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Posts in leadership or management.

A recent Law 360 headline described a corporate senior counsel explained providing an erotic book with “playful and provocative” drawings to a fellow manager as an “innocent gift.” He had even written an inscription which read, “a taste of Dharma Bum to remind that the Dharma breathes in and out and is nothing special,” referring, in part, to the Buddhist philosophy of life and the novel by beat writer Jack Kerouac. There are many other allegations and facts associated with the underlying discrimination claim, and I have no idea as to whether unlawful conduct actually occurred.

Not every commentator links character, love of family, and a commitment to one’s family, nation and industry to business success, but I’m convinced that the connection exists as much now as in the supposedly less complicated “Old Days.” Certainly our values and view of the world has changed much in my 55 years, but have certain core values and principles changed? I think not.

I’m writing this post while a band does a nice job with Beach Boys songs while my buddies here at the AGC National Convention in San Juan, are, to use the vernacular at the time, cutting a rug. And I’m typing. Not sure what that says about me, and yes, that was rhetorical, so spare me the responses. Now they’ve switched to Sweet Home Alabama. These guys are good and clearly know the group’s tastes. Good stuff.

I’m a conservative free market, individual rights oriented, gun owning, evangelical leaning person who grew up in the hills of North Georgia. I deal with the Federal and State government every day and I believe that private organizations can better handle many government tasks. Have I established my credentials so that I can make the following statement?

One of my recurrent themes is that an employer should never assume that its managers and employees will not act foolishly and exercise bad judgment. Poor judgment results in experienced craft workers skipping a step and getting killed. Poor judgment results in employees or managers engaging in sex harassment. Poor judgment results in coworkers teasing an employee so much that he blames the hostile environment on his race, national origin, age or sex. Sometimes poor judgment results in a manger doing something stupid, rude and inappropriate that isn’t unlawful but gets the company sued.

A consistent theme of this year’s EHS Today Safety Leadership Conference, and at every safety conference at which I’ve spoken this year, is everyone’s frustration with relying on recordable injuries to evaluate a contractor’s safety program and culture. When we focus on injuries, we’re chasing a lagging indicator … we’re not focusing on the things the site does to prevent workplace injuries. Unfortunately, owner/customers and OSHA ...

Electronic communications are a mixed blessing. Business is more efficient and new ways of commerce continue to open. However, ubiquitous electronic communications have eroded our personal time and presented near-addicting distractions. From a legal standpoint, electronic communications, and especially e-mails, not only create damaging evidence but may even contribute to legal claims.

I love reading the Economist and they justified my appreciation with an August 9 Obituary on Warren Bennis, who they rightly described as “the world’s most important thinker on the subject that business leaders care about more than any other: themselves.”

Until they receive an inspection, suit or citations many employers didn’t know they had problems or that current or former management dropped the ball. I realize that “to err is human,” but I’d rather see clients fix problems before OSHA comes on site or a union tries to organize employees. They save money and I feel as if maybe my preventive assistance helped. We all want to avoid headlines like the one I saw yesterday, “GM executive is the latest to see the light about safety.” Sometimes a mea culpa is not enough.

Those of you who follow the FP Workplace safety blog or the howardmavity.com site know that I try to generate new product every few days but have of late been conspicuously silent. Part of the reason is that I have been on the road to speak at various safety-related conferences. I was impressed by the groups’ efforts and I learned from the attendees and presenters. Please support such groups’ efforts.

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