Leaders Give Values Heat

Leaders must figure out what values they believe should be manifested in their organizations.  And then put them over the flame of a Bunsen burner by teaching on those values, underscoring them, enforcing them, and making heroes out of the people who are living them out.  ~Bill Hybels

Dr. Kathryn Scanland is the president of Greystone Global LLC, a consulting firm focusing on strategic planning, leadership development and organizational design. This post is republished with permission from Tuesday Mornings.

I've watched a lot of organizations debate, scrutinize, and pore over creating their values and wordsmith the definitions until each noun, verb and preposition was perfect.  And then there they sat.  Simply putting values in writing doesn't make them meaningful or practiced. 

Have you ever flown on Southwest Airlines?  I realize I’m picking on one of the most values-driven organizations you can find, but you only have to fly once on Southwest and you get it.  I just checked their Web site and I’m certainly not surprised to learn that one of their values is to have a fun loving attitude.  Do flight attendants on any other airline ever tell jokes and laugh at themselves?  Not in my experience.  What about their value of having a servant’s heart?  When I get on a Southwest flight I feel like I’m being genuinely welcomed aboard the plane as opposed to being herded and tolerated.

As Hybels states “Whatever the value, if it’s alive and well in an organization, it’s not by accident.  It’s only there because of intentional, committed, dedicated effort.”

I recently heard a former CEO tell a story about the values at his publishing company.  An editor had approved a design for a book cover that the CEO thought was, well, let’s just say not as good as it could have been.  He went to the editor and in a slightly raised voice (in an open office environment) began to berate the editor and asked him what he was possibly thinking to approve a cover like that!  The conversation was overheard by a co-worker who then went to the CEO and said he didn’t think his behavior represented their value of respect.  The CEO agreed; how he chose to address the issue was not respectful.  The CEO returned to the editor and apologized for his behavior.

This happened because the CEO had turned up the heat on their values through extensive training, orientation and dedicated effort.  The heat had been turned up so high, that even the CEO couldn’t get away with not modeling their corporate values.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work – values so hot that they can’t be missed or swept under the rug even when the CEO slips up.

One way to check the heat level on your values is to honestly ask yourself, if someone were to come to our organization would they see an observable difference between us and another organization in our industry?  Would someone be able to identify at least some of our values without going to our Web site and looking up our list of values? 

Hybels says “When you heat up a value, you help people change states.  Want to jolt people out of business as usual?  Heat up innovation.  What to untangle confusion?  Heat up clarity.  New ‘states’ elicit new attitudes, new aptitudes, and new actions.  It’s not rocket science.  It’s just plain chemistry.  Which is a lot about heat.”

CVDL Winter 2011 eNews

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eNews Winter 2011

"Who Will Buy?" The Question that Plagues Boomer Entrepreneurs

Tom Walter is a "serial entrepreneur" who has launched nearly 30 companies. He is the CEO of Tasty Catering, named one of Winning Workplaces best small companies in 2010. This post is republished with permission from Serial Entrepreneur.

The numbers are in, and the reality can be overwhelming.

Ten thousand adults born during the Baby Boomer era of 1940 through 1960 are retiring every day in the US.

2010 was the year that Millennials became the largest generation in the work force. 2011 was the year that women replaced men as the largest gender in the work force. These facts illustrate the chaos that faces entrepreneurs that do not have a clearly defined succession plan. Who will buy your business?

What Do Santa Clause & Performance Management Have in Common?

Photo by Vanessa Pike-Russell on Flickr.

Brian Kauke (not pictured on the left) is a sales & marketing professional at The Vaya Group, a Talent Management consultancy that applies science and precision to the art of talent assessment and development.This post is republished with permission from The Vaya Group's blog. 
I think it’s safe to say the holiday season is knocking at our door. The leaves are almost all gone. The layer of frost that greets us when we wake up is getting thicker. And just try to walk into a store without spotting any holiday decorations. But there is even a more telling sign that alerts me every year. My kids are behaving like two precious angels I can barely recognize.

The dinner dishes are cleared before I can even stand up. Homework is done promptly and double-checked for accuracy. Their motivation is off the chart and engagement is at an all-time high. I love the effort and performance, yet I know who I should be thanking for this inspiration – Santa Claus. Yes, they know what is at stake and the reward they are anticipating. Want to take a guess how long this will last?

