02 November 2011

Exciting Inauguration of new Sterntaler Vocational School in Mali

Last week I had the great pleasure to return to Mali, West Africa, in my capacity of founder and chairman of the NGO 'Sterntaler für Afrika' (and unrelated to my UNDP work). It was of great honor to inaugurate the biggest project so far of this 3-year old organisation driven by private initiative: a new Vocational School!

I am very proud and grateful for the great work of our Malian partners, Youchaou Traore and his team, and all Sterntaler and Mali Initiative supporters. It was a festive ceremony with over 400 people and the Malian TV covered it in their weekend news. Below you find the text of my passionate speech:

"Mayor of Kalabancoro
Officials of the Government
Representatives of the Community
Mesdames et Messieurs
Parents and Students

28 October 2011, Kalabancoro, Bamako, Mali

I am Jürgen Nagler, Chairman of Sterntaler für Afrika, the German NGO who has supported this important project. It is my honor to speak to you now and share the reasons for our support and also some words from my heart to inspire positive change.

Together with my three friends accompanying me, we represent the over 100 German supporters, from parents to students and companies, that have donated resources, from finances to laptops to time & effort to spread the news about the vision of this school.

Why have we come to Mali and invested our time and energy into this? When I first came to Mali in 2008 I was first shocked by the poverty and lack of infrastructure and opportunities. However, underneath the surface, there were signs of hope:
  1. Malians are people with a big and peaceful heart, and a great sense of humor.
  2. There is a strong network of family ties and people seem to help each other much more than in more urban, industrialized and individualistic cultures.
  3. There are courageous people taking initiative, not only to develop themselves but also the wider communities around them.
One of the most courageous and inspiring people in the development field I have ever met, is also the visionary of this project: Youchaou Traoré. Coming from a small rural village, he was a former beggar in the street. A family member found him and he took his chances going to school. He learned reading and writing, first French than English, and through dedication and aspiration became one of the best students in school and university. He started his translation business and decided to give children the same chance as he received: education. His courage is proven by first starting all alone but – because self-help attracts help – he found partners from abroad such as Australia, USA and Germany.

I would like to suggest to the Malian or international TV and media to interview him and show his inspiring life story to the widest audience possible. Dear parents, tell his story to your children demonstrating that the ones who take initiative can achieve their dreams. Government officials, please fight corruption and mismanagement, and ensure a fair environment for entrepreneurs and private schools to unleash their initiatives.

Why is Youchaou’s story so important and what does it stand for? Is he just a man with luck, or can we learn something from him to develop our own lives, families and communities? My response is: there is no luck because everything has a reason even if we might not yet understand it. Nelson Mandela’s favorite poem Invictus explains why:
I am the Master of my Fate.
I am the Captain of my Soul.

Nelson Mandela never gave up to believe in love, courage, freedom and positive change, even after decades in jail, being trialed and abused. I do want to support these visionaries who show initiative and who believe in positive change, for themselves and the world. These people are inspired and do inspire me. Therefore, I decided to partner with Youchaou and his team.

Help yourself and you will be helped. This is a philosophy of myself and Sterntaler. Having travelled to over 50 countries all over the world, I have found the following 5 points on fulfilling one’s life potential:
  1. Take full responsibility for your life, you are not a victim but the change maker in your life.
  2. Do what you love and be courageous.
  3. Listen to your heart, mind, conscience and soul.
  4. Listen to ‘signs’ that might mark your way and continue walking your path.
  5. Discover your life purpose and unique talents that every human being has.
Herby, as Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the Change you want to see in the World”.
Together we are building a bridge of friendship between Mali and Germany, Africa and Europe. As we will be returning to Germany this weekend, we will take the positive pictures and inspiring stories from our visit here back to our friends and colleagues at Sterntaler and are committed to continue our support to this important new school.

As Nelson Mandela said: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world’. Therefore, I wish this school to become one of the biggest and best in Africa, and all of you a happy and fulfilled life.

Katile haere chaia (shall peace be with you)."

Enlightened Business Summit – Free Five Day Teleseminar Event

This seems to be a very interesting event: Enlightened Business Summit – Free Five Day Teleseminar Event

The summit features over 30 leaders in the world of conscious business including Daniel Pink, Daniel Goleman, T. Harv Eker, Marci Shimoff, Marshall Goldsmith, eBay CEO John Donahoe, Meng Tan of Google and many more.

