Powerful Passionate People and the Unexpected

A Moment of Clarity

Tonight at Men’s Group I had one of those moments of absolute clarity. I drove home from Men’s Group in absolute joy feeling immense gratitude for the clarity and abundance that has enriched my life through the last several years.

The Unexpected

Last night I spent a couple of hours at a workshop run by my friend William Whitecloud on tapping into your genius and being one of the 1,000 writers of the 1,000,000 books published every year that succeed in terms of reaching an expansive audience.

William is about more than writing, and his life’s work has been about the magic that comes from your creative spark, your ‘genius’.  But as a successful author one of his current passions is helping what he learned about applying the creative spark to writing to become a successful author.

One among a great many ‘Aha Moments’ last night was an element of William’s experience and wisdom, that a critical factor for a successful book is surprise. They create the unexpected. They go somewhere other books haven’t.

William asked the audience of largely first time writers about our book projects. We were all passionate people, all with subjects that are important in the world, like my passion for bringing greater consciousness to business. The trouble is we live in a crowded world where time is precious and the threshold we need to cross as authors is : “will this book change me, move me, take me to a vastly different place that justifies two days of my life to read it?” None of the responses any of us gave would have motivated vast numbers of readers to pick our books off the shelf.

So I had an awesome night with William and among a long list of shifts in my thinking about writing was this point about ‘the unexpected’, and bringing my creative genius that is the unique being I am to creating that.

Extrapolating the Unexpected from Writing into Life

Tonight at Men’s Group as I was sharing and sparked by some of the sharing of the other men attending tonight, I extended the ‘Aha Moment’ about writing the unexpected beyond writing, to life. I am not talking about doing the unexpected in a trite way. A lesson I seek to live is to live from a place of service. So what if now I brought my awareness to coming from a place of service and filling my day by turning up in unexpected ways for those around me. What if I did that for my beautiful wife Pj. What if I did that in every client connection.

I head into tomorrow with a great gift and a gift I plan to live for the rest of my days. But what I’d like to share some more about is how I came to be in a position to receive that gift from a powerful passionate person like William Whitecloud.

Investing in connecting with Passionate Powerful People

I come back to my drive home tonight. On that drive, I felt so many of the pieces of my life puzzle fall into place.

I saw and felt powerfully tonight how one of my mantras for the last couple of years has transformed my life. I have made it a practice to connect with and invest in working with ‘Powerful Passionate People’.

That may seem like a simple thing. It actually is, but knowing it is different from living it. The magic has happened by living it.

Lets go back a step, and share my journey to this knowing, and what is now a way of life for me.

First I built it, but they didn’t come

When I created my private company Authegrity, I thought my passion and my clarity around my life my purpose would be enough, and to some degree I did an ‘If I build it, they will come’. Turns out my shingle wasn’t enough to make them come for quite a while.

Starting with people who know, love and respect me

My outer muse and now wife Pj  came along when I was 12 months into my journey of making my passion and life purpose into my business and profession. Then a further 6 months into our journey together in January 2013, Pj shared with me a ‘cracker’ of a piece of wisdom to go spend time with the people who know and love me and to explore ways of creating value with them. I did that, and because those friends knew and trusted me, they introduced me to their friends.

That actually transformed my life. Through that experience I had a 1 + 1 + 1 = 9 experience.

The 1 + 1 + 1 = 9 experience

Late in January 2013, I was introduced by one of my best friends Justyn Wood to Steve Hartley, one of my two co-founders in Evolve Salons.

How that came to pass is noteworthy.

I met Justyn Wood because I attended a Men’s Gathering in June 2011 and made a decision during that gathering to step into the circle at the Closing Ceremony to be of service to that community on a 12 month journey to create the 2012 Gathering as a member of its Organising Committee. I made an investment, on this occasion of my spare time, in the company of another nine powerful passionate men. On that journey Justyn (and several other men whom I have profound stories about for another day) became a close friend and came to experience my power, my passion, and my experience and contribution.

On the strength of that experience with me Justyn introduced me to Steve Hartley and from there came the most significant abundance event in my life to date, all from an investment of some time volunteering.

Justyn connected me with Steve Hartley, and Steve in turn to our other co-founder Iain Horne.

I have been present from early in the journeys of start-up enterprises three times prior to Evolve. This though was my first time present at ground zero, prior to incorporation, where a group of complimentary powerful passionate people through alchemy created something far bigger than ourselves, and which just as I was leaving the company in September 2014 was becoming the largest group of owned hair salons in Australia.

In contrast to my solo journey establishing Authegrity, my journey at Evolve showed me the value of investing in bringing together my passion with the passion of others.

