Capacity Building

Leadership: sprint, marathon & relay race

A colleague once said to me, “I stand on your shoulders.”  I replied, “We all are part of a chain of progress that stretches far behind us and will continue long after us.”  This is how I view leadership in general and women’s leadership in particular. Research by McKinsey, Harvard, Columbia, and myriad other consultancies, think tanks and universities show that organizations with diverse leadership are 35% more likely to have better financial returns.  So, advancing women’s leadership is a vital business imperative.  And, I hope men will share with all your male colleagues why “women in leadership” is not just a women’s issue. What's valid for women’s leadership applies to all of us, if we can break out of long-held but... more

What’s Your Story?

What's Your Story?

by beCause Associate John Seaman and his Saybrook Partner Robert Ferguson Storytelling is all the rage these days. In a world that is swimming in content, more and more organizations have begun using stories to sell products and services, build support for a strategy or agenda, or shape public perception. Unfortunately, many of the stories they choose to tell are superficial or inauthentic, serving only to undermine the very goals they hope to achieve. For truly compelling stories, organizations should look to their own heritage. What kind of stories work, and why Storytelling may be popular, but that doesn’t mean it’s a fad. In fact, the power of stories is well documented in the literature on narrative psychology. As social creatures, our happiness... more

Business Leaders: Expose Yourself to “Love”

by beCause Associate Andrea Learned -- One of the more challenging things for business leaders to understand about social media is how much it is about sharing “love.” When I bring it up with clients, I usually need to pause for the “wait… what?” response. The general concept may demand an extra mindset shift for those in the business-to-business (B2B) world. More pointedly, I’ve realized that being open to receiving this social media “love” is even harder for most to grasp than the idea of giving it. And, no. it’s not just you. This does sound suspiciously like relationship self-help. But, after meeting another leader whose contributions would amplify her company’s innovative work — if only she’d bring her voice and wisdom to social media — I’m convinced... more

New rules of strategic relational engagement

Successful businesses have moved from transactional to relational, which acknowledges interdependence among a diversity of parties as essential for sustainable success.  Dramatic new technologies, evolving business models, environmental impact, economic instability, political upheaval, and broad-scale migration resulting from regional conflicts, now demand improved engagement between business leaders and their myriad stakeholders. A broad spectrum of stakeholders has a direct impact on your core business. That’s why I call my framework “Strategic Relational Engagement” (SRE) because incorporating meaningful relationships into your business can transform stakeholder fear and/or animosity into understanding, productivity and strategic impact.  In a shareholder environment in which annual growth is expected (achievable or not), all-out strategic relational engagement of stakeholders is the only path to satisfaction of shareholders... more

Sustainability Leadership: Disruptively Smart Business

by beCause Global Associate Andrea Learned - Why have the topics of sustainability and gender balance still not become key priorities for smart business leadership? And why does coverage of business “disruption” still seem to focus solely on the clever, the hip and the solely technological when culture demands organizational change to a whole other level? As someone with marketing to women roots and a now deep passion for sustainable business, perhaps I take lack of attention to these less exciting topics a tad personally? It’s possible. But, no matter what is behind my irritation, sustainability and gender balance have never gotten their due, and by now, any discussion of them seems like “old news.”  Still, we best not leave it there.First, a quick look at my own path as background for my perspective: Earlier in my... more

Social entrepreneurs engines for SDGs

by beCause Global Associate David Wilcox, founder ReachScale and Dr. Amit Kapoor, Honorary Chair Institute for Competitiveness India - The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), deadlined for completion in 2015, have given way to the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), launched in September at the UN General Assembly and an array of other events including the SDG Business Forum, the Social Good Summit and the Clinton Global Initiative. In evaluating over 100 presentations at these events, I was struck by: Few presentations gave any indication of serious learning from the wins — and losses — during 20 years of MDG work. A delineation of the models that work (i.e. more sustainable and scalable) is missing. In the absence of learning frameworks, presenters reiterate the same problems, now expanded to... more

Being self-aware and truthful

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant.  An elephant's faithful one-hundred percent!” ― Dr. Seuss, Horton Hatches the Egg It’s well known that our children learn from our actions, not our words.  The admonition “Do what I say, not what I do!” never has worked even for the least cleaver child.  The same absolutely holds true for how we each and all can inspire authentic, purposeful leadership by embodying it ourselves. I have found that self-awareness is the most fundamental dimension for this.  Can you to look into your own mirror with clarity and honesty about what examples you are setting on a daily, if not hourly, basis?  Are you being open, transparent and do you bring your... more

Alternative tool for access to justice

by beCause Global Associate, Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, Chairman Africa Dispute Resolution Company, acting judge High Court of South Africa, who served as Commissioner on Truth & Reconciliation Commission and President of Black Lawyers Association: transcript of remarks he gave at 4th International Africa Peace And Conflict Resolution Conference *** It is my singular pleasure and honour to address an occasion such as this, when luminaries from the African continent have been marshalled for the next TWO days to be here in JOHANNESBURG, a city which the Mothers and Fathers thereof, like to call a “world class African city”, whatever they mean by that. The Conference is organized by organizations BOTH of which are in the business of PROMOTING PEACE and seeking to... more

Transform Insecurity into Intent TODAY

by beCause Global Associate Cortney McDermott - her Perfectly Imperfect series is about acknowledging and embracing our individual gifts and quirks-our perfect imperfection.  ***   It's time we release the idea that every part of us must be "perfect" and we open to our full creative potential as unique beings. Stay here to learn how to replace guilt, worry and self-criticism with joy, wonder and purpose. So many of my clients -- brilliant men and women with impressively successful lives and careers -- experience self-doubt and engage in self-criticism to an extent I rarely see in other folks. Chances are, if you're reading this, that you're juggling a gazillion things at once and not giving yourself enough credit. You may also throw... more

Collaboration lessons from music and business

by beCause beCause Global Associate Peter Cook, CEO Human Dynamics, - Collaboration is becoming a business as usual model for doing unusually good business in an increasingly connected world. Just consider these examples: For the first time in history, pharmaceutical companies are collaborating to pool their resources and information against consumer demand for greater transparency and the sheer costs of developing life-saving drugs. Social and economic pressure for these changes is enabled by the internet and our ability to process large volumes of data for advances in medical science that ultimately benefit the whole world. Companies as diverse as Coca Cola and Heinz, Corning and Sharp are collaborating to devise products that provide superior benefits for their clients and customers. In... more