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The Three Imperatives

What is being called forth in business and politics is a global paradigm shift—a shift from a world focused on self-interest, to a world focused on the common good—a shift from what’s in it for me, to what’s best for everyone. Like Bill George, I am calling for a shift from “I” to “we.” In the future, we can only succeed individually if everyone in our global society succeeds.

For me, the following statement by Willis Harman, co-founder of the World Business Academy, rings more true each year.

Business has become the most powerful institution on the planet. The dominant institution in any society needs to take responsibility for the whole. But business has not had such a tradition. This is a new role, not well understood or accepted. So business has to adopt a tradition it has never had throughout the entire history of capitalism: to share responsibility for the whole. Every decision that is made, every action that is taken, must be viewed in the light of that responsibility.

What are the implications of this paradigm shift for business leaders? What is the new leadership agenda? Based on my research I see three major imperatives for business:

  • The societal imperative
  • The resilience imperative
  • The adaptability imperative

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