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From Twitter to a new kind of company with no managers, a "Holocracy"

From Twitter to a new kind of company with no managers, a "Holocracy" | Change Leadership Watch |

“Management perspective looks at reports as resources – like how can you get the maximum value out of this person,” Stirman says. “But when I think resources, I think like natural gas or coal mines. Thinking about a person’s life that way just seemed really dehumanizing.”


He started spending one-on-one meetings talking to his reports about their lives, instead of their tasks, and productivity shot through the roof.


Frustrated with poor results, he decided to go off script. He started spending one-on-one meetings talking to his reports about their lives, instead of their tasks, and productivity shot through the roof.



“We don’t have a hierarchy of people, we have a hierarchy of circles.”



“When you sit across a table from someone, ask them ‘What’s going on in your life?’ That will always remove more hurdles than asking them ‘What’s blocking you at work?’” he said.

Stirman hit another wall trying to shield his team from external drama and politics. “Classic management advice, and all my mentors told me that insulating your team from things so they won’t worry will make them more productive and happier,” he says. “But they just got angry, and confused, and disconnected. I was constantly censoring all this information and they were way happier when they knew everything.”

...“The structure is totally built around the work the company needs to achieve its purpose,” Stirman explains. “We don’t have a hierarchy of people, we have a hierarchy of circles.”

...But Medium isn’t just taking a revolutionary approach to digital publishing – it’s changing the way companies operate too. As one of the fiercest and most faithful adopters of Holacracy – a radical new theory of corporate structure – Medium is experimenting with a completely management-free environment that’s laser focused on getting things done. 

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

I have to wonder why this antiquated old-school management advice is still circulating to the likes of of this younger, IT saavy crowd.  Old habits die hard.  

This detailed article cites the positive side of letting go to embrace something very new.  The leader-writer, Jason Stirman, not a manager,  discovered a diverse motivations tool that seems to work for his group, and is in for the long haul on the manager-less experiment with Holacracy.   ~  Deb


Marie Jeffery's curator insight, August 10, 2013 3:02 PM

Thanks for drawing our attention to this excellent post, Deb Nystrom!

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Nonprofit Leader Partnerships: How to Achieve the Right Balance

Nonprofit Leader Partnerships: How to Achieve the Right Balance | Change Leadership Watch |

"Like a well-played symphony, when nonprofit leaders partner well with their staff and volunteers, magic happens.  Leadership & Partnership in the nonprofit sector:"


Shared leadership can catch new leaders off guard. 


In this Part Two post from  “Seven Ways New Non-Profit Leaders Succeed The First Year on the Job," – co-authored with Jolene Knapp and Alan Davis, another Ideas for Action, LLC colleague, we offer solutions for nurturing a successful partnership.  Part One of the series recommended first steps of CEO listening and communicating with the specific titles of:

  1. Listen to learn
  2. Communicate, and communicate again

Below, we share details and links to resources on setting the leadership agenda as well as finding your rhythm with a new board chair or council president, as well as educating and encouraging volunteers.


Co-creation is a powerful way to establish partnership.

3. Set a Leadership Agenda

When things go wrong between CEOs and their boards, it’s often the result of a failure to reach a common understanding of what constitutes success. Co-create the new leadership agenda. One of the best tools we’ve seen is a simple but powerful template for articulating priorities and goals for the next 18 months, including the respective roles of the new leader, board, and senior staff in achieving them.   (See the Sample Leadership Agenda in this article from the Bridgespan Group.)

Do not overcommit yourself or your staff. Leaders, members, and other stakeholders are excited about a new CEO; they want projects or tasks implemented that may have been pending for a while or they have new ideas.

Establish a pattern of having strategic conversations with the board that set clear expectations about goals, roles, and ways to assess progress. In addition, it is important to assure that the chair/president is passing along information to the rest of the board.

4.  Establish a Rhythm for Building Shared Leadership with the Board Chair

In the complex world of governance, it’s important to find a communication pattern that builds solid leadership connection in your organization. One CEO we consulted said that in preparation for each new governance year, she facilitated an off-site leadership transition retreat with the incoming president, immediate past president, and new president-elect. (This will vary with the size and culture of your board.) In a private and relaxed setting, the goal was to orient the president-elect to current challenges, provide deep background on strategic priorities, and co-create a shared leadership vision for the year.

Related posts by Deb on Non-Profit Leadership in this series:


Courage for New Leaders To Listen & Learn in the New Year


Related posts by Deb on Strategy and Change:



Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Shared leadership can catch new leaders off guard. In fact, it’s a challenge not only for brand new CEOs, but for seasoned CEOs whenever newly elected leaders take office.  

In working with my friend and colleague Jolene Knapp, for example, I learned about how she needed to become acquainted with a new board president EVERY YEAR, in her role as an Executive Director.  This added pressure to her role, and it also developed her agility in building new leader partnerships. It is from this perspective we share our insights in this blog series for nonprofit leaders.

Manish Puranik's curator insight, January 11, 11:55 PM

'Listen to Learn' and 'Communicate, and communicate again' would prove the simplest mantra of this age, if used appropriately! 

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TRENDS: Why GM + Lyft Is About the End of Car Brands

TRENDS: Why GM + Lyft Is About the End of Car Brands | Change Leadership Watch |
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Who made the last airplane you flew on? Who manufactured the last bus or train you took? ...I bet you never noticed. And even if you did, you probably didn't choose those manufacturers' brands when you bought your ticket.

Yet more likely than not, you do remember the brand(s) of the company(ies) that operated those vehicles and/or sold you your tickets. 

That’s why GM invested in Lyft.

Self-driving cars will push down prices for ride-sharing to insanely low levels. My car was stolen last year, and already, doing the math that everyone’s now doing, I’m saving money (and hassle) by not replacing it and taking Uber and Lyft everywhere (and Zipcar for longer drives).

Given that today drivers take home 70% to 80% of UberX fares, I estimate that self-driving cars could reduce the average ride-sharing fare by 20% - 50% of current rates (given that, as many have pointed out in the comments, much of the driver cut covers gas, depreciation, etc., which won't go away).

Related posts by Deb on Strategy and Change:



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New Report: Strategic alliances, finding the "sweet spot" to deal with Higher Ed pressures

New Report: Strategic alliances, finding the "sweet spot" to deal with Higher Ed pressures | Change Leadership Watch |

Financial and demographic woes squeeze many institutions' bottom lines. But while predictions of mergers and consolidations proliferate, so too does evidence that combining colleges -- and even close collaboration -- is hard to pull off even when it seems to make good sense.


