Transforming Businesses into Socially Sustainable Systems

Posts Tagged ‘business transformation’

Are You Ready to Manage Five Generations of Workers?

In Executive coaching on January 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm

This article originally appeared on the Harvard Business Review website. I post it here because of the importance of the topic and the relevance to a workshop we developed at LEVER/edge called “Leading Multi-Generational Teams” that addresses how each generation was shaped, what motivates each generation and specifically how to communicate and manage across the generations.

Does retirement look a little further off now than it did just a few years ago? If you are over 62, odds are you’re putting off retirement at least two to three years, and you may even be planning on working beyond 70. If you’re over 50, and lost 40% or more of your nest egg, you are about twice as likely to delay retirement as those who lost less. According to the World Health Organization, men and women who are healthy at 60 will, on average, be physically capable of working until they are 74 and 77, respectively. Combine these statistics and the newest employees entering the workforce might not be joining their parents or grandparents, they might be joining their great-grandparents.

This translates into a social phenomenon not yet witnessed: five generations are about to be working side by side. They include:

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976 M
  • illennials, born between 1977 and 1997
  • Gen 2020, born after 1997

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Congratulations to my client Stamen Design for MTV VMA Tweet Tracker recognition

In Executive coaching on January 6, 2010 at 9:00 am

One of the best data visualization projects of the year for 2009.

I’ve been working with the good folks at Stamen Design for over seven years as coach and advisor. They’re incredibly brilliant and have turned out some amazing work. The website FlowingData named their MTV Video Music Awards Tweet Tracker as one of the best data visualization projects of the year for 2009. Here’s a link to the list of awards. Congratulations!

Congratulations to my client Fraenkel Gallery for launching their iphone app today

In Executive coaching on January 5, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Serious Photography

Fraenkel Gallery is a fantastic serious photography gallery located in San Francisco. They launched their first iphone app today that allows users to browse photos from brilliant photographers like Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Lee Friedlander and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

You can download the app at the itunes store by searching for Fraenkel Gallery or simply clicking here.

I’ve worked with the Fraenkel Gallery as an advisor, coach, trainer and supporter for the past five years.

Views on Coaching by Donna Karlin

In Executive coaching on December 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

This post originally appeared on the Fast Company blogs here. I repost it because Donna is a dear friend, mentor and I happen to agree with her 🙂

For the Record, My Views on Coaching
BY Fast Company EXPERT BLOGGER DONNA KARLIN Wed Dec 9, 2009 at 12:41 PM
This blog is written by a member of our expert blogging community and expresses that expert’s views alone.

Executive, Political, Leadership, Business, Life Coaching are here to stay. Period. It’s not a fad, and Coaches are not here to fix people; Coaching is here to stay. ROI stats continue to rate high when it comes to growing people in their level of excellence and in turn positively impacting the organizations they work for. People such as Jack Welch, Bob Nardelli and Eric Schmidt of Google fame praise coaching to the skies and all say the best thing they ever did was get a coach so why the pushback?
What makes a corporate or government executive want to hide the fact that they’re even considering getting a coach? Coaches are main stream in sports and are revered by their clients. There is article after article written about those who have just flown because of working with a coach. Where does the perspective of “Coaches fix people or are brought in because you’re a problem” come from? Not a clue.

Paradigms are now shifting even in the political world. After all if you were considering who to vote for, wouldn’t you want someone who continually honed his/her skills, kept learning and evolving and contextualized change continuously to represent you? I know I would!

So to set the record straight…coaching works. If you want someone to pat you on the back and feel what you’re feeling and validate your emotions, then speak to a close friend or relative. If you want someone to evolve you beyond where you are, to help you learn better, work smarter, remove roadblocks that are standing in your way and help you fly, then get a coach. Pick one who you connect with, respect, trust, who stretches you beyond anything you imagined, one who recognizes you might be struggling and helps you use that emotion to get past it. That’s when you know you’ve found the coach that’s right for you.

If you want a coach to come in and fix a staffer who’s creating problems, then turn it around and be coached. Learn how to manage problematic situations rather than delegate your job to a coach. Remember the responsibility of choosing the right coach is yours. If it’s not a fit, find another coach. Make sure your coach is present and not ‘fitting you in’ when he or she can. Figure out what you want to achieve with your coach and continually reinvent. A great coach doesn’t write things in stone. The coach will partner with you to create something you may not have thought of.