My 1 + Steve’s 1 + Iain’s 1, didn’t add to three. No, it was exponential, it was alchemy. I know that no two of us could have done it without the third. We created the force we needed to build something profound and as the three we could feel we had what it would take, and together we made a whole in a way that enabled us to get our bird airborne. The result of our 1 + 1 + 1 was definately 9 for me, and thats even after me making a decision to exit much earlier than I had planned where 1+1+1+a longer time would have equalled 99.

My Web of Powerful Passionate People

Powerful Passionate People

Powerful Passionate People

 

 

 

 

 

 

I come back again to the joy that was flowing through me on my way home. Tonight I felt and saw clearly the web of powerful passionate people I have attracted into my life. To some degree I have attracted these people all of my life here and there.

The difference now is I have done two things, I have stepped into living a life in my passion and becoming a powerful passionate person myself, and I have created a practice every day of making telephone calls to arrange a coffee, or a lunch, or a weekend get together with other powerful passionate people.

My connection with William Whitecloud last night was through a free workshop. William shares his knowledge freely with any who feel called to learn from a powerful passionate person. He knows some will go deeper and feel called to make an investment with him in becoming one of the one in one thousand authors who achieve significant reach. But even if I didn’t plan to go further with William, by spending even just a couple of hours in the company of that powerful passionate man who is a master at accessing his genius, I got not only a ‘Writing Aha’, but a ‘Life Aha’.

That might sound like a good day, but William was only one of two powerful passionate people who gave me big shifts yesterday, the other being a really generous Writing Publicist Katie McMurray who gave freely of her wisdom to me for an hour yesterday, and who also gave me some big aha moments that will transform the way I approach my writing.

I will more than likely outlay money or share value with many of the powerful passionate people I spend time with. Five years ago I could not have imagined having the ability to do so. Today it is both my deep knowing and my experience and results that when I come from a place of abundance, when I am of service, when I reach out, when I invest in moments in time with other passionate powerful people, my life is transformed.

But its important to remember some of the powerful passionate people I have drawn into my life came through my giving freely of my time. When I go into a meeting, a connection, or an opportunity truly coming from a place of abundance and of sharing there can be many forms of payment, and there can be many kinds of value created through connection.

Today I have a huge network of powerful passionate people. I am connected to many in the real world, who as I have shared have created financial abundance in my life again. But I am also passionate about connecting with likeminded powerful passionate people via social media. I am connected to 1,756 on Facebook who were recently instrumental in driving a blog I wrote to go viral with now 27,352 blog views or better than one in every one thousand Australians. My investment in my social network is my time on blogs like this, and sharing life experience and hard won wisdom.

Tonight’s little gift of the Unexpected

So as of tonight, when I go into the world to meet powerful passionate people, I do so with the intention of bringing to them the unexpected.

Seeing as this blog is a part of communicating with powerful passionate people, I am going to end by giving you a little of the unexpected.

You are a powerful passionate person. Every single one of us is a powerful passionate person. We see that in others when we have learned that we are one, and when we have learned that our heart is the path through which we touch the soul of the other powerful passionate people, that’s where the power and the passion live.

I see you for the soul you truly are, I really do, and when we truly come together consciously that’s when alchemy happens.

 

Ura P Auckland
Business Coach &
Social Entrepreneur

Managing Director
Authegrity Pty Ltd

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Good culture, its simple: Strong values and walk your talk without exception

I just read a very short and rather wise blog by Richard Branson, here:

http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/cultivating-culture

Richard Branson

I would like to add some equally short and incisive comments about culture, which is one of my passions and an absolute focus of my work, through which gold standard results are achieved.

I agree with Richard, good culture isn’t a magic formula, but it is all too rare.

For me it’s about congruence in strong values and the leaders walking the talk, and it’s starts with the board, the CEO and the management.

It’s about truly walking your talk in every action and decision at every level. There can’t be exceptions.

That starts with walking your talk in life. Your whole ‘being’ needs to walk through the door at work, and an unbalanced incongruent ‘being’ at home will be no different at work.

The more we become values centered people who walk our talk in life, the more it will transform the places we work, and in turn the way they impact our communities.

Ura P Auckland
Business Coach &
Social Entrepreneur

Managing Director
Authegrity Pty Ltd
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Spotlighting the obfuscations of NBN Co and the Labor and Liberal Parties

It really bothers me when people who have no real vision or true commitment to the needs of the people they are in place to serve are put in charge of important things.

It bothers me even more when they then start obfuscating the truth to hide how these important things have been handled because they dont think the people are entitled to the truth.

obfuscation

The National Broadband Network is a critical piece of infrastructure for Australia and is a tool that truly can enable our productivity as a nation in ways we are yet to imagine, just as the internet has.

Sadly there is a great deal of obfusaction going on around it!

Let me explain the case for obfusaction against the parties involved.

