July 16, 1999
Newsbrief #1: Starting in July, John can be heard on Wisdom Radio, a new network of television and radio broadcasting, available through satellite, Internet and a few radio stations in the U.S. He’ll be doing short commentaries for WholeNEWS, a subsidiary of the Wisdom Network.
Newsbrief #2: “The 21st Century Agenda for Business: A Global Resolution for New Corporate Values and Priorities” was posted TODAY on the Internet for anyone interested in improving the way business and society relate.
Newsbrief #3: “Can Business Unite the World?” is the theme of a panel co-hosted by John and GWU’s Bill Halal, during the Ninth Annual Assembly of the World Future Society, where Bill serves on the Board of Directors. The Assembly runs July 29 – August 1; the panel is scheduled for 4-5:30PM on Friday, July 30.
Aha! #9: The New Agenda for Business
John E. Renesch
1999 © John E. Renesch
This issue of Aha! is a follow-up to issue #8. If you are a new subscriber, you might want to read the last issue before reading this one by going to www.renesch.com and checking “past issues” of Aha!
Over 225 present or former business CEOs and entrepreneurs from more than fifteen countries have collaboratively created a public resolution calling for new values and priorities for the business community in the next century. The shared vision of the resolution is “a world in which the global business community serves society in ways that are life-affirming, sustainable, humanistic and responsible for positively influencing the future evolution of humanity.”
This resolution synthesizes many of the ideas advanced by several progressive business thought leaders such as W. Edawrds Deming, Robert Greenleaf, Peter Senge, M. Scott Peck and Visa International founder Dee Hock, including servant leadership, learning organizations, evolutionary corporations and conscious organizations.
Entitled “The 21st Century Agenda for Business,” the resolution is a call for socially responsible policies, holistic management approaches and life-affirming business practices throughout the world. Remarkably short in length, it requires only a few minutes to read. Early Co-signers include prominent business book authors such as Jim Autry and myself, CEOs such as Editware’s Jay Coley, Capital Missions’ Susan Davis and Barbara Grogan of Western Industrial Contractors and chairpersons such as Gordon and Anita Roddick of The Body Shop and ARC International’s Robert White. Business school faculty members such as Stanford’s Michael Ray and George Washington’s Bill Halal, consultants such as Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu’s Charles Lo and New Delhi’s Anil Sachdev. Skandia VP Leif Edvinsson, former Industry Week Editor-in-Chief Perry Pascarella and world renowned systems theorist Ervin Laszlo are also among the early Co-signers.
Countries represented by the early Co-signers include Great Britain, India, Sweden, Italy, Canada, China, Thailand, Japan, France, Nigeria, Columbia, Chile, New Zealand and Australia as well as the U.S.
Each Agenda Co-signer is listed by name, city and business title in one place, on the Agenda’s homepage.
The Agenda can now be read and signed on-the-spot by any member of the global public with Web access. There is no cost to sign and Co-signers are assured that there will be no future solicitation as a result of their signing. Each Co-signer agrees to do business in a way that is consistent with the tenets of the Agenda and to help spread the word about the Agenda through their own formal and informal networks.
While there has been a “transformation of business” movement these past ten or so years, there has been one factor missing: there has not been any common constitution or “call to action” that consolidates the many independent “camps” and disparate followings of different thought-leaders. Part of why this has happened, I contend, is that there are so many people competing for attention in this field. As a result, the movement has been fragmented and jerky, as trend after trend and hero after hero pick up the flag.
I believe the Agenda is different. I believe it has the potential to really rally people behind this so-called “movement” and get it rolling. I believe it will get rolling because it won’t be the product of any one person – no “hero of the month” or trendy concept. It won’t be “my idea” or “your idea” or any other one person’s idea! It has no one person’s “signature” of ownership on it. It isn’t “owned” by anyone. No copyright. No author credit. It hits people where they live without the baggage of having to join an organization, endorse some person’s product, or commit a lot of time to do anything in these times of enormous busy-ness and stressful work engagements.
The Agenda was posted on the Internet on the morning of Friday, July 16, 1999 as a “public document” that can be supported and endorsed simply by reading it and adding a “signature,” much like a public initiative or referendum. The Agenda requires a mere three to five minutes to read and decide to become a co-signer. It could gather millions of signatures in just a few months! Imagine the impact it will have when people see the enormous response it generates simply by “word-of-mouth” primarily through the Internet.
Remember when Quincy Jones produced the “We Are The World” record and asked
all those famous singers to leave their egos at the door? It seemed to work. We all marveled at the enormous impact all of them had. No one person stood out. I think this will work here too. Nobody, including the initial drafters, will be the accredited author or authors.
Imagine what consensus this will create – having millions of people around the world agreeing to a set of statements for doing business in a new way that may have previously been subtlety IMPLICIT to a few PRIVATELY but not EXPLICITLY and PUBLICLY agreed to by credible business thinkers, practitioners, and leaders from the western world. Imagine the “firestorm of agreement” this Agenda will be able to generate as all those millions of “Cultural Creatives” (see Aha! #8) jump on the bandwagon and say, “Yes! I will take a stand and add my name to this agenda” – saying ‘enough’ to the outmoded thinking that has overstayed its welcome.
“The 21st Century Agenda for Business: A Global Referendum for New Corporate Values and Priorities” consists of two parts – a Preamble and the Resolution. There is no commercial aspect to this. While the Agenda’s homepage is located on my web site, there are no overt or covert ways for visitors to check out the rest of my site. It merely “resides” there and visitors can check it out without being hustled. There are no dues, fees, or other commitments beyond adding their names. Co-signers are also assured that they will not be solicited because they signed on. It’s a “one-time deal” for people – it’s easy, convenient and addresses their humanity.
I’d like you to join me as a Co-signer and invite others who you feel will appreciate hearing of it to do the same. This is a chance to publicly add the weight and power that your name represents to the Agenda.
Isn’t it about time to have our collective voice on record – publicly and explicitly – for millions of others to rally around?
John E. Renesch is a San Francisco writer, futurist, and business philosopher. To contact him call 415-437-6974. More information about him and his work can be found on the Web at John Renesch.