It happens November 7th - 11th, and there’s no cost to attend this virtual week-long event. You can register here: www.enlightenedbusinesssummit.com

04 July 2011

My Journey from Money to Meaning: Personal Realization of the 5 P’s: Profit, People, Planet, Purpose, Peace.

This is my story of how I got to know and realized the 5 P’s on my journey from a money-focussed business manager to a meaning-focussed human being. While being in the middle of each phase, I was not even aware of these dimensions, only now by hindsight do I see that the journey went through these various stages. The stage of the 5 P’s: Profit, People, Planet, Purpose, Peace.

P#1: Profit
Since my childhood I had a good ‘business-sense’. I managed my little pocket money as a kid, later traded computer parts, studied business administration and went for sales, marketing and business development jobs. I maximized profits for companies like Siemens and Palm, and aimed at increasing my own salary. However, after a motorbike accident and some years of search and reflection, I realized that ‘money cannot buy happiness’ and that something important in my life was missing.

P#2: People
After years of soul-searching I opened up towards a ‘social development’ dimension. My heart felt like split in two, on the one side my business-interest (profits), on the other a new (com)passion for social and development issues (people). I started to explore microfinance, fair trade and human development. Volunteering for NGOs in Peru and Mali, and studying International Development bridged my two areas of interest. A new career with NGOs and the United Nations began. I also started the Business4Good blog to share insights on CSR, Social Entrepreneurship and Social Business.

P#3: Planet
While sustainable profits require good relationships with people, similar this is true for people and the planet. I realized that we human beings are part of nature, and that the perceived separation of us from the environment is an illusion. In fact, we are all connected as humans and with all life on this one planet. If we could see the bigger picture, maybe seeing Mother Earth from the sky we would see the forest rather than just trees. If we hurt the planet and environment we hurt ourselves. From this realisation a new appreciation of nature and environmental consciousness arose in me.

P#4: Purpose
‘Profits, People, Planet’ can also be measured as a Triple Bottom Line for businesses. It is measurable and ‘worldly’. I began to discover the more ‘immaterial’ side in me. Always having been intrigued by practical philosophy and wisdom, I explored Buddhism, self-development, meditation, Tantra and various other spiritual paths to discover my life purpose. So far I can say it is to ‘build bridges’ between perceived separated issues, and hence contribute to the expansion of consciousness.

P#5: Peace
Knowing my purpose has tremendously increased my inner peace. I do no longer feel like a lone stranger in this world, overwhelmed by all possibilities and desires. My life feels like having meaning and a direction, beyond having fun and ending in the grave at the end. Knowing that the inner world creates the outer world, I hope that increasing inner peace will lead to more world peace that inner development, will lead to more human development.

The journey continues. We are living in times of extraordinary rapid change and on our path are plenty of obstacles but if we read the signs I am positive we will find the way. To me as an optimist the direction looks towards sustainable prosperity.

All the Best & Enjoy Your Journey

30 June 2011

The Pyramid of Conscious Capitalism - Abraham Maslow's hierarchy aplied to Conscious Business

Via Scoop.it I came across various interesting articles on Conscious Business and Conscious Capitalism.

Especially, the following beautiful illustration reminds me of Abraham Maslow's famous needs-pyramid. I have always been intrigued by Maslow's pyramid and how to 'transcend' from basic needs all the way up to the elusive-sounding "self-actualization".

Wouldn't it be great to have a similar, clear hierarchy and pyramid for the evolution of business and capitalism?

See below the best illustration I have seen so far: Maddock Douglas' "Pyramid of Conscious Capitalism" outlining the hierarchy from society/environment, beyond profit, towards purpose - from survive to succeed to transform: 

Read the full article at Maddock Douglas and explore more on the topic via Scoop.it where also my own article about Conscious Business is featured.

14 June 2011

Apple most valuable company - Steve Jobs' most valueble advice? "follow your heart and intuition"

Apple now has been named not only most valuable brand and most valuable tech company but by some even the most valuable company in the world. Beyond Google, Microsoft and the rest.

This is good timing to revisit a very inspiring speech by Apple founder Steve Jobs, to me a great example of authentic leadership with real reflections on life, death and love. It's not new but the timeless wisdom is worth reposting:
"I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much."

Source: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

09 May 2011

Prosperity without Growth? 10 Little and Big Things You Can Do

From the interesting The Story of Stuff Project (must-see video) come ten simple yet thought provoking tips to promote sustainability.