Four Financial Returns on Ethical Behavior: The Business Case for Responsibility

Shannon Brown is a Ph.D. student at Benedictine University’s Center for Values-Driven Leadership (CVDL) and has served in leadership positions with Thomson Reuters, Tata Consultancy Services and BoomTime.  In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at Dominican University where she teaches courses in leadership studies.

Corporate behavior over the last decade has provided much fodder for debate in the popular press regarding the need for higher ethical standards in business, yet many people feel that little progress has been made. No one has been held accountable for the recent financial system meltdown, and the U.S. seems to be slowly returning to the pattern of behavior that created that very situation.

Why is it so difficult to shine a spotlight on ethics in business? To systematically work to increase ethical leadership? I believe it is because businesses are often resistant to change without proof of positive financial impact. After all, businesses are in the game to make money, so to change a practice requires proof that the change will increase profitability.

There is ample empirical evidence for the case that increased ethical leadership improves organizational performance and directly impacts the bottom line. Unfortunately, that business case hasn’t been made strongly enough in the media or the board room. So if you’re building your case for ethical leadership at your organization, here are four financial returns on responsible behavior:

Social Media Mistakes Companies Make, and How They Reflect Corporate Values: Part 4 in our Social Media & Values Series

This is the fourth in a four part series. For the previous entries please see the links included below.

Photo by dougbelshaw, via Flickr. 
Fifteen years ago when I began my career, I carried an oversize purse just to accommodate my cell phone - which was for emergency purposes only. I never dreamed of owning a smartphone with more computing power than my first desktop.

With those smartphones, and the media outlets that have popped up around them, the world is more connected than ever before. Our great ideas have greater potential because with the right conditions they can go viral; the world can hear about them instantly. Of course, our worst mistakes can go viral as well - and there lies the challenge for corporations in the social media space.

We can learn from the mishaps of others, as we have through this series:

Magnetrol CEO Featured in First Champions of Responsible Business Video

New Video Series Features Stories of Courageous Decision Making and Strategic Leadership

Magnetrol International is a leading maker of valves - a manufacturing business that is growing aggressively in a difficult economy. You might expect that CEO Jeff Swallow's growth plan would focus on acquisitions, research and development, or future forecasting. All that's important, says Swallow, but it's not how you grow a company.

Swallow says his company's best plan for the future lies in developing its employees. He explains his theory, and how Magnetrol encourages employee engagement, in this short video:

Swallow's video is the first in a new series of videos from the Center for Values-Driven Leadership (CVDL). The series, called Champions of Responsible Business, will feature established executives sharing stories of making the right decision in difficult circumstances, of focusing on long-range growth rather than short-term gain, of building sustainable businesses that care for shareholders and stakeholders.

"With this series, we hope to tell stories of business done the right way," says Amber Johnson, the CVDL's corporate relations advisor and the producer of the video series. "This series gives us a chance to celebrate the senior executives who are leading some of the world's most innovative and sustainable companies."

Learn more about the CVDL at www.cvdl.org.

Social Media Mistakes Companies Make, and How They Reflect Corporate Values: Part 3 in our Social Media & Values Series

This is the third in a four part series. For the previous entries (which featured the American Red Cross, Nestle, Vodafone, Motrin, and Chevrolet) please click here or here

In previous entries, we've explored how consumer use of Facebook and Twitter - often the ally of big corporate brands - can also be a source of headaches when the wrong message reaches the wrong audience. Often, what catches the consumer's attention is a circumstance that is contrary to the image or values the product is usually expected to display.

That's exactly what happened in the two examples below, from the fast food and travel industries. When consumer expectations aren't met, and local staff aren't responsive, isolated circumstances become public nightmares for strong brands. Here are two examples:

5. Fast Food Restaurants | Lesson 5: Don’t Make Mom Mad

Businesses of all sizes need to learn the lesson children master by age four: don’t make mom mad. The Mommy Blogger industry is one of the most vocal on the web, powered by a force of educated, passionate women who text, tweet, update, and blog with ferocity.

As in the Motrin case previously discussed, making mothers mad can have detrimental side effects. This became evident earlier this year when Erin Carr-Jordan, a New York resident and mother, crawled through a McDonald’s PlayPlace and found it to be filthy – not an intended outcome for an organization that places the customer experience at the top of their values. After several calls to the manager yielded no results, Carr-Jordan filmed the filth and posted it to YouTube.

