AUTHORS: Katrin Muff, Thomas Dyllick, Mark Drewell, John North, Paul Shrivastava, and Jonas Haertle
PUBLISHER: Edward Elgar, 125 USD
Business and business education need to be radically transformed to create a sustainable world where all people live well. That basic premise fuels the group 50+20, a collaboration among the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative, the World Business School Council of Sustainable Business, and the Principles of Responsible Management Education. Six individuals involved with these organizations authored the book, which takes a hard look at the profits-and-shareholders-first philosophy of the 20th century. The prevailing response of corporate social responsibility isn't good enough, they write. "The world needs a mindful, sustainable approach to the planet's finite resources," they say. "We observe a growing global community seeking purpose rather than consumption." They argue for a transdisciplinary curriculum that always assumes stewardship of natural resources, focuses on shared value, and places the corporation's activities "within the broader context of human progress." Not easy to do, they admit, since they believe "management education and its implementation requires nothing less than a fundamental transformation of the existing model."
AUTHOR: Joseph L. Badaracco
PUBLISHER: Harvard Business Review Press, 25 USD
Badaracco, an ethics professor at Harvard, believes that responsible leaders of the 21st century must operate in a world where "markets, rather than religion or government or family or ideology, seem to be the most dynamic and powerful force." Not only do markets now "shape every sphere of life," they are so unpredictable that leaders can lose their way unless they ask themselves five basic questions: Am I really grappling with the fundamentals? Do iknow what iam really accountable for? How do imake critical decisions? Do we have the right core values? Why have ichosen this life? Badaracco is convinced the fundamental issue today's leaders must deal with is not ethical but intellectual, "a ceaseless, demanding effort…to understand the swirling context around organizations today and set a sound direction." Despite the risk of failure, the good struggle provides motivation and points the way.
AUTHOR: Stuart Albert
PUBLISHER: Jossey-Bass, 26.95 USD
Albert believes that timing is everything; most of us just don't realize it. Or rather, we don't have the tools for analyzing the circumstances that would help us determine when something—good or bad—might happen. But he's convinced we can analyze patterns in our industries and our surroundings that will help us make timedependent decisions, such as when to launch a new product or whether to exit a market. He compares the complex business environment to a polyphonic music score in which many instruments are simultaneously playing different notes and rhythms. This allows him to isolate these elements of timing: the sequence of notes, or events; temporal punctuations, such as pauses in the music or deadlines for projects; shape, such as bottlenecks or peaks and valleys; duration; and rate of speed. Once business leaders learn to analyze patterns in their markets, they can predict when they might have to change course. It's a new way to look at old challenges.
AUTHOR: William Eggers
and Paul Macmillan
PUBLISHER: Harvard Business Review Press, 26 USD
When inventor Dean Kamen couldn't get big-name NGOs interested in his water purifier unit intended for the developing world, he approached Coca-Cola instead. Coke, which has committed to extensive water stewardship efforts, recently began distributing the unit in rural Ghana. Such collaborative efforts—among individuals, governments, corporations, and nonprofits—are hallmarks of the new "solution society" in which many sectors team up to solve the world's worst problems. "A new economy has emerged at the borderlands where the traditional sectors overlap. This economy trades in social outcomes," write Eggers and Macmillan, both of Deloitte's Public Sector arm. Using new business models and new technology, today's problem solvers skip over governmental restrictions and geographic boundaries to create solutions that rapidly spread and scale. "Wavemakers" like the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative can convene major players and fund huge projects, but the authors also describe the smaller, personal efforts that individuals can contribute to massive change. For a book devoted to seemingly intractable problems, it has a very hopeful message.