FIBRE OPTIC TECHNOLOGY

Fibre Optic technology to the home was an inspired investment. Fibre is a technology with a huge capacity. The throughput is enormous and the potential for future speed lifts is unimaginable relative to today’s speeds and capacities.

The fibre is effectively a data pipe that has incredible capacity to carry data at phenomenal speeds using light. It cooperates very well with very high speed equipment that sends and receives data, and it will be able to continue to work with much cleverer boxes that will be connected to it in the future and handle speeds we haven’t even dreamed of yet.

UNDERSTANDING SPEEDS
The NBN company is building the fibre pipes and for now is connecting equipment that could have been set to transmit at 1,000 Mbps (Megabits per second).

So how does that compare to current market offerings?

  • At our place, we currently have ‘Telstra Cable’. Below is a chart of 3 speed tests done over the last 6 months. Our cable service averaged 19.89 Mbps and ranged between 30.14 and 9.87.

Speed Test

  • The most common technology is ADSL. Speeds on ADSL range from 1 to 2 Mbps in areas far from the exchange and using older ADSL up to 20 Mbps using ADSL2+ in areas close to the exchange.

So the NBN and Fibre with the technology NBN Co has selected can run to 1,000 Mbps. This means it is potentially :

  • 33 to 100 times faster than Telstra Cable
  • 500 to 1000 times faster than ADSL
  • 50 times faster than the top end of ADSL2+

So any current user should through the NBN have had a potentially serious uplift in performance. More than that, the potential of fibre from the home to the internet is many times the 1,000 Mbps claimed for the NBN once some of the more leading edge transmission technologies are bolted on the end of the fibre.

There are technologies in development that in labs are delivering performance of 1Pbps or 1,000,000,000 Mbps, such as this one in Japan:
http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2012/09/26/3598036.htm

So I hope this helps paint the picture of the relative speeds and potential of fibre versus the current technologies.

THE NBN CO OFFER UNDER THE LABOR PARTY

So now we have an understanding of what the NBN could have delivered. Lets examine the first set of offers from Telstra on the NBN.

  • S-SMALL Bundle              – The small offer is 5GB’s of data at 12 Mbps for $80/month
  • M-MEDIUM Bundle        – The medium offer is 200GBs of data at 12 Mbps for $100/month
  • L-LARGE Bundle              – The large offer is 500GBs of data at 12 Mbps for $130/month
  • On any of the packages the 12 Mbps standard speed can be upgraded to 25Mbps for $5/month
  • On any of the packages the 12 Mbps standard speed can be upgraded to 100Mbps for $20/month

So on a platform that has been built to offer 1,000 Mbps the top offer coming to the public in residences is 100 Mbps (10% of its out of the gate capacity), and those on a budget will be offered 12 Mbps (1.2% of its out of the gate capacity) no better than ADSL2+.

By comparison Google is getting into the Fibre business in the US and is offering the whole 1,000 Mbps that NBN Co could be offering Australia.
https://fiber.google.com/about/

BUSINESS AND MARKETING

So why would NBN Co hobble this 37 Billion dollar investment that is supposed to be a strategic advantage for our country?

Sadly this is how business people have been trained to think:

  • “Give the customer a little more than they have had, get them to upgrade, and hold back features and capacity to talk the consumer into the next upgrade and contract.”
  • “Set the lower offer so it is unattractive so that more people want to accept a middle or top offer”

These are the ways of working of the decision makers who have decided to offer Australia 1.2% to 10% of what has been invested in on our behalf.

THE LIBERAL PARTY POLICY

The Liberal Party under Tony Abbott are arguing they are the responsible party who will stop waste and mismanagement are focused on selling a 17 Billion dollar saving and taking away the fibre connection between the residence and the Node/Exchange, and they propose using the existing copper network to connect homes to the Fibre Network and promise they can still deliver 25Mbps (the middle speed in the NBN Co product offer) .

Are you offended yet? That’s right, because NBN Co have hobbled what is offered through the product offer to 1.2%, 2.5%, and 10%, it doesn’t seem so bad when the Liberal Party take away the supposed ‘top speed’ of 100Mbps. The average internet user understands none of this and will trust the Liberal Party when they say ‘This is the responsible course of action’.

What the Liberal Party are taking away is access to any of the ‘Real Capacity Today’ of 1,000 Mbps or the incredible future capacity when we bolt on new boxes of 1,000,000,000 Mbps or more.

Copper will always limit the ability to get any of the real performance out of the Fibre Network.

THE OBFUSCATION OF THE TRUTH

NBN Co’s and Labor’s marketing sleight of hand has created a false sense of what the NBN is.

This obfuscation of what the NBN actually is plays right into the hands of the Liberal’s cost saving focus to say ‘well we aren’t losing much’.

