Kami Lamakan's reaction to letter from the ebbf board on the special spaces for dialogue we can create
After reading the letter of ebbf’s board on the kinds of spaces for open dialogue that we can create to navigate and influence these complex times, Kami Lamakan then joined the board’s invitation to an open conversation with all members. He sent this reflection on the letter and the ensuing dialogue from an unusual … space.
“The letter from the board was very thought provoking and it was wonderful to then gather people in the online conversation that the board offered. During that call I was in the middle of rural England, inside the thick walls of a converted farmhouse where my friend George lives.
The walls of the room are filled with books, family mementos and photos from his days at Eton and Oxford. The knowledge he has acquired and the experiences that dominated his nearly sixty years of life were my companion as I took part in our ebbf call hearing the wisdom of the Italian guy in Spain, the american living in the Ukraine, the Persian in Switzerland, the brit in rural Portugal, the Dutch living in Washington etc. I don’t imagine that the men that originally built that barn imagined the space would have to accommodate Zoom conference calls. I am not sure when George was …
ebbf member Iko Congo shares views on diversity, encouraging new thinking in the run up to ebbf’s annual conference (taking place in May in Geneva) that will explore how can we and ethical business build the future going beyond diversity? Here is what Iko has to say.
“We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new challenges.” Tim Berners-Lee, founder of WorldWideWeb
In its literal definition, diversity is “a range of different things”, “a great deal of variety”.
When we look at the phenomenal world we are able to see this variety and different things in multiple ways – different coloured flowers, different sized plants, variety of animal species and completely different climates. At an initial glance, such diversity might be seen as an obstacle to organization – after all its impossible to have a penguin and a lion in the same habitat, or provide the same exact quantity of water to different species and sized trees.
I believe it is on this initial glance that diversity has at times, predominately in the past, been eschewed from organizations.
Gary Reusche sends a suggested read, mindsets and attitude to help us cope with global population of 11 billion people.
One of the longest serving ebbf members,Gary Reusche, sends his suggested read and whilst we have not read nor can vouch for the contents of this book, thinking of the right mindsets, attitudes and actions that will allow the planet to prosper with a population of 11 Billion people looks like something worth reading about.
“I know Paul Hanley for a number of years as I contributed a chapter in his book “Sprit in Agriculture” published in 2005. Still, when I read the promotional material about “Eleven” I had my doubts about liking the book. I was of the opinion that my view of world events was too radical. Perhaps, I thought, I was becoming cynical, especially of do-gooders espousing feel-good solutions to the ever growing list of catastrophic issues facing the planet. Increasingly believed that “unimaginable horrors precipitated by humanity’s stubborn clinging to old patterns of behavior” was the direction the world was inexorably heading.
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?
We share with you an example of the kinds of local ebbf events, that bring to various parts of the world the learning and exploration of new ideas through ebbf’s meaningful conversations.
This time it is the ebbf Sarajevo team who shares the learning from on of their series of local ebbf events where these five questions were covered:
. What are the differences between ethical and non-ethical businesses?
. In what ways can a company create a good reputation?
. Why is multiculturalism beneficial for an organization?
. Why is it important for people to know the purpose of an organization and their role in it?
. What are the benefits to companies for providing a service to the community?
#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’).
Vahid Masrour who works for the Wikimedia Foundation led the pre-learning online event ‘Rethinking Organisations and Capacity Building with a View of Abundance’ to give a foretaste of the adventure the ebbf #BuildingCapacity International Learning Event, Bucharest 6 – 9 October is fast becoming.
Participants from Sweden, UK, Romania, Ecuador, Italy, USA enthusiastically discussed their insights of Vahid’s myth-busting accompanying presentation “From Crisis to Abundance: Exponential Organisations” in which he quickly demonstrated how people and organisations unwittingly hold themselves back from creating the adaptive and meaningful workplaces that they seek, by unwittingly maintaining a scarcity mass consciousness mindset.
It turns out, the way we use our own media spaces actually drives our views on scarcity and therefore our views on Abundance too. We have this tiny amygdala in our brain which triggers reactions to what surrounds us and to what we witness such as impulsive need to fight back, flee danger or become frozen to the spot. By our daily consumption of ‘bad news’ distributed in mainstream channels and, if we are not careful, our own social media channels we become hooked into media consumption, and unfortunately for us the viewer, we innocently keep ourselves wired into a negative feedback loop through the constant retriggering of the amygdala by consuming stories that reflect and trigger our ‘survival’ instinct states.
Fit for the 21st Century
Good news on the other hand, decouples us from the negative feedback loop and instead takes us back to the present moment, bringing us face to face with the immense possibilities standing before us in this 21st Century.
To illustrate, Vahid opened up the parameters of what becomes possible when we begin to appreciate stories of progress
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.”
In this insightful article published in South Africa’s The Conversation, ebbf member Leyla Tavernaro offers new ideas on how to create enriching as opposed to destroying talk shows, thus offering new ways to use these very influential media opportunities.
Below a couple of excerpts with some of her views:
Denouncing the ‘other’
Talk shows exemplify one prevalent way that communication pans out, particularly in the West. Often, two or more camps are formed. Each side presents and defends its position while challenging or even denouncing the “other”.
For example, “stay-at-home moms” are pitted against “working moms”, implying an inherent conflict of interest between “equality” versus “child care”, as an episode of the “Tyra Banks” show once did. This adversarial model of communication is often replicated in other parts of the world, including the Middle East.
This type of what journalist and scholar Deborah Tannen calls “argument culture” became influential with the ascendancy of Western liberal thought. According to her, it has successfully challenged and confronted oppressive, authoritarian systems but may not be entirely unproblematic.
Addressing full complexity
Its agonistic emphasis excludes many less aggressive or argumentative voices. It reduces issues into binaries, failing to address their full complexity. It also obscures facets of discussion where common ground often does exist. For example, in many cases talk show guests do agree and game show contestants suddenly cooperate. This became particularly apparent in the first season of Endemol’s “Survivor South Africa”, where contestants took a significantly more collaborative posture towards their tasks than their American counterparts.
It would then be compelling to explore what would happen if we engage in a form of public discourse that deliberately draws out collaboration. What if there were common ground between “stay-at-home moms” and “working moms”? As a mother who spends a lot of quality time with her child and still manages to carve out a meaningful career, I am compelled to investigate the efficacy of such framing.
In many such societies like South Africa, globalisation has involved bringing in Western liberal democratic values and systems. They include discourses on human rights or justice that are at odds with local realities.
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.