Curated Content for Alumni

Articles, podcasts and thought pieces relevant to Cranlana alumni and Fellows.

Amelie Rorty

Vale Amelie Rorty

Amelie Rorty, the Belgian-born American philosopher known for her work in the philosophy of mind, history of philosophy, and moral philosophy, passed away 18 September 2020.

September 2020

horizontal leadership

Effecting Systemic Change

Traditionally, enacting systemic change has been slow and painful. Proponents of change aren’t just up against the obvious and well-defended interests of power and tradition, they’re also battling system justification, the non-conscious tendency to defend, bolster and justify aspects of the societal status quo.

In response to these seemingly insurmountable problems, and in an effort to effect change at a rate faster than the current glacial pace, many grass-roots movements have emerged, from Occupy Wallstreet in 2011 to the Black Lives Matter movement and Extinction Rebellion. These movements offer a way for individuals without the power to effect change on their own to come together as a powerful force to challenge the entrenched status quo. Unlike protest movements of the past, these have embraced a non-hierarchical approach to organisation and leadership. Sometimes described as leaderless movements, it would perhaps be more accurate to describe them as having coordinated decentralised leadership, or horizontal leadership.

September 2020

supply chain

Weak Links

Powerful as it is, the supply chain metaphor draws our attention away from the larger forces that shape the problems we should be tackling. These include the sustainability of current consumption patterns; the absence of economic alternatives; weak regulatory oversight; scant protection for whistleblowers and journalists; the ease with which corporate ownership can be hidden and disguised; and the commercial pressures and incentives that likely drive those profiting from abuses or taking shortcuts. Our efforts to build stronger and more resilient supply chains will get us only so far. The thing we’re trying to perfect is only an image, and a partial one at that. Alternative visions can help us return these broader issues to the debate, while reminding us, for example, of the importance of engaging everyone affected by global supply chains in the discussion of how they should be organised.

via Aeon Media, 11 September 2020

diversity women in leadership

The Profits of Diversity

Leadership groups with people from mixed backgrounds, ethnicity and gender do better because “they challenge more, and they have more discussion and debate and that leads to better decision-making,” says Vanda Murray OBE.

New research has revealed that London-listed companies where women make up more than one in three executive roles have a profit margin more than 10 times greater than those without.

via BBC, 27 July 2020

cancel culture

Is Cancel Culture Silencing Open Debate?

There are risks to shutting down opinions we disagree with.

Hugh Breakey, President, Australian Association for Professional & Applied Ethics, says “Seeing mistaken views as intolerable speech carries genuine ethical costs.”

In the wake of an open letter signed by 150 high-profile authors, commentators and scholars claiming that “open debate and toleration of differences” are under attack, Breakey considers the ethical concerns around derailing of debates and silencing of opinions.

via The Conversation, 10 July 2020

diversity and inclusion

How To Modernise Leadership For Racial Inclusion

It goes without saying that inclusive leadership will support more inclusive organisations, but are leaders prepared to make the hard decisions necessary to adapt to the realities of inclusion?

Modernising leadership, in the face of a new age of racial equality, will inevitably require changes to the composition of leadership teams.

Organisational activity to dismantle racism will necessarily involve work at leadership level to address how it approaches diversity, and inclusion, within its own ranks.

via Forbes, 4 August 2020

leadership development

How To Ensure Your Leadership Development Programs Give You The Results You Need

In today’s changing world, organisations are looking to transform themselves in order to stay competitive and be future-ready. One of the key drivers of an organisation’s ability to transform is its ability to develop leaders who are strategic, agile and resilient. The more the learning and development of senior management is leveraged as a strategic tool the better equipped companies are to transform.

In this article Rose Cartolari talks about how to ensure leadership development programs give you the results you need.

via Forbes, 8 September 2020

open mind

How to foster ‘shoshin’

The Japanese Zen term shoshin translates as ‘beginner’s mind’ and refers to a paradox: the more you know about a subject, the more likely you are to close your mind to further learning. As the Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki put it in his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (1970): ‘In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.’

Approaching issues with a beginner’s mind or a healthy dose of intellectual humility can help to counter the disadvantages of intellectual hubris. People who are more intellectually humble actually know more, presumably because they are more receptive to new information. Similarly, being intellectually humble is associated with open-mindedness and a greater willingness to be receptive to other people’s perspectives – arguably just the tonic that our politically febrile world needs today.

via Psyche, 27 August 2020

archaeology ethics

When Is It Okay To Dig Up The Dead?

Human bones tell stories that would otherwise be lost to history. But archaeologists are increasingly confronted with demands to let past generations rest in peace.

The ethical debate surrounding archaeologists unearthing and studying human remains is one of long-standing.

In this article Mark Strauss asks why we care so much about the rights of the dead, who, by virtue of their non-living status, have no apparent opinion on the matter?

via National Geographic, 7 April 2016

statistical noise

The Benefits of Statistical Noise

The heightened tendency to tune out some data as unimportant is a well-known side effect of expertise, which encourages leaders to become highly attuned to some signals and patterns at the expense of others.