Carr-Jordan, who is a mother of four and a developmental psychologist, has since engaged in a crusade to improve playground sanitation at McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants, citing Burger King and Chik Fil A specifically. Spokespeople from these fast food giants have shared their companies’ cleaning polices, and explain Carr-Jordan’s discoveries as anomalies.

But comments from the PR department can’t prevent parents from forming an opinion on a restaurant’s sanitation. And parents vote with their dollars. In the age of social media, local restaurant staff need extra training on how to prevent a negative social media campaign by being responsive to customer concerns: especially when the topic is the safety of children.

Even so, you can’t always prevent videos and other messages about your company from going viral: you can choose how you respond. Fast food restaurants would do well to launch aggressive sanitation campaigns and engage mothers in evaluating the results.Where the safety of children is concerned, mobilize quickly to make real improvements, and get mother’s back on your side.

6. United Airlines | Lesson 6: Use Your Mistakes to Train Your Team

Here's another example of how local staff can prevent a social media nightmare: When Canadian musician Dave Carroll’s $3500 Taylor guitar was broken during a United Airlines flight, he tried all the normal customer service channels in an attempt to receive compensation. When those failed, he wrote a song, United Breaks Guitars, and posted it to YouTube.

The song had over 150,000 views in one day, and went on to become one of the most viral videos of 2009. As of early this month, the country song with its catchy tune had been viewed over 11 million times.

United Airlines was understandably repentant, and made a formal apology and a $3000 donation to a music non-profit in Carroll’s name. Even better, they asked Carroll an important question: can we use your video to train our customer service employees? For his part, Carroll has turned his catchy tune into a career in customer service coaching. Learn more at this link.

Thanks to their thoughtful response, United flipped an unfortunate social media incident into a learning opportunity around a core value: hospitality.

Want to learn more about social media mistakes and their connection to corporate values? Return here on Dec. 6th for the next in our series.

The Evolution of Leadership - A look at where leadership is heading


Keith Cox, Ph.D., is the Systemic Sustainability Lead for idGroup Consulting & Creative, where he focuses on positive business and social change. He is also an advisor to the Center for Values-Driven Leadership. This article is republished from the archives. 

Leadership has been a significant presence in the recorded history of humans and it is one of the world’s oldest obsessions, rivaling in age the very emergence of civilization. The topic of leadership is familiar to all peoples and it knows no cultural boundaries.

Writings on leadership date back over 5000 years to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and have continued to be a recurrent theme amongst: philosophers, poets, playwrights, prophets, priests, royalty, scholars, and entire societies. A broad, diverse range of notable, historical figures have expounded on leadership including: Jesus, Abraham, Moses, Confucius, Plutarch, Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Lao-tzu, Machiavelli, Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ghandi, and many others right up to present day “gurus” such as Jay Conger and Warren Bennis.

This perpetual passion for leadership is obvious as one begins to explore the numerous “modern day” writings on the topic. The word “leader” entered the English language around the year 1300 and the methodical study of leadership began over 600 years later in the 1930's. Over the last 75 years leadership has literally been defined hundreds of different ways by both academics and practitioners. Clearly, it is not an easy concept to define and there are probably as many definitions of leadership as there are authors. The bottom line is that there is no single, acceptable leadership definition, theory, model, or standard.

So the question still remains, what is the true meaning of leadership? Is leadership a: position, person, behavioral act, style, relationship, combination of things, or all of the above. The scholarly answer to this quandary is “yes,” or perhaps “it depends,” while many practitioners adopt a results-oriented definition specific to a particular situation.

However, even with these multiple theories and models to choose from, the popular conception of leadership today seems to be that of the single individual, the heroic leader, sitting at the top of the organizational hierarchy. Nevertheless, while the individual, heroic, charismatic, and/or transformational leader may be the dominant model, we are continuing to see a “progression of thinking” about leadership that is providing new and exciting alternate leadership images for our consideration.

For example, the emergence of values-driven leadership seems to be a growing theoretical stream of thought and research well suited for the complexity of business in the 21st century. According to the Center for Values-Driven Leadership the concept can be defined as “a conscious commitment by leaders at all levels to lead with their values and create a corporate culture that optimizes financial performance, ethical practice, social contribution and environmental impact.” This emphasis on multiple stakeholders, values such as honesty, integrity, excellence, courage, humility, and trust, combined with the creation of a high performance culture is a powerful combination that many of the world’s most admired and successful companies are adopting. As Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface, likes to say, “it’s the way to a bigger, more legitimate profit.”