A new report from the TIAA-CREF Institute endorses the thesis that many higher education institutions will need to collaborate meaningfully to function well in the future, and that some of the traditional ways of working together -- like the many successful consortia that focus on joint services -- may not work for colleges that aren't close geographically or that seek more dramatic changes in their business models.



...institutions should aim for ...a "sweet spot" ...flexible, sweeping, ...less threatening and risky than mergers...while retaining identities to h reduce costs and [raise] capacity...



its author, Michael K. Thomas of the New England Board of Higher Education, also concedes that mergers are "challenging terrain" on which many would-be marriages can hit potholes -- or sinkholes.


Instead, the report argues that more institutions should aim for what Thomas calls a "sweet spot" that is more flexible and sweeping than most consortia but less threatening and risky than mergers: strategic alliances in which they merge some of their some administrative functions (while retaining their distinct identities and structures) to both reduce costs and give them more capacity than colleges would have on their own.

Read the full article here:  

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The commentary on this piece is useful, highlighting patterns including dealing with: 1) issues of college identity, 2) alternatives to the full four years (dual credit options, community colleges, badges), and 3) entrenched administrative overhead dispassionately - as one of the fastest rising costs, as it affects careers, amidst education disruption and adaptation.

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Trend: Seven Major Universities to offer online Microcredentials or Badges

Trend: Seven Major Universities to offer online Microcredentials or Badges | Change Leadership Watch |

"Traditional colleges have been mostly on the sidelines for the early development of online microcredentials or badges -- the kind that aren't linked to conventional courses and the credit hour. Educational technology companies and other alternative providers have taken the lead in working with employers on these skills-based credentials.

A new prototype from a group of seven brand-name universities could change that."

Tentatively dubbed the University Learning Store, the project involves:

  • the Georgia Institute of Technology, 
  • Northwestern University, 
  • the University of Washington, 
  • the University of California’s Davis, Irvine and Los Angeles campuses, and 
  • the University of Wisconsin Extension.

Officials at Wisconsin Extension, which is playing a prominent role in the work, described it as a joint online platform that will feature modular content, skills assessments and student-facing services, such as tutors, coaches and counselors.


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Is your university or college, alma mater, following the trends?  Check out the list on the skills-based credentials.  ~  Deb

Alex Enkerli's curator insight, August 20, 2015 9:47 AM

Remediating assessment through #OpenBadges, finding value in flexibility and individualisation. /cc @Curtin Teaching and Learning

MONICA LOPEZ SIEBEN's curator insight, August 20, 2015 12:56 PM

El nivel académico ya no se medirá por las horas en las que un estudiante esté inmerso en una carrera, sino por las competencias adquiridas (y acreditadas).

Antonio Figueiredo's curator insight, August 21, 2015 4:11 AM

Seven major North American universities team up to offer nanodegrees.

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Michigan Leadership: Dug Song, CEO & Duo Security assisting former ForeSee employees after layoffs

Michigan Leadership: Dug Song, CEO & Duo Security assisting former ForeSee employees after layoffs | Change Leadership Watch |
In the wake of the second round of layoffs at Ann Arbor-based ForeSee, another local tech company is trying to help connect those now without jobs with companies looking for talent.
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

These are Dug Song, ‪#‎leadership‬ lessons for ‪#‎Michigan‬ and any business in the area of layoffs.  Reaching out and helping the system of up and down business employment cycles, especially, as in the case of Duo Security, when your business is hiring when another is laying off, is simply good business smarts.  The way Duo Security is doing it is 21st century smart.  #HR #21stcentury #growth

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4 Leader Behaviors that drive 89% of Effectiveness. Why Org Health Matters | McKinsey

4 Leader Behaviors that drive 89% of Effectiveness. Why Org Health Matters | McKinsey | Change Leadership Watch |

ip McKinsey's recent research points to a small subset of leadership skills that closely correlates with leadership success, particularly among frontline leaders. McKinsey came up with a comprehensive list of 20 distinct leadership traits, surveyed 189,000 people in 81 diverse organizations around the world to assess how frequently certain kinds of leadership behavior are applied within their organizations. Finally, they divided the sample into organizations whose leadership performance was strong (the top quartile of leadership effectiveness as measured by McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index) and those that were weak (bottom quartile).

What McKinsey found was that leaders in organizations with high-quality leadership teams typically displayed 4 of the 20 possible types of behavior; these 4, indeed, explained 89 percent of the variance between strong and weak organizations in terms of leadership effectiveness (exhibit).


Four kinds of behavior account for 89 percent of leadership effectiveness.


  • Solving problems effectively. The process that precedes decision making is problem solving, when information is gathered, analyzed, and considered. This is deceptively difficult to get right, yet it is a key input into decision making for major issues (such as M&A) as well as daily ones (such as how to handle a team dispute).
  • Operating with a strong results orientation. Leadership is about not only developing and communicating a vision and setting objectives but also following through to achieve results. Leaders with a strong results orientation tend to emphasize the importance of efficiency and productivity and to prioritize the highest-value work.
  • Seeking different perspectives. ...monitors trends affecting organizations, grasps changes in the environment, encourages employees to contribute ideas that could improve performance, accurately differentiate between important and unimportant issues, and gives the appropriate weight to stakeholder concerns. Leaders who do well on this dimension typically base their decisions on sound analysis and avoid the many biases to which decisions are prone.
  • Supporting others. Leaders who are supportive understand and sense how other people feel. By showing authenticity and a sincere interest in those around them, they build trust and inspire and help colleagues to overcome challenges. They intervene in group work to promote organizational efficiency, allaying unwarranted fears about external threats and preventing the energy of employees from dissipating into internal conflict.


From McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index research:  The ...presence, at all ...levels, of talented, high-potential leaders essential to create something from nothing.

While most organizations use career opportunities to motivate employees, companies in this cluster use career opportunities as a leadership-development practice. Role modeling and real experience are more important than passing along sage lessons.

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

McKinsey offers insights on where to pivot the time you put into leadership development including the 4 behaviors as well as 4 recipes associated with sustained success.  Want to create change and "something from nothing?"  
Then read McKinsey's take (from the Index research) on the four "distinct underlying approach to managing, including core beliefs about value creation and what drives organizational success."  ~  Deb

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, February 1, 6:44 PM

Four leadership behaviors that drive 89 percent of the difference between strong and weak organizations is worth a CLOSE look.  ~  Deb

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Sepp Blatter steps down as president of FIFA. What's next for FIFA, the business?

Sepp Blatter steps down as president of FIFA. What's next for FIFA, the business? | Change Leadership Watch |
He made the stunning announcement on Tuesday during a press conference.

