From A Different Perspective

When I was in the 9th grade, I took a course in Mechanical Drawing. The final in the course was to complete a drawing of an object with only some of the views provided and knowing that there were hidden lines not visible and there were three solutions to the problem. I got my final back with a D because mine was not one of the three solutions. I was convinced my solution was correct and went back and proved it to the teacher which made four solutions to the problem.

The point to the story is that we all may look at the same thing, but we do not always see it the same way. There may be some missing elements and we are all different. We each have different skills, aptitudes, intelligence and passions. We all have different sets of life situations from childhood, from training, from education to life changing events in each of our lives. The combination of these things and other contributing factors in each of our lives make us who we are and contribute to how we process things and where our perspectives come from.

Looking at things from different directions can give us different perspectives. Seeing things from different directions often times allows us to see elements or factors that were not visible from where we were looking from previously. This can bring a more balanced, informed and more inclusive perspective. We all bring a certain perspective to everything we do. Changing our vision, the direction we are looking from, can give us a different and often times better perspective and subsequently better results by including more elements that our original perspective couldn’t see.

The purpose of this blog is to expand our vision, to be able to see things clearer from different perspectives. By adding new ideas and new concepts to what we are already doing, we can begin to focus a vision of what is possible.

If you look at the world and the issues and the problems that are affecting each of us in the US and the people world wide, maybe it is time to look at things from some different directions, different perspectives. The results from the current perspectives are what we are experiencing right now in the world. Economic turmoil, wars, terrorism, racism, inequality, hunger, homelessness, sickness, disease, oppression, greed and corruption, are some of the results from our current perspectives. If we really want to change things, it’s time to change some of our perspectives. This will give us a much clearer vision of where we need to go and what it will take to get there.

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Social Entrepreneurs

Social entrepreneurship is a process by which citizens build or transform institutions to advance solutions to social problems, such as poverty, illness, illiteracy, environmental destruction, human rights abuses and corruption, in order to make life better for many.“ This description, and many of the ideas in this post come from the book; Social Entrepreneurship by David Bornstein and Susan Davis.

Social entrepreneurs have always existed, often called visionaries, humanitarians, philanthropists, reformers, saints or just great leaders. Gandhi built a decentralized political apparatus that enabled India to make a successful transition to self-rule. Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka, spotted a pattern in organizations that were making a difference; “they had both a good idea and usually a committed, creative, and action-oriented person at the helm: an idea champion or entrepreneur.”

The main difference between a Social and a Business Entrepreneur has to do with purpose. For Social Entrepreneurs, the bottom line is to maximize some form of social impact usually by addressing an urgent need that is being mishandled, overlooked or ignored by other institutions. For business entrepreneurs, the bottom line is to maximize profit and stockholder equities. Social entrepreneurship is a process or a way to organize problem-solving efforts flowing from the bottom up. They are most effective when they demonstrate ideas that inspire others to go out and create their own social change.

The difference between Social Entrepreneurs and Activists, is that Activists have come from a position of outsiders to power whereas, Social Entrepreneurs frequently combine the intent/purpose of Activists working within the bounds of existing power structures they are wanting change from. In other words, they design a system or a way of accomplishing what they want, within the existing system. They have the unique and powerful position of being able to both “set the bar and lead the way to change within the system.”

Think of the possibilities; we could bring about economic recovery and address current social issues, at the same time, by using the vehicle of private, for-profit businesses to both design ways to address social problems and at the same time operate profitable businesses. How do we make sure they are profitable? One way, is by giving the working stakeholders an opportunity of getting a “piece of the deal,” through Cooperative, or other structures that provide the workers an opportunity to be owners. By building a “Great Team” of people, focused and working together on a agreed upon goal, spectacular results are possible!

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Some of the first things that come to mind when the word “design” is mentioned is architecture, engineering, fashion design, interior design, auto design, concept design, graphic design, web design, government design or business design. These designs are processes used by designers to plan for construction of an object or system.

Design is an integral part of everything, whether created by people or as it exists in nature. It is nature’s design’s that are far and away the most the most efficient, most sustainable, most perfected, and as proof, have withstood the test of time.

Biomimicry, as defined by the Biomimicry Institute, “is a new discipline that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. The core Idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants and microbes are the consummate engineers. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most important, what lasts on Earth. This is the real news of biomimicry: After 3.8 billion years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival.”