So perhaps we are seeing the beginning of a revolution in the leadership field and it’s time you explore how values-driven leadership can work for your organization!

How Do You Make People Feel? (And, Why Does That Matter?)

Dr. Kathryn Scanland is the president of Greystone Global LLC, a consulting firm focusing on strategic planning, leadership development and organizational design. This post is republished with permission from Tuesday Mornings.

Leaders draw their effectiveness less from what they know or what power they wield, and more from how they make the people around them feel.  ~Betsy MyersTake the Lead

I recently had the opportunity to interact with a leader in an organization who prided herself on not always being liked because she was willing to make tough decisions.  Unfortunately, that’s not quite how the rest of the staff viewed the situation. The staff felt as though she wasn’t listening, and when they did express concern or disagreement, they felt invalidated; their experience and knowledge was dismissed.

Not long ago while channel surfing one evening, I came across the show Shark Tank. Individuals bring their ideas or inventions to a panel of about five potential investors, each of whom are highly successful entrepreneurs and have made millions. On this particular episode, I missed the portion where the individual described his idea, but that really didn’t seem to matter. I caught it just in time to hear every single one of the five potential investors tell the guy how much they didn’t like him, personally. They liked his idea and even offered to invest, as long as he had nothing to do with the business. They would only buy him out; they would not invest in his business if working with him was part of the deal. In a matter of less than 10 minutes, this guy/contestant had managed to make every one of the investors feel frustrated and downright angry. Unfortunately, the contestant was completely taken by surprise and utterly baffled by the response he received from the potential investors. He had no idea how his behavior was making them feel.

Years ago I worked for a college president who is a gifted leader on many levels. He was, and still is, one of the best listeners I know. His ability to listen had incredible repercussions on how he made people feel.  When you feel listened to, really heard, youfeel validated. I remember someone saying that if they ever had to be fired, they would like to be fired by this president. Why? He would be honest and candid, but it would be overlaid with compassion and care. In other words, you’d be fired, but could somehow still walk out with your dignity and your head held high because he would make you feel cared for, even in the midst of being fired.

Leadership guru and author, Warren Bennis, says that “good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.

How do you think the people around you feel?

Launching a Healthy Business Relationship: How to Form Business Partnerships that Work

Tom Walter is a "serial entrepreneur" who has launched nearly 30 companies. He is the CEO of Tasty Catering, named one of Winning Workplaces best small companies in 2010. This post is republished with permission from Serial Entrepreneur.

The majority of small business launches are done by partners.  Launching a business usually requires emotional support as well as financial support.  It always helps when each partner is knowledgeable in different aspects of business.  For example one partner knows the product, another that knows the market and a third that understands generally accepted business practices. Legally the structure may be called a partnership, C Corp, Sub S Corp or LLC, but in essence, they are partners.
The launch of the business is the exciting stage of the business life cycle.  Hope, anxiety, concerns and goals are prevalent in every conversation.
The emotional roller coaster is like falling in love and as we’ve all experienced, some love affairs blossom and die. The cause for the ones that wither stems from the realization that there is a discrepancy between the core values and vision for the future in a business relationship.
To combat demise, it’s important to set up a mutual understanding of the key elements that your business is built on.

Social Media Mistakes Companies Make, and How They Reflect Corporate Values: Part 2 in our Social Media & Values Series

This is the second in a four part series. For the previous entry, which featured the American Red Cross and Nestle, please click here.

Social media mistakes happen fast: often in 140 characters or less, as we saw in last week's post on Twitter mishaps at the American Red Cross and Nestle. In a media environment where public opinion can change at the speed of light, a company's best approach to their social media plan is to take a good luck at their corporate values. Using these as a guideline can prevent some mistakes and offer a road map for recovery when the inevitable mishaps do occur. 

In Lessons 3 and 4, we look at how social media wildfires at three companies related to the organizational values the company holds.

Vodafone | Lesson 3: Admit Your Mistakes and Take Care of Them Quickly

Social Media Mistakes Companies Make, and How They Reflect Corporate Values: Part 1 in our Social Media & Values Series

Social media’s biggest asset is also its biggest problem: it’s public. Very public. Mistakes made there can echo around the world – literally – changing a good business day into a bad one in 140 characters or less.

Companies that attempt to firmly control their social media interactions won’t meet their goals. You cannot win with tight-fisted control. Facebook statuses or Tweets that don’t feel genuine don’t get liked or re-tweeted: they are dead on arrival.