The 10 headlines are:

1. Power down!
2. Waste less.
3. Talk to everyone about these issues. 
4. Make Your Voice Heard.
5. DeTox your body, DeTox your home, and DeTox the Economy.
6. Unplug (the TV and internet) and Plug In (the community). 
7. Park your car and walk…and when necessary MARCH!
8. Change your lightbulbs…and then, change your paradigm.
9. Recycle your trash…and, recycle your elected officials. 
10. Buy Green, Buy Fair, Buy Local, Buy Used, and most importantly, Buy Less.        

Read the full list of 10 Little and Big Things You Can Do

I am especially intrigued by adding a conscious 'quality' dimension to our materialistic 'quantitative' measuring of wealth, success and our economies. Or on the words of The Story of Stuff: "Our current paradigm dictates that more stuff is better, that infinite economic growth is desirable and possible, and that pollution is the price of progress. To really turn things around, we need to nurture a different paradigm based on the values of sustainability, justice, health, and community."

These ideas and much more are also discussed by Tim Jackson, see his TED video, or read his Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet.

This article is posted on Business4Good. You can also follow me on Twitter @jjnagler

04 April 2011

Online Teleseminar Series on Conscious Business: "Waking up the Workplace"

If you have enjoyed my earlier post on Conscious Business, or wonder how business can be a force for positive global transformation, then this free online teleseminar series might be for you. The "Waking up the Workplace" seminars kicked off recently and still goes until 23 June 2011. From their website:

What would happen if we saw the business of work, not just as a means for trade and profit, but as a vehicle for actualizing our deeper human potentials in a conscious and creative transformation?

Join the conversation and explore answers to the following questions:
  • How can we design the workplace as a vehicle for transformation?
  • How can business include our human passions and purpose and yet retain its practical productivity?
  • What are the most powerful and cutting edge tools available to transform business?
  • What kind of workplace do we need to truly address the problems of the 21st century?
Participation is completely FREE.  All you need is a telephone or internet connection to be able to:
  • Contribute to the global conversation with world leading experts
  • Learn powerful conscious business tools to bring to your own work
  • Participate in a community of international conscious business practitioners
  • Help transform the way the world does business!
Join the conversation and find out how you can make business a force for global transformation! Register for free at www.wakinguptheworkplace.com

21 March 2011

Chopra@Google: Video about the Soul of Leadership

Deepak Chopra's 1h talk at Google about the content of his new book "The Soul of Leadership". He eloquently explains how consciousness creates reality, what good leadership is and what impact it has. He also talks about consciousness, the soul and much more... Who combines latest scientific discoveries with timeless spiritual wisdom as brilliant as Chopra?

10 March 2011

Conscious Business: What is it? Does it matter? Uniting IQ, EQ and SQ for Global Sustainability

Climate change, economic and financial crises, environmental disasters, nuclear risks etc. - how many more wake-up calls do we need? We are at an important crossroads where we decide on how we behave, consume and lead our lives - and how we do business. 

As drastically as it sounds, the choices we make have a direct influence on the survival of large parts of society, the environment and the world at large. The bottom line is: Our individual and collective decisions determine our future and do affect all of us.
"Let us choose to unite the power of markets with the authority of universal ideals. Let us choose to reconcile the creative forces of private entrepreneurship with the needs of the disadvantaged and the requirements of future generations."
Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General
There is a (r)evolution underway, an expanding consciousness: managers meditating, people seeking for purpose and standing up for their rights, leaders shaken by unpredictable crises. The "winds of change" massively affect the corporate world, too, and foster new ways of doing business more consciously. Therefore, this article explores these new ways of conscious business, the related new leadership style and required integration of IQ, EQ and SQ (spiritual intelligence). 

Why should we look into Conscious Business?
Several years ago, I realized that I wanted to change my career from money-maximising to a profession with a purpose. I wanted to feel my lifetime well invested in positive change, meaningful work and making a difference in the world. While working for NGOs and the United Nations, I kept my interest in business because I have always been impressed by business organisations' efficiency and entrepreneurs' innovative creativity and 'can-do' attitude.

