two:
      • Persuasive Writing
      • Digital/Virtual Leadership
      • Organizational Culture
      • Restorative Justice
  • Capstone Project: Go and Turn Your Peer-Reviewed Project from the 1st Semester into a Business

And after all of this, there must be follow-up. But not in the traditional sense of “Did you get a job?” and “How much does it pay?” which are questions that really only interest the federal student loan originators. Instead, follow-up with these students would be focused on the only metrics that matter: failure, success, long-term growth, and connection:

  • Did you fail in 5 to 7 years after the program?
  • Did you succeed in 5 to 7 years after the program?
  • What “dent” if any, did you make in the universe?

And that’s it.

With such a program, the MBAs we are turning out from all institutions would be prepared to save the world from the current troubles and hypocrisies, that have caused many corporations to collapse under the inability to change for the future that is here.


[Advice] The Janitor and the CEO

In every organization, no matter how great or small, there is a person who is in charge of doing the things that no one else wants to do.


Sometimes, the organization imposes the title of “secretary” or “administrative assistant” on the person occupying this position and being accountable and responsible in it.

But in reality, the person who does the things that no one else wants to do, has the most power in an organization.

There are two positions in any organization that have power: The janitor and the CEO.

Both are invaluable and require that the person occupying those roles be a faithful steward of the position.

But no one else in the organization wants to change places with either one of those people.

This is probably why there is so much conflict over so little mediocrity stacked so deep in the middle.

[T/Y to Darren MacDonald for bringing this to our attention.]

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Podcast] Earbud_U Episode #5 – Diane Lange

Earbud_U Episode #5- Diane Lange Owner & Founder, Proclivity, LLC., Entrepreneur,Organizational Development Consultant, Corporate Trainer, Author & Blogger



There are times that I talk with people in fields associated with mine, who are doing things in a different way than I am doing them but are getting the same—or even better—results than I am.

I think that this interest comes about because I am inherently a generalist in a world of specialists.  I think that my interest also stems from being deeply ensconced in the interdisciplinary aspects of conflict resolution and reconciliation.

As human beings in an economic and social world, only beginning to recover from the hangover of the Industrial Revolution, our responsibility is to be interdisciplinary.

We can’t know everything, that’s the point of the social web; but we also have a responsibility to make as many connections between disparate pieces of information as is humanely possible.

That’s where organizational development and conflict resolution practitioners can really shine, because in a world of specialists, sometimes it takes a broad thinking generalist to make the connections that many organizations can’t—and won’t—make.

Diane Lange has taken some time away from Proclivity, LLC, but she is always going to be an entrepreneur, a founder and an active thinker. You should get her into your organization.

Here’s all the ways to connect with her:

Diane Lange & Proclivity, LLC on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProclivitlLlc?sk=info&tab=overview

Diane Lange on Twitter: https://twitter.com/prodiane

Diane Lange on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianelange

Proclivity, LLC Website & Blog: http://proclivityllc.com/

Self-Directed Leadership: http://proclivityllc.com/self-directed-leadership/

Download the Latest Episode of Earbud_U!

Guest Blogger Shem Cohen: Keys to Family Business Success

Shem Cohen of Change Events, Inc. is a widely recognized change management and organizational development consultant with over 20 years of experience in the Albany area of upstate NY.
Check out Shem’s website at http://shemcohen.com/.

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-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/
HSCT’s website: http://www.hsconsultingandtraining.com

Well That Went Viral

Well, that went viral.


How often do we note that now, in the post-social environment that we all now inhabit?

Going viral can be a good thing for an idea, a change or a movement.

Going viral can be a bad idea for a team conflict, poisonous personalities and bad ideas.

Unfortunately, when the negatives “go viral,” they can kill the body in which they live, unless stopped by a trained professional.

A “Doctor” of conflict, if you will.

Because, by the time the interventions occur, an outside expert may be needed in order to ascertain the cause of the negativity in a clear headed fashion.

And in start-ups, small businesses and partnerships, a viral conflict among passionate people can cause major damage.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/
HSCT’s website: http://www.hsconsultingandtraining.com

How Do You Design a System?

Typically a consultant, or mediator, is called.

More likely than not after she’s answered some critical questions http://bit.ly/17Eb6icthat are integral to her success with her client’s conflict issues.
She walks into the organization and meets with the upper management. Sometimes the C-Level folks, but usually they don’t get in on the act until later.
She listens and takes notes, asks important questions and looks for opportunities to generate a positive outcome.
She prepares a report, usually only a few pages in length, outlining the primary conflicts and players in an organization, the nature of the culture of the organization and possible solutions that could be generated.
 She floats the paperwork, quotes a price for continuing, and then waits…
And waits…
And waits some more…
Eventually, the upper management calls her back and, if another project isn’t taking too much of her valuable time, she goes back to the organization and gets to work.
At this point it would be convenient and effective to talk to the employees—from the janitor’s closet to the executive suite—about the issues, the conflicts and the cultures present in the organization.
However, this does not always happen and without the support of the entire organizational structure, typically the corporate executive folks in all of the divisions, from human resources to finance, good cultural design changes cannot occur.
Typically, a consultant will work most closely with the legal folks and the human resources division and will never see anyone from any other part of the structure.
Top-down conflict resolution systems with established internal features try to be swift, impartial, fair, confidential, simple and above all inexpensive.
But when was the last time that a top-down solution to a statutory (or non-statutory) organizational conflict worked to the satisfaction of all of those involved?
Then, typically, a consultant, or mediator, is called…

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

Guest Blogger Diane Lange: Which Comes First: A Crisis of Trust or a Crisis of Leadership?

The Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT) guest blogger for this week is Diane Lange.

Diane is the president and owner of Proclivity, LLC(www.proclivityllc.com).

Proclivity, LLC., based in Binghamton, NY is a business leadership consulting firm, dedicated to the principle that “every person and every organization has a natural inclination to be the very best.”

Ms. Lange has over 20 years of experience in organizational development, consulting, addressing quality-of-life issues in the workplace, and assisting in the design and development of change initiatives in organizations.

Ms. Lange is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management Professionals (SHRM) and the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

She is thoroughly committed to developing excellence in others and in their organizations.

Ms. Lange can be reached via email to answer inquiries or to make and appointment at diane@proclivityllc.com.

We here at Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT) admire her work and believe that cross-over from what we specialize in (conflict engagement consulting with small businesses, churches and higher education organizations) with what Ms. Lange and Proclivity, LLC., specializes in, can spur growth, attract new customers and clients and lead to a better, more collaborative future for everyone.

Happy Employees
Listen up bosses; according to a study published by the Harvard Business Review in 2009, a majority of people reported that they trust a stranger more than they trust their boss.  If you’re like me, you had to read that twice. Worse yet, Michelle McQuaid, a world leader in positive psychology conducted a survey of 1000 American executives and found that a staggering 35 percent of Americans are happy at their job while the other 65 percent said they would rather have a better boss than a pay raise. And you thought the almighty dollar ruled.
Given these statistics, it is no wonder that people leave their jobs. As the old adage says, “people leave managers, not organizations” and according to Gallup the number one reason people leave organizations is because of bad managers and leaders. Managers may be bad for a variety of reasons and one of the reasons is failing to establish a trusting relationship with their staff.  Essential work relationships can be marred or destroyed by a leader’s actions that cross boundaries, break rules, or demonstrate arrogant attitudes that reflect a belief that the rules don’t apply to them. Unfortunately, every time we hear news stories that leaders do something illegal, immoral, or unethical it further erodes what little trust we have left.

But the actions that ruin trust don’t need to be as big as all that; they can be as subtle as ‘little white lies’. I worked for a boss who told me and my team an explanation that we all knew to be untrue. Though we liked the boss, once the lie was said we were very disappointed; we felt betrayed, we kept our distance and we thought twice about what information we would share. Once the distrust was established something intangible yet very important was lost – respect. Communication would never be the same and we would never again feel safe.

My example isn’t unique. Forbes reports that 82% of those surveyed didn’t think their bosses tell them truth.  Sadly, now I join that 82%.  And there is more disturbing information. Edelman’s Trust Barometer for 2013 – one of the largest surveys of its kind to date – recently released results from 31,000 international participants and reported that only 18% of the respondents trust that business leaders tell the truth.

All of this has an obvious effect on our businesses and organizations; employees are stressed and disengaged and Gallup polls tell us that poorly managed teams are, on average, 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed teams. The negative impact of distrust, poor relationships and poor management in the workplace has ripple effects that go wide and deep. Good leaders understand that positive relationships and trust are not just HR ‘niceties’, but are essentials for improved moral, better team work, fewer sick days, superior performance, decreased turnover and increased profitability.

Many have said this situation points to a crisis in leadership, and if leadership is in crisis then so too are their followers. The truth is that leadership implies followers, and without followers, we are fooling ourselves if we think we’re a leader. If we do have followers, are they staying because they want to be or because they have to be? In some arenas followers are there by choice, but in most organizations, staff has little choice about following a leader unless they vote with their feet and leave the organization in favor of another leader.

But, if our followers stay and are stressed, disengaged, distrustful and miserable how effective is our leadership?  Chris Hitch, Program Director at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School deftly summarizes it when he said, “Unfortunately, many senior leaders cannot seem to shake the top-down model of management that adheres to the notion that authority creates trust. In reality, trust creates authority.”
Can a person be a leader if he or she is not trustworthy? Our experiences tell us ‘no’ and so too do the surveys that abound. Anyone can have a leadership title, but that doesn’t make one an effective, trust-worthy leader. Trust is a by-product of one’s actions and behaviors in the relationships they have with those around them, especially with their direct reports. Trust cannot be mandated or bought; it can only be earned one interaction, one word, and one day at a time.

So how does one go about building trust? The answer is simple, but not necessarily easy. Look inside; who do you trust? What do they do? Who don’t you trust? What do they do?

              Probably the people who earn your trust are good communicators who tell the truth, follow through on promises, act with a high degree of integrity, and value positive relationships with whom they live and work. Those who practice these actions will not only be trusted but will also be looked upon as leaders, because people will voluntarily follow them. If one hasn’t built and earned trust, people will never voluntarily follow and that is a crisis in both trust and leadership.
Article Citations
© Proclivity LLC 2013
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Mediator/Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
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[Infographic] CEOS and Employee Engagement


If you are a small business owner in the Southern Tier of NY State, then the infographic below, courtesy of our friends at ADRtimes (http://networkedblogs.com/KAG0M) applies to you as well.

What CEOs Should Know About Employee Engagement

What CEOs Should Know About Employee Engagement infographicPlease consider HSCT for all of your employee engagement needs.-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/