The truth is that Labor’s 37 Billion dollar investment is an investment. It is being marketed to Australia in a way that lacks integrity, unlike the Google Offer to US residents which gives them 100% of 1,000 Mbps. However it does give us fibre to every home so that when the right marketing offer finally comes we can get the full 1,000 Mbps of today’s commercially available boxes, and in the future can use the 1,000,000,000 Mbps or more that the technologies in development can send down the fibre network.

Under the Liberal Policy the fibre network will never give us speeds much more than most of us are already getting from Cable and ADSL2. The only value we get from the Fibre network is that it will handle volume (quantities of data) much better than today’s national network. That is a partial benefit, but the speed component of the investment is totally lost to the residential market, while business can afford to invest in getting their own fibre connection from the premises to the node.

TECHNOLOGY MANUFACTURING

Australia has been badly let down by the people involved in pulling together the NBN. Those on the inside will argue that the 12, 25 and 100Mbps equipment is all that can be afforded by the nation. That is totally false.

Having spent five years as a CFO in a Medical Device company I learned a great deal about electronics manufacture.  The truth is the difference in cost between a 12 Mbps transmission technology printed circuit board and a 1,000 Mbps board is cents if anything.

It comes back to marketing. Modem companies price faster modems at much higher prices even though there is no real difference in cost.

The only possible real difference in cost is intellectual property and the potential reliance on a patent that might be needed in a 1,000 Mbps board. That is a matter of negotiation.

Australia is a nicely defined market with clear borders. The reality is that a good and experienced negotiator would have negotiated the manufacture and delivery of a 1,000 Mbps fibre modem for every home. The scale of the deal would have got the attention of multiple technology providers and it could easily have been pulled off, as it has been by Google. In a ‘Whole of Country Deal’ Australia should never have accepted any supplier’s argument that we should pay more for a 1,000 Mbps fibre modem than a 100Mbps version unless there was a royalty on IP, which still on this scale should not have been an issue.

WHERE TO FROM HERE

So the most important thing for Australia’s future is that the Liberal Party in this web of lies and obfuscation don’t get away with selling a ‘20 Billion dollar almost total waste’ as a better option than a ’37 billion dollar significant investment’ that sets Australia up to access a network 40 times faster than what the Liberals are offering and which can handle whatever future technology can send down the fibre.

Send the Liberal Party the message that their cynical political positioning is not in our country’s interest, and that they need to step away from changing the plan unless it is to deliver what the Fibre can really deliver, namely 1,000 Mbps.

Ura P Auckland
Conscious Commerce & Conscious Governance
Advocate and Advisor
Managing Director
www.authegrity.com
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Value Creation: The mantra of the Conscious CFO and the real source of Profit

Rightly or wrongly, the reaction that comes up for a lot of people when they have something to do with a Chief Financial Officer can range from fear and frustration through to ambivalence.

The profession is changing, but historically in many organisations the Chief Financial Officer has tended to have the reputation of an axe wielder.

For 11 years of my life I worked as a Chief Financial Officer in two early stage companies that I took on a journey to listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. Both of these companies were on a long path to establishing significant international businesses exporting technology to international markets. The strategies in these businesses were complex. We operated in highly regulated environments, across international borders, with complex technology and with intellectual property strategies to manage. Businesses operating amid these types of complexities are becoming increasingly common in today’s globalised and highly competitive world.

The historic influence of a CFO tended to be a myopic one, where profit and bottom line were their quest and where engagement with operational managers could at times be high handed and with little room for negotiation.

The ConscioValueus CFO is quite the opposite. Any quest that begins with profit as the primary objective is not recognising the true source of profit. Profit is an outcome and it is the product always of having created value for the community that a business serves.

The Conscious CFO also recognises they are a leader in the community at large. The organisation can only continue to exist and serve their constituency and generate profit while they continue to work in harmony with all of that community. It isn’t enough to serve just the part of community that represents your customers. A Conscious CFO is aware of costs and impacts they impose on a community and does not encourage short term profit at the expense of others. Business models like that should be of great concern to the CFO, and the liabilities from Asbestos  at James Hardie are an example of why.

The quest for a Conscious CFO should be to work with operational managers to understand how their functions operate in supporting value creation for the community. The Conscious CFO should be the business partner who helps the operational manager understand their part in creating value, and helping them create more of it efficiently and, even more importantly, effectively for all stakeholders involved.

The CFO is the custodian of the financial models that translate the strategy of the business into tactical actions in the areas of responsibility of each operational manager. The CFO’s responsibility is to work out what needs to happen on the capital funding side to allow the business to deliver on its strategy, and to model revenues, costs, and profit to show what returns the capital can expect. Then the CFO works with operational managers to manage execution against that plan, adjusting plans as needs be when the business meets reality.

