The ebbf board recently met in Geneva, in one of its three annual physical consultations.
One of the questions on the table was how could ebbf with its global community find ways to address the complex times we are living. Turbulent transition moments that require new kinds of open dialogue, understanding and action.
We share with you some of the ideas that arose from that consultation.
You are additionally invited to a conversation with ebbf’s board on how we can act and what opportunities for dialogue we can create in our workplaces and economic systems, to contribute towards a prosperous, just and sustainable civilization – taking place this 7th of February
“Impressed by ebbf publications such as – In Search of A New Work Ethic – led this CFO to the observation and application of what motivates people in their workplaces”.
Douglas Henck has forty five years of experience working with multinational corporations. His field was Insurance. His first position was as an Actuary then as a Financial Officer. From here he moved into Strategic Management and worked in over ten countries in Asia and holding responsibility for tens of thousands of people.
His fascination in the world of work was – and remains even six years into his retirement – the question of motivation.
Questions such as: “Where does it come from?” and “Why do people go to work and work hard?”. were met by the repetition of philosophy, all of which pointed Douglas Henck in the direction of social good.
Again and again, he saw that people really do “want to feel that they are part of making a difference”. He decided that becoming the facilitator of ‘making a difference’ would be the focus of his leadership.
In our contemporary society, engaging in service is often seen as a pastime activity, as an add-on when one has satisfied all other needs. However, we view service as in reality an over-arching principle and as a general attitude which should be employed in every action, including in our work/professional pursuits.
In this spirit, the ebbf board offers the below thoughts.
WHAT IS YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE WITH SELFLESS SERVICE IN YOUR WORKPLACE AND/OR IN THE NEW ECONOMIC SYSTEMS WE ASPIRE TO CONTRIBUTE TO?
#BuildingCapacity as a concept, action, service, discovery ... here's what we learnt with Sjoerd Luteyn
#BuildingCapacity may sound like a simple concept – but what is it? Is it actually any different from capitalising on skill development or talent management? The final pre-learning developed into a stunning interaction between participants from three continents as an exploration with Sjoerd Luteyn (who also will be at ebbf’s #BuildingCapacity International Learning Event 6-9 October Bucharest to continue deepening our dialogue on ‘Capacity Building in Organisations’).
#BuildingCapacity in a Collaborative Culture - what traits are required and what are the results? with Valerie Davis
Here at ebbf, we are fortunate to have access to Valerie Davis who shared the findings of her PhD research, studying the specific ways in which leaders apply collaborative leadership and the consequences of that mindset in their companies. Earlier this year, she was awarded a Doctorate from Fielding Graduate University for her contributions to research in Human Development and she will be one of the speakers at ebbf’s next international event taking place in a few weeks.
Launch of ebbf Research Group for Collaborative Leaders
During this ebbf online leaning session participants from Romania, Italy, Switzerland, China, United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland and United States explored the role of collaborative leaders.
It was a two-fold opportunity, firstly to hear Valerie Davis share her expertise in creating the space for leaders to gain a critical perspective on their goals, vision and effectiveness and secondly to begin the very exciting process of launching a Research
In one of the series of pre-event learning session Nabil Elias, Business Faculty Emeritus from the University of North Carolina gave a beautifully tempered presentation on Accompaniment as a powerful tool for #CapacityBuilding. Participants joining the call came from Italy, Croatia, Romania, England, Portugal, Scotland and the USA. Below are some of what we learnt in that interactive online session.
What is Accompaniment?
Accompaniment envisions at least two friends, with different levels of experience in a specific area of action, learning together. What Nabil Elias described as taking “a posture of collective learning” that endows #BuildingCapacity with new meaning.
Whether talking about #BuildingCapacity in Non-Profit Organisations wanting to achieve their service mission or in For-Profit Businesses setting out to meet demand and build operational capacity, it is Accompaniment which is the foundation of all successful #BuildingCapacity.
What makes Accompaniment different to Training and Mentoring?
Introducing ebbf's new knowledge centre dedicated to Capacity Building and Accompaniment, by Nabil Elias
A new ebbf knowledge centre has just been added with a new paper that collects new thinking on the concepts of Capacity Building and Accompaniment. In this document Nabil Elias offers how Capacity building involves empowering individuals to participate in a purposeful collective effort. Accompaniment invites and supports individuals into expandable teams that humbly traverse uncharted paths of learning and serving together. Corporations and not-for-profit organizations alike can apply this process to transform the organization and its trajectory towards solving complex issues.
You can read there initial replies to questions such as “who are the partners in Capacity Building and Accompaniment?” , “How Does Capacity Building Apply in Business Organizations?”.
It will never be as good as one of these face to face meaningful conversations we enjoy at ebbf’s international learning events (if interested to attend, click here to book still a few places available) but all the same ebbf is offering the opportunity to join online explorations of the themes we will cover in the next international event.
Interested to hear what we learnt in one of the online explorations of what building capacity means and of what it takes to create the right culture to allow capacity building in a company?
Washington - global views on local Brexit and on wider together vs divided debates. by Augusto Lopez-Claros
ebbf member Augusto Lopez-Claros offers some fresh global views to a local issue with much wider consequences.
“Why would Brexit be a blunder of historic proportions?
Since the vast majority of the problems which humanity faces today are global in nature, the world needs more, not less international cooperation. Major planetary issues are being neglected—we are failing massively and risking being overwhelmed by a broad range of problems the solutions to which require effective “problem solving” mechanisms and institutions. The list of inherently global issues that are insoluble outside a framework of global collective action involving most nations of the world is long and includes: climate change, biodiversity loss, the depletion of tropical forests and fisheries, nuclear proliferation, widening income disparities, a flawed global financial architecture, illegal drugs, the rise of terrorism and the still high levels of poverty and deprivation afflicting much of the developing world, to name a few.
