Hump Day Wisdom: Find or Create Virtuous Circles

The idea of a virtuous circle is very attractive to effective leaders.  A virtuous circle is a cycle of actions or relationships which are self reinforcing and create sustainable value for everyone in the cycle. 

For an easy example, visit Free Rice. (There is a link on the blog main page if you want to come back later.)  At Free Rice, you improve your vocabulary, advertisers get exposure to a targeted audience, the website makes money which is donated to provide rice for people in need.  The cycle, which produces continual donations is sustainable and creates value at each step for each group.

The dot-com bubble saw one of the fundamental virtual circles in capitalism undone, which eventually in turn, burst the bubble. Executives, instead of focusing on the needs of managers and customers, focused on the needs of shareholders. (Mostly, because the executives were the shareholders.)  The result was a greed driven dash to liquidity that viewed customer service levels as expenses to be cut.

Effective leaders look for sustainability.  Take a few minutes on this hump day and look at the processes and relationships in your organization.  Are they self reinforcing and positive for all concerned?  If not, a few minutes brainstorming could pay rich dividends.  Virtuous circles need much less oversight, freeing valuable time and resource for the leader and for the organization.  How many virtuous circles can you find or create before Friday (or next week/ next month/ next year)?