What are you going to tell the kids?

In values and leadership workshops I have recently taken to asking for a show of hands by those “who would like to work for an organisaton they are not proud of?”  As you might expect no one has yet put their hand up.  The follow up questions “has anyone tried it and what was it like?” Receive strongly emotive responses like “terrible”.

It seems there are few of us who would choose to end up in the position of doing things we are not proud of.  And yet, there seems to have been a period of collective corporate madness which may have started in the mid eighties and appears to be ending now.
The madness was defined by the dictum of “shareholder value”.  Under its rules almost anything (including death, war and deceit) could be justified as long as shareholder value could be invoked.  This madness was not without precedent, in the “glory” days of imperial expansion British and Dutch corporations in particular indulged in war, murder and genocide in joint names of empire and profit.
The film and book “The Corporation” described a “psychopathic” entity that pathologically externalised cost and risk and was legally bound to pursue short term profits whatever the costs to others.
There is clear evidence today that the madness is ending.  Crushed by the credit crunch, exposed by the inevitable transparency of the internet and disempowered by a lack of lackeys willing to sell their souls for a buck and the promise of promotion.  
There was, once again, a curious symmetry to what might be the beginning of the longest climb of  Lance Armstrong’s life and Barclays announcement of new values and behaviour.  The climb to redemption for both will be a lot longer than the grind up the Galibier. 
The days of addiction fuelled invincibility are over for Lance,  for Barclays,  for all of us.   A new era of common human values, of integrity and honesty is spreading.  It is becoming harder for those in positions of authority to abuse their power.  
Exactly ten years ago I gave up my last proper job and started a newsletter called Authentic Business.  It was based on the idea that authenticity is the one thing that can solve most of the problems we have created.  At the time it was edgy, out there and a bit weird.  My wildest fantasy was that some day I would be consulting to globally influential corporations and helping them to create a values based culture with authenticity and ethics at it’s heart.
That day has come and I am profoundly honoured and proud to be part of the group of people who have the privilege to be delivering it.  In years to come people will look back at the changes going on now and say it started here.  We are all creating a future we can be proud of.
 Please share your stories and examples here.

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With love


Neil Crofts
authentic business
+34 646391384
Skype – neilcrofts



About Neil Crofts

Writer, coach and consultant on authentic business and authentic leadership. Neil has inspired and motivated hundreds organisations and thousands of individuals to their highest potential. Neil has written three published books and numerous e-books. Neil is a coach, facilitator and consultant helping people and businesses find their authentic purpose and use it to inspire and motivate them to be everything that they can be. Neil has raced cars, been self-employed, run a company and sold it, been employed by large companies, experienced growth and contraction at the heart of the dotcom boom, tried changing companies from the inside and from the outside as European Head of Strategy at internet consultancy/rock band Razorfish. Neil has been independent for over 10 years and delivered his Authentic Leadership message to a diverse range of business audiences including people at BP, Shell, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, MSN, Jamie Oliver, South Gloucestershire Council, National Blood Transfusion Service, KaosPilots Business School, Fashion company By Malene Birger, German technology company Eleven.
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6 Responses to What are you going to tell the kids?

  1. Neil, I was gifted your book, Authentic, about 8 or so years ago by someone I highly respect (@sunnysunwords) and that has been influential in defining the type of person I want to be, and not just in business. Congratulations on your 10 years of active Authentic Business.

  2. Congratulations Neil. And thank you.
    Your work has touched me for at least 7 of those 10 years and influenced me to be my authentic self. I’m proud of the work I do and proud of the people I work with. Just one example of all the above: I work independently and much of my work involves coaching head teachers. I noticed there’s a point in each term where their energy dips and thought it would be great to do something that re-energises them. Last October I started the first “inspiring heads” session. It takes place in the early evening, in the county where I live, and I offer 90 mins of inspired facilitation. 38 heads attended the first event. The second takes place this Thursday. Over 40 head teachers / senior leaders in education have bought tickets. A ticket costs £10 – which covers costs. I don’t pay myself for it. I do it because it’s important, because these people make a difference to so many lives, because their work has a different quality when fuelled by inspiration, and because it’s a privilege to work with them.

  3. Yup, now that the system is largely financially bankrupt, the world is happily waking up to the fact that many elements of it are morally bankrupt too. You should be proud to have been a part of helping to shift the mindset!

    Maureen – love the ‘inspired heads’ concept. Great idea!

  4. Linda says:

    I recently discovered you, what a breath of fresh air. I find inspiration and now have magic mondays! The last 10 years have been a challenge as I felt I did not ‘fit in’. Nice to find others who are trying to help people help themselves.

  5. Vicky says:

    Congratulations Neil! It seems fitting that today’s post about your decision 10 years ago, to step into the unknown, with only a guiding dream and vision, is in alignment with a quote I’ve seen twice today already.

    “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”
    – Rev Martin Luther King

    The quote is being posted around the internet in memory of Rev Martin Luther King because today is his birthday.

    Best wishes for the next 10 years and beyond…

  6. Vicky says:

    ..or rather, it’s MLK Day (not his actual birthday)

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