Blatter has been under fire since last week, when indictments for 14 people, including members of the FIFA executive committee, were handed out by the U.S. Department of Justice for charges of racketeering, money laundering, and bribery.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Including the previous post on the need to step back and pivot FIFA into a new era, this provides fresh opportunity to fix what's been broken for a long time.  The challenge is great, the rewards could also be great if successful change happens at all levels. ~  Deb

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Corporate Culture Change: G.M.’s Ignition Switch Death Toll Hits 100 - Auto Recalls Hits Record in 2014

Corporate Culture Change: G.M.’s Ignition Switch Death Toll Hits 100 - Auto Recalls Hits Record in 2014 | Change Leadership Watch |

"The ignition-switch crisis is cementing G.M.'s status as one of the deadliest automotive safety issues in American history."

GM's...internal investigation showed that dozens of engineers, lawyers and investigators had known about ignition problems for years but failed to fix them.



The GM ignition switch has gained notoriety because the defect was essentially hidden for a decade until G.M. began recalling 2.6 million affected cars last year.


...G.M. set up the compensation fund last year after its internal investigation showed that dozens of engineers, lawyers and investigators inside the company had known about ignition problems for years but failed to fix them.


Mary T. Barra, G.M.’s chief executive, dismissed 15 employees as a result of the internal inquiry, overhauled the automaker’s vast engineering operations and changed its safety protocols.


From another New York Times article, "Over 62 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States [in 2014], the highest total ever."

Photo:  Kenneth Feinberg, an independent compensation expert hired by G.M., has made settlement offers to the families of people who died. Credit - Drew Angerer for The New York Times


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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

A sad, instructive cautionary tale from G.M. updated with the newest information as of May 2015.  From another article from the New York Times in ongoing coverage,  “G.M.'s decision-making, structure, process and corporate culture stood in the way of safety.”  ~ D

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Praise and Skepticism as Gravity Executive Sets Minimum Wage to $70,000 a Year

Praise and Skepticism as Gravity Executive Sets Minimum Wage to $70,000 a Year | Change Leadership Watch |

While the overwhelming majority of the responses on social media and elsewhere were positive, there were also a number of people, [executives] who expressed doubts related to the nature of pay and compensation.



Sandi Krakowski, an author and Facebook marketing expert, posted on Twitter: “His mind-set will hurt everyone in the end. He’s young. He has a good intent, but wrong method.”

Patrick R. Rogers, an associate professor of strategic management at the School of Business and Economics at North Carolina A&T State University, wrote in an email: “The sad thing is that Mr. Price probably thinks happy workers are productive workers. However, there’s just no evidence that this is true. So he’ll improve happiness, only in the short term, and will not improve productivity. Which doesn’t bode well for his long-term viability as a firm.”

Perhaps the most prominent attacker was Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio host, who labeled the move “pure, unadulterated socialism, which has never worked.”


Most critics were not as ideological as Mr. Limbaugh but were nevertheless put off by Mr. Price’s deviation from trusting in the market, both to set wages (his own as chief executive and that of his employees) and to maximize his own profits. Overpaying workers may make them lazy and is likely to inspire resentment among colleagues who once sat on the higher end of the pay divide, they warned.

During an interview with Mr. Price on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the co-host Mika Brzezinski noted that people would probably say “you’re a terrible manager.”

Another guest, Sam Stein, an editor at The Huffington Post, was simply flummoxed. “Are you crazy?” he asked.

Maybe, Mr. Price conceded.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Originally I mentioned that this case would be a good test of Herzberg's theories about pay, satisfaction and productivity.  I posted later that I stood corrected, when I heard he was taking a pay cut of 90% to help fund the salary increases.  

On the one hand, he is a change leader because of the message he is sending about executive pay, and because of his boldness to be "crazy" and to experiment in this way.  On the other hand, it will be a good test of the limits of pay, and the theories and research that show that happiness and productivity are not necessary in the same room together.  Or perhaps they can be.  Check out a sample of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's slides I captured at his University of Michigan presentation this month.

Jonsson, CEO & co-founder of Jumpstarter describes Flow as

a state of mind where you are immensely focused and get things done. It is those precious moments when you are productive and ecstatic at the same time.  It is achieved by clearing the mind from the mind clutter. Mind clutter could be thoughts, feelings and impressions. Clearing it is achieved by actively working with accepting emotions, addressing problems when they arise and seeing things as they are.

”Flow-stoppers” are all those things that create mind clutter. It could be anything from deadlines to personal relationships to putting pressure on oneself to perform and do well.

Time will tell. He continues as a potential change leader, nonetheless for shaking things up.  ~  Deb

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CEO cuts his own pay by 90% to give every employee a huge pay rise

CEO cuts his own pay by 90% to give every employee a huge pay rise | Change Leadership Watch |
A chief executive has announced plans to raise the salary of every single employee at his company to at least $70,000 (£47,000) – and will fund it by cutting his own salary by 90 per cent.


Mr Price, 30, has gone one step further, after telling ABC News he thought CEO pay was “way out of whack”.

In order not to bankrupt the business, those on less than $70,000 now will receive a $5,000-per-year pay increase or an immediate minimum of $50,000, whichever is greater.

A spokesperson for the company said the average salary was currently $48,000, and the measure will see pay increase for about 70 members of staff.



“My pay is based on market rates and what it would take to replace me, and because of this growing inequality as a CEO that amount is really high. I make a crazy amount.

The New York Times, which was invited along for the Wolf of Wall Street-esque announcement, reported that after the cheering died down Mr Price shouted: “Is anyone else freaking out right now?”

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Now here's a guy who's sending out a big message about executive compensation, along with wage fairness.  This is beyond the thoughts I had shared about wage / pay and motivation, a 'la Frederik Herzberg.   ~  Deb

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Competitiveness Talks: Walmart plans to give raises to 40% of its workers

Competitiveness Talks:  Walmart plans to give raises to 40% of its workers | Change Leadership Watch |
Walmart is planning to give 40% of its employees pay raises.


As part of its biggest investment in worker training and pay ever, Walmart told The Associated Press that within the next six months it will give raises to about 500,000 workers, or nearly 40% of its 1.3 million U.S. employees.

Walmart follows other retailers that have boosted hourly pay recently, but because it's the nation's largest private employer, the impact of its move will be more closely watched.

...At the same time, competition for retail workers is becoming increasingly stiff. As shoppers get more mobile savvy, retailers are seeking sales staff that's more skilled at customer service. But in the improving economy, the most desirable retail workers feel more confident in hopping from job to job.


Wal-Mart's plans [include]:

  • [Raise] entry level wages to at least $9 an hour in April and to at least $10 an hour by February of next year. ...Sam's Club locations will offer a starting hourly wage of at least $9.50 or higher in all markets, and at least $10.50 by next year.

