Sustainable Enterprises Over 25 Years With Mark Milstein (Episode 108)

sustainable enterprise

Mark Milstein has been thinking and talking about sustainable enterprises for a quarter century.

In this conversation—which continues the Amiel Show’s series on climate change, sustainable business, and clean tech—Mark and I discuss his professional and intellectual journey, how the field of sustainable enterprise has grown, what he’s created at Cornell, why the private sector matters, where sustainability happens inside companies, and who signs up for his classes these days.

Mark and I hadn’t spoken for 15-20 years, so this was also a fun chance to catch up and debate whether or not “Mimbo: The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion” is relevant for people leading in politically complex environments.

If you like what you hear, please share. Podcast listening is a participatory sport!

Highlights

  • 9:00 Mark is dissatisfied intellectual with his MBA program and adds a second degree
  • 15:00 A professor tells Mark, “I do not like you people.”
  • 20:00 Mark reverses a huge decision at the mailbox
  • 28:00 Are companies the problem and/or the solution?
  • 36:30 Mark creates a curriculum in sustainability at Cornell
  • 52:00 Faculty resistance to talking about sustainable enterprise has broken down
  • 58:00 Different strokes by different folks: CSR, environment management, sustainable enterprise
  • 1:06:00 Unilever, living wages, frontier markets, Base of the Pyramid
  • 1:12:00 What is greenwashing?
  • 1:19:00 Overtourism, ecotourism, and destination managers

Listen to the Podcast

Listen

Explore Additional Resources

 

Climate Change—Walking On A Knife’s Edge With Theo Horesh (Episode 106)

climate change

Thinking about climate change can feel like walking on a knife’s edge.

This week, Theo Horesh brings this perspective and many other fresh insights to my series on sustainable business, climate change, and clean technology.

Theo and I discuss what it is about human brains and human evolution that makes climate change such an elusive topic, how fascism relates to climate change (hey, why stop at one foreboding topic?), why apocalyptic thinking exists and how it looks different on the political left and right, the gifts and limitations of the Go Local movement, and practical tips for expanding our hearts and minds. In the middle of all this, I jump in to explain why today’s progressive is yesterday’s Eisenhower Republican.

Theo is great at explaining complex topics without either squashing their complexity or confusing the listener. And I always end conversations with him feeling wiser and more engaged than when we started.

Highlights

  • 6:00 How do fascist leaders affect climate change?
  • 12:00 How Amiel’s computer programming ineptitude prevented nuclear war
  • 17:00 Different ways to interpret big storms
  • 23:00 How facing climate change became the structure of Theo’s life
  • 27:30 It’s easy to be vague and apocalyptic
  • 35:00 Varieties of conservative apocalyptic thinking
  • 39:00 True But Partial Challenge—the Go Local movement
  • 41:30 You have to get your inspiration from somewhere
  • 50:00 Amiel redefines the political center
  • 57:30 Reading The Economist gives Theo the “wows”

Listen to the Podcast

Listen

Explore Additional Resources

 

Episode 97: Spiral Dynamics With Jon Freeman

Spiral Dynamics

Waiting four years to discuss Spiral Dynamics on my podcast is like waiting that long on a show about desserts before bringing up chocolate.

Yes, Cindy Wigglesworth used Spiral Dynamics to help us make sense of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, but this week is our first in-depth exploration.

And I’m excited to share it.

Spiral Dynamics is my go-to framework for understanding politics, global events, cultural evolution, and the many big challenges we face as a people and planet. It also explains what happens inside of large organizations, a place where I do most of my coaching and consulting. Whether the topic is global climate change, right wing nationalism, competing economic theories, or race and culture, Spiral Dynamics gives me a way to understand the core worldviews that animate everyday conversations.

That’s why Spiral Dynamics is called the “master code” or code of all codes.

To illuminate this framework, I spoke with Jon Freeman, who, after a long business career, discovered Spiral Dynamics and became one of its leading teachers.

Highlights

  • 9:30 Small bands roaming the savannah to warlord gangs to rule-bound towns—and beyond
  • 14:30 The worldviews dominant within big companies and organizations
  • 25:30 Why you want all worldviews present in organizations
  • 31:00 Reinterpreting the 2008 financial crisis through the Spiral
  • 39:00 The dangers of ignoring the virtues of Blue rules
  • 50:00 Why the U.S. underestimated China
  • 56:30 Humanity prepares for a momentous leap—the shift to second tier
  • 1:03:00 Reinventing Blue order in big corporations
  • 1:08:00 The rise of mafia enterprises and right wing nationalism
  • 1:15:00 Brexit, immigration, and complexity
  • 1:19:00 Climate change, clean tech, and Spiral Wizards in a time of catastrophe

Listen to the Podcast

Overview of Spiral Dynamics

Explore Additional Resources

 

Episode 86: Protecting Liberal Democracy & Living Virtuously With Theo Horesh

protecting liberal democracy

Protecting liberal democracy from fascism isn’t just important to the world, however imperfect, that we take for granted. It’s also a path to