Authors' Q & A

EmPower Us! was  a 5-year journey to conceive of and write the book. Now the real work begins to fuel a more sustainable future.

Some five years ago we met in Croatia. Velimir Srića, a Professor at Zagreb University in Innovation and Leadership,  and Ira Kaufman, a Leadership and Digital Transformation Strategist. We were both challenged with the big question …Why is the world broken?

We asked that question for many different angles and noted the fissures in the systems and models  from social, economic, political ,  environmental health and food security perspectives. We realized what was broken was the foundation of these  systems the  intention, values and the purpose which drives our actions. 

We began looking at our own experiences and consulting and training in 70 countries. We realized that the  organizational values being proclaimed, placed on board room walls or websites were not being lived and practiced. The gap in living our values was a major part of what was broken.

 We studied the universal values rooted in all major religions. Then correlated the research linking values to performance, impact and the trending global issues.  We  tested four core values with various sectors and demographics. .. Trust, Empathy,  Sustainability and Transparency. They rang true; we called them the TEST Values. They are the  basis for  how decisions are being made. We found if leaders and Organizations used these values as filter it would change the way decisions are made and contribute to building a sustainable future.

 We looked at the Edelman Trust Barometer which has been in existence for 20 years measuring TRUST of  four major institutions (media, politics, non profit, business) in 12 global markets. During that period  in the most developed countries, the level of “trust”  among the leaders of these four institutions has been reduced from some 65% “trusting” to being distrusting -less than 50%  “trusting.” In fact, the business sector is considered the strongest institution to re-establish  a more trusting  environment .

Then, we looked at the fissures that were evolving into 5 global crises -the pandemic of health, the pandemic of isolation and fear, the pandemic of misinformation and lies, the economic recession  and the threat our planet’s climate change.

THAT was our challenge…to  develop a more sustainable path inclusive to all people… 

We recognized these pandemics were not isolated silos but interdependent.

As trust lies at the core of the problems, we looked at the forces which EmPower trust and drive transformation in the world … Power and Love. These forces need to be transformed.

Power is derived from fame, money, position and control of information.  It has been abused to fill the leader’s self-interest, greed and wants instead of what their constituency or their stakeholders’ need.

 Then we looked at Love. Love has been romanticized and materialized in this world. It  has been “marketed” as a force of attraction for material symbols  and objectifying relationships, instead of as force for the Love of purpose and values and Love of Us and the Common Good.

The Love of products and what we can get from others has to be replaced by how we serve and give to others. The  focus needs to on the spiritual practices of Love of humanity of unifying and harmonizing people. We  realized the current  concepts of Power and Love need to be transformed.

We looked at the concept of Harmony as a goal.  We were brought up in the  1960s. Harmony was about peace and love. We were  the flower children with our idealistic dreams. But to address the gaps and really achieve Harmony in this world, we need to incorporate  the forces of digital technologies, sustainable impact analytics and  human-centered business practices. We must integrate the heart and mind.  We must be strategic to attain a more harmonious future  and hold ourselves and organizations accountable for our actions. Thus, “Strategic Harmony”  was born.

We began with unpacking the  global leadership void which has grown since digital technologies exploded.  In the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2019 survey, 80 % rated leadership a high priority, but only 41% think their organizations are ready to meet new 21st-century leadership requirements with only 30% of  leaders effectively developing future leaders to meet evolving challenges.

 EmPower Us!  redefines leadership for the 21st Century. To meet the demands of a sustainable future requires replacing Leaders who are the leading with the Status Quo with Catalyzers, dedicated to ongoing transformation. Catalyzers are committed to an inclusive, human- centered economy with the  humility to engage with all stakeholders, and the empathy to respond to their needs. They challenge their linear bias, opening themselves to the emergent possibilities they cannot see or anticipate. Finally, they hold themselves and their company accountable to achieving  the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Of course, transformation begins with the leaders but must be implemented by a responsive and supportive team. Thus,  Strategic Harmony requires the shift in the organizational culture to a Catalytic Mindset. This mindset is purpose and values-based and social impact-driven and has four “think lenses.” Each lens demands us to reset the way we think about and approach a threat or opportunity. Two lenses (Think Quantum and Think Circular) are focused on the internal flexibility to sustainable  changes, while the two external lenses focus on implementation through  Connectivity (digital) and Intelligence (purposeful use of data).

  1. After we transformed leaders and established a Catalytic Mindset, we discovered the necessity to sustain the changes. It required 5 L.I.G.H.T Impacts to maintain and scale the organizational  transformation … Lifelong learning,  Innovation, Good  governance,  Holistic living and  Transformative economic system which considers the impact on people,  planet, profit as well as the prosperity of the community – the quadruple bottom line.

When we completed the first draft of the book, we realized that the book focus was not fixing what was broken. Rather, it was a roadmap to designing and implementing solutions. It was empowering  all of Us to be inclusive and use our Power to collaborate for a sustainable future.  Thus, EmPower Us! was born.

A critical call to action is to  ignite a collaborative, intergenerational movement of Global Catalyzers- Rising Voices (Next Generation, Women, Marginalized), entrepreneurs and progressive leaders to build a sustainable future.  

Emerging values-driven entrepreneurs with a thirst for ongoing transformation and digitally networked talent across the planet are screaming to be heard.  They must be given the opportunity to radically  collaborate with those in power (with the resources capabilities and contacts) to drive the sustainable transformation of our planet. 

They must work together as Catalyzers of change.

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EmPower Us!

From Chaos to Strategic Harmony

EmPower Us! is a template for sharing the authors’ values-based framework for holistic societal growth. It gives readers the perspective needed to interact with the status quo and facilitate sustainable changes.”
Emad Davis, Full Stack Software Engineer, FOSTM Agency

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