  • Raise the floor and ceiling of its pay range for each position in most stores. For example, the pay range for cashiers is $7.65 to $16. The new range will be $9.00 to $17.55.

  • Raise the starting wage for some department managers to at least $13 an hour by this summer and at least $15 an hour by early next year. 

As for all Scoops, click on the photo or title to see the full article.

Related change & performance posts by Deb:





  • Stay in touch with the monthly Best of the Best news, taken from Deb's 9 award winning curation streams.  Preview it here, via REVELN Tools.
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

From the article, it sounds like Walmart, the organization that is so huge, it impacts the entire US economy, is open to advice from their advisers.  Those include Ed Lazear, a Stanford University economics professor, who said, "It's positioning itself to be competitive."  "This is a step in the right direction."
So they help their poor image and become more competitive, as the labor market rebounds.   ~  Deb

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Germany's Green Energy Is an Expensive Success

Germany's Green Energy Is an Expensive Success | Change Leadership Watch |

Germany's policy of switching to clean energy looks like a failure on the surface, but it has succeeded in changing people's thinking for the future.

...the policy's results show how a determined government can eventually shake up complacent oligopolies and point their thinking in a different direction.


The German government's subsidies to wind, solar and other renewable energy producers have grown to 20 billion euros per year (almost $26 billion at the current exchange rate) since 1991, when Germany first started the financial support. With that massive amount of aid, Germany overshot by three percentage points the European Union's 1997 goal of producing 12 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2010. In the first quarter of 2014, Germany's electricity mix had a 27 percent renewable share.


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Cheap, polluted. Clean, expensive. It's not that simple, yet in some ways, it is.  ~  Deb

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Purpose Driven Profits: Are You a Conscious Capitalist?

Purpose Driven Profits:  Are You a Conscious Capitalist? | Change Leadership Watch |

It’s time for capitalism to find a higher purpose.

Conscious capitalists focus on a higher purpose—to have a positive impact on the world, through the products and services they deliver and the value they create for their stakeholders. The four principles of conscious capitalism—purpose, stakeholder orientation, conscious leaders, and conscious cultures—are practiced in well-known and revered companies such as Whole Foods Markets, Patagonia, Tata Group, Toms Shoes, Medtronics, and TDIndustries. These companies have figured out how to be fierce competitors and generate superior financial performance while treasuring their employees and delighting their customers without destroying the planet.

Via Kenneth Mikkelsen
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Kenneth Mikkelsen  has aided the perspective in this article by defining Higher Purpose as more than, making money, Stakeholder Orientation from a ecosystem perspective, as "healthy stakeholders lead to a healthy business system."  He's added 2 more:  Conscious Leadership who recognize the integral role of culture and purposefully cultivate Conscious Culture, the "values, principles, practices [that] connects the stakeholders to each other and to the purpose [of] the company." ~  D

Kenneth Mikkelsen's curator insight, October 2, 2014 8:22 AM

Higher Purpose: Recognizing that every business has a purpose that includes, but is more than, making money. By focusing on its Higher Purpose, a business inspires, engages and energizes its stakeholders.

Stakeholder Orientation: Recognizing interdependent nature of life and the human foundations and business, a business needs to create value with and for its various stakeholders (customers, employees, vendors, investors, communities, etc.). Like the life forms in an ecosystem, healthy stakeholders lead to a healthy business system.

Conscious Leadership: Human social organizations are created and guided by leaders – people who see a path and inspire others to travel along the path. Conscious Leaders understand and embrace the Higher Purpose of business and focus on creating value for and harmonizing the interests of the business stakeholders. They recognize the integral role of culture and purposefully cultivate Conscious Culture.

Conscious Culture: This is the ethos – the values, principles, practices – underlying the social fabric of a business, which permeates the atmosphere of a business and connects the stakeholders to each other and to the purpose, people and processes that comprise
the company. 

Ian Berry's curator insight, December 22, 2014 9:39 PM

I embrace the concept of conscious capitalism. The beginning for me is increased self-awareness amongst leaders and therefore the capacity to see other people and our planet in better ways than the majority do now

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Courage for New Leaders To Listen & Learn in the New Year

Courage for New Leaders To Listen & Learn in the New Year | Change Leadership Watch |

It takes courage to listen. Whether it’s a first or fifth transition to a new leader role, these non-profit leadership lessons learned are timeless. Pause, reflect. choose, (from horse-guided leadership & learning.) In the first months, resist the urgent and not important to follow these practical steps to ensure your success.  

It takes courage to listen & learn, as a new leader.


What I learned at the University of Michigan early on was the power of the conversation. Listening builds relationship. Listening well has impact as a leader with groups of new direct reports, with peers and colleagues, ALL of them await a new leader’s first steps and actions. Each. Encounter. Equals. Opportunity. To. Connect.

John Taylor, CEO of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) had this to say about the series:

“As a new CEO, the article’s main points to invest time in learning, building relationships, and establishing priorities have been key during my first six months on the job.”  

I interviewed John before he left his role at the University of Michigan. His view is a fresh insight to help this year's new leaders.  Note that although we make reference to associations throughout the posts, these tips apply to any non-profit organization and are adaptable to the for-profit sector as well.

EXCERPTS from the full article derived from
  -- "Seven Ways New Non-Profit Leaders Succeed the First Year on the Job"

1. LISTEN to Learn

In many high-pressure environments, deep listening distinguishes the highly experienced from the amateurs. ...One association executive advised his peers to “resist the temptation to prove how bright you are; do nothing when you first arrive—just learn.”

...Develop a list for listening interviews including staff, board members, active volunteers, randomly selected members, dropped members, industry leaders, subject matter experts, external partners, and others. Everyone has something to say; they ...will be encouraged by your desire to learn. Ask open-ended questions. Prepare to be surprised. Though many relationships will deepen during your tenure, early conversations can provide unique opportunities for candid exchanges unencumbered by baggage, fears, or agendas.



...Information for your staff is usually under-communicated by a factor of four.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Staff members are vitally interested in what the boss [senior leadership team, executive committee, board] just talked about. Find a way to share it regularly.


  • The board should be vitally interested in progress toward strategic goals. Find a way to check on this.
  • Committees and other volunteer groups don’t know what other committees and groups are doing. Summarize, align, and share.
  • Members and constituents want to know “What’s in it for me?”  They will appreciate understanding the logic behind board decisions. Find a way to test, confirm and communicate this regularly. 
Read the full post on LinkedIn : 
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This article is useful for any non-profit leader in interim roles, as well as new leadership roles.  It's drawn from my work with new, on-boarding leaders in a large, complex, world-class non-profit, the University of Michigan, and my continuing work for my own company,REVELN Consulting, co-written with my colleagues, senior partners at Ideas for Action, LLCAlan Davis, my former client and friend, Jolene Knapp, who are both talented, highly experienced non-profit CEO's and leaders. I'm pleased to be sharing with you ourSeven Ways New Non-Profit Leaders Succeed the First Year on the Job".

