FINANCIAL TIMES, April 28, 2012
Excerpts from: The only way is ethics: Andrew Hill on where Erhard and Jensen are coming from
"Werner Erhard and Michael Jensen look an unlikely pairing but their leadership teaching fits into a broad stream of business education and research about ethics and integrity. "
"In 'A Positive Theory of the Normative Virtues', the draft introduction to their forthcoming book, they write that their desire to confront their own “personal contributions to the mess generated by out-of-integrity behaviour” was one trigger for their research. But it was the Enron scandal of 2001 that prompted business schools to refocus attention on this area. The financial crisis of 2008-2009 gave this effort new impetus, as management schools realised they had to bear some responsibility for the bad corporate behaviour of their alumni. "
"Jensen and Erhard’s latest work shifts the emphasis away from external incentives and structures to leaders’ internal motivation, encouraging self-examination and personal action. Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of this approach, managers seem to have an appetite for it. Another eminent Harvard professor, Clay Christensen – one of whose HBS classmates was the disgraced Enron chief executive Jeff Skilling – is about to publish a book, How Will You Measure Your Life?, offering advice on how to build a successful life and career that avoids ethical compromise. The 2010 Harvard Business Review article on which it is based is one of the best-read in the journal’s history."
Andrew Hill is the FT’s management editor
Excerpts from: Lunch With The FT: Werner Erhard
"Erhard is the man who more or less invented the personal growth movement in California in the early 1970s and who coined the phrase, 'Thank you for sharing'."
"Erhard’s influence extends far beyond the couple of million people who have done his courses: there is hardly a self-help book or a management training programme that does not borrow some of his principles."
"I’m not the first person to struggle to grasp his ideas. Erhard tells me that paramilitaries in Northern Ireland had a bit of trouble too, but when they did get it they disarmed as a result. He also worked with members of the first Russian parliament in 1993, who were apparently even slower getting the point than me."
"Erhard is an autodidact. Jensen is an emeritus professor at Harvard Business School. Together they are writing academic articles and touring the world’s best universities."
"What got the two started on this [integrity] was not the usual stuff about corporate scandals. It was reflecting on how their own “out-of-integrity behaviour”, had stunted their own performance and damaged themselves and others around them. After seven years of research the upshot is a (somewhat impenetrable) model that links integrity, morality, ethics and legality into a single system that promises great benefits for everyone."
Lucy Kellaway is the FT’s management columnist
Werner Erhard and Michael Jensen’s book on integrity is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press
Werner Erhard on the Internet