Balancing a human voice with your corporate protocol is made easier by making sure your social media always reflects your organizations publically adopted values. Checking the posts against these values – even using a formal check list process – can save some headaches, and mitigate others.  

Overlook this, and you might find yourself with a headache you could have avoided. 

We'll explore the lessons several large companies have learned from their social media snafus in this series on Social Media and Values. These nightmares befall good companies, and so our objective is not to vilify an organization but rather to keep others from repeating the same mistake. As you'll see throughout this series, the smartest companies learn their lessons and are nimble enough to recover with grace: 

           Nestle | Lesson 1: Don’t Get Snarky

Bacardi, BMW, Ford and Others Mix Sustainability with Tourism

Distiller Bacardi manufactures 85 percent of their rum in Puerto Rico, at Casa Bacardi on a landscaped campus that also stands in as one of the island's major tourist attractions. More than 250,000 visitors take advantage of the free tour and beverages annually - a tour where sustainability receives almost as much emphasis as the Bacardi family history and patented brewing process.

Energy producing windmills stand at the edge of the Bacardi campus, declaring the company's increased emphasis on sustainability. The message is reinforced during the tour where docents highlight the how rum barrels are recycled into mulch for the campus landscaping; how old vinyl banners are turned into reusable grocery bags; how energy use has decreased by nearly 20 percent in the last four years, and water use is down 41 percent in the same period. (More details are available in the Bacardi sustainability report, available here.) 

Sustainability Tours: A Growing Trend

Pulling the Lever: Using Values to Drive Business Results

“In over 20 years of research, I’ve never seen correlations like this.”

Dr. Paul H. Eccher, president of Vaya Group, a talent optimization and organizational assessment firm, points at the spreadsheet in his hands. “The results are so strong, it’s undeniable.”

Eccher is talking about the Organizational Values Inventory (OVI), a tool developed by CVDL to help companies measure how well an organization puts its values into practice. According to Eccher, whose company conducted the statistical analysis, the results show a remarkably strong correlation between specific values-related actions and the business outcomes executives want most: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and a culture of high performance.

Workplace Road Rage: How Mislabeling Colleagues Decreases Productivity and Encourages Animosity

Amber Johnson is the CVDL's corporate relations advisor and a non-profit and small business communications specialist. 

A few years ago I was part of a sales team that did a lot of work at large conferences. And while I was a senior team member, I felt it didn't excused me from the physical labor of hauling our organization's trade show booth and collateral materials into convention centers: a task made all the more difficult because I was several months pregnant. But I'm a team player who didn't want to let my colleagues down, so I schlepped and carried and scooted our boxes into position, then unpacked and arranged them myself.

On one particularly long day, my boss at the time, whom I'll call him Dan, was present. He sat at the side of the room, chatting casually and showing off his new Kindle to another colleague while a team of his direct reports worked for a few hours. 

I'll give you three guesses on how I felt about this, but it will only take you one: of course I was angry. Very angry. And in my frustration, as I pushed my way through yet another box full of packing peanuts, I labeled Dan with all sorts of character flaws: lazy, chauvinist, uncaring, irresponsible, thoughtless. 

Those labels stuck,

Three Forecasts that Will Change Business in the Next 10 Years: Futurist Bob Johansen on the Changing Business Landscape

Leadership futurist Bob Johansen's job is to look 10 years into the future, anticipate where society is headed, and help businesses prepare to meet future needs. As a keynote speaker at one of the Center for Values-Driven Leadership's recent Senior Executive Roundtables, Johansen walked the audience through three forecasts he says will change the landscape of business in the coming 10 years.
Watch the summary video here, then follow the links for more specific comments on each of the forecasts:

Leaders Come Clean: The Hard and Rewarding Work of Transparency in Business Leadership

Dr. Kathryn Scanland is the president of Greystone Global LLC, a consulting firm focusing on strategic planning, leadership development and organizational design. This post is republished with permission from Tuesday Mornings.


Coming clean, or transparency, is about being open.  It’s about being real and genuine.  The counterfeit of transparency is illusion: pretending, “seeming” rather than “being,” making things appear different than they really are. ~Stephen M.R. Covey

Not long ago I had a conversation with someone about trust. He believed that because he had not told a flat-out lie, the level of trust between us should not be affected by his hiding things or withholding and failing to disclose information. I disagreed. His lack of transparency caused me to be suspicious and uncertain what I could, or couldn’t, believe; hence, I wasn’t sure when I could really trust him.

