Mission

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

The best of times, the worst of times

In his 1859 classic, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens compared life in Paris and London before and during the French Revolution when he wrote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  And if you look at the history of humankind at any time – particularly when we’ve made tectonic global transitions: the Agrarian Age, the Industrial Revolution, and now the Digital Revolution – you also see the best and worst simultaneously. There always have been opposing forces: “dark” (e.g.: nationalism, tribalism, fear and hatred of “the other”) vs. “light” (e.g.: empathy, bridge-building, inclusiveness and striving for freedom and human dignity of all human beings). It’s no different now: we live in a time of... 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

Leading Sustainable Innovation

beCause Associate Peter Cook just released a book with Bloomsbury Publishing, Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise . I asked Peter for some insights into this, the 11th book he has written or contributed to over 22 years in business. What prompted you to write this book? I have had three passions across my life – science, business and music. When I was four years old I wanted to be in The Beatles. By nine, I wanted to be a brain scientist. At 18, I joined a pharmaceutical company as a chemist and traveled the world, fixing factories and scaling up life-saving drugs, including the world’s first treatment for HIV / AIDS and work to introduce human insulin to the world. By 29 I became... more

Telling stories: transmedia activism

beCause Associate Lina Srivastava interviewed by Henry Jenkins, Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at University of Southern California - As my student Geoff Long likes to say, transmedia is an adjective, not a noun, and as such, it needs something to modify. Much of the conversation here has centered around transmedia entertainment, transmedia storytelling, or perhaps transmedia branding and transmedia learning. But, when the word transmedia modifies activism or mobilization, there is no more important voice in the world today than Lina Srivastava. In her hands, transmedia becomes a verb — something we do to make a difference in the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiOKsv_1wRo#t=22 I first met her in Madrid several summers ago when we were both speaking at a gathering of thinkers... more

Navigating complexity - hold onto your core!

by beCause Associate Jennifer Sertl   I am a pilgrim on the edge, on the edge of my perception. We are travelers at the edge, we are always at the edge of our perception. ~ Scott Mutter (Escalator ~ Copyright 1984 Scott Mutter used with permission from Bob Mutter) The people I know in this impact community often do a great deal for others. As caretakers and as innovators, we need reminders to slow down and also take care of ourselves.  This message is particularly for all my colleagues fostering social innovation. Here are a couple of exercises I hope sharpen your senses and allow you more grace in the midst of the pressure that comes with being change agents. There is a... 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