The call for the CFO to be conscious is a call to truly engage with the operational managers. It is a call to commit to the fundamental proposition that the organisation exists to serve, and to create value for a community. It is only from this place that true value is created, and it is only from value created that profit can come.

The antithesis is the ‘Axe Wielding CFO’, the one who engages with operational managers with mandates to cut costs by 20% and “make it work”. This is a prescription for a dying business. The operational managers now have a scape goat for the issues the business faces, “The CFO forced these cuts and be it on his head”. They now have a reduced commitment to ensuring the organisation functions effectively in creating value. A niggling part of them may even like to prove the CFO has created a disaster.

This is not to say that a Conscious CFO won’t go looking for cost savings. I’ve been in that situation many times. It’s a part of business that things change and a business can only continue to exist by dealing with its reality. But the Conscious CFO faces the circumstance not by reducing communication to mandates, but by even more deeply engaging with all the people affected and involving them in creating solutions together, and always with a focus on ensuring an understanding of how value is created. If the Conscious CFO has the skills to create a truly authentic connection, they can be a catalyst to help people reach inside in such moment of crisis and tap into the extraordinary creativity that lies inside all of us, from which new strategies can emerge creating new sources of value.

You can choose to shut people down such that they disengage their consciousness and blindly chop resources by 20%, or you can truly engage the innate creativity that lies in every employee by engaging with them and thinking differently about the business.

The place to truly understand profit is from the shoes of the customer, the community that the business serves. To truly prosper over the long term requires a commitment to creating value for the customer, to innovate, to know their world, to improve their outcomes and the quality of their lives, to truly be of service. When a business focuses here they create value, and that value justifies premium margins and creates profit.

A Conscious CFO does not create a blind focus on profit, because such blindness can choke the value creation activities that underpin innovation and ultimately profit. The Conscious CFO helps a business understand the various drivers from which profit is created, and they support the business in navigating the sometimes stormy seas of reality adjusting plans as appropriate.

A Conscious CFO is of service to all stakeholders internal and external, and is a very positive influence on the culture of an organisation.

The time has come for the CFO to stand proudly as a shining and conscious example of leadership, and as an enabler!

 

Ura P Auckland
Managing Director
Conscious Commerce & Conscious Governance Advocate and Advisor
Authegrity Pty Ltd

www.authegrity.com

The best years of my working life....so far

From Capital Without Conscience to Ethical Capital creating Sacred Commerce

My life purpose is to advocate and advise in the space of Sacred Commerce and Sacred Governance. In simple terms I want to work with business and government and show them that by bringing reverence and integrity into everything they do they can be more successful, more proud of the contribution they make to the world, and in fact make as much profit as they ever have but without having done so in a disingenuous way.

I am not alone in the changes I want to create in the world. There are others who are doing as I have done and are creating advisory and training businesses and who hope to swoop in to organisations and through training or facilitation help them create organisations that operate in integrity.

But, there is a problem. No matter how many well intentioned people there are in most businesses who would love to put a value on operating with integrity, there is a force at the heart of Capitalism that can and does override them and which needs to be understood by people wishing to advocate for change as I do. Let me outline the problem.

CAPITAL HAS NO CONSCIENCE

A dear friend from my Men’s group, a business trainer and a man of the highest integrity, was recently sharing his excitement around some training he was giving, as part of a course he delivers, with respect to financial calculations for Present Value (PV) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR). They are calculations that can be performed, very simply in a spreadsheet once you know how, to tell you whether an investment with an assumed series of cash flows is one that is advisable to make given a desired return you seek and applying a risk premium.

While I was excited for him feeling such passion for the course he was giving, and his success is building up his business as a contract trainer, I felt compelled to share with him that these tools he so enjoys teaching are a huge part of the problem at the heart of Capitalism.

Let me explain why.

Capital is at the heart of the system of Capitalism. An investor provides capital through subscribing for a new share in a company, or through buying a share from another shareholder. That investor then hopes to make a return on their capital by way of dividends paid from profit, or through capital growth as the value of the company and its shares increase until a point when the investor chooses to sell to another investor and take a profit that way.

So far so good. The investor provides something the business needs in capital to operate and expand the business, and the business provides a return.

However we live in a world where investors capital tends to move around. So we have markets where investors trade their shares. So if an investor needs his money back, he doesn’t need to bother the business to repay him, instead he just offers to sell his shares on the market and someone who is looking to buy those shares takes them off his hands.

Again, this seems like a good thing. The business gets to continue to use the capital it needs, and the investor gets access to their capital when they need it, perhaps because they are retirees and need to turn some into cash to buy a motor home and go on a two-year road-trip.