Design flaws can have disastrous results to products, projects, systems, economies, and organizations like businesses and governments. With the tremendous unrest we are currently experiencing world-wide, with economies, suffering of people from poverty, hunger, sickness, disease, unemployment, homelessness, wars and terrorism, inequality of wealth, it begs the question; “how much of this is due to flaws in design?”

If we as citizens of the United States, or whatever country you reside in, as members of the world human community, are serious about solving these problems, it imperative that we identify any “design flaws,” that currently exist, and fix them, so they work as they were intended to – “for the people.” If we already have successful patterns to follow that have worked for billions of years in the design process, this should give us a pretty good shot at getting it right or at least aiming at the right direction which will come in focus as we stay on target.

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Conscious Capitalism

I first became aware of the term “Conscious Capitalism” in a paper written by John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market in 2007 titled Conscious Capitalism, Creating a New Paradigm for Business. He says; “for business to reach its fullest potential in the 21st century, we will need to create a new business paradigm that moves beyond simplistic machine/industrial models to those that embrace the complex interdependencies of multiple constituencies. This is the reality in which corporations exist today and our economic and business theories need to evolve to reflect this truth.”

He further states; “All of the other professions put an emphasis on the public good and have purposes beyond self-interest (maximizing profits), why doesn’t business?” He believes that most of the greatest companies in the world also have great purposes. They fall into four timeless categories:
1. Service to others.
2. The excitement of the discovery and the pursuit of truth.
3. Excellence and the quest for perfection.
4. The desire to really change things – to truly make the world better, to solve insoluble problems.

When he co-founded Whole Foods Market in 1978, John began with $45,000 in capital with 1st year sales of $250,000. In 2006, Whole Foods Market had sales of more than $5.6 billion with net profits of more than $200 million and a market capitalization of $8 billion. “Profits are one of the most important goals of any successful business. Although it may seem counter intuitive, the best way to maximize profits over the long-term is not to make them the primary goal of the business.”

“Business is fundamentally a community of people working together to create value for other people, their customers, employees, investors, and the greater society. Corporations must rethink why they exist. If business owners/entrepreneurs begin to view their business as an complex and evolving interdependent system and manage their business more consciously for the well-being of all their major stakeholders, while fulfilling their highest business purpose, then I believe that we would begin to see the hostility towards capitalism and business disappear.”

John makes a compelling case and makes great points in his paper, and he has the proof in the success of Whole Foods Market to back him up. He has elevated the bar, and it starts with your “Core Ideology” “what do you stand for over and above making money?” How great are the possibilities?

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Integral Approach

The strength of an integral approach can best be captured in the following; According to the Integral Institute, Inc., Integral means comprehensive, inclusive, balanced and embracing. When it comes to human beings, integral means maps, models, and practices that include the full spectrum of human potentials, often summarized as “exercising body, mind, and spirit in self, culture, and nature.”

Although there have been many integral models offered over the years, the most comprehensive and up-to-date is often referred to as AQAL, short for “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types or simply ISO, Integral Operating System, developed by Ken Wilber and his associates at the Integral Institute.

An integral approach allows you to see things from many different aspects and perspectives. It is a process that is a more inclusive way of designing, creating, balancing and aligning ventures or ideas or projects by considering more elements in each structure that affect results for people involved.

If used as a principle of design, an integral approach offers a means of taking into account all relevant factors in an attempt to be comprehensive, balanced and inclusive in results desired. With people this means looking inside a person at their mindsets, values and cultures, and outside at their skills, behaviors and attitudes, as well as to the wider organizational and social systems surrounding them.

So, why is this important? We have very serious issues facing the people and the countries in the world. Many of the solutions that are proposed and enacted are done with an agenda for the benefit of a few, without consideration of the consequences to the many that do not directly benefit. These consequences can be devastating to people when all aspects are not considered. When used domestically or globally, whether in business, government or religion, a more inclusive approach, an Integral Approach, is a way of creating and designing positive solutions for the benefit of the greatest number of people.

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The Right People

One of the keys to building any organization whether it is a team, a business, a government, a charity, a non-profit, a partnership a cooperative or a social group, is getting the right people on it.

In his book “Good To Great,” Jim Collins identifies one of the key components of “Great Companies” is, as he puts it, “getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus and getting the right people in the right seats.” Who are the “Right People?”

You know the right people when you are with them or around them . . . . they have the right mix of talent, skills and experience . . . they fit with what you are trying to accomplish . . . . they are fun to be around . . . . they are easy to work with . . . . they show you respect . . . they are not antagonistic . . . . they have a positive attitude . . . . they aren’t down much . . . . they don’t gossip about people . . . . they give great effort . . . . they have great passion . . . . they are the kind of people that you want on your team . . . . they make other people around them better . . . . like Magic Johnson was with the LA Lakers.

