#HOWrace in NYC
Dov Seidman's LRN colleagues raced around New York City delivering the HOW message to hundreds of people on the streets of Manhattan.
Dec 2, 2012 | The Sunday Times
Nov 21, 2012 | Amazon
Oct 25, 2012 | CEO Clubs NYC
Oct 22, 2012 | CNBC
Apr 2, 2012 | mharrison
Mar 3, 2012 | Strategy and Business
HOW author Dov Seidman Keynoting at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City where he spoke to world leaders about values based leadership. Catch Dov at the 19:00 minute mark of this clip.
HOW Moments capture real world events and examine them through the HOW lens. They are intended to foster a deeper discussion of behavior based on values, which is led by HOW author and LRN CEO Dov Seidman and his colleagues. Click through to read the full articles and participate in the conversation on LRN.com, and submit your own HOW Moment by visiting the "contact HOW" section of this site. If selected, you’ll join Dov, his LRN colleagues and other members of the HOW community in this important discussion as it travels throughout the world.
Developed over years of working with businesses of all shapes and sizes, these simple frameworks will help you achieve sustainable success through embracing that HOW matters.
The Leadership Framework encapsulates the concepts covered in the book and provides a way for you to put those concepts into action in everything you do. Post this framework in your workplace or on your refrigerator for inspiration.
These seemingly intangible notions can be made tangible through observation and understanding of behavior in an organization.
If you want to govern behavior and achieve greater success, conventional wisdom says you need to play by the rules. However, in truth, rules may be what’s killing your creativity. This list catalogs the reasons why following the rules is not always the answer.
HOW isn’t just a simple fix that you can apply to your business overnight. It’s a journey. Just like life, the HOW journey will have its ups and downs. Forging ahead inspired by the HOW should lead you towards greater success – and significance.
#HOWrace in NYC
Dov Seidman's LRN colleagues raced around New York City delivering the HOW message to hundreds of people on the streets of Manhattan.
Good Morning America
Watch as HOW hits Good Morning America to spread the message and make a wave.
The HOW Song
In Mumbai, Abhishek Binge found a musical way to celebrate the core philosophy of HOW. By writing and recording a song, called “It’s HOW”, Abhishek has found a wonderfully creative way to celebrate the principles of HOW. Listen to Abhishek’s song here.
HOW at Mumbai Cricket Match
HOW makes its way around the world as cricket fans show off their HOW T-shirts at a championship match.
We can no longer abide by the status quo, or business as usual. In order to achieve sustainable prosperity, we need rethink the fundamentals and reconnect with the values that sustain our relationships and inspire the kind of behavior, innovation, and collaboration that we need now more than ever. What we need is HOW.
The world is changing fast—we are more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. HOW we do what we do has always mattered. But today, HOW matters more than ever and in ways that it never has before. Technology has joined us together across time, distance, and culture faster than we have developed frameworks to understand one another. That's why we must change the way we behave, consume, and build trust in both our business and personal lives. This is the impetus behind HOW.
We have to innovate in how we approach our relationships with others if we - and the organizations and institutions that we represent - are to thrive in this new world. We also have to change our idea of success. The singular pursuit of success might be the very thing that causes it to elude us. Those who instead choose to pursue significance in their work and life find success for themselves and others along the way.
HOW is a journey. We're constantly fascinated by new ideas in organizational governance and behavior. At LRN, we put ideas, values, and principles to work for our partners, and in our own organization. We hope that our HOW communities contribute to the experimentation and dialogue, too. The real inspiration behind any idea, or any movement for change, comes from the community engaging with that idea. We ask you to join our community, and make us part of yours.
HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything was written by Dov Seidman, founder and CEO of LRN, a company that helps businesses develop ethical corporate cultures and inspire principled performance in their operations. The book was first published in 2007, and an expanded edition with a Foreword by President Bill Clinton was published in September 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Since the publication of HOW, when Dov's phone rings, sometimes the caller wants to talk to him about LRN and sometimes they want to talk about the book. Because there may be some confusion, and in the spirit of transparency, we would be remiss if we didn't openly disclose a few things.