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Insight into Taxes & Charity: How Mark Zuckerberg’s Altruism Helps Himself

Insight into Taxes & Charity: How Mark Zuckerberg’s Altruism Helps Himself | Change Leadership Watch |

Mark Zuckerberg did not donate $45 billion to charity. You may have heard that, but that was wrong.  Here’s what happened instead: Mr. Zuckerberg created an investment vehicle.


Mr. Zuckerberg didn’t create [US] tax laws and cannot be criticized for minimizing his tax bills. If he had created a foundation, he would have accrued similar tax benefits. But what this means is that he amassed one of the greatest fortunes in the world — and is likely never to pay any taxes on it. Any time a superwealthy plutocrat makes a charitable donation, the public ought to be reminded that this is how our tax system works. The superwealthy buy great public relations and adulation for donations that minimize their taxes.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Things are not always as they seems in philanthropy among the top 1%.  It's important to look into the story to understand what that means to our government systems and how it impacts us. ~  Deb

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Why we cannot learn a damn thing from Semco, or Toyota: Flip YOURself Into Change

Why we cannot learn a damn thing from Semco, or Toyota: Flip YOURself Into Change | Change Leadership Watch |

"The world of the pioneers really exists."  Why burning the books, until you believe YOU can be a part of it, is key.


....Sure, people feel somewhat “inspired” and “motivated” when hearing about the amazing things that happen at Valve, Zappos, Netflix, MorningStar, Favi or DaVita. And when they learn about how much management stuff they might previously have considered inevitable simply doesn’t exist within those pioneer organizations.


Why has almost nobody dared to follow in their footsteps? 


Ricardo Semler, owner and visionary of the trail-blazing “democratic” Brazilian company Semco got so frustrated about [almost] nobody following the example set by his company …that he took every book [he’d written] at his home, all translations, into the garden – and set them ablaze.

We remind ourselves that they are somehow not from this world. They stake out land that appears unknown and foreign to us. “That would never work for us here,” we say. “We’re just not ready for that.” Or “I could never swing that with my team.” and “We went to visit them and had a look; it sure was fascinating, but their approach is just not right for us.” How often have I heard those kinds of comments. The most horrific quote of all being: “It’s a long, long road to really get there.”

Our organizations can be flipped into that land of milk and honey, within the twinkling of an eye...

For a long time, this seemed to be a contradiction to me. On the one hand, the world of the pioneers really exists – like some continent of copious vegetation. In most people’s perception, however, there seems to be no way of entering that secret garden. That land of milk and honey remains out of reach, and foreign, too. In the meanwhile, pioneers like Toyota, Gore, Sweden´s Handelsbanken or Germany´s dm-drogerie markt keep telling us that there is, really, nothing magic about what they are doing!
Because we can all beam ourselves there. Our organizations can be flipped into that land of milk and honey, within the twinkling of an eye, as soon we all stop thinking about other people as “Xers”. We do not need more examples for this, we need to correct our thinking. As for Semco, Toyota and the likes: Their example remains noteworthy and potentially inspiring for all of us.  

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Niels has it. The mythology of the "long road to get us there" distinguishes limited thinking mindsets from the visionaries around and about our companies who change things and make things happen.  Are you one of them?  Can you be?  Are you ready to flip the switch in your own mind?  ~  Deb

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Does it Pay to Be a Jerk? - Updating Nice Guys Finish Last

Does it Pay to Be a Jerk? - Updating Nice Guys Finish Last | Change Leadership Watch |

New research confirms what they say about nice guys...[or at least the result is a lot more nuanced that it seems.



Givers dominate not only the top of the success ladder but the bottom, too, precisely because they risk exploitation by takers.



We have some well-worn aphorisms…courtesy of Machiavelli (“It is far better to be feared than loved”), Dale Carnegie (“Begin with praise and honest appreciation”), and Leo Durocher (who may or may not have actually said “Nice guys finish last”). More recently, books like The Power of Nice and The Upside of Your Dark Side have continued in the same vein: long on certainty, short on proof.


So it was a breath of fresh air when, in 2013, there appeared a book that brought data into the debate. The author, Adam Grant, is a 33-year-old Wharton professor, and his best-selling book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, offers evidence that “givers”—people who share their time, contacts, or know-how without expectation of payback—dominate the top of their fields. “This pattern holds up across the board,” Grant wrote—from engineers in California to salespeople in North Carolina to medical students in Belgium. …[T]he book appears to have swung the tide of business opinion toward the happier, nice-guys-finish-first scenario.


And yet suspicions …remain—fueled, in part, by …Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson.  …Since Steve Jobs was published in 2011, “I think I’ve had 10 conversations where CEOs have looked at me and said, ‘Don’t you think I should be more of an asshole?’” says Robert Sutton, a professor of management at Stanford, whose book, The No Asshole Rule, nonetheless includes a chapter titled “The Virtues of Assholes.”


In Grant’s framework, the mentor in this story would be classified as a “taker,” which brings us to a major complexity in his findings. Givers dominate not only the top of the success ladder but the bottom, too, precisely because they risk exploitation by takers. It’s a nuance that’s often lost in the book’s popular rendering.


…[M]anagement professor Donald Hambrick, of Penn State [knows] academic psychology’s definition of narcissism—a trait Hambrick measured in CEOs and then plotted against the performance of their companies, in a 2007 study with Arijit Chatterjee.

…Hambrick…chose a set of indirect measures: the prominence of each CEO’s picture in the company’s annual report; the size of the CEO’s paycheck compared with that of the next-highest-paid person in the company; the frequency with which the CEO’s name appeared in company press releases. Lastly, he looked at the CEO’s use of pronouns in press interviews, comparing the frequency of the first-person plural with that of the first-person singular. Then he rolled all the results into a single narcissism indicator.

How did the narcissists fare? Hambrick …ound that the narcissists were like Grant’s givers: they clustered near both extremes of the success spectrum.

Related posts by Deb:




Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The humility and selflessness of Collin's Level 5 leadership, as well as Professor Adam Grant's important work on Givers, Takers and Matchers shows a nuance about timing and intensity.  It seems giving can include a goodly portion of challenge and dominance, among the expectation of the group surveyed.   Collins describes Level 5 leaders as those in whom genuine personal humility blends with intense professional will.  Perhaps intensity is a key description for those leaders.  

NOTE that:

..."In at least three situations, a touch of jerkiness can be helpful.