Bottom line is, start celebrating the fact you have a non judgmental ‘partner in crime’ to support you and help you succeed. Use that relationship selfishly as it’s probably the most supportive relationship you will ever have. Do you want to be a great leader? Then look beyond what you know, figure out what you need to know that you don’t know and recognize that two minds are better than one.
For tips on how to choose a coach click here. The rest well, as I tell my clients, no ceiling…just sky!

by Donna Karlin A Better Perspective Executive, Political and Business Leadership Coaching

Constant Transformation Is the New Normal

In Executive coaching on November 5, 2009 at 11:19 am

This article is by Scott Anthony and was originally posted on the Harvard Business blogs. I post it here because transformation is the new normal – it’s what ExecuShift is all about. But the most pithy point of his article is a quote: “Success now requires not just doing it better, but mastering the ability to do it differently.” That’s my focus with executives – how to think differently so that you can act and execute differently.

I picked up an interesting vibe at the Magazine Publishers Association Innovation Conference the other week. For the most part, the industry has had a tough year as it grapples with recession, changing consumer behavior, and a range of disruptive technologies. Yet signs of economic recovery and a sense that the magazine industry could learn from missteps from cousins in the music and newspaper business produced an unexpected sense of optimism.

One point I made in my remarks is that the forces at work in the magazine business — increased competition, rapidly shifting technologies, and emerging disruptive business models — are the forces that are reshaping many parts of the global economy. In other words, the challenges of the magazine industry are the challenges of industry, period.

What does it take to respond to these challenges? I jotted down three thoughts on the train ride back to Boston after the conference.

1. True transformation starts with a deep understanding of the severity of the problem.
There are still some executives who are waiting for things to return to “normal.” It’s not going to happen. Constant change is the new normal. I told the audience my belief is that the era of optimization, the era of disciplined expansion is dead. Success now requires not just doing it better, but mastering the ability to do it differently.

If you don’t recognize the severity of the problem, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you are making progress when you really aren’t, or to convince yourself that all you have to do is wait for the economy to bounce back and your company will bounce back as well.
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Seeing the Perfect Storm of Crisis

In 7 Required MindShifts, Executive coaching on November 4, 2009 at 2:07 pm

This post is from Andrew Harvey‘s website about Sacred Activism. I post it here because he speaks to the challenges we have to address within companies – because companies are driving much of the reality we face daily. This is a wake up call to executives for why we must embrace change. Why we must shift now. And why I started ExecuShift to help executives change.

We have an environmental crisis which is totally threatening our lives and the lives of nature that is much worse than people imagine. We have a crisis in all the major religions because they are retreating into fundamentalism at the very time when the world needs unity more than anything. We have a crisis totally dominated by the corporate mindset which is a bottom line mentality gone mad at the very moment when we need enlightened and unselfish ways of being and acting. And that corporate mindset dominates everything and buys governments and dictates how world trade is done and keeps 2 billion people living on less than a dollar a day in horrible poverty while the rest of the world is strip-mined for an increasingly unsustainable way of life. We have an institutionalized media, a media that’s brought up by the corporate mentality that is just pouring trash and violence and reality shows celebrating the very worst in ourselves and endless stupid celebrity trivia at the very moment when we need to be educated about these crises and inspired to become different kinds of beings to deal with them. We have a way of life that has become so multitasking and so distracted by distraction from distraction that it’s very hard for us to get into direct simple communion with our deepest selves through peace and leisure. The combination of all of those things is the perfect storm of crisis that threatens our health, our wealth, our well-being, our very human future on every level and of course threatens not only our well-being but as we can see the well-being of the creation, we are destroying the planet. So we have to go through transformation and the conditions of that transformation are about to appear in the very difficult and ferocious form because we will have to wake up and we will be woken up. So, what’s important is to prepare for this and to prepare for it from the deepest resources within and from the deepest and wisest reaction without.

Top Executives Must Rebuild Trust to Lead Companies Out of Recession, Survey Finds

In 7 Required MindShifts, Executive coaching on November 4, 2009 at 9:13 am

This article originally appeared on Talent Management.