While Dov's company's mission and his mission with HOW are the same, they represent two separate manifestations. LRN is a mission-inspired company with hundreds of corporate client partners, including many well-known global brands. HOW, the book, this site, and the community that we build around this philosophy is not intended to be a purely commercial enterprise.
Through the communities associated with HOW, we welcome commentary and relationships with individuals and companies regardless of their relationship with LRN. When a company having a commercial relationship with LRN is featured in a substantive manner on this site or through other associated channels, the relationship with LRN will be disclosed.
Any payments Dov receives as a speaker—whether he is speaking about his book or LRN—go directly to his company. He forfeits any royalties from books purchased by LRN for purely promotional purposes. Royalties from all other sales of the book go to Dov.
Should there ever be a potential conflict between Dov's role as CEO of LRN and his role at HOW, we will be upfront about it here.
We appreciate feedback and questions from the HOW community. Just like everyone else, we have to keep our HOWs in order, too.
LRN is a company of leaders. But not just any leaders, ethical leaders.
Since 1994, LRN has helped 15 million people at 700 companies across the world simultaneously navigate legal and regulatory environments and foster ethical cultures. With a combination of practical tools, education, and strategic advice, we guide companies as they translate their unique values into concrete corporate practices and leadership behaviors that create a sustainable competitive advantage.
With LRN and the philosophy of HOW, companies no longer have to choose between enhancing their reputation or maximizing their profits: both are products of principled performance.
LRN works with organizations in more than 100 countries and has offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Mumbai.
Dov Seidman's career has focused on why HOW matters and HOW companies and their people can operate in both principled and profitable ways. That's the inspiration behind his book, HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything, which was recently expanded and now includes a Foreword from President Bill Clinton. Dov is the CEO of LRN. Since 1994, LRN has helped to shape winning organizational cultures inspired by sustainable values in hundreds of companies with over 20 million people working in over 100 countries. LRN is the exclusive corporate sponsor of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Prize in Ethics. Fortune magazine called Dov the "hottest advisor on the corporate virtue circuit," and The Economic Times named him a "Top 60 Global Thinkers of the Last Decade." Dov is a Harvard Law School graduate with bachelor's and master's degrees in moral philosophy from UCLA and a graduate degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University.
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The flood of information, unprecedented transparency, increasing interconnectedness--and our global interdependence--are dramatically reshaping today's world, the world of business, and our lives. We are in the Era of Behavior and the rules of the game have fundamentally changed. It is no longer what you do that matters most and sets you apart from others, but how you do what you do. Whats are commodities, easily duplicated or reverse-engineered. Sustainable advantage and enduring success for organizations and the people who work for them now lie in the realm of how, the new frontier of conduct.
I read a lot of books on business and management. I read very few that I would describe as “positively Drucker-like.” HOW, by Dov Seidman, is the great exception.
As much as any book I’ve ever seen, HOW is written in the true spirit of Peter Drucker, who famously differentiated between doing things right and doing the right things. HOW teaches us that, more than ever, “principled behavior is the surest path to success and significance in business and life.”
But Dov is no armchair philosopher. Like Drucker’s, his insights are practical and based on real-world experience. How do I know? I have followed Dov as the CEO of LRN, as he has successfully applied his philosophy from the executive suite to the factory floor for almost 20 years.
I was most recently struck by the findings of an independent study—The HOW Report—that demonstrates the big quantifiable differences in behavior and performance between top-down, rules-based management cultures and those organizations in which everyone is guided by a “set of core principles and values that inspire everyone to align around a company’s mission.”
Peter Drucker knew this well. “Any organization . . . needs a commitment to values and their constant reaffirmation as a human being needs vitamins and minerals,” he wrote. “There has to be something ‘this organization stands for,’ or else it degenerates into disorganization, confusion and paralysis.”
