Topics: Inspiring business to do good - using data and transparency; how to find happiness in the face of sudden change
On this episode of Solutions News, we are focused on business and how it can inspired to act as a force for good. We interview Jan Mühlfeit - who served as Chairman of Microsoft in Europe until a few years ago, but more recently has been teaching the c-suite and olympic athletes alike about the importance of emotional intelligence and how to unlock each person’s and each team’s unique human potential. We spotlight how data and transparency is being used to help corporations realize the benefits of being socially responsible, JUST to their employees and their customers, and environmentally sustainable in their approach to good business. It’s no longer enough to pursue profit alone over all other considerations. Business has to have heart, emotional sensitivity, a moral compass and environmental intelligence if it wants to stay relevant in today’s world. We end the show with some great “didyaknows” and a last word on how to find happiness in the face of sudden change.
JUST Capital & Unilever
Thanks in part to consumer scrutiny, corporations are beginning to realize that social responsibility is an important way to help a consumer make a decision. In fact it might be more effective than traditional advertising. Rinaldo goes into detail about JUST Capital and their interesting and effective approach and then describes one great new program being implemented by a company as a force for GOOD.
The company Unilever, has started a socially responsible line called the Right to Shower Brand. The brand offers consumers an ethically sourced line of full body cleansers packaged in recycled materials. One hundred per cent of the proceeds from these products in 2019 will be donated to organizations that provide mobile showers for homeless communities across Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco.
A program like this one has little negative impact on the profit margins for a company as large as Unilever, but it have a huge benefit for these non-profits and the homeless communities that they serve. For Unilever, a brand like this one sets a very public example for other companies on simple ways to make socially responsible business choices.
Good Data and Public Shaming
Chinese environmental activist Ma Jun is using transparency and accountability as tactics to pressure companies operating in China to increase their environmental standards. He founded the Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs - or IPE - in 2006, which audits facilities to pressure major corporations to change by forcing them to be accountable for the process of making a products, including the suppliers and subcontractors that a company uses.
As he has become more successful, Ma Jun is openly accepted by many companies and has to jump through fewer hurdles. Even more impressively, Ma has won the trust of China’s leaders over the years, meaning that he has more and more access to them. Considering that the government mandates and regulates the economy on every level, having influence on both the corporate side and the policy side of the issue makes him extremely effective. For his accomplishments, Ma has won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize as well as numerous other awards.
Finding Happiness in the Face of Sudden Change
Life often takes twists and turns that are unpredictable. To be happy, we have to drop expectations of our lives turning out a certain way. When our happiness is associated with a particular outcome, we’ve created the formula for suffering. This formula even applies to circumstances where we get exactly what we want, such as the dream job, spouse, child, car, house or (input your desire here). Because once we have what we want, our minds quickly shift to either wants or fears: We want more of what we have or fearing losing it. Check out this blog from Dr. Robert Puff in Psychology Today to read more
Chinese Environmental Activist Ma Jun
Jan is global strategist, coach, mentor and author of bestseller The Positive Leader (Pearson 2016). His personal mission: “I help individuals, organizations and countries around the world to unlock their human potential”.
Jan has proven record in building successful teams and organizations in his almost 22 years long career in Microsoft, where he served in different executive positions. In his last role (2007—2014) he was as Chairman Europe, Microsoft Corporation. Based on his global experience he created a rather unique methodology to find personal uniqueness for individuals and teams. Jan is teaching his courses "Unlock human potential“ and "Unlock your team potential“ globally. He is also together with Katerina Novotna co-author of very successful seminar "Unlock [your] Children['s] Potential“.
Jan Mühlfeit emphasizes: “If people are able to leverage their talent and their strengths, they will not only be more productive and successful, but also happier. Unlocking human potential is a mantra for me personally, because I think that if we better utilize the best in us, we will manage to create a better world for all”. This methodology with roots are in positive psychology is based not only on his own experience, but also the experience of many of the top individuals in the global world of business, politics, as well as sport, with whom he had the honor to meet, work and spend time worldwide for many years.
Jan also coaches top executives, olympic games winners, artists from different countries and continents and he works closely in the coaching and mentoring field with INSEAD, Cambridge, Gallup, Imperial College McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School Affiliate.
Jan awards his success to being able to unlock his potential, but mostly to unlocking the potential of people he worked with. His justification in his own words: “According to Gallup only 13 percent of people enjoy working in their current job, others go to work just to earn money. The world currently functions on only 13 percent of its economic and social opportunities. It is possible to change this.”
Jan Mühlfeit chose this difficult task as his new mission. As stated above he created a unique methodology for finding personal uniqueness and fulfilling the vision and mission of each person through their individual uniqueness.
Jan Mühlfeit, our guest on May 10, 2019