Well, if those are the right people. . . . then who are the “Wrong People?” Who are the people that you don’t want on your bus. You know the wrong people also, they are . . . . negative, always having a bad day . . . . backbiters . . . gossipers . . . . untrustworthy . . . . out for themselves . . . . not team players . . . . divisive . . . . tear down organizations rather than building them up . . . . they are not conducive to building unity . . . . don’t work well with others . . . disrespect people . . . disruptive . . . . they aren’t a good fit with your culture!

So if you get all the wrong people off the team or out of the business, and you load it up with the right people . . . . then you get the right people in the right seats, that is, the best positions for their talents and what they have a passion doing . . . . you are in the position to create and develop a “Great Team.”

The foundation of any organization is it’s people, and getting the right people working in the same direction is a key factor in successful projects.

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Core Ideology

A Core Ideology is a statement of what a company stands for and the purpose it exists, beyond making money. In his book Good to Great, on page 193, Jim Collins writes a chapter on Core Ideology: The Extra Dimension of Enduring Greatness. During an interview with Bill Hewlett, he made the following statement; “As I look back on my life’s work, I’m probably most proud of having helped create a company that by virtue of its values, practices and success has had a tremendous impact on the way companies are managed around the world.” “The HP Way,” as it became known, reflected a deeply held set of core values that distinguished the company more than any of its products. These values included technical contribution, respect for the individual, responsibility to the communities in which the company operates and a deeply held belief that profit is not the fundamental goal of a company. I don’t know if that same feeling about HP exists now, but in 2001 when the book was published, that was an accurate statement.

In his paper, “Conscious Capitalism, Creating a New Paradigm for Business,” John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market makes the following statements;

“Corporations are probably the most influential institutions in the world today and yet many people do not believe that they can be trusted. Instead corporations are widely perceived as greedy, selfish, exploitative, uncaring – and interested only in maximizing profits.”

“For business to reach its fullest potential in the 21st Century, we will need to create a new business paradigm that moves beyond simplistic machine/industrial models to those that embrace the complex interdependencies of multiple constituencies.”

“When we recruited our original investors at Whole Foods Market they understood that Whole Foods Market had other purposes besides maximizing profits.”

“When I co-founded Whole Foods Market in 1978, we began with $45,000 in capital; we only had $250,000 in sales our first year. In 2006, Whole Foods Market had sales of more than $5.6 billion, with net profits of more than $200 million, and a market capitalization over $8 billion. Profits are one of the most important goals of any successful business and investors are one of the
most important constituencies of public businesses. Although it may seem counter intuitive, the best way to maximize profits over the long-term is to not make them the primary goal of the business.”

My Vision is to build a series of interconnected businesses networked together by the following Core Ideology:

“We believe that we can make a positive contribution to the world by empowering people, with ideas, education, training and opportunities. We will use timeless business and management principles to encourage creativity, innovation, diversity, balance and alignment, in all of our efforts. We aspire for greatness in all the projects we undertake.

The vehicle that we will use is private, for profit businesses and business entities. Constantly applying and refining our business model to all of our projects will enable us to have the ability to grow exponentially and become leaders for positive change in the world”

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80-20 Rule

Most people have heard of or familiar with the 80-20 Rule. According to Wikipedia, the 80-20 Rule, also known as the Pareto principle, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity, states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Business management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He then carried out surveys on a variety of other countries and found to his surprise that a similar distribution applied.

In his article “Who Rules America: Wealth, Income and Power, posted September 2005 and updated March 2012, G. William Domhoff observed that as of 2007, the top 1% of the households in the United States owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5% which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). These numbers are similar world wide. In terms of Business Equities (ownership), in 2007, the top 1% hold 62.4% and the next 9% hold 30.9% which means that the bottom 90% own only 6.7% of businesses. It is really startling to compare actual rates of increases of the salaries of CEOs and ordinary workers; from 1990 to 2005, CEOs pay increased almost 300% (adjusted for inflation), while production workers gained a scant 4.3%.