1) ...if your job, or [an] element of it, involves a series of onetime encounters in which reputational blowback has minimal effect.

2) The second is in that evanescent moment [when] group has formed but its hierarchy has not.


[3 The third—not fully explored here, but worth mentioning—is when the group’s survival is in question, speed is essential, and a paralyzing existential doubt is in the air."  

(Numbering added by Deb)   

Kudos's curator insight, July 21, 2015 11:56 AM

This is a really good article. I am not sure what does work best. But you are who you are. You are a jerk or you are a nice guy or girl but you can learn the competencies that will make you and your company successful if you tend to have nicer tendencies.


What I took away at the end of the article is you need these qualities to be a great leader:



If you want people to follow you - you need to show people you care about success. People want to follow a winner.


You do not need to be a Jerk or Narcissist to get results but you need to be tough, direct and challenge people when it is appropriate to get results. Then appreciate them and give them Kudos when they do well. You then will develop shared behaviours that will make the whole company successful. Disagreeable Givers is a great term and worth striving for.


My favourite part was the Steve Jobs argument. He was a jerk and a narcissist and built a great company we all admire. But his Jerk tendencies got him fired and it was his kinder gentler self after he reflected on things in his exile that lead to his ultimate success on his return. He was a better leader when he came back. A little less of a total jerk and he actually did praise when appropriate and gave credit where credit was due. But he still pushed people relentlessly and they respected him for that because of the spill over effect. By him doing well, the whole team and company did well. He had the above qualities.


If he was the only one that did well - seeking money, prestige and acclaim - he would have been exiled again and the Apple would have failed. Hard to even imagine. But the question you have to ask - was his jerk behaviour the reason for the success or was Appel and Jobs successful despite his narcissistic tendencies? Hmmmm?


There are wartime CEO's and Peace time CEO's and they need to act differently to be successful based on the circumstances. Steve jobs was a very good wartime CEO.


But follow the rules of engagement and you will be successful all the time.



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SBA's Maria Contreras-Sweet knows entrepreneurship

SBA's Maria Contreras-Sweet knows entrepreneurship | Change Leadership Watch |

Contreras-Sweet is working to transform the SBA from a bureaucratic agency criticized for confusing loan programs into a modern, nimble resource for American entrepreneurs. 

“I was the blind leading myself through....I wish that I understood that I had counselors available to me.”  Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration



  • Came to the U.S. from Guadalajara, Mexico, at age 5
  • Rose through the corporate ranks at the 7UP/RC Bottling Co. to become a vice president
  • Helped found Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, a non-profit promoting political and economic opportunities for Latinas
  • Became the first Latina in a California state cabinet position as secretary of business, transportation and housing in 1999
  • Founded of Contreras Sweet Enterprises, a consulting company


  • Founded Fortius Holdings LLC, a venture capital firm, and 
  • Founded ProAmerica Bank

Her work in the SBA

Since taking office in April 2014, Contreras-Sweet has:

  • Focused on improving small-business owners’ access to capital — one of the primary challenges entrepreneurs face
  • Extended a pre-existing policy that eliminates fees for SBA-guaranteed loans of $150,000 or less
  • Introduced LINC, an online matchmaking tool that pledges to connect businesses with SBA lenders within 48 hours, as well as SBA One, an automated lending platform that will roll out later in 2015. LINC and SBA One aim to increase the total number of SBA-guaranteed loans by making lenders easier to access and loan processing more efficient.

Contreras-Sweet says many businesses fail because they don’t get counseling.    ....much of her knowledge was built through trial and error as she started her own businesses. ....“I was the blind leading myself through this process,” she says. “I wish that I understood that I had counselors available to me.”

Related posts by Deb on Entrepreneurs, Leadership and Women in Business:






Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

It's takes long hours, and a network (a village) to be a successful small business owner.  This successful business entrepreneur, leader, immigrant, mother and Latina provides a perspective on the important of resources at all levels to support business success, including the support of her family.  ~  D

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Elect a Hairless Bear? Five Leadership Problems That Brought on the FIFA Disaster

Elect a Hairless Bear? Five Leadership Problems That Brought on the FIFA Disaster | Change Leadership Watch |

With nine FIFA executives under arrest, the organization that manages the World Cup [is] a poster child for governance gone wrong.

Sepp Blatter is ...expected to win re-election, ...though a hairless bear would do less damage as president.”  

~ by Satirist John Oliver. HBO's Last Week Tonight,  this segment received 10 million YouTube views


A brief synopsis of the 5 leadership lessons:

A pair of World Cups—planned for Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022— have allegations of bribery tied to the bidding process for each event.

On occasions when corruption charges were investigated, FIFA worked to avoid public reporting and chose not to release reports in their original forms.

In one example, Michael J. Garcia, a former U.S. attorney for New York’s Southern District, claimed that a colleague on the Ethics Committee, Hans-Joachim Eckert, had misrepresented his report in a summary Eckert wrote that effectively cleared the way for the World Cups in Qatar and Russia to proceed.


Two outside organizations produced change reports in 2011 and 2012, offering dozens of suggestions as to how to FIFA could solve its governance problems. However, few of these ideas have been implemented. 


“The crazy thing is, Sepp Blatter is widely expected to win re-election, [and he did] even though a hairless bear would do less damage as president,” satirist John Oliver said on his HBO program, Last Week Tonight, in a segment that has received more than 10 million views on YouTube.


As with all ScoopIt articles, click on the title or photo to see the full, original article.

Related articles in this series of three:

 Can FIFA Be Fixed? Jean Frankel at Ideas for Action says YES.

Sepp Blatter steps down as president of FIFA. What's next for FIFA, the business?


4 Leadership Lessons from Horse-Guided Coaching (Reveln)


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The president of FIFA has now resigned, after running for reelection in spite of the negative press and widely reported problems that happened during his leadership.  Do these 5 leadership problems resonate with what you know to be true about FIFA?  

Is it time to elect the hairless bear?  (See item 5 in the synopsis.) ~  Deb

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After Arrests, Can FIFA Be Fixed? Jean Frankel at Ideas for Action says YES.

After Arrests, Can FIFA Be Fixed? Jean Frankel at Ideas for Action says YES. | Change Leadership Watch |

“…With the problems [it] faces, and with a recently reelected leader who seems unable to accept responsibility, is FIFA…worth being saved?”

...the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed its 47-count indictment against those individuals has focused on how FIFA’s governance structure—which gives its 209 member-nations and each one’s soccer association equal voting rights—made it susceptible to widespread wrongdoing.
…change, for FIFA, has more to do with accountability and culture …[What are] the shared set of values that [transcend] all of those cultural differences?” ~ Jean Frankel

So with all of the problems it faces, and with a recently reelected leader who seems unable to accept responsibility, is FIFA an organization capable of, or even worth, being saved?