Against this background, those who argue that the United Kingdom would be better off outside the EU do not seem to understand the extent to which economic integration has been a key driver of prosperity during the past half a century and the extent to which membership in a body such as the EU is a way to magnify a country’s voice and influence, as we rise to the challenge of helping resolve the above global problems.
Is EU membership beneficial?
EU membership has been highly beneficial to the United Kingdom. It has contributed to a huge increase in trade and to gains in productivity and economic output. It has given its politicians the opportunity to influence and shape EU policies in areas that have had a major impact in the world, such as the enlargement of the EU to Central and Eastern Europe that took place after the collapse of the Soviet Union and that did so much to transform these countries’ institutions and policies. Because the EU is the world’s largest trading bloc, it has huge clout when it comes to opening other countries’ markets and, as a member, the United Kingdom has greatly benefited from these efforts. Furthermore, contrary to the assertions of supporters of Brexit, the United Kingdom has not been prevented by EU membership from carving out approaches to particular issues that better suited its own preferences and interests. So, it has a very flexible labor market, which has contributed to lower levels of unemployment than in the rest of the EU, it has a friendly business environment that tends to be less overregulated than the rest of the EU (Denmark and the UK have the highest rankings in the EU in the World Bank’s Doing Business report), and it has maintained its own currency,.
Over the past several decades there have been massive shifts in the structure of the global economy. High economic growth rates in countries like China, India and other parts of the developing world have drastically reduced the relative size of countries like the United Kingdom. Because political power and influence are highly correlated with economic size, the United Kingdom, as an active member of the EU, has managed to maintain a degree of influence in global affairs that has gone well beyond its actual (and relatively declining) economic size.
It is highly irresponsible to argue that outside the EU the United Kingdom will be anything other than a minor power in a world of emerging economic and political powerhouses. This process will be accelerated if, as is widely expected, Scotland opts to stay in the EU by claiming independence. The EU will remain, for the foreseeable future, the United Kingdom’s most important trade partner. But because trade with the EU is far more important to the United Kingdom than trade with the United Kingdom is for the EU, it will be the case that the EU will largely dictate the terms of access to its enlarged market. That access, by virtue of Brexit, will, of course, be less preferential than for full EU members. Indeed, negotiating the terms of separation and the features of the UK’s new relationship with the EU is likely to create a long period of uncertainty for the economy, with exporters in the country asking themselves: how long?, on what terms? and not having ready answers to such vital questions. It is also naïve to think that, outside the EU, London will retain its unique position as one of the world’s two largest financial centers (together with New York). To the extent that finance has been an engine of economic growth over the past several decades, leaving the EU will have a permanently contractionary effect on the UK economy.
Indeed, all that the United Kingdom can hope for is an eventual relation with the EU that is similar to that which Norway has and which involves, ironically, largely accepting the bulk of EU laws, without having a say in their formulation, including, of course, the free movement of people.
One final word on migration.
The sooner we find creative ways to live in a multinational, multiethnic world, the better. It is not only large income disparities that create incentives for people to move. There are other forces at work that are likely to remain with us for some time to come and that could turn migration into one of the main development challenges of our time.
One of them is the shrinking of our planet fueled by rapid changes in technology and globalization. Our societies are far more mobile today than used to be the case. The real cost of travel has fallen precipitously in recent decades and people feel far less rooted to their place of birth than in the past. More and more people, particularly the young, feel like global citizens, very much at ease with the concept that
“The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.”
More importantly, we live in a world in which we face a broad range of global problems for which we do not seem to have the adequate institutions to find workable solutions. And the sense of insecurity that these problems feed can often act as a powerful additional incentive for people to want to move, to seek opportunities and a better life elsewhere, since many of these global problems have had and will continue to have a disproportionately larger impact on the developing world. Furthermore, in coming decades, with rising sea levels linked to global warming, we are likely to have to deal with the problem of “environmental refugees”; potentially dozens of millions of people who will have to be resettled in other parts of the world.
So, to those who argue that by leaving the EU Great Britain will be able to turn itself into Little England, isolated from the rest of the world: dream on. It is not going to happen. Migration has been, over the past several hundred years, one of the most powerful engines of economic growth, innovation and prosperity. All we can hope to do is to manage it in a way that enhances its benefits and smooths out its at times destabilizing effects.
So, where will all of this end?
One possible scenario: Britain will spend three years trying to get out and the next three trying to get back in, when it fully realizes the magnitude and ramifications of its blunder.”
James Jennings recently joined ebbf and right away decided to offer this very interesting article that relates to the May ebbf international event’s theme and to the need of evolving our organizations towards a more human, connected and systems thinking flow.
“Every company’s wish is to have engaged employees. However, when 70% of employees are not engaged we have a problem: work is currently a terrible experience for the majority. The waste of human potential and economic gain is enormous.
I worked 9 years in a socially responsible Best Places to Work company during a period when revenues grew organically from $100 million to over $800 million. I worked on appreciative inquiry projects facilitated by David Cooperrider himself, attended the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), used open book management, mindfulness, Getting Things Done and a dozen other practices. These were great programs put in place by intelligent and well-meaning people. Through them, I’ve seen the need and hope to make things better. However, for all that effort, even in a great company, a majority of employees were unengaged. There seems to be a ceiling to engagement.
Gallup surveys show engagement holding steady around 30% in the US and lower in much of the rest of the world. Despite greater awareness of engagement, availability of good programs, and analysis that shows better financial returns, engagement has not had breakout improvements. There has to be something that has not been addressed by the thousands of books, seminars, software, and other interventions.