So what does all this mean? Of the approximately 313 million people in the United States and of the approximately 7 billion people in the world, 250 million people in the US and 5.6 billion people world-wide “have something in common,” we are a group of people that collectively own only approximately 15% of the worlds wealth. These numbers are 100% diverse. It makes no difference what country you are in, the type of government you are under, your age, your gender, your color, your race, your ethnicity, your culture, your intelligence, your health, your education, your religion, or your politics, we are all tied together with “that fact.” You can’t blame the wealthy, the top 15% to 20% from wanting to keep what they have and get more, but you also can’t blame the 80% on the bottom side from wanting to get a bigger piece of that huge pie that is controlled by a few.

What would happen to people world-wide if we didn’t have the big disparity between the haves and the have-nots? What would happen if the gap was say 65% – 35% instead of 80% – 20%? Would we have the same kinds of problems that we have right now if that were the case? Would people have a different perspective on issues like war, poverty, immigration, hunger, health care, disease, homelessness, and starvation if the wealth was more balanced? Would we approach these issues the same way that we do now? Would we operate the government the way we currently are now? Would we be politically polarized as we are in the US are right now with our two choices operating from ideologies? Is it worth looking for ways to change that balance of wealth? Could we really do anything about it? If we consider only “the facts,” the have-not’s (80% of the population) outnumber the haves 250 million to 63 million in terms of people. That seems like a lot of horsepower if people were converted to votes. If the people decided to design a system that worked better for more of us than the current one does, it’s possible we could change some things. “If it is possible, we can make it happen!”

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Embracing Change

The definition of Change in is: to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one’s name; to change one’s opinion; to change the course of history. This refers to a change that a person would make. The kind of change I am talking about is “Change Itself,” that is, the change that is taking place constantly 24-7 in all aspects of our lives.

Change is constant, change is dynamic, change is going on around us in every aspect of our lives every second of the day and it is increasing in speed. Nothing is the same right now as it was when you started reading this blog post. Our planet is changing, the ocean is changing, the earth is changing, the air is changing, the weather is changing, the animals are changing, people are changing, situations are changing, politics are changing, ideas are changing, solutions are changing, business is changing, the way people interact is changing, our bodies are changing, our thinking is changing and this list goes on and on. This is a fact, everything is in motion, is changing all the time.

In business as in life, it is important to be able to adapt to change. These are some of the familiar businesses that have failed since 1997: F. W. Woolworth Company, Bethlehem Steel, Converse, Montgomery Wards, Polaroid Corporation, Schwinn Bicycle Corporation, Sunbeam Products, TWA, Enron, Arthur Anderson, Global Crossing, Spiegel, Musicland, Tower Records, Bennigan’s, Circuit City Stores, Countrywide Financial, Lehman Brothers, Lenox, Linens ‘n Things, Tropicana Entertainment, Wachovia, Trump Entertainment Resorts, Blockbuster, Inc., Hollywood Video, just to name a few. The inability to recognize change and to adapt to it within their business had an impact on why these businesses failed.

Another way of looking at change is it is with us, we can’t get away from it, it is happening constantly, so why not “embrace it.” Change is a given, it is happening, it is part of and effects everything we do, so why not factor it into our thinking. When you come up with a solution, know that it may not work forever, it may be great for “right now” but it may not be great next week, or next month, or next year. Many people cringe when they think of change and the problems it causes when you have to deal with it. Another way of looking at it is to see it, to work with it to know it is part of everything we deal with, to design with it, to use it as an integral part of the process. If it isn’t considered as part of the process, if it isn’t looked at straight on and worked into your thinking, the results can be like some of the failed businesses mentioned above.

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According to Wikipedia, Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.”

The world needs Leadership and Leaders in all areas of life from business, schools, public services, governments, church’s, families, sports – all areas of life where people interact. Not just any kind of leadership, “Positive Leadership.” As long as the “common task” is for the benefit of people, that is positive leadership.

Drew Dudley believes leadership is not a characteristic reserved for the extraordinary. He works to help people discover the leader within themselves.
We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk from TEDxToronto, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each others lives. .

An integral part of and a major component of leadership development is “the healing process that takes place mentally, emotionally and spiritually,” within people embarking on the journey of discovering the leader within themselves. To really develop your leadership skills requires an honest assessment of You … the good, the bad and the ugly… who you are… “The Man in the Mirror.” It can be a life changing, empowering and rewarding process along the journey.

What if each of us decided to discover that leader within ourselves? What kind of an impact would that have on the world? What if we put businesses together that were staffed with leaders and people working on leadership? What kind of business could you create? How tough would that business be in a competitive market place? Is this possible? Would it be worthwhile? Would this be a good time? Right Now! Is there a better time?

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