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The Power of Resilience

The Power of Resilience

BY Michelle McQuaid

Could organizations hold the key to creating lasting positive changes in our world? Could their incredible resources be harnessed to benefit not just themselves, but others as well? What would it really take for their leaders to become committed agents to improving life on our planet?

Whilst the media have been found to report ten negative stories about what organizations are doing in our world, compared to every one positive story, the truth is stories of organizations doing well and doing good abound. For example, in Israel an entrepreneurial think tank has given birth to 300 new businesses in the last ten years based on co-existence and co-ownership between Arab and Jewish leaders and as result, terror and violence in this community has been completely eradicated. In the Netherlands, shoe manufacturers Oat have designed a gym shoe made from one hundred per cent renewable energy sources and when you’re done with them you can plant them in your backyard and they decompose. And in Sweden they are now importing garbage, because their capacities for re-generation is turning waste to wealth and powering 250,000 homes.

Professor David Cooperrider from Case Western University believes that by asking questions about what these companies are doing, how they are making it happen and what they are able to achieve, that we can amplify and expand on their examples in other organizations.

Is David a hopeless optimist or a grounded realist? Watch his Tedx Talk to find out why his work at the United Nations with hundreds of the world’s leading CEO’s has led to the creation of a Nobel Peace style prize for businesses who elevate, accelerate and connect human strengths around the world.

What Will You Learn?

[2:00]    The phone call from Kofi Annan’s office that led to the largest meeting in the history of the United Nations to unite business leaders around the world to find solutions to the world’s most pressing problems and how this challenge is being met.

[9:00]    The birth of Business As An Agent For World Benefit and the thousands of stories being gathered from around the world so that organizations can learn from each other about ways they can make a positive difference.

[10:00]  The Israeli entrepreneurial think tank David discovered that has generated 300 new businesses over the past ten years based on coexistence and co-ownership between Arab and Jewish people. And why today it accounts for ten per cent of Israel’s export GNP and has eradicated violence in the communities it supports.

[15:00] How shoe manufacturer Oat are creating gym shoes that bloom in factories that use totally renewable energy sources. When you wear them out, not only will they decompose when you plant them in your backyard but flowers will emerge from them.

[16:00]  How Sweden is using garbage to power homes. And why they have become so successful in their capacity to regenerate waste to wealth, that they have run out of garbage and now need to import it.

[19:00] We need to reverse the tendency where 80 per cent of our attention is on what’s wrong, what’s broken, what’s hurting, but rather use the 80/20 rule to focus on the good. We can use businesses to create the means to elevate the human strengths around the world that accelerates, connects and lifts up the best. To create an urgent optimism that spreads meaning making kinds of stories.

[24:00]  The Dalai Lama suggests what we need is radical reorientation from our preoccupation of the self to a radical reconsideration of the other. “You see, positive things do not come by nature only. For positive things, we must make an effort”.

What Can You Try?

  • Be inspired – visit AIM2flourish, a website celebrating business innovations for global good to read some amazing stories from businesses around the world that do good and do well. See how business students in more than thirty countries are using Appreciative Inquiry and the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development to search out and report on world-changing innovations. By sharing these stories they aim to change the intent for business from best in the world to best for the world.
  • Discover and share your stories – seek out examples of business innovations that increase economic prosperity whilst contributing to a healthy world and human wellbeing. Look for stories in your organization and others around you. It might be tapping into and promoting renewable energy sources, or programs that maximize the health and wellbeing of your employees. By seeking out the small or large steps that are being taken you can discover the good that is happening. Help spread the word and inspire others by finding ways to share these stories – at meetings, conferences, in your local media or on AIM2flourish.
  • Reframe your questions – ask appreciative questions by looking for the true, the good and the possible in your workplace. Instead of focusing on what’s not working or why things can’t be improved, try asking: “What’s working well?”, “What might be possible if we consistently built on these strengths?” and “How can we move from where we are to where we want to be?”

Want More?

 Check out:

Get the books:

Or listen to my recent podcast interview with David or read the accompanying article Can You Make Change P.O.S.I.T.I.V.E?

 What positive questions can you ask to discover and create good for the world?

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