Home Concepts Adult Development Essay XXI:  Generativity Three: Consecrating, Gathering, Preserving Values, Story-Telling

Essay XXI:  Generativity Three: Consecrating, Gathering, Preserving Values, Story-Telling

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Dale speaks about moving beyond concern for value-misalignment to concrete generative actions:

I then met with a law professor. We struck up a friendship, and out of that I created a management program and system for my company on how to conduct ethics training. We put about 800 executives through a four day experiential workshop. I also created a safety net for myself and whistleblowers that resulted from some work that I did with professors at Harvard and Bentley College. Whistle blowers usually got fired, so the eight of us created national standards to protect them.

I considered the ethics office as my “last best job,” because what if I found that the chairman was cooking the books? Enron would later be a good example of that. The safety net I created said that I would be responsible for reporting the corporation’s state of ethics to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors without the presence of the chairman. This became part of the responsibilities of the job, and the chairman endorsed the idea. I was responsible for giving a written and oral report to the Audit Committee. Then, the report was given to the full board and the chairman and president. As it relates to honoring and sustaining traditions, this example is something that I initiated. I believe the processes and standards lasted well after my retirement from the company.

In Dale’s narrative, we see not the historical orientation of the Bank of America initiative nor the intentional introduction of a values proposition but, rather, the confrontation of ongoing ethics violations that seemed to bring the fundamental values of Dale’s organization in clear relief. His generative actions and those of his colleagues apparently led to some sustained changes that brought his organization more in alignment with its best traditions. It is this type of immediate response to a critical moment in the life of an organization or community that might best illustrate the power of effective Generativity Three leadership.

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