You Won't Quit a Leader: Four Points on the Difference Between Being the Boss, and Being a Leader

Tom Walter is a "serial entrepreneur" who has launched nearly 30 companies. He is the CEO of Tasty Catering, named one of Winning Workplaces best small companies in 2010. This post is republished with permission from Serial Entrepreneur.

High performance companies aren’t run by managers. No one wants to be managed. To be managed is to be subservient. High performance organizations are run by Leaders!

The saying goes that people do not quit a job, they quit a boss. That may be true, especially if that “boss” is a manager, but rarely will anyone quit a leader.

The History of Management:

Management is a rather new business term.

Sustainability: Overcoming Hurdles to Innovation | Short Videos Featuring Sustainability Expert Stu Hart

On October 14, 2011, the Center for Values-Driven Leadership hosted Stu Hart, a business sustainability expert and author of Capitalism at the Crossroads. Hart is an advocate of moving beyond greening to a place where sustainability drives innovation and provides restorative technologies that extend current markets and open new ones. 

The following short videos (under three minutes each) feature Hart elaborating on some of his key messages. First, Hart sets the stage for understanding sustainability in its future context: beyond greening initiatives like reducing energy use or carbon footprints:

Shame on Me: How Shame Shapes Leaders and Sabotages Success

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Nonprofit Services at Donors Forum and a nonprofit leadership advocate.

Before this summer, I would never have thought of myself as someone shaped by shame. Guilt, yes, but shame? No, not me. I often joke that my feelings of guilt keep me involved in things long past when I should have exited, wake me up at night worrying about how what I said in a meeting was received by others, or drive me to spend hours trying to craft the perfect outfit, email, or dinner party.

But the past few months I learned a life-changing truth: my world is not shaped by feelings of guilt, but rather feelings of shame that influence my decisions, self-perception, and behavior on a daily basis. In short, shame is running my life—and probably yours too. 

On Creating Smaller Problems: Stu Hart on Problems that Begat Bigger Problems, and How Small Scale Solutions Can Change the Game

---------------------------------------------------------------------------Stuart L Hart is a leading authority on the implications of environment and poverty for business strategy. He is the founder of Enterprise for a Sustainable World,www.e4sw.org. This blog is shared with permission from Voice of the Planet.  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
My colleagues Amory and Hunter Lovins tell a wonderful parable: In the early 1950s, the Dayak people in Borneo experienced an outbreak of malaria. To combat this terrible problem, The World Health Organization sprayed large amounts of DDT to kill the mosquitoes carrying the disease. As expected, the mosquitoes died and the malaria declined. Problem solved.

But wait--there were unexpected side effects: The roofs on peoples' houses began to cave in. It seems that the DDT was killing the parasitic wasp that previously controlled the thatch-eating caterpillars. Even worse, these DDT-poisoned insects were eaten by geckoes, which were then eaten by cats. The cats died, allowing the rat population to explode, exposing the local people to even more vicious outbreaks of plague and typhus. To cope with these new problems, which were the result of the original solution, the WHO was obliged to parachute 14,000 live cats into Borneo...

The New Green Alchemy - Stu Hart on Disruptive Technology and Reverse Innovation

Stuart L Hart is a leading authority on the implications of environment and poverty for business strategy. He is the founder of Enterprise for a Sustainable World, www.e4sw.org. This blog is shared with permission from Voice of the Planet
We often hear that the reason the so-called clean technology revolution has so far only amounted to a genteel protest is because new clean technologies are simply too expensive

Only rich Germans and Californians can afford such luxuries. 

We must wait, so the story goes, for major "breakthroughs" to occur in renewable energy, biofuels, biomaterials, potable water, etc., before they can be cost competitive with conventional technologies and infrastructures.  To convince us of this point, we are given graphs showing costs declining and volumes increasing for these emerging clean technologies, but the take-off point is always about a decade away. 

Unfortunately, I can still remember seeing such graphs back in the late 1970s! 

Well, I'm here to tell you that this story is really a fantasy. 

America Needs Jobs

Not those jobs. Steve Jobs. You get the point. He is gone. But what a legacy! Who are our next Steve Jobses?

