Why only shoot for 3 Moons when together we can reach all 6 Stars – Mend the Soul, Unleash Capability, Foster Renewal, Expand Minds, Distribute Power and Seek Balance?
Poised on the biological precipice of collapse or evolve, let’s stand together like a global Olympic Dream-Team and put LIFE @ The Heart of Purpose - in leadership, management, and everyday life, to deliver Sustainable Value Creation Φ - according to how Life works!
2012: The GLOBAL BALANCE Sheet in the RED
Faced with radical global financial, social and ecological pressure to do ever more with ever less, the fundamental question is HOW to deliver sustainable products and services, so that 9 billion people can actually thrive in a healthy, living planet – while we simultaneously reduce our total impact to within Earth’s current capacity to sustain Life, and still pay our bills at the end of the month!
The problem is that we are collectively acting like a herd of deer caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic – frozen in fear as we watch our own imminent demise, unable to fight back (it’s bigger than us) and unable to run away (there’s nowhere else to go). We are surrounded by passers-by shouting at us to get out of the way, while there is still time – but we can’t hear them, and the drivers just can’t see us from behind the wheel. Stunned by the lights and powerless to move, we resign to our fate, and collectively do nothing.
“Today, …it seems that something is on the way out and something else is painfully being born. It is as if something were crumbling, decaying, and exhausting itself, while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble”.
New! Rules of the Game
The Long Term Capitalism Challenge shines the spotlight on how we value Life itself – and how we connect to Nature, to each Other and to Ourselves. We cannot continue to mine Nature and exploit each other and ourselves in order to meet our needs. The time has come for the emergence of a truly human‐scale form of social and economic development, respecting, protecting and restoring natural living systems.
Our responsibility as human beings is to understand:
Φ CONDITIONS FOR LIFE
Respect and promote the basic conditions that sustain the system of life on Earth, in all our individual and collective actions.
Φ NEEDS VS. SATISFIERS
Discern universally shared, fundamental human needs, from cultural satisfiers we have adopted throughout history - it’s time to choose again.
Φ ECONOMIES OF PURPOSE
Create synergistic, symbiotic satisfiers of human needs as the central purpose of social organization through integrated global-local economies.
Φ LIFE’S GENIUS.
Embody Life’s Genius, the understanding that "Nature contains in its smallest part what it intends for the whole”, and that We Are Nature.
Φ CREATIVE DISRUPTION.
Recognise the tension between momentum from the past keeping the system stable and seeds of the future wanting to emerge; and walk the middle way.
Φ DEEP RESPECT.
Actively seek out opposing perspectives as a mind frame as a source of leverage for transformation and to invite radical innovation.
Φ POWER OF INTENTION.
Recognize that our expressed thoughts become “things”, and harness the power of intention to realize and attract our desired future.
Φ INNER ALIGNMENT.
Model integrity (alignment between body, mind, heart, and soul) and recognize that our human impact is driven by and a reflection of our inner mindset.
Φ ONE WORLD.
Cultivate awareness that we are all connected and each play a unique role in the process of transforming our inner and outer worlds.
Value the wisdom of all voices with compassion and empower the full participation of all.
How to Play By New! Rules
In order to realize the dream of a profoundly principled, fundamentally patient, and socially accountable Long-Term Capitalism, we need to unleash our collective human capacity by embodying these timeless principles as new rules of the game. The practical question now is How do we embed the New! Rules of the Game into management systems and processes and everyday management practice?
Life is calling on us all to reconnect with Nature, with each Other and within Ourselves. We believe the global sustainability challenge is an invitation to rediscover how Life works, and to reimagine, redesign and redevelop our economies, organisations, communities and lives around the incredible opportunity for genuine abundance in harmony with Life.
2012: THE Olympic Challenge – Re-Member Ubuntu
The only way we can be prosperous is to be prosperous together. The African philosophy of Ubuntu says – ‘A person is only a person through other persons.’ Or ‘I am because we are.’ Ubuntu reminds us that the essence of our common humanity is that we are one family and our future is bound up together. As we invite ALL voices back into the conversation, we have the opportunity to access and integrate ALL wisdom into a kaleidoscope of Sustainable Value Creation, and enable each other to contribute our piece towards a Sustainable World.
Imagine that we are ALL members of the 2012 Global Olympic Dream Team, preparing for the opportunity of a lifetime – giving ourselves fully to the task at hand every day, and ready to show up when the moment arises. Surrounded by our family, friends, mentors, trainers, sponsors, supporters and fans wishing us well, we prepare for the performance of a lifetime. As we aim to raise the bar again, we welcome all feedback, especially from those who can see into our blind spots. Now is our time. We get the new rules of the game, and rise up to the challenge, breaking new records daily with our talents. We show the world who we really are - Olympic Champions in the making!
