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The Value of Values

Optimize Blog - January 27, 2011 - 0 comments

Tucson residents are asking whether the political hot potato of the USA’s gun laws was an instrumental factor in the attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords earlier this month. Certainly under the current regulations, the perpetrator was able to buy and own a semi-automatic hand gun and purchase a high capacity magazine for it enabling him to shoot 31 bullets without the need to re-load.
Many media discussions have focused on the attacker’s mental state but interestingly and perhaps surprisingly for an incident where six people were killed and 14 injured, very few commentators have focused on the gun laws specifically.
The right to bear arms remains a central tenet of the US culture and undoubtedly stems from the frontier world of past times – despite the Tucson tragedy being just the most recent of many tragic events involving mass slayings in the US in recent years. While the well-funded NRA continues to be the major lobby ensuring that the rights remain in place, there is no doubt that a large percentage of the population still share that view, although an increasing number are seemingly looking for stricter rules on gun registration.
The Federal Government has devolved much of the authority to regulate guns to the state level – perhaps because of adverse voter reaction to the centralization of government power to Washington.
It appears then that despite this tragedy the gun laws will once again remain unchanged. A selection of invited guests joining the media debate have even suggested that the Tucson incident will result in more people bearing guns to protect themselves from threats such as Jared Loughner.
Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, the State Legislature is considering a bill to honor the Browning M1911 pistol… by making it the official state firearm. This bill would add the Browning pistol to the existing list of official state things, along with the bird (seagull), rock (coal) and dance (square). We don’t even want to comment on the seagull other than perhaps smiling at the analogy of the particular management technique given the same name – you know the one, the types of managers that swoop in, make a lot of noise and dump on everyone before they leave…
On Monday, the Utah State Capitol celebrated Browning Day, honoring John Moses Browning, state native and maker of the nominee for Official State Firearm. Mark Madsen, a Utah state senator suggested that the state improve upon the Browning Day celebrations by moving it to coincide with Martin Luther King Day since “both made tremendous contributions to individual freedom and individual liberty.” The individual freedom and liberty afforded to Loughner has had a devastating effect on the individuals and families involved in the tragedy.
Nevertheless, being passionate about culture and core values is a good thing and we regularly work with businesses to establish corporate cultures and values and the behaviours required to deliver that culture over time. Of course, the claim around values and the reality experienced, as demonstrated by the Tucson tragedy, are often very different – therefore undermining the credibility of the leadership and the organization as a whole.
At least Mr. Madsen is passionate about firearms being part of what defines the state stands for and, without doubt, some organizations need such passion in driving and demonstrating their own values.
Through actions and words, those within an organization demonstrate to each other and to those they meet, who they are and what they stand for. Check your values and desired behaviours and ask yourself if your actions and words deliver on those values.
If you don’t have any stated values, work out what values you need to demonstrate consistently to deliver on your vision and goals, communicate them to everyone and reward and recognize those that consistently demonstrate them.
It is comforting to hear that the Congresswoman’s condition continues to improve and we wish her well with her ongoing recovery.

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