However, I began to inquire into the what, why and how of business and my own actions: What are we doing? Why are we doing it? How can we do it better? So I started on the long journey of inquiry into myself, business and capitalism. I realized the importance of expanding our own consciousness to embrace positive change and achieve global sustainability. Also I recognized that there are old and new - more conscious - ways of doing business: From CSR, social entrepreneurship, inclusive business to conscious business.
"We are living in a phenomenal age... finding approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits and recognition for business, we will have found a sustainable way to reduce poverty in the world." 
Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and philanthropist
Conventional versus Conscious Business
Here are some pointers to contrast the conventional way of doing business with conscious business. This is a simplification aiming to open up awareness by seeing an enterprises from different perspectives. 

Some dimensions might seem like contradictions while others seem easier to be reconciled:
  • Money vs. Meaning
  • Ego vs. Eco(logy)
  • Compete/control vs. Cooperate
  • Profit vs. People/Planet
  • Fear vs. Freedom
  • Superiority vs. Sustainability
  • Shareholder vs. Stakeholder
  • Value vs. Values
  • Capital vs. Consciousness
  • Share vs. Sharing
  • Greed vs. Giving
Some might say that this sounds all nice but will question if conscious businesses are sustainable, profitable and competitive? Yes, they can. In fact some argue that they excel in the marketplace (see A Better Way to Win: Profiting from Purpose). 

What is Conscious Business?
After having looked at some differentiators, how can we define a conscious business?
It is "a business enterprise that seeks to be aware of the effects of its actions, and to consciously affect human beings and the environment in a beneficial way." It is a value-based enterprise "where values represent social and environmental concerns globally as well as locally", i.e. go beyond economic value (see Wikipedia Conscious Business).

There are no universally agreed criteria on conscious business but some accepted principles include "Doing no Harm" and the Triple Bottom Line approach of aiming for "positive value in the domain of People, Planet, and Profit". One such example is "The Body Shop" founded by activist Anita Roddick and many more examples to be explored on this blog. 
"We are running out of time to integrate the material and the spiritual worlds."
Peter Senge, MIT Professor and author of 'The Fifth Discipline' 
What does Consciousness mean?
Let me try to demystify the word 'consciousness' which fills whole PhDs in various fields. There are different levels of consciousness such as universal, collective and individual consciousness. This article focuses onto the individual consciousness, however all these levels are connected and affect each other.

Your individual consciousness can be described as your awareness of your interconnectedness with everything within and around you: your own soul, co-workers, society, environment, planet, universe etc. The matrix of connections can also be seen horizontally (friends, family, colleagues etc.) and vertically ('Mother Earth" and 'Higher/God-like/Universe').

In simplified terms, consciousness is awareness and relates to your holistic, spiritual intelligence. It does not come from your knowledge or your mind, it is not determined by your IQ and it goes beyond your emotional intelligence (EQ). The closest to consciousness within the intelligence systems-thinking would be your spiritual intelligence (SQ). 

Conscious Leadership
Conscious business requires conscious leadership which is based on all three main intelligences: IQ, EQ and SQ. SQ which is the spiritual intelligence quotient describes how well you live and lead with wisdom, compassion and peace (explore deeper at Deep Change). 

Conscious leadership can also be seen as integrating the various leadership dimensions from paternal, humanistic, holistic to spiritual-based (read more at Spiritual-Based Leadership Research Programme).

Some key principles of conscious and enlightened business leadership include:
  • Know yourself
  • Do no harm
  • Take (self-)responsibility
  • Cultivate generosity
  • Live integrity
  • Act courageously
  • Be inspired and inspire
  • Embrace change
"The best way to begin an integral approach to business is with oneself...
How do body, mind, and spirit operate in me? How does that necessarily impact my role in the world of business?"
Ken Wilber, one of the most influential spiritual philosophers
Towards Conscious Capitalism and Global Sustainability
Does this all matter? Yes, it is required to meet the challenges of our century and our livelihood depends on it. A conscious business values its people and therefore requires conscious leadership that inspires and brings out the best of its staff.

With an expanding consciousness amongst business leaders, consumers, activists and policy makers, we are all part of a (r)evolution towards conscious capitalism. Let us jointly address the urgent issues on environmental sustainability, social justice and broad-based prosperity to ensure global sustainability. Join the movement and leave a comment.

Recommended Reading:
Additional Resources:
About the Author: Juergen Nagler, has worked and consulted for leading businesses, NGOs and the United Nations, blogging in personal capacity at Business4Good (biosketch).

12 February 2011

Lions on the Move - a new Africa being born?