Jean Frankel, president of Ideas for Action, LLC, certainly thinks so.

“Organizations like these do have a place, and they’re essential in the grand scheme of things,” she said. “World football is the biggest sport on earth, so you need a governing body of this large sport. You need somebody to set the rules, promote the sport, and do all of those positive things.”


Here’s an organization that represents more than 200 different countries, which means more than 200 different cultures. 


Frankel, who recently helped the NCAA navigate a massive governance overhaul, said she sees a number of similarities between the two organizations.
“People asked that question of the NCAA: Do we need them? Can’t the [collegiate athletics] conferences just govern themselves?” she said. “Of course, the answer to that was ‘no.’ The conferences can’t govern themselves, because you need to have one place where a consensus has to be reached, where governance and oversight can happen.”

A fix for FIFA could even borrow from the model the NCAA ultimately landed on, said Frankel, which included weighted voting.

“It worked for the NCAA, because it was the closest thing that you could have to some kind of level playing field,” she said. “Large conferences in the NCAA and large countries in the soccer world have more resources and more to gain and lose.”

....But change, for FIFA, has more to do with accountability and culture than anything, explained Frankel.  ....Here’s an organization that represents more than 200 different countries, which means more than 200 different cultures. 

Read more about Jean Frankel, the NCAA governance story, and the Ideas for Action group here.  Full disclosure below.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Jean's comments indicate a positive organizational scholarship informed vision of change, how deeply flawed organizations can use their flaws as a pivot point to get back on the straight and narrow.  The article, available in full here, highlights what worked for the NCAA in turning their organization around.

Tensions ran high enough that the largest schools began to consider the possibility of breaking away to form their own organization.  



Excerpt:  Think it’s hard for your board to work effectively? Try doing so while under constant scrutiny from the public and media—and even congress. That’s exactly what the NCAA, college sports’ governing body, faced as it restructured its governance model..

I believe this could be either a great example of large scale system positive change or of failure.  This is based on knowing the NCAA story of how governance can be fixed, of how to lead change based in what's NOT working, how how those exact dysfunctional aspects of an organization can be the basis for renewal and rebirth, of being made new again.   Full disclosure, I've joined the Ideas for Action group this spring, because of Jean and because of the bench strength of the organization.



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Failure as Strength - The power of Failure for Innovation & Learning from Defeat

Failure as Strength - The power of Failure for Innovation & Learning from Defeat | Change Leadership Watch |

It’s really hard to talk about failure. The "Admitting Failure" website, connected to engineering failure stories at its creation, hopes to change that. 

...acknowledging failure is often a catalyst for innovation... 


It is painful for civil society organizations to acknowledge when we don’t meet our goals and objectives...   The paradox is that we do everything we can to avoid these pains even though we all know failure is the best teacher and we have to be open and talk about our failures in order to learn. ....acknowledging failure is often a catalyst for innovation that takes our work from good to great.

To address this conundrum we need a paradigm shift in how civil society views failure.  We think this starts with open and honest dialogue about what is working and what isn’t so Admitting Failure exists to support and encourage organizations to (not surprisingly) admit failure.

ad·mit   /ədˈmit/
1. To concede as true or valid <admit responsibility for a failure>
2. To allow entry <admit failure into the organization, allowing a safe space for dialogue>

Fear, embarrassment, and intolerance of failure drives our learning underground and hinders innovation.
No more. Failure is strength. The most effective and innovative organizations are those that are willing to speak openly about their failures because the only truly “bad” failure is one that’s repeated.
Related posts by Deb on Learning and Failure:



Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

"To begin again, this time more intelligently" is exactly why embracing failure is important to building high performing teams and to high performance cultures that truly support learning, adaptation and change.  For that reason, this innovative website is referenced on several websites, including an blog post about "What to Do When You're Feeling Defeated."   

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) set up this website to encourage aid workers to share their mistakes—and to kickstart future success, and then some.

After allowing for the process of accepting defeat, realize defeat and crisis can transform us, renew us, and provide a different perspective.  I may be the transformative feedback we need and have been missing.
~  Deb 

Reference:  Tracking the Defining Moments of Crisis Process and Practice by Amisha Mehta, , Robina Xavier. Public Relations Review, Volume 38, Issue 3, September 2012, Pages 376–382, Available online 29 December 2011


Kristin Newton's curator insight, May 4, 2015 1:58 AM
Starting over fresh, with new wisdom, can be a gift in disguise.
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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 2015 Edition of What's Next, at University of Michigan #Flow

Slides and Notes from a public evening lecture by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Friday April 17th, 2015

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Bestselling Author of “Flow”
Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management

at Claremont Graduate University
Quality of Life Research Center

(4448 East Hall, 5:30-6:30 PM Plenary Lecture)

Topic: Curiosity and enjoyment as moderating factors in socio-cultural evolution


He mentioned this quote early in his presentation and cites it often in his presentations in general:


To establish a place of work where engineers can feel the joy of technological innovation, be aware of their mission to society, and work to their heart’s content.” ~ Masaru Ibuka, Sony founder electronics inventor Masaru Ibuka, in explaining the purpose of incorporation of Sony

Quotes I found relevant after hearing his presentation:

“Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person's skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.”
― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

“Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when the challenges are just balanced with the person's capacity to act.”

“the self expands through acts of self forgetfulness.”

“...It is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were.” ― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Friday April 17th, 2015
Public Evening Lecture by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Bestselling Author of “Flow” (4448 East Hall, no registration required) 5:00-5:30 PM Welcome, Introductions: Stephanie Preston

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

His presentation was, in many ways, traditional, academic, with the customary rows of seated listeners.  Yet his later slides reflect the opening up of the big principles core learning of what flow is and how people from all walks of life, with less regard for wealth, achieve it through choice, even with varying degrees of freedom available to themselves.


One person who talked of the presentation said he could have sat there listening for hours.
Web research on Flow also brings flow explorers to topics like human chemistry and human thermodynamics, as well as to the broader field of positive psychology. It is a long way from industrial age, mechanistic thinking of the 20th century.  I cannot help but be inspired by it to learn more and find more ways of applying it in my own life and work.  ~  Deb

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People Over Profit: Why Two Small Countries Stood Up to Big Mining, And the Fight Continues

People Over Profit: Why Two Small Countries Stood Up to Big Mining, And the Fight Continues | Change Leadership Watch |

If the governments of Costa Rica and El Salvador can resist the mining industry, maybe we all can, but not without a fight:  Mining firms are suing governments for policies that impeded future profits.   