So, read HOW. Actually, don’t just read it; act upon it—and watch as you begin to unlock more of your own potential and that of your organization.
The first shift, from deferred to instant gratifcation, from a long-term to a short-term perspective, has been described by Dov Seidman, the CEO of LRN, whose book How explores how values issues play out in the business world. In Seidman's view, two competing kinds of values animate business, government, leadership, individual behavior, and relationships. He calls them "situational values" and "sustainable values."
Relationships propelled by situational values, he says, involve calculations about what is available in the here and now. "They are all about exploiting short-term opportunities rather than consistently living the principles that create long-term success. They are all about what we can and cannot do in any given situation."
Sustainable values, by contrast, are "all about what we should and should not do in all situations." As such, they literally sustain relationships over the long term. Sustainable values, according to Seidman, are the "values that connect us deeply as humans, such as transparency, integrity, honesty, truth, shared responsibility, and hope." They are therefore "all about how--not how much . . . Situational values push us toward the strategy of becoming 'too big to fail.' Sustainable values inspire us to pursue the strategy of becoming 'too sustainable to fail,'" by building enduring relationships. As the collapse of major Wall Street banks such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers has demonstrated, Seidman explains, "What makes an institution sustainable is not the scale and si!e it reaches but how it does its business--how it relates to its employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers, the environment, society, and future generations."
Just how far Wall Street drifted into situational values came out in some of the congressional hearings about the causes of the 2008 sub- prime crisis. On April 27, 2010, Senator Carl Levin (a Democrat from Michigan)questioned the Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar about e-mails in which Goldman bankers described bonds they were selling to their customers as “crap.”
Sen. Levin: And when you heard that your employees in these e-mails, in looking at these deals, said God what a shitty deal, God what a piece of crap, did you feel anything?
Viniar: I think that’s very unfortunate to have on e-mail.
Sen. Levin: Are you . . . ?
( L a u g h t e r)
Viniar: And very unfortunate.
Sen. Levin: On e-mail? How about feeling that way?
Viniar: I think it’s very unfortunate for anyone to have said that in any form.
Even with Senator Levin’s prodding, Viniar seemed not to realize that the problem was what was said, and the rank cynicism behind it, not the fact that it was put in an e-mail that became public. Goldman had fallen into such situational behaviors—just sell any piece of junk, just get the deal done—that it was ready to injure its own customers. That is about as far from sustainable behavior as one can imagine for an investment bank, and even when it was exposed, the firm’s chief financial officer didn’t get it.
In his book, Seidman highlights the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, one of the main themes of which is the conflict between situational and sus- tainable values. The title character is a big-time, self-centered sports agent who has a sudden moral awakening one night and writes a new “mission statement” for his firm. It proposes that he and the other agents in the firm restructure their business and reduce the number of their clients while better serving the clients they keep. In essence, his mes- sage is: Let’s be in it for the long haul and for the right reasons in the right way—let’s behave less situationally and more sustainably.
My friend Dov Seidman, the CEO of LRN, has a new edition of his book How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything out. In this copy, the forward is by President Bill Clinton, who has firmly embraced Dov’s philosophy of HOW.
We’ve been investors in Dov’s company LRN for the past decade and over the last five years I’ve gotten to know Dov and his wife Maria pretty well. They are a dynamic entrepreneurial couple, as Maria is founder / CEO of a new company called Yapp. In addition to being hard at work creating their companies and raising a family, they both live incredibly principled lives. How they do this is embodied in Dov’s philosophy about HOW.
Ever since I’ve know Dov, he’s talked about the importance of HOW. Not what, not why, not how much – just simply HOW. We’ve had our share of long conversations about a variety of topics, but they all come back to the HOW of things.