Egypt freed itself from a dictator because people claimed back their power. Protesters shouted "we are the people", the same acclamation that brought down the Iron Curtain when people in former Easter Germany protested for their freedom. It also reminds me to the United Nations Charter starting with "We the People".

While Egypt culturally belongs to the Arab world, it is an interesting cross-roads also to Africa and the West. History is being written and it seems more and more people are awakening... what does it mean for Africa and the world?

As blogged earlier, since I arrived for a new project in South Africa last year, I felt that change is in the air. This was further confirmed during a trip to Ethiopia last month. A lot of development and construction is going on, the Chinese are building a new African Union complex and the diaspora is coming back from the USA to start businesses.

If we look at the bigger picture about events on and around the continent, the signs make up a puzzle, imperfect but nonetheless we can see a path, a journey towards freedom. Just some examples: independence of African states (mainly 1950s-70s), end of cold war 1989 (which affected many African countries), end of apartheid in South Africa 1994, "first African-American" US president Obama 1998, first FIFA World Cup in Africa 2010, South Sudan separation 2011, Egypt, Ivory Coast and Libya 2011. What next?

This list is of course incomplete to give a full picture of a very diverse continent with 53 states where poverty, disparity and dictators remain in several regions. However, with omnipresent communications technology and a rising collective consciousness the trend is clear: people increasingly take ownership and demand fair political leadership, jobs and economic opportunities.

Africa's economic and social outlook is positive: The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon just recently spoke about "winds of change blowing throughout Africa" and "the new narrative for Africa is a story of growth". Africa is expected to be the the fastest growing region in the world, only behind Asia. A recent McKinsey study paints a similar opportunity-rich picture calling African countries "Lions on the Move".

As the beginning 2011 is bringing change so rapidly, watch out for the rest of the year and 2012. Africa and the world are changing so fast, we better are open for it. As we have seen in the examples of Libya and Ivory Coast, the new era comes with some 'birthing pain' and old structures need to crack open for new energy to emerge. Rather resisting, can we embrace the coming change? As Mahatma Gandhi said: “You must be the change you want to see in the world”.

If you want to read more about the new, positive Africa emerging, you can for example follow Africa Good News, AfricanLoft and, of course, this blog Business4Good. Or best, see for yourself and visit the over 50 countries of Africa.

10 February 2011

The "Social Entrepreneur Empowerment" Series

Ever since my decision to use business acumen for higher development goals, I have been fasinated about sociel entrepreneurs. Thousands of hidden champions around the world combine business approaches with social, environmental and spiritual objectives.

This decade seems to bring out even more of inspired entrepreneurs and conscious business people. Ryan Eliason seems to be of them because he is organising the free "Social Entrepreneur Empowerment" Video Series.
"What if you could combine the love, integrity, vision, and leadership of Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King, Jr. with the entrepreneurial business savvy of Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey?

What if you could download their wisdom into yourself? Imagine the bigger game you could play!
From www.socialentrepreneurempowerment.com
The series started 8th February with Ashoka founder Bill Drayton (hear the replay at Everyone a Changemaker). Bill talks about what makes an social entrepreneur, the rapid change of our times and how we are all changemaker in this world. Clear, down to earth and inspiring. "We are right at the tipping point" and "what is the new paradigm?" There is a LinledIn Group called Social Entrepreneur Empowerment Network with follow-up dicussions.

There are live streams until 17 February 2011 and the talks are anytime available as replays at http://www.socialentrepreneurempowerment.com/replays/

03 February 2011

The Top 100 Thought Leaders in trustworthy Business Behavior

Via the World Business Academy's newsletter I came across the list of "The Top 100 Thought Leaders in trustworthy Business Behavior 2010" by Trust Across America.

The list seems to focus on US only, so dozens of international leaders are missing which is a pity in a globalized world where ideas and information spread across the globe quickly. Nonetheless this is a good start and many thinkers with global influence are among the ranks.

Some of the candidates I have found inspiring are Stephen Covey ("7 Habits of highly effective people"), Hazel Henderson (working on wealth metrics beyond GDP) and the leaders around Net Impact. I am sure you might discover many more authors of inspiring books, founders of institutes and companies.

Enjoy exploring the list at: The Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior

For 2011, I would almost expect Deepak Chopra with his new book "The Soul of Leadership".
Who have you found a most inspiring thought leader but missing in the list?