Yet many things in life—academic publishing, health care, and housing policy among them—require addressing individual challenges within the context of complex systems. People engaged in designing systems, from business plans to public policy, must compel themselves to deeply and empathetically understand both the needs of the people they are designing for and the systems in which they operate, and critically question what their legitimate desire for fairness and consistency leaves out. If they don’t, their well-meaning efforts to reduce noise may inadvertently strip away essential signals, causing them to miss patterns, gaps, and perspectives in data that deserve their attention.

via Behavioral Scientist, 24 August 2020

AI bias

AI Learns Our Workplace Biases. Can It Help Us Unlearn Them?

Engineers at Amazon created an AI hiring tool they hoped would change hiring for good, and for the better, by bypassing the biases and errors of human hiring managers.

Instead, the machine simply learned to make the kind of mistakes its creators wanted to avoid. It’s a good example of how AI is only as smart as the input it gets.

If biases are present in the data, machines will learn and replicate them. On the flip side, if AI can identify the subtle decisions that end up excluding people from employment, it can also spot those that lead to more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

via The New York Times, 10 March 2020

boards

Top Boards Do These 4 Things Differently

Boards need to take a key role in preventing ethics failures before they happen. Work done by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics points to 5 steps every board should take to get out in front of ethics problems.

via Marketwatch, 14 August 2014

board ethics

5 Ethical Responsibilities of Corporate Boards.

Boards need to take a key role in preventing ethics failures before they happen. Work done by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics points to 5 steps every board should take to get out in front of ethics problems.

via Marketwatch, 14 August 2014

big data

Data Ethics

The world’s first guide on data ethics for brands has been launched to encourage companies to see the vital important of addressing the gap between what they can do and what they should do. For the industry, prioritising people over data is regarded as important for brands’ long-term licence to operate. Data ethics are, however, more than the bottom line. Big tech firms have come under increasing scrutiny for their collection and use of data, and the impact that’s had on everything from consumer choices in groceries to political candidates. Questions are being raised about who is building the systems, how they’re using the data and who gets to make these decisions.

August 2020

fractured workforce

The workforce is fractured. This is how leaders need to bring people together

How do leaders bring together a physically and psychologically fractured workforce? Compassion and humanity will be key at all levels.
Organisations of all sizes and across all sectors and regions have such a disparity of employee experiences of the pandemic that creating a sense of “oneness” is a formidable task.
Pre-existing schisms have been made more visible and more profound by this crisis. But beyond that, the average workforce will contain a vast spectrum of pandemic experiences.
This uniqueness of experience challenges the concept of fairness. How can you be fair and consistent when the spectrum of needs varies so dramatically? Should you even try?

Fast Company, 18 July 2020

philosophy

The Usefulness of Philosophy

Where our scientific knowledge is insufficient and where theological answers fail to compel and convince us, philosophy remains a useful endeavour.

That doesn’t mean that all philosophising done at the frontier is useful, interesting, or worth listening to, however. Philosophy that is ignorant of science, or of the bizarre and arcane logical rules that science can often follow, will lead even the most brilliant of thinkers astray. To the speculative, curious mind, however, what is known today will never be satisfactory. Until science makes those critical advances, philosophising will be a necessary tool for gazing beyond today’s frontier.

Which is why Cranlana’s programs draw on more than two millennia of philosophical thinking to foster in-depth, practical discussions that sharpen critical reasoning and strengthen moral courage.

Forbes, 30 June 2020

remote working

Implications of Working Without an Office

How do leaders considering what work after the pandemic looks like for their organisation ensure that the model they create brings together the best of the virtual and real worlds for the organisation and its staff?

In early 2020 the world began what is undoubtedly the largest work-from-home experiment in history. Now, as countries reopen but Covid-19 remains a major threat, organisations are wrestling with whether and how to have workers return to their offices. Business leaders need to be able to answer a number of questions to make these decisions. Among them is “What impact has working from home had on productivity and creativity?”

Harvard Business Review, 15 July 2020

alumni

Then Little Things Started Clicking in Place

Imposter syndrome, the doubt that gnaws at you while you wait for others to realise you’re a fraud, is all too real.

Fortunately for us, Executive Colloquium alumna Esther Roadnight discovered the rewards of stepping out of her comfort zone. She was among peers at the table, and their experiences and hers were very similar.

Peter McMullin

Walking Away From Omelas

Alumnus Peter McMullin, a successful lawyer, businessman and philanthropist, knows the impact a Cranlana program can have on participants. During his participation in an Executive Colloquium he had something of an epiphany which pointed him “in a direction I ultimately would have gone on one day anyway, but it really spurred me into action.” With an interest in global human rights and the arts, Peter was active in philanthropy at the time, but the Cranlana program was a turning point and a trigger for his future philanthropy.

via Fundraising and Philanthropy Magazine, 15 July 2020

machine learning

Does Conscious AI Deserve Rights?

Does AI—and, more specifically, conscious AI—deserve moral rights?

In this video thought exploration, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, ethics and tech professor Joanna Bryson, philosopher and cognitive scientist Susan Schneider, physicist Max Tegmark, philosopher Peter Singer, and bioethicist Glenn Cohen all weigh in on the question of AI rights.

via Big Think, 8 July 2020