Who has a dream worth pursuing, at great cost and against all ridicule? Who has the entrepenurial spirit to take great risk in the face of sometimes unthoughtful governmental regulation, to achieve great goals? Who will stop decrying uncertainty and start celebrating the opportunity that accompanies it? Who has the courage to lead without apology? Why not you and me?

This world changer was adopted, raised in modest means, and dropped out of college. Maybe there’s something to that “indomitable spirit” thing.

Revisit his 2005 commencement address to Stanford with me. What three or four nuggets will you take from it. Perhaps “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” or “Stay hungry. Say foolish.” or his humor in the line, “If you live every day as if it will be your last, eventually you will be right….”

What sticks with you? What will you share?
Author Lee DeRemer is the Professor of Ethics and Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He retired from the Air Force after 26 years of flying, command, and staff assignments and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in values-driven leadership at Benedictine University. This post was republished with permission from www.DangerousU.com

Reporting Roundup: What the CommitForum Experts Had to Say about the State of Reporting, the Value of Assurance, When to Disclose What, and Why Leading Indicators are a Better Measure of the Future

This post provides highlights from a session of The CR CommitForum, held last week in New York City. Find a mistake in the text? Write us here to share the correction.

Last week's CR CommitForum featured multiple sessions that touched on the topic of reporting of sustainability and corporate responsibility initiatives. The general conclusion - repeated by multiple speakers in various ways - was that transparency fosters sustainability

Read highlights in the areas of:

  • General Reporting
  • Third Party Assurance
  • Disclosure
  • Leading Indicators

How Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Helped Bring Food Security to their Coffee Growers

This post provides highlights from a session of The CR CommitForum, held last week in New York City. Find a mistake in the text? Write us here to share the correction.

Forum Speakers:
Pat Palmiotto, Director of the Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Rick Peyser, Director of Social Advocacy and Coffee Community Outreach, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Session Title:
Fighting Hunger in Coffee Supply Chain Communities

Los Meses Flacos, the thin months, is a phrase heard to often in countries like Nicaragua, which are also prime coffee-growing regions. This was a phrase that researchers and staff from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters heard repeated as they interviewed the farmers that provided the company's coffee beans.

When asked, 67% of the nearly 200 farming families interviewed reported extreme hunger for 2 to 8 months of the year.

Leaving a Positive Beer Print Behind

This post provides highlights from a session of The CR CommitForum, held earlier this week in New York City. Find a mistake in the text? Write us here to share the correction.

Forum Speaker:
Bart Alexander, Corporate Responsibility VP, MolsonCoors

If you knocked back a few cold ones this past weekend, you left a series of "beer prints." Beer prints are more than the ring of moisture left on the bar napkin: they're representative of the product's impact (positive and negative) in the community.

In what was one of the more engaging presentations at CommitForum last week, MolsonCoors corporate responsibility VP Bart Alexander shared an overview of the company's "beer print" campaign to help employees and stakeholders connect the beer industry to sustainability and corporate responsibility.

"We can make CSR as simple or as complicated as we want to make it," Alexander told the audience of corporate responsibility champions. "We can tie CSR to our business ambitions like avoiding risk and reducing cost, but employees' eyes gaze over at all this. Our employees get beer."

Writing the Unfinished Symphony at the Base of the Pyramid

Stuart L Hart is a leading authority on the implications of environment and poverty for business strategy. He is the founder of Enterprise for a Sustainable World, www.e4sw.org. This blog is shared with permission from Voice of the Planet

When Franz Schubert wrote the first two movements of Symphony No. 8 in B Minor in 1822 (what would come to be known as the "Unfinished Symphony"), little did he know that he was modeling the behavior and skills needed to successfully create the markets of the future at the base of the world income pyramid in the 21st century.

In fact, a full decade after C.K. Prahalad and I first wrote the Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP), few large corporations have yet to realize the vast business potential of the world's four billion poor and underserved: Most have either sought simply to sell stripped-down versions of their current products to the emerging middle classes in the developing world, or have abandoned the profit motive entirely and moved their BoP initiatives to the corporate social responsibility department or corporate foundation.

Green from the Ground Up: One World Trade Center Builds with Green Concrete (Highlights from The CR CommitForum)

The new buildings at One World Trade 
Center are being built with green concrete. 
This post provides highlights from a session of The CR CommitForum, held earlier this week in New York City. Find a mistake in the text? Write us here to share the correction. 