I’ve been writing about eroding trust and what executives must do to rebuild it for the past two years. The article and survey below quantifies how employees and organizations feel about this issue. -coop

In order to lead their companies out of the recession, top-level executives will first need to rebuild trust with employees and customers, according to a survey of 148 businesses by Suzanne Bates, author of Motivate Like a CEO: Communicate Your Strategic Vision and Inspire People to Act!

“The recession has damaged trust between top-level executives and employees, and between company leaders and customers,” said Bates, president and CEO of Bates Communications.

“Massive layoffs and cutbacks have harmed relationships between employers and remaining employees. Bankruptcies, closures, and failed business strategies have hurt trust between executives and those they do business with. Senior-level executives must work toward rebuilding that trust,” Bates added.

The No. 1 way that executives will lead their organizations out of the recession is by meeting with customers and prospects to rebuild trust and win business, according to 77 percent of survey respondents.

Trust building was also selected as the ability that current executives most need to develop. Seventy-six percent of survey respondents ranked building trust among employees and customers as the aptitude executives most need to develop.

Furthermore, trustworthiness was rated second as the quality executives will need most to guide their companies post-recession, selected by 60 percent of survey respondents — behind only being visionary, which was chosen by 64 percent.
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ExecuShift #2: From Marketing to Conversations

In 7 Required MindShifts, Executive coaching on October 30, 2009 at 12:25 am

This post is the second in a series explaining the 7 MindShifts Executives Must Make to Thrive in the Post Recession Reality and Create Socially Sustainable Systems.

Nearly everyday, blogs and newspapers and news anchors exclaim that the rules have changed, yet they rarely indicate which rules and how they have changed. This second shift that executives must make is probably one of the easiest because it’s happening everywhere right now. With the advent of Tivo and the constant noise and barrage of advertising, traditional marketing simply doesn’t have the payoffs or the brandbuilding power that it used to. And people who simply try to slap a marketing message onto social media sites are seeing poor if no returns – and occasionally outright distrust from their coveted audience. That’s because people want to have a conversation with you about your product or service – and often long before they ever buy from you.

The conversations are happening everywhere, and usually not on your company’s property, such as its website or blogs. There are blogs and sites to complain about your company, product or service (some examples include and There are fan sites devoted specifically for particular companies, employees, products and services.

The recent Pepsi iPhone app is a great example of marketing gone wrong and a conversation taking over that may damage the company’s reputation. What if Pepsi engaged its audience before releasing the app? Or while building the app?

These conversations cannot be owned and they are very difficult to manage. As a company or executive, you must engage and participate. If you must, trying to shape or influence the conversation requires respect and patience.

Read the rest of this entry »

ExecuShift #1: From Legal to Ethical

In 7 Required MindShifts, Executive coaching on October 28, 2009 at 9:56 pm

This post is the first in a series explaining the 7 MindShifts Executives Must Make to Thrive in the Post Recession Reality and Create Socially Sustainable Systems.

The first shift every executive must make is from Legal to Ethical. For years, people have hidden behind the law while committing socially disrespectful acts in the executive suite. In the post-recession reality, this will not only be tolerated, but it will be watched, reported and acted on by shareholders, customers and the community at large. Why? There are two main reasons: transparency and trust.

In today’s uber-connected society, nearly everything can be shared. Transparency is critical to a society in crisis where our trust has been betrayed by politicians, businesspeople and corporations. And transparency will only become more expected and widespread as we move forward.

Trust has been eroding in our institutions, including government and big businesses over the past decade. With trust in question, it’s even more important to adopt a stronger ethical framework than the law provides, not only to protect yourself, but also to do what’s right for the people you work with and work for. If you need an ironclad reason to adopt a strong ethical framework, read this short article about the financial implications of eroding trust during the recent recession.

7 MindShifts Every Executive Must Make to Thrive Today

In Executive coaching on October 28, 2009 at 7:00 pm

The Great Recession combined with an emerging global shift in consciousness requires executives to address 7 critical mindshifts required to thrive today:

  1. From Legal to Ethical
  2. From Marketing to Conversations
  3. From Competition to Cooperation
  4. From Hierarchy to Collaboration
  5. From Corporation to Community
  6. From Greed to Generosity
  7. From Business to Socially Sustainable Systems

These shifts change businesses into Socially Sustainable Systems – a requirement in the new economy today. In the next few posts I will detail each mindshift and welcome your comments and suggestions. Would you add any mindshifts to this list?