How to Become a Hero c.j. hayden
   How to Become a Hero
   You Are the Champion the World Is Waiting For

   C.J. Hayden, MCC

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It takes a woman to save a village 

Glamour magazine's December issue features a less-than-glamorous subject as one of its women of the year. Mukhtaran Bibi is a Pakistani woman who was gang-raped by men in her village as punishment for a crime supposedly committed by her younger brother. In her culture, such an event often prompts the victim to commit suicide. But Mukhtaran fought back -- not just for herself, but for all the girls and women of her community.

Mukhtar Mai, as she is also known, brought charges against the men despite numerous threats from their tribesmen, who terrorized Mukhtar's entire clan. When she received a settlement of $8300 from the Pakistani government, instead of using the money to flee, Mukhtar started the first-ever schools in her village. "If women aren't educated, it's hard for them to speak up for themselves," she said.

The schools Mukhtar started were running out of funds when a story in the New York Times brought international attention to her situation. Receiving over $130,000 in donations, Mukhtar used the money to improve the schools and buy cows, which will generate income locally to pay the schools' expenses. She also bought an ambulance and built a police station, and is currently preparing to build the area's first high school, a clinic, and a women's shelter. (You can donate to Mukhtar's projects through the Asian-American Network Against Abuse of Human Rights.)

Mukhtar was called by Glamour "the bravest woman in the world." Despite continuing threats, she has remained in her hometown, working to help others. It's the sort of bravery that doesn't always get noticed. We often think of heroes as those who save the day in a burst of glory, carrying out dramatic rescues or defeating an enemy by force of arms. But Mukhtar's quiet courage must sustain her on a daily basis when there are no journalists or dignitaries around to celebrate her.

In my steps for becoming a hero, the eighth and final step is to stay the course. The ability to keep going when you find yourself alone and scared is one of the most challenging qualities for any hero to develop. Mukhtar has found a source for this kind of strength. She says, "It's because of the support of the world that I feel brave."

P.S. If you are interested in discussing the eight steps to becoming a hero in the company of other like-minded people, please check out my How to Become a Hero discussion forum.

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Management by social objective 

Peter Drucker died Nov. 11 at the age of 95. Known as the "father of modern management," Drucker was the author of more than 30 books, including the classic study Concept of the Corporation. As a former management consultant myself, I've known about Drucker for years. Although I've read the work of many people quoting Drucker, I had never read any of his books. But on the day he died, sitting on my coffee table was a copy of The World According to Peter Drucker by Jack Beatty, which arrived there purely by chance after someone discarded it at my neighborhood recycling center. It seems the universe wanted me to know a bit more about Drucker.

Concept of the Corporation began as an internal study commissioned by General Motors. When Drucker discovered that GM employees considered him a management spy and wouldn't talk to him, he asked GM to let him write a book instead because "everybody in this country will do anything for a writer." But when the book was published in 1945, GM denounced it as an attack on the company. Drucker was calling for major changes in how GM was managed.

It wasn't just GM that Drucker was talking about. According to Beatty, "Concept of the Corporation is a book about business as Moby-Dick is a book about whaling." Drucker used GM as an example of the sweeping changes he saw needed in corporations as social institutions. He argued that corporate life was our new social reality, and as such "has to carry the burden of our dreams... of equality of opportunity and personal achievement." The promise of an industrial society was that more people would be allowed to realize their personal dreams than ever before in history. But the corporation wasn't doing its job.

Scores of new opportunities for advancement and personal fulfillment were being created by the industrial system, but it appeared they were being given to the "already advanced." The focus on purely economic criteria for success was an affront to dignity and destroyed self-respect. And the assembly-line style of corporate work with its monotony and rigid specialization was in opposition to natural human strengths.

Drucker was the first to insist that corporations were "affected with the public interest" and should show "social responsibility." He continued to sound that theme until his death. In his 1999 book Leading Beyond the Walls, Drucker said, "Social responsibility is usually defined as doing no harm to others in the pursuit of one's own interest or of one's own task." But what we need today is "what might be called civic responsibility: giving to the community in the pursuit of one's own interest or of one's own task."

It's not quite what you would expect from the world's best known business guru. I wonder how many of those management experts citing Drucker's work have also never read it.


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