The next part is where we strike a problem. The shares in the company have a share price. In simple terms, the share price is the value of the business if you were to buy the whole thing, divided by the number of shares that have been issued to raise capital. Now sadly our average investor is not a little old couple who choose a nice company that does good for the world and leave their money there until they need to go buy a motor home.

The reality is that in public capital markets there is competition and, I am guessing but, I would estimate that north of 99% of the money in global stock exchanges is managed by professional investment managers who are investing on behalf of funds which are in the business of providing their investors (Banks, Superannuation & Pension Funds, and Private Wealth) with the optimal returns.

So here is where the PV and IRR calculations come in. A share price on any day is supposed to be a representation of the present value of the future cash flows that it will generate. So in short analysts and fund managers put together financial models in spreadsheets that project the future cash flows for the business. Then they run a PV calculation (or any IRR which is just a different view of the same thing describing the return the investment will provide based on today’s price) to determine the present value of the business and divide by the number of shares to get a share price.

The fund managers are paid huge bonuses for their performance and to keep their jobs they need to deliver the best returns, so they are very focused on ensuring their capital is parked in the companies where they will get the best returns.

Next we have to recognise that business is cyclic. What happens when a company hits the downside of its cycle is that capital mobilises. Suddenly the optimistic views of the company’s future change. The analysts reopen the financial models on the company and cut into the projected cash flows, the PV drops, the theoretical share price drops, and their interest in holding the stock drops. So they and everyone else as they wake up start selling the shares and the share price heads south.

About this time one of the following things will happen:

  1. The remaining shareholders at an AGM will sack typically the Chair and several of the directors on the Board
  2. The Board will sack the CEO
  3. The CEO will sack several key executives

THE CAPITAL MINDSET OF LEADERSHIP

Now control of the company changes. The brief for the new people is “Profit and Growth at any cost”. The consequences of not succeeding will be that if it was #3 that happened that if the new people fail #2 or #1 will happen

So over time our companies become populated at the top by people who are very answerable to Capital and very conscious that they hold their job until capital which has no conscience sacks them.

So we need to understand that the top three rungs of the corporate ladder know that they have an axe over their heads, which will be wielded not even by a particular investor or person within an investor who they can go and visit. The axe is actually wielded by the movement of capital, and the capital will move based on the calculations, the PVs and the IRRs.

The other influence these calculations have on corporate strategy is a 10 year time window. When you learn about PV calculations one of the things that quickly becomes apparent as you use them is that anything that happens in the projections beyond the 10 year mark will have very little effect on the PV calculation. So the impact is that if there is some great for the world initiative that will also create great profit for the company, but which will take more than 10 years to pull off, then a PV calculation will give those profits that lie beyond 10 years very very little value. This further shapes short term thinking of corporate leaders and makes it difficult for them to get capital for long term strategic projects of any significant scale.

In this environment profit becomes king, thinking is short term, strategy is protectionist, pricing is manipulative. The top three rungs of the business know that they hold their roles so long as this quarter’s results are good.

The Corporations in this globalised world, many of which are getting to the point of being as big as small countries, have a massive influence on quality of life for all of us. They impact us when we work for them as employees, as contractors, or as suppliers, they impact us through the product and services they provide us, they impact us through their impact on our environment, and they impact our culture by bringing through the ruthlessness of Capital without conscience.

SACRED COMMERCE AND SACRED CAPITAL

Now I have a vision of a world that is different. Sacred Governance will bring reverence to an organisation’s relationship with its employees, its contractors and its suppliers, and for the impact it has on the environment. Sacred Commerce will ensure the customer is treated with reverence with craftsman-like products, caring and well conceived service, fair pricing models, fair dealing, and a good return for fulfilling customer needs so well.

One of the learnings that was most memorable for me from the one month Senior Executive Program I did at Columbia University in 2002 was the change model. You have a current reality which you need to properly understand, you have a future reality which you are seeking to create, so what are the elements that need to be present in every spectrum of managing the change for the movement from the current state to future desired state to succeed.

This blog is already getting a bit long to go into all of the elements for my vision to be achieved, however it is clear to me that one of the most critical is a way of bringing capital to the table that cares about this vision.

Now, there are Ethical Investment Funds and typically these funds do partially have a conscience.

They look to businesses doing good for the world, or at the very least not doing bad. They do however naturally look for healthy returns as well and within the ethical business space move their funds around in the same way. My sense is that ethical funds are approached by ethical businesses to invest funds in a fairly usual manner. I don’t have any data, but from some working knowledge of the capital markets space from my time as a CFO I would guess that Ethical Funds Pools of capital would represent a fraction of 1% of the world’s investment capital.

However my belief is that there is a massive unrealised potential in ethical funds.