Dov believes that HOW is everything. It’s not what you do that matters, but how you do it. LRN exists to help businesses understand and incorporate this concept, as the historical approach to business has been all about “how much”, and if you read, ponder, think carefully about, and internalize Dov’s writing and philosophy, you quickly realize that “how much” is irrelevant when lined up against HOW as a construct.
While this applies to business, it also applies to life. My favorite part of working with and talking to Dov is just letting our conversations go wherever they want. While we occasionally stay focused on business, we often drift into wide ranging discussions about our individual lives, HOW we address things, and HOW it all works, and HOW we think about it.
Sure, there is plenty of why and what and where and who in our conversations, and I continue to be a very strong believer in the use of the five whys (continually asking why to get to the root cause of things), but I’m also a deep believer in asking about and focusing on the HOW.
What’s wrong with capitalism? I once asked Paul Hawken this question when we both were frustrated with the lack of progress towards a more sustainable world. Paul said: “Mats, there is nothing wrong with capitalism. We just haven’t tried it yet.”
Turn on the TV or read the blogosphere and try to figure what is truly going on and you will soon realize that almost all the people either in charge of fixing the problems or the people in charge of commenting on the people in charge are observers themselves. The more I have thought about this, the more I have come to realize that we actually don’t play capitalism at all. We play Fantasy Capitalism.
We have developed a “meta reality” that is distanced from reality. Our culture seems to be obsessed or hijacked by people who claim they know the real world. But all they know is how to bet on the real world. If you look at where money has been made in the past 20 years I would argue a huge part of value creation has gone to people who have placed bets on what other people will eventually do. A smaller portion of that wealth has gone to the actual originators and/or implementers of those ideas.
Is this a problem?
I would say it is an opportunity. I think morality, as one example, fades with distance. Look at the mortgage debacle. The people in charge of those complicated instruments are not bad people. They just had limited visibility. They just didn’t see the people who were ultimately affected. They placed algorithmic bets on faceless papers that had no feelings and no spirit.
I have had the great fortune in my life to work with many entrepreneurs. I believe America and the free world very much were built by these kinds of people. They represent the kind of free market capitalism that I believe we would all be better off if we practiced more of. In this time of mourning the loss of one of the greatest, Steve Jobs, it is important that we reflect on what we can learn from them. Most of them (obviously there are bad apples in every basket) share a few common traits that are worth chewing on:
1. Their idea is their bet and the bet is not their idea
I call this “purpose bigger than product®”. They are all obsessed by an idea. They don’t confuse means and ends. Sure, over time, they too like making money. But it is never what drove them to do what they did. They have a more respectful and, may I say, enlightened relationship with money, fame and the “objectification” of success than the cadre of billionaires we see today.
2. They build to last and they often don’t last to see what they built
They are involved in something much bigger than themselves. And they know it. They don’t care. Or rather, they care so much about their idea that their own role is secondary. In fact, they build things for the very purpose of it lasting. Some are so visionary they start projects that for sure won’t be completed long before their grandchildren are gone. Now that’s vision! They don’t involve themselves with exit plans or quarterly valuations or any of the short-term diseases that I believe play too much of a role in today’s value creation conversations.
3. They keep things simple
Talk to them and their worldview is often refreshingly simple. They have deep conviction and they are as clear about what not to do as they are about what to do. They rarely do anything they don’t understand. They hate bureaucracies, process or political correctness. They call a spade a spade and if something walks like a duck, smells like a duck and behaves like a duck they will call it a duck. For sure.
4. They keep things real
They really do care about their products and how they affect the lives of their customers. They use their products and are obsessed with seeing them grow and improve. If and when something goes wrong they are in the lab, plant or factory to fix, tweak and change things for the better. They tinker, care and tweak. Constantly. Most of their conversations in their companies are therefore about products and customers and less about markets, politics and positioning. They don’t spend much time with lawyers, bankers or PR firms.
