Should Freedom of Speech Go to the Top?

I consider myself browser neutral (as long as it isn’t IE), and spend most of my day with both Firefox and Chrome running.  So news about either of them tends to catch my eye.  So when I see news that Mozilla employees are asking the CEO to step down via Twitter, it gets my attention.  After all, the guy just got the job a few days earlier.  So why all the fuss?

It seems that the CEO in question, Brendan Eich, donated $1,000 to California’s Proposition 8 initiative against same-sex marriage.  Four years ago.  (He also invented JavaScript and is, by all accounts, a pretty impressive tech brain.)  So there is outrage that he has been appointed CEO,  given his political beliefs, citing the Mozilla code of diversity and inclusion.

But here’s the thing.

Doesn’t diversity and inclusion sort of imply that a person is free to believe as they will, so long as it doesn’t lead to discrimination in the workplace?  Are we really going to expect someone to give up their professional ambition because they choose to donate their own money (and not an overwhelming amount, though not trivial) to a cause that is unpopular?  I expect there are C-level officers in almost every company in the world that don’t believe in same-sex marriage.  Just look at the list.  Feelings on this issue tend to run along age lines, and the more experienced business leaders tend to be older.  We can make a reasonable extrapolation, then, that there are a number of leaders who feel the same as Eich.  They also happen to be good at what they do, and capable of leading an organization.

Don’t misunderstand my view on the issue.  I find the ongoing movement to deny two consenting adults life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be archaic nonsense, free of both logic and compassion.  But I also imagine that were a CEO who had supported the opponents of Prop 8 been asked to resign over their beliefs, there would be outrage.  Rightfully so, I think.

As HR professionals, this is the kind of thing that we need to be able to step back and consider dispassionately.  Do the private donations of an individual to a legitimate political group have any bearing on their ability to lead?  Are we suggesting that diversity is only a positive thing when it meets our personal world views of equality?  Or can we build a truly inclusive workplace where even these kinds of divisive issues could be met not with demands of resignation, but instead with open dialogue and an attempt to understand the person on the other side of the issue.

I know which kind of workplace I’d rather join.

King IPO Disappoints. Here’s the Lesson.

King, who brought us the completely addicting Candy Crush, filed for their IPO yesterday.  It was not what you might call a success.  Day two did not start off better.  How could anyone have seen this coming? King is, at this point, a one-trick pony. Not the kind of thing upon which successful companies are […]

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Michael Sam – What Most People Missed

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I’m proud to be a Mizzou fan.  Even getting spanked outplayed outlasted by Auburn in the SEC title game was a pretty great moment.  But the coverage this week of SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam coming out?  Even more so. Yes I’m proud that he’s a Tiger.  And yes I’m proud that […]

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From the Vault: What’s Missing From Diversity

It’s one of the most popular topics in the workplace.  Either you have a lot of resources being put toward diversity (A policy! A program! A diversity officer!) or you think you are already diverse and want to shout it from the rooftops (Metrics! Team photos! Recruiting strategies!).  And that’s great.  I don’t know many […]

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Using Stretch Goals Wisely

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In my last post, I talked about how using stretch goals can have a seriously negative effect on your employees.  There’s good news.  It doesn’t have to end like that.  There is at least one way to make them work where they not only aren’t a demotivater, but they can boost your overall morale and […]

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How Stretch Goals Kill Engagement

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Stretch goals are great, aren’t they?  Don’t just do enough to get by, do something great!  Aim high!  Change the world!  Be the ball, Danny! I’m a fan of great work.  I’m a fan of goals, metrics, measurable outcomes and continuous improvement.  But I’ve come to believe that stretch goals might be the biggest threat […]

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What’s Your Omaha?

As we gear up for the Super Bowl, we are inundated with the stories surrounding the game.  Will Manning be able to throw in cold weather?  Can the top offense beat the top defense?  Will Richard Sherman snap and  eat a baby?  Anything is possible! One of the stories we have heard quite a bit […]

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Are You Overworking Recruiting?

  All of us over at Dovetail Software are pretty excited to be adding new talent to the team.  So naturally we all like to get in on the act with sharing the job openings with our networks via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Vine, Klout, Quora, Yelp, Circle and so on.  I posted up the […]

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A Look Ahead

Hey there! It’s been a pretty quiet year on the blog, though that doesn’t mean I was idle by any means.  Some of the highlights from 2013 included publishing my first book and a lot of speaking events, including keynoting several state SHRM events and my first overseas engagement.  I was lucky enough to work […]

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#GivingTuesday – Help Us End Childhood Hunger

It’s been a crazy busy year around these parts, as you may have noticed from the lack of posts.  Sorry.  I’ll try to do better.  Scout’s honor. Looking back on the year, though, there is no question that the highlight was the great SHRM Kickball event in June.  A great game, a great time, and […]

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