This is where sacred commerce comes in. In my opinion there is much dysfunction in commerce. Telcos force us to take landline telephone services because they refuse to offer a bundle including the data service we do need without a land line service. Packages and pricing are set to deny us the things we really need unless we comply and pay a price that is really beyond what is fair given the relationship between what we are getting and the costs to provide them. Much of it comes from entrenched interests and anti-competitive practices.

I talk to a lot of the younger upcoming generations and they know they are being treated disingenuously by a majority of corporations. They feel it as employees, as customers, and as beings of this planet. These younger generations are a time bomb for social, structural, and economic change.

It is only going to take a small percentage of new or brave businesses to create a whole new model of commerce through providing products and services that call to the soul of these more discriminating generations and they will have a runaway success with an avalanche of support. The existence of these businesses will then create a new consciousness about what is acceptable in business.

We cant rely on existing businesses to drive the change. Some will come to this view and may have visionary leaders with track records good enough to source capital for the new model, but my sense is that most existing businesses will wait and protect their turf until it becomes apparent that they will die unless they can create a business model grounded in Sacred Commerce and Sacred Governance.

I see an opportunity. I believe there is massive potential for ethical capital to work with either new businesses, or with players who have good infrastructure but limited success beating the majors at the game of ruthless disingenuous commerce. I see an opportunity for ethical capital to provide significant investments to turn industries on their heads by changing the rules and providing products and services in a Sacred Commerce framework and snatching market-share on a scale that is neck snapping for the entrenched players. There is massive dissatisfaction in the world of consumers, and one of the things I have learned in life is that when you solve people’s problems you succeed.

As Ethical Capital becomes more strategic and as our community understands the impact it can have on our world, its ability to attract capital and have more of us tick the ethical capital box in our super fund and pension fund preferences will be huge. I could see it growing to attain a significant market share and ultimately could become the standard way that capital is managed.

SACRED COMMERCE AND PROFIT

The issue today is that it is accepted in commerce and in governance among the top three rungs that manage them of boards, CEOs, and the CEO’s other C level direct reports that the focus above all else must be PV and IRR to keep the movement of capital from bringing the axe down. There is a culture of do whatever you can to preserve the numbers. It has swung too far and the things the companies will do for profit too often lack integrity and are not the way you would conduct a transaction if you were a sole trader shop keeper dealing with a customer from his village who came in every day and who he had to look in the eye and justify his position. Somehow the corporate veil has made it more acceptable to extort a bit more than you do when you have to look them in the eye.

Sacred Commerce is going to show that more profit can be made by being genuine, acting with reverence, and winning customer loyalty from a generation of more discerning customers.

Whats more, customers will realise that they too can move money like capital moves money. They can move their savings to Ethical Capital, and they can move their consumer spending to companies worthy of their support.

I can feel the change coming. I see lots of communication with ethical funds in my future.

If you made it to the end of this blog I congratulate you! Investment and financial calculations are dry topics, but this topic is one that is at the heart of driving change in commerce. Thanks for sticking with it and I hope it inspires you in some way to take action to advocate for or support Sacred Commerce and Sacred Governance in your community.

Ura P Auckland
Sacred Commerce & Sacred Governance Advocate & Adviser
Managing Director
Authegrity Pty Ltd
www.authegrity.com

‘Sacred Governance’ – To hide from the word ‘sacred’, or not?

An old colleague this week gave me something to reflect on. He questioned whether the name of my professional blog was achieving what I am wanting to achieve.

Well, this is the blog, and clearly you can see its name is ‘Ura on Sacred Governance’. My colleague’s comment was:

‘…the word “sacred” has religious connotations – as soon as I read that I think of doctrine and faith, and men dressed in period costume…’

As I said in my reply to him, I so much get what he was feeling.

It is a reality in our world that a great many people carry a negative charge around words like sacred or spiritual. Formal religions have laid claim to these words and the space around them, and many people have had bad experiences with either dogma, or the terrible things that have been done in the name of religions. So when these words come up they shut them down.

My life path has taken me on a long journey which has brought me back through an exploration of ego and then ultimately a connection with my soul. Through this journey I have come to see life and the journey of every soul as being of great importance. Then I have come to see how our lives get so heavily shaped by what we do in the world, and almost inevitably through that by the organisations we gather together to work in, and which shape our world through how they govern and manage us, or through commerce and how they sell to us and commercialise the world we live in.

My choice to use the term ‘Sacred Governance’ in my blog name and as a term around which I focus my work is a very deliberate one. One of the meanings of sacred when you go to the dictionary, and to my mind the true meaning before it got high jacked by religion, is ‘regarded with reverence’.

Sadly the terms that other well intentioned people use are not enough. Corporate Social Responsibility is a side show and with a few exceptions is more about PR than genuine change. Stakeholder analysis never goes far beyond shareholders and customers.