5. They are optimists
I saved this one for last. Because I do believe it is the most important point. I don’t believe you can build a strong society from a negative position. And I do believe too many of our leaders today aren’t truly optimistic. In fact, too much of economic activity has become betting “against’ something. That is a foreign concept for an entrepreneur. When someone places a bet against something, isn’t there then an incentive to help that negative outcome to happen? Do we want any intellectual energy in our society spent on making bad things happen? Seriously? What is the true redeeming social value of short–selling, complicated hedges and large speculative positions on important feedstock of society?
It’s easy to think that you are an expert just because you have a pen or you can read. But anyone who has tried to build a real business knows how hard it is to design a product or service, package it appropriately, find your customer base, price it with enough margin for your costs and enough incentive for your customers and then finally execute this process on a continuous basis with ever improving quality. It’s not so easy. It is much easier to get a sophisticated education at a nice University and then spend the rest of your life making bets on what other people are going to do. Particularly when, for some strange reason, we have come to value that activity much higher than the original activity of actually doing it. Go figure?
Obviously I don’t have a grand plan or solution for exactly how to change this. What I have chosen to do is to be a humble servant in the vineyard of real capitalism. I am trying hard, with many good partners, to build great companies that all have a “purpose bigger than their product®” and that hopefully will serve many good needs and also produce good financial returns for those who invested with me along the way.
But I am a concerned capitalist. I do think we would all be better off if we somehow stopped having so “many second opinions from the cheap seats” and if more got in to the game of actually playing rather than betting on the ones that do.
Capitalism has become too much about the conversation about reality vs the reality itself. We have so much work to do. We have to inspire the future generation to build real companies, with real customers, with real income, with real assets. That should be the primary goal of any economy. We can’t all be speculators, day traders, hedge fund managers, journalists, reporters, bloggers and other forms of spectators to the real economy.
I am sure regulation must play some form of role. While I am not for regulation in general or large governments in particular, I don’t think the markets will solve this one alone. I would like to see more transparent pricing of “bads” (things we know are bad for our selves, our planet or our children) and perhaps penalizing taxation (as opposed to incentivized as we have today) on short-term gains. Regulation should inspire investments in long-term real value creation. Not short term speculation.
I’d say, it is time to try the real form of capitalism.
I recently had the pleasure of reading Dov Seidman’s book HOW and having breakfast with Dov, discussing our desires to change companies for the better. I was struck by a link between the messages in HOW and Great By Choice, my new book that is co-authored with Jim Collins (author of Good to Great). Both books emphasize a crucial leadership requirement, consistency of action, which in essence is a high level of consistency between words (values, principles, standards, goals) and behaviors.
The two works come at this from different angles. Because the language and terminology is somewhat different, I thought it helpful to articulate how they complement each other on this crucial point.
The message in HOW is simple, yet profound: it is not only what you do that matters; how you do it counts for even more. How you make decisions; how you treat people; how you adhere to values and principles. How is not an easy path for most leaders: it’s one thing to sit in a conference room and draw up values to lead by; it’s entirely different to live those values day by day and inspire employees to internalize them. But even so, leaders worthy of our admiration lead by how. They sweat their words, doing whatever they can to adhere to values and principles, even when it is really difficult. They show consistency of action.
In Great by Choice, we uncovered an important quality in the leaders who created great companies; they had fanatic discipline. Discipline can mean many things—working hard, following rules, being obedient, and so on. We mean something else: These leaders articulated values, performance standards and goals and then showed an extraordinary, even fanatic, commitment to living up to their words. Herb Kelleher, the long-time CEO of Southwest Airlines, lived the company’s values, not giving in to shortcuts, even though it would reduce costs in the short-term. He was highly disciplined by showing consistency between his words and his behaviors.
I find it really interesting that the two books had different starting points. Dov set out to write about values and principles-based organizations. Jim and I set out to study leaders and companies that had achieved great financial performance in highly uncertain industries. Yet, when we both zero in on leadership qualities, we end up in a very similar place in terms of what matters—the principle of consistency of action.