Defining Sustainable Value Creation Φ
The purpose of Long-Term Capitalism is to drive Sustainable Value Creation. Value creation is something we all do every day for each other. Now we need to ensure that we define Sustainable Value Creation so that it really measures whether what we are up to actually reinforces rather than undermines how LIFE works, that is, Net-Generative with respect to living systems.
We define SUSTAINABLE VALUE CREATION Φ as the process of delivering synergistic satisfiers for human needs, within Nature’s limits as determined by scientific principles for ecological and socio-economic sustainability, where by
Φ Sustainable | We Mean The Real Goalpost
Defined by Scientific Principles for Sustaining Life in a One-Planet World.
Translated into Strategic Management Principles and Practices.
Φ Value | We Mean Fundamental Re-Valuation
Rewards Proactive Realignment with Scientific Sustainability Principles.
Expects Strategy for Realignment as Insurance for Investment.
Penalizes Unknown Sustainability Exposure as Uncapped Risk.
Φ Creation | We Mean Life at the Heart of Purpose
Puts Life itself, all beings affected, at the heart of purpose, we can achieve all our objectives without trading off between short and long term interests.
Φ Phi. | We Mean The Way Life Works – Through Open Innovation
Follows the basic pattern in Nature for how Life generates (and self-regulates) growth.
Integrates wisdom from ALL disciplines.
The definition of Sustainable Value Creation Φ can't belong to anyone, because it belongs to everyone. We use the Greek Letter Phi, Φ, because it represents the basic pattern of growth and self-regulation in Nature, and also to represent an open innovation framework to fit all wisdom in the right place with respect to becoming Net-Generative.
The Biology of Love
Cultural biologist Umberto Maturana has made an invaluable contribution to the world, by explaining in biological terms why Love matters so much in the organisational context. It comes down to this…Life creates through love meeting potential. Without Love, nothing new is born. With Love, we invite others to express their highest potential. Until recently, the word Love has been taboo in organisational life. Maturana points to the fact that without the embodied presence of Love in the room, nothing new or innovative can emerge. This is the ultimate form of Open Innovation. Starting really small, and very intentionally, a seed containing the perfect blueprint for an Oak Tree, a prize Orchid, a proud Lioness, or the next baby genius, takes in nutrition from it’s environment in order to manifest the living expression of the design blueprint.
A Management System with a Heart
Sustainable Value Creation f is about systemically designs the future through examining purpose, envisioning success and aligning all associated strategies, investment and activities. Sustainable Value Creation f intentionally brings embodied presence into the conscious re: design of business models, strategy and implementation to deliver value that reinforces Life’s natural living systems.
In order to embody Life at the Heart of Purpose, Sustainable Value Creation f integrates principles and practices from scientific sustainability, strategic planning, organisational development, business development, investment and systems integration, including, but not limited to:
Φ Human Scale Development
Φ System Conditions for Sustainability
Φ Framework for Strategic Sustainability
Φ Systems Thinking/Strategy Dynamics
Φ Biomimicry/ Conditions Conducive to Life
Φ Presencing/Conscious Embodiment
Φ Deep Democracy
Φ Integral Coaching
Φ Biology of Love
Leaders of the Pack
Having defined it precisely, the next task becomes how to measure and reward Sustainable Value Creation Φ – both in management and investment terms. But there’s no need to wait, because those companies that have jumped in and got on with the task of becoming Net-Generative, are being identified not only as Sustainability Pioneers, but also as sector leaders within their respective industries. To name but a few,
- Interface are doing it with Mount Sustainability.
- Marks & Spencer are doing it with Plan A.
- Unilever are doing it with The Sustainable Living Plan.
- Wholefoods are doing it with their core business model.
These are the leaders of the pack who are making a whole-hearted, unequivocal commitment to becoming Net-Generative, and are grappling with and working towards it in their own way. In each case, these are all examples of conscious leaders developing conscious transformation programmes through management innovation. There’s no reason why any and every organisation can't be doing it too!
Reach for the Stars: One Moonshot at a Time
Φ What if every organization were to reorient it’s core purpose, vision and values, and commit to becoming Net-Generative?
Φ What if we were to embed principles for Sustainable Value Creation Φ (especially Scientific Principles for Sustainability and Biomimicry’s Life’s Principles) at the heart of corporate valuation?