I do understand that as I carry my message out into the world that I would meet much less of that scarring from religion if I avoided the language that religion long ago sought to claim as theirs exclusively.

But No, I need to talk about Sacred Commerce and Sacred Governance. I believe we need to regard employees, and customers, and the people who supply us, and the communities around us with reverence. We need to remember we are all souls, and that we all count, and that the organisation is a fiction created to give us a mental model to work together in groups to achieve more for our communities.

The profit that is at the heart of our capitalist systems is essential, but it should never ever have been seen as the purpose of commerce. Commerce should be sacred. Commerce is a model for our souls to come together in groups bringing our gifts and our passions to create something of great worth for our communities. Every one of us carries gifts worthy of reverence, and instead of honouring the gifts with reverence we do things like build call centres and lock the gifted souls in them and lock even their ability to communicate up within a script that has no soul, and we punish them when they go off script and issue them with a warning.

The gifts lie in each of us and are different in each of us

I wish to stand up and reclaim the word sacred. I call upon all of us to reclaim a reverence in how we live our life, how we treat ourselves and our gifts, and how we treat our fellow human beings and this glorious planet we were gifted.I am sure my journey balancing my desire to effect change through reaching people’s hearts, and the reality of breaking through the scar tissue caused by wounds around religion, is far from done. I am sure there are more challenges ahead and more lessons on this front to learn. I travel that journey with deep reverence for my life, for my soul, and with reverence for every soul I encounter on that path, whether they remember they are a soul or not, and whether they offer reverence to me or not.

And to my dear colleague who gave me such wonderful cause to reflect, I offer deep gratitude and of course reverence.

Ura P Auckland
Writer
Managing Director – Authegrity Pty Ltd
Sacred Commerce & Sacred Governance Advocate & Adviser
Independent Contractor – Finance, Governance & Commerce

 

 

 

www.authegrity.com

Introducing Sacred Commerce & Sacred Governance

As I write it is almost a year since I started my company Authegrity commencing a journey to fulfil what has become the purpose to which I will devote the balance of my life. That purpose is to advocate and act as an adviser in Sacred Commerce and Sacred Governance.

So one might ask, what are Sacred Commerce and Sacred Governance?
Let’s start by talking about the word sacred, which is not a word often enjoined with business words like ‘commerce’ and ‘governance’.  Among the dictionary definitions for Sacred is ‘regarded with reverence’. For me the word ‘sacred’ also touches on the concepts of oneness and the need to apply an attitude of reverence for everyone and everything.
So ‘Sacred Commerce’ then is a way of doing business in the world, with reverence and an understanding of the connected nature of the universe, where everything affects everything else. Sacred Commerce applies this thinking to business models, pricing, product design, service, and all elements of engaging in business in the world.
‘Sacred Governance’ applies the same sacred or oneness thinking to how we manage the artificial entities we call corporations, how they set strategy, employ, plan, make decisions, and operate in a way that supports ‘Sacred Commerce’.
To understand how our world can move towards Sacred Commerce and Sacred Governance it may be helpful to understand what is missing in commerce and governance today. I put it down to two fundamental issues:
1)      The first is that corporations grew out of a need to serve the community through the efforts of collectives whereby through specialisation and scale benefits could be delivered that would not be possible in a world gone by where craftspeople worked alone. Unfortunately the original objective to serve the community has been subverted by the demands of a capitalist system which brings us to the second point.
2)      The fundamental problem with corporations and business is the ‘capital’ in ‘capitalism’. Capital has no conscience. With the exceptions of ‘Ethical Investment Funds’ and ‘Ethical Proprietor Capital’ which form a very small part of the global capital pool, capital is directed to enterprises making high returns, and is withdrawn from enterprises making low or negative returns. As organisations meet tough times, as every organisation will from time to time, capital is withdrawn until returns are improved. Unfortunately the result is that in these times boards and management are replaced with people with a very unidimensional focus on cost and financial returns, and over time these drivers have come to dominate our entire global commerce system.
Until our world can rise above the need for money, as is being explored by movements like the Zeitgeist movement and the Venus Project, profit or financial returns are an essential component of business.
The need however is to remember that fundamentally the purpose of corporations is to serve first and foremost, and to do so with reverence for people as employees, as customers, and as community and for our planet and its longevity. Profit is an essential outcome, but it should not be the primary objective. Organisations must keep revising business plans until the plan shows them a way to serve the community through Sacred Commerce and to be economically viable through doing so. They must govern through Sacred Governance producing profit but in ways that recognise everything we do has consequences and that when all of the organisations of the world put profit ahead of values the world becomes a place that the people the organisations of the world are supposed to serve can’t bear to live and work in.