This leadership principle has some great benefits. Not only does it demonstrate integrity, it also makes employee believe in what their leaders say. All too often employees become cynical, and rightfully so, because their leaders say one thing and do another. In contrast, employees whose leaders are consistent come to believe that the values, standards and goals actually count a lot, and not just for next week but for years. And when employees start internalizing them, the magic happens, because then you need less oversight, fewer rules, and less bureaucracy.
As Dov writes, you are becoming a self-governing organization, like Southwest Airlines. That’s a powerful message in HOW: with self-governance, values—not rules—are your guide, and companies in turn end up spending much less money on administrative burdens. Values become a competitive advantage.
As Dov and I chatted over breakfast, we talked about why it is so hard for leaders and companies to practice consistency of action—why HOW and fanatic discipline are so hard. Quarterly earning expectations from Wall Street. Pressures to cut costs. Demands to grow revenues. All in the short-term. These forces grab hold of leaders and sometimes unmoor them from their values and principles. It is as if they say, “let’s cut a few corners so that we can meet earnings targets this quarter, then we will get back to what we said we stand for.” That of course doesn’t work.
The antidote to this malaise, in my view, is to look for independent-minded and principled leaders, those who do not buckle under short-term demand or become inconsistent because it is expedient. And that means developing and selecting leaders based not only on what they have accomplished (the usual criterion), but also on how they have behaved. We need more HOW in leadership education, development, and selection.
When New York business leaders such as LRN company CEO Dov Seidman begin to lend their voices to the crescendo of "values talk" beyond their offices of corporate social responsibility, I begin to see some hope.
It's time for people of faith, and those throughout the corporate world, who understand that morality is central to the bottom line to take note.
Seidman's recent Forbes.com post asking us to "Reconsider Occupy Wall Street" as a corollary to the Arab Spring is a natural outgrowth of his newly released book, How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything and his company LRN, which helps businesses develop "ethical corporate cultures."
How is not a "how-to" book. Rather it's more of a "how we do things means everything" book. It could just as well be titled "All I ever learned to succeed in business I learned in Sunday School/Hebrew school."
Monitoring behavior is central to church and synagogue schools as I've known them, but the financial implications of bad behavior were under-appreciated until recent appalling ethical lapses from Wall Street to Main Street put them front and center in the popular consciousness.
Seidman's book is a good practical business companion to my book Rediscovering Values. Business culture must pay much closer attention to "how" they do what they do. They must stop asking "what can we do or get away with" and start asking "what should we do and how to do that."
What's new about this particular approach is Seidman's team at LRN has found ways to attach rigorous metrics analysis to business practices at a company that wants to monitor its behaviors.
As Seidman writes, "How you behave, how you consume, how you build trust in your relationships, and how you relate to others now matters more than ever and in ways it never has before."
This is profoundly true, because we are marvelously and dangerously interconnected in ways we barely understand. So how can we "outbehave" the competition, as Seidman aptly puts it, instead of merely outperforming (with bad behavior) as we ignore the under-acknowledged social contract that benefits us all?
How helps us understand that principled behavior isn't merely something a PR/Corporate Social Responsibility staff or attorneys tell us is important. Rather it is the surest path to success and relevance in business and in life.
Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, who lost a substantial portion of his personal fortune in Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme, helped launch the Seidman book's new edition, with its foreword by President Bill Clinton. Of the book, Wiesel said, "Dov Seidman's How is a brilliant social-ethical study. It simplifies for the reader the complexity of vital challenges facing humanity today. Students and teachers alike will profit from reading this book."
I'm pleased to quote Hebrew scripture in encouraging us all to put the book's ideas farther into practice.
Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray."
We've seen a lot of childish behavior from corporate America in recent years, especially in the financial sector.
Such behavior must not only be confronted but transformed and Seidman's How is one way we can get started.