Φ What if these principles were adopted by the Sustainable Value Creation Initiative started in Norway (2008) and Sweden (2009), and they spread to every major stock exchange?
Φ What if every majot stock exchange world wide started to demand a strategic plan for moving towards Sustainable Value Creation Φ from every listed company?
Φ What if we developed a mechanism to treat short-term shareholders more like creditors than investors?
Φ What if management were focused on ensuring that safeguarding, restoring and reinforcing LIFE became the focus of every organisational transaction?
Φ What if core leadership competencies were defined in terms of Embodied Presence, Deep Democracy, and Integral Action?
Φ What if the foundations of management became transdisciplinary, and we included Sustainability Principles, Systems Thinking, Deep Democracy, Presencing, Integral Coaching, Life's Principles etc. in mainstream management education?
All this is possible...with a change in mindset. Now think about how quickly things change when the collective mindset finally shifts. Suddenly, everyone wishes they had started sooner.
Embody Life at the Heart of Purpose.
Establish a key organisational culture of collective presence. Be present, and invite or hold the space for others in your team to discover collective presence in meetings.
Make A Difference: Hear All Voices.
Equip every employee with the skills to hear all voices, no matter the rank or role in the organisation. We are all right. Now we need to bring everyone onboard to integrate our fragmented wisdom and to contribute realizing the vision of Sustainable Value Creation f.
Find Your SVCΦ: Become Net Generative.
Stay true to yourself, and use your own voice to invite your team to stay true to its’ shared higher purpose – to become Net-Generative with respect to Life.
Open Innovation: Cultivate Sustainable Value Webs.
Extend self-care into care of all people, all stakeholders, and the environment touched by our activities. Open up conversations with everyone involved and work together towards establishing a Sustainable Value Web.
All I ever wanted was to be a real contributor - to know that what I am doing every day, is making a Net-Generative contribution to everything I touch and everything that is touched by the consequences of my actions. This is a far cry from the practical reality of trade-offs between today and tomorrow, between in-groups and out-groups, between others needs and self-care. When I was 16 years old, I stood crying in my high school courtyard as half of my classmates went home to be with their families during the race riots in Port Elizabeth. I cried because I am white, and because I am privileged, and because I couldn’t see a way forward. Less than one year later, Nelson Mandela and his team were building the pioneering foundations of the Rainbow Nation, which back then was inconceivable. In 2010, I finally got to visit his former prison cell on Robben Island during the World Cup Football, and happened to be wearing the yellow Team South Africa shirt. As I looked into his cell, I suddenly realised I was living a dream envisaged from right here in this 2x2 square metre concrete floor, with a bucket and a mat – that South Africa should one day host the Football World Cup. If this is not the height of innovation, I don’t know what is. What I do know, is that this Long Term Capitalism Challenge requires each and every one of us to find our “inner Mandela”, or perhaps Mandala, our true selves and our authentic purpose, and then apply ourselves with integrity and passion towards delivering Sustainable Value Creation Φ , drawing on and implementing ALL of the best thinking and practice that is out there.
This Hack is dedicated to all of my colleagues, mentors and teachers old and new, especially Janet Cherry – you modelled for me at an early age what it means to live by one's principles. Each of you has revealed to me, in theory or in practice, a piece of the Sustainable Value Creation Φ collage I have been mapping for years - an integration of all the wisdom and tools I’ve been exposed to along the path to date. You are all management innovators in your own rights. What I have discovered, is that we are all still learning how to do this, together.
Kim Warren, Karl-Henrik Robert, Goran Carstedt, Manfred Max-Neef, Paulo Bento Maffei De Souza, Per Carstedt, Alan Atkisson, Penny Kennington, Otto Scharmer, Leon Rautenbach, Myrna Lewis, Alison Moultrie, Carina Larsson, Marius Strydom, Claire Janisch, Andrew Jones and the Donella Meadows Fellows Programme, Peter Senge, Janine Benyus, Sara Schley, Nicola Kurk, Monika Skzydlevska, Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, Dayna Baumeister, James Flaherty, Sarita Chawla, Umberto Maturana, Ximena Davilla and Geraldine Brennan.
The dream of Sustainable Value Creation Φ would not be possible were it not for my dear family and close friends who have supported me through many years to keep this vision alive - a vision inspired by experiences of the transformation in my home country, South Africa. I am especially grateful to all my of babysitters, as I have tried to consolidate my thoughts between the nappies, feeding and sleep cycles of our 12 week-old baby.
Finally, to my dear David – it is only through your Love and support that I am able to add my voice to the mix today - and to our gorgeous baby, Tom – this is all for you, and your children’s children.