Here is a glimpse into sharing my story of “positive disruption” at TEDx in Lausanne:
A great newsletter post I received by the Schumacher Center for a New Economics – warmly recommend the read below!
Judy Wicks’ 2004 E. F. Schumacher Lecture described the White Dog Café and the vision and principles that inspire similar locally-based businesses that treat employees fairly, source materials regionally, and support other community businesses.
“Let me capsulize the local-living-economy movement for you by contrasting what it is and what it is not, what it does and what it does not do:
- maximization of relationships, not of profits;
- growth of consciousness and creativity, not brands and market share;
- democracy and decentralized ownership, not concentrated wealth;
- a living return, not the highest return;
- a living wage, not the minimum wage;
- a fair price, not the lowest price;
- sharing, not hoarding;
- simplicity, not luxury;
- life-serving, not self-serving;
- partnership, not domination;
- cooperation, not competition;
- win-win exchange, not win-lose exploitation;
- family farms, not factory farms;
- biodiversity, not monocrops;
- cultural diversity, not monoculture;
- creativity, not conformity;
- slow food, not fast food;
- our bucks, not Starbucks;
- our mart, not Wal-Mart;
- a love of life, not a love of money.”
The BerkShares businesses featured in the “Business of the Month” series understand this ethic.
“When you’re in business long enough, eventually people get to know you, they trust you, and they know what you’re all about,” says Locke Larkin, who runs Locke, Stock, and Barrel in the Berkshires. “I work with producers who still have a feeling for what they make, they care about it, and it’s their reputation that’s on the line. . . When the town’s businesses cooperate, it’s a better place for everyone. Competition is the old paradigm. The new paradigm is ‘let’s cooperate.’ We’re all in the same boat, so let’s get our oars aligned.”
Eric Wilska, the owner of an independent bookstore says, “The mission of BerkShares really makes sense—to keep money circulating in town. We all talk like that, but with BerkShares you can put your money where your mouth is. . . I’d love to drag people in to the back room and show them a chart. Here’s a list on the left-hand side of all the things the Bookloft has done in 39 years, such as: number of high school kids and interns hired over the years—62; number of gift certificates given—thousands; amount of sales tax paid to Massachusetts—$3 million; payroll paid out to people who live in town; taxes paid to the town. . . And on the right-hand side the same categories for a company such as Amazon. The amounts would literally be zero. Zero, zero, zero.”
In her 2004 Schumacher talk, Judy Wicks went on to argue that supporting local businesses is more than a strategy for building resilient local economies:
“Perhaps the greatest benefit of the local-living-economy movement is that by creating self-reliance we are creating the foundations for world peace. If all communities had food security, water security, and energy security, if they appreciated diversity of culture rather than a monoculture, that would be the foundation for world peace. Schumacher said, ‘People who live in highly self-sufficient local communities are less likely to get involved in large-scale violence than people whose existence depends on world-wide systems of trade.’ There you go!”
Judy Wicks’ newly published Good Morning Beautiful Business, from Chelsea Green, is available at independent booksellers. It has hit a resounding chord with readers. As a result, Judy’s tour schedule is full and her events enthusiastically packed. On April 17th she will be in Northampton for the Pioneer Valley Sustainable Network. Join us there.
Susan Witt, Alice Maggio, Michelle Hughes, Kate Poole, Paris Kazis, and Sam Moore
Schumacher Center for a New Economics
Board of Directors: Peter Barnes, Mary Berry, Hildegarde Hannum, Dan Levinson, Anne MacDonald, Jerry Mander, Gordon Thorne, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, Greg Watson, and Judy Wicks.
Advisory Board: Wendell & Tanya Berry, Merrian Goggio Borgeson, Eric Harris-Braun, and Otto Scharmer
“A good community insures itself by trust, by good faith and good will, by mutual help. A good community, in other words, is a good local economy.” Wendell Berry from “Work of Local Culture”
Here’s an article in Bloomberg Businessweek that reflects greatly the many critical voices on business education, increasingly also from the mainstream business schools:
Larry Zicklin, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and a lecturer at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, says B-schools should put less emphasis on research, and students shouldn’t be footing the bill. Read More…
I have always been fascinated how leaders are “brought forth” by circumstance. Something out of the ordinary occurs – an accident, a coincidence, a conflict, an opportunity – and you see people step up and start doing what needs to be done. Such leaders who hold no formal power or authority express what I believe true leadership is about: the courage to fully engage with all we have – our acquired and dormant skills, competencies, fears and uncertainties – if and when the situation requires it. It may well be that such leadership makes the headlines once in a lifetime only, but I have noticed that there are countless opportunities every day before, during and after work that invite us to practice this kind of leadership that I call “personal responsibility”. This makes all of us potential leaders.
Imagine if each of us would dare to engage fully if and when the situation requires it! Daring to make a mistake, to shake things up and maybe to step on some toes; not to show off or to manipulate, but simply because you know what is required to happen and, since you are there, it is up to you to step up. And this is where it gets interesting: how do you know what to do, how to be and whether to engage in a situation or not?
Is it indeed possible to learn such kind of a enlightened courage? I believe, you can! You can learn to be connected to your inner quiet voice, you can learn to sense what is right and what feels wrong, you can learn to differentiate between your own subconscious autopiloted fear mechanisms and your true values-based intuition, you can learn to find that voice and speak up. Such learning resembles more of a journey than a 3-day executive course. It requires practice and reflection.
It is possible to create powerful and safe learning environments to develop not only your courage to step up but to develop your full potential so that you can engage with a maximum of resources that you have. And if we as business schools were doing what is required of us right now, this is – in my humble view – what we should be doing: developing globally responsible leaders equiped to deal with the emerging societal, economic and environmental challenges so that all of us can live well and within the limits of out planet.