- Publié sur Amazon.com
Not too many US business books are full of Buddhist parables, yogic breathing exercises, and quotes from the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, and Albert Einstein. This one is—though it also quotes more typical business leaders, among them Whole Foods founder John Mackey and master copywriter Robert Collier. As one of the formative figures in the Conscious Capitalism movement, Klein doesn't say so explicitly, but his message is clear: to transform the corporate culture, we must transform ourselves.
Klein lists Howard Gardner's nine different types of intelligences involving all the senses as he examines the concept of Working for Good: the idea—very familiar to you as a reader of my newsletter—that business can be a lever for doing good in the world. His goal is to help each reader find our "big why": our purpose.
There's a story told (not in Klein's book) about Gandhi: a mom asked him to tell her son that eating sugar was a bad idea. He sent her away and told her to come back a month later. When she returned, he told the child to give up sugar. When the happy but perplexed mother asked why she had to return, he replied, "I had not yet given up eating sugar when you came the first time." Like Gandhi, Klein declares that we must be in total integrity as human beings in order to make that warrior's journey through the business world and create the impact we want to have on the big issues of our time. Many of the exercises and stories are aimed at helping his readers achieve that integrity.
And many are aimed at helping us see beyond our own worldview, to reach understanding of the Sartre/Buber Other. The potential for connection, Klein says exists in every interaction--especially the bumpy ones. One very helpful and easily implemented exercise he proposes is to hear the other person's backstory, the context of every statement. This is a great way to defuse tension, listen deeply, and arrive at a resolution that addresses everyone's needs. Not coincidentally, solutions arrived by this kind of group consensus tend to be smoothly implemented, more lasting, and ultimately transformative; they arise out of Robert Greenleaf's concept of servant leadership rather than dictatorship.
Klein suggests four other key principles (I'm quoting them exactly):
* Not compromising quality for cost
* Not jeopardizing friendships through our business decisions
* Resolving conflicts through open dialogue, facilitated if necessary
* Making major business decisions with consideration for the implications for people, planet, and profit
To make the theories more concrete, Klein uses a series of avatars that show different personality traits, and follows one in particular as she plans and facilitates a series of very collaborative meetings, using various consciousness tools to arrive at a strong, consensus-driven outcome. While this makes a lot of sense in theory, as a veteran of many meetings that were facilitated with those kinds of tools, I'd suggest that his happy outcome is a bit too rose-colored. Even in the most conscious communities, run by the most skilled facilitators, meetings sometimes get ugly. However, it is certainly true that the chances of a truly successful collaboration are far greater using this model, and I've seen it work beautifully—even to the point of seeing consensus arise rapidly and repeatedly in a group of over 700 people who had been arrested together, in a meeting that used a hub-and-spoke communication model. This was a key to the success of citizen safe energy movements in the 1970s and the Occupy movement in our own time—and can easily be applied to business. And now, Klein points out, new collaboration tools can be converted out of new technology tools, even including Facebook.
For Klein, his key teachings are that our individual actions matter...that when we discover our purpose through greater practice of awareness, and can listen and act with authenticity, we can achieve Working for Good. For me, the most important lessons are in two ideas at the very end of the book:
* We value what we count—so count what you value
Working for Good is not about being a martyr; it comes from a place of joy.