______________________ mining companies are trying to ensure that no government is allowed to say no.


One is the tiny nation of El Salvador, where the government stopped issuing gold mining permits half a decade ago. The Salvadoran government did so despite sky-high gold prices and the argument that exporting gold was one of the country's few chances to boost aggregate economic growth (in the short-term, at least).

They did so largely because the majority of Salvadorans get water from one large river system, and gold mining invariably pollutes nearby rivers and watersheds.    ...El Salvador is not alone in its policies. The government of Costa Rica has said no to open-pit mining. (While open-pit mining is only one method of mining, it is among the most environmentally destructive.)
Costa Rica's Congress subsequently voted for a no-new-open-pit-mining law—unanimously. That no was upheld by Costa Rica's Supreme Court.

Governments can say no to a false notion of development that would do little besides line the pockets of elite corporate interests, while leaving devastated ecosystems in its wake.   ....But global mining companies are trying to ensure that no government is allowed to say no.

These corporations are making their cases based on a controversial Central America "free trade" agreement with the United States, and on El Salvador's former investment law (written with the help of the World Bank), which opened the door for mining firms to sue governments for policies that impeded future profits.   
In February 2014, Infinito announced that, rather than accept the Supreme Court rejection of its appeal, it was filing an investor-state case against the Costa Rican government at the World Bank's ICSID. Infinito is suing Costa Rica for the $94 million it claims to have invested so far.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This is a cautionary tale of profiteering and corporatism at the global level.  The author suggests we support the right of governments to say no to rapacious mining.  It may be there are many other type of global actions that can destroy the environment in other nations when putting profits above people.   Just passing along this awareness can make a difference.  ~  Deb 

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Change in the Nature of Work: The Case For "Antiwork" and the 20 hour Work Week

Change in the Nature of Work: The Case For "Antiwork" and the 20 hour Work Week | Change Leadership Watch |

Does a 40+ hours a week actually work for today's and tomorrow's world?  Consider what would happen if we had a 20+ hour work week as the new standard?

Society seems to be in denial over this...  ~ Brian Dean



U.K.-based writer Brian Dean argues that we need to reframe the idea of work itself—and maybe replace it with "antiwork" instead. He explains:

"Antiwork is a moral alternative to the obsession with "jobs" that has plagued our society for too long. It’s a project to radically reframe work and leisure. It’s also a cognitive antidote to the pernicious culture of "hard work," which has taken over our minds as well as our precious time."



"The global economic collapse wasn’t caused by human idleness, and neither were the previous recessions." 



Twenty years ago, Jeremy Rifkin estimated that about 75% of jobs in industrialized countries included tasks that could be at least partially automated, and as artificial intelligence and engineering improves, that number keeps getting higher.

"Society seems to be in denial over this, to a large extent," Dean says.

"So, we see the persistent belief that we can achieve 'full employment.' Rifkin showed empirically that this is nonsense, unless we create a lot of make-work, i.e., work for the sake of working. And that’s what, as a society, we seem to be doing. Everywhere you look there are stupid, pointless (and probably environmentally destructive) jobs."

If we don't work, how will we pay rent?  Dean supports the idea of unconditional basic income—a system in which society pays everyone enough to meet basic needs, so we can all spend our time doing something that truly fulfills us.


Related change posts by Deb on Reveln:



Deb's related ScoopIt streams:




Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

So the 20-30 hour work week rises again.  Frithjof Bergman, at the University of Michigan,  suggested it for society decades ago.  Perhaps now with the pain of income disparity, the speed of technological advances including communication, it can be taken more seriously.

Excerpted from the interview referenced below:  

Frithjof:   New Work represents the effort to redirect the use of technology so that it isn’t used simply to speed up the work and in the process ruin the world – turning rivers into sewers and rain into acid.

The purpose of technology should be to reduce the oppressive, spirit-breaking, dementing power of work – to use machines to do the work that is boring and repetitive. Then human beings can do the creative, imaginative, uplifting work.

So New Work is simply the attempt to allow people, for at least some of their time, to do something they passionately want to do, something they deeply believe in.   ~ Deb



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Why the World Is Not Falling Apart - Evidence of Peace

Why the World Is Not Falling Apart - Evidence of Peace | Change Leadership Watch |
An evidence-based mindset on the state of the world would bring many benefits. It would calibrate our national and international responses to the magnitude of the dangers that face us. It would limit the influence of terrorists, school shooters, decapitation cinematographers, and other violence impresarios.




…To read significance into these clusters [ of violence...of the past year] is to succumb to primitive thinking...and cosmic conspiracies.


News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, “Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out”—or a city that has not been bombed, or a school that has not been shot up.


…To read significance into these clusters [ of violence, “annexations, beheadings, [and] pestilence” of the past year] is to succumb to primitive thinking, a world of evil eyes and cosmic conspiracies.
…in most years bee stings, deer collisions, ignition of nightwear, and other mundane accidents kill more Americans than terrorist attacks. …
…The Great American Crime Decline of the 1990s, …resumed in 2006, and, defying the conventional wisdom that hard times lead to violence, proceeded right through the recession of 2008 and up to the present.
…the trend appears to be downward, from 7.1 homicides per 100,000 people in 2003 to 6.2 in 2012.


…2013 saw the signing of six peace agreements, two more than in the previous year.


…a heightened concern about violence against women is not futile moralizing but has brought about measurable progress—and that continuing this concern can lead to greater progress still.

…the number of interstate wars has plummeted since 1945, and the most destructive kind of war, in which great powers or developed states fight each other, has vanished altogether. (The last one was the Korean War).
…2013 saw the signing of six peace agreements, two more than in the previous year.


[However]…The number of wars jumped from four in seven in 2013.



[However]…The number of wars jumped from four in 2010—the lowest total since the end of World War II—to seven in 2013. These wars were fought in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Syria. …The worldwide rate of battle deaths (available through 2013) has also risen since its low point in 2005, mostly because of the deaths in the Syrian civil war. …It has undone the progress of the last dozen years, but the rates of violence are still well below those of the 1990s, and nowhere near the levels of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s.

…The world is not falling apart. The kinds of violence to which most people are vulnerable—homicide, rape, battering, child abuse—have been in steady decline in most of the world. Autocracy is giving way to democracy. Wars between states—by far the most destructive of all conflicts—are all but obsolete.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Many crime and war trend lines are declining, except for the number of wars, which have started to rise in certain countries including battle deaths in areas like Syria.

The quote about watching trendlines, not newslines, and memes with their emotionalism, is well taken to guide us in avoiding alarmist thinking, and planning wisely, as Steven Pinker relates from his experience as the author of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, and Andrew Mack, director of the Human Security Report Project at Simon Fraser University.  ~  D

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