Forum Speakers:
Michael Gentoso, VP, Atlantic Region, US Concrete
David Green, Eco-Efficiency Analyst, BASF Corporation

Forum Title:
Durability From the Ground Up

On September 11, 2011, many of us turned to our televisions to watch the memorial ceremonies at the World Trade Center complex. While our eyes were drawn to the waterfall and the stunning new building, we may not have noticed the miles of new concrete that fill the area. When complete, Towers 1, 2, and 3, the transportation hub, and the museum and memorial will have close to a total of 1 million yards of concrete. 

Sustainability experts, however, paid attention. One World Trade Center is being built from the ground up with Green Concrete, a new material for reducing landfill waste and improving a building's carbon footprint. 

Leading the Sustainability Driven Company - Part 2

Keith Cox, Ph.D., is the Systemic Sustainability Lead for idGroup Consulting & Creative, where he focuses on positive business and social change. He is also an advisor to the Center for Values-Driven Leadership. For the first entry in this series, click here

This time we look at what makes a sustainability-driven leader tick. While there is no one ideal leadership profile that guarantees success in driving a strategic sustainability agenda, research has discovered some core characteristics that seem to enable individuals to embrace sustainability principles and drive them through the organizational culture.

Perhaps the most significant characteristic of these sustainability-driven leaders is that they are “called” to lead social change. In responding to the call, they express a desire to help others to promote humanity, to protect the planet, and they continually “live into” their highest vision of themselves. These desires influence the intentions, choices, conversations, and interactions of these leaders on a daily basis and are ultimately transformed into organizational priorities. Almost everyone I interviewed had a life story where some combination of the influence of parents, schooling, peers, the zeitgeist of the times, or a specific life experience informed a personal sense of purpose that connected them to principles of social/economic justice, environmental stewardship, and/or corporate responsibility.

Are These Numbers Real? A Case Study in Ethics and Integrity

Basil Chen, M.B.A., is a certified management accountant who has held various leadership positions in public and private Canadian companies. He currently teaches at Centennial College’s School of Business and is a Ph.D. student with the Center for Values-Driven Leadership. Here Basil shares a case study in integrity and decision making. 

As I sat back in my office on a Friday afternoon looking out of the window before a long weekend, a nagging thought crossed my mind - we are not going to make the Q3 sales numbers as we had promised to the investors.

I walked across the hall to the office of VP, Sales and Marketing and said, “Carl*, I don’t think we can make the Q3 sales numbers this quarter. You have indicated many times that there is a big sales order coming this quarter. When is it coming?”

“Basil, you worry too much,” he said, reassuring me that it would all be okay. When I protested that we only had a week before the quarter’s end, Carl said, “Ok, give me 48 hrs.”

The weekend passed, and on Monday I found a pleasant surprise waiting at the office: a  purchase order for $2.5 million on my desk. Unbelievable. It was from a loyal client of the company. I read the Purchase Order (PO) numerous times before I faced the truth: It was too good to be true. I knew this customer extremely well and also knew that they did not have a need for such a large order.

Free Starbucks? A Business Lesson in Reciprocity

Shannon Brown is a Ph.D. student at Benedictine University’s Center for Values-Driven Leadership (CVDL) and has served in leadership positions with Thomson Reuters, Tata Consultancy Services and BoomTime. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at Dominican University where she teaches courses in leadership studies.

In June, I attended a Roundtable, hosted by the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, where I had the privilege of hearing renowned futurist Bob Johansen talk about the forecast that he and his colleagues at the Institute for the Future see for the next 10 years.

His three most prominent forecasts, based on the idea of the “VUCA World,” include the impact of the digital natives, the growing well-being economy, and the importance of reciprocity. (See a clip of Bob Johansen's forecast below.)

Of those, the one that gives me the greatest hope for our future is the idea of reciprocity. Bob and the Institute for the Future support this forecast with cloud computing, suggesting that the cloud will allow us to experience reciprocity in completely new ways because of the connectivity and communication available to us through new technology.

Leaders Fail


Dr. Kathryn Scanland is the president of Greystone Global LLC, a consulting firm focusing on strategic planning, leadership development and organizational design. This post is republished with permission from Tuesday Mornings.

If failure isn’t an option, than neither is success.  ~Seth Godin

I mentioned in a previous blog that I attended the Global Leadership Summit in August.  Seth Godin was another speaker at this event.  As I’ve talked with other attendees, one of the themes (which I believe was unintentional) that seemed to appear in a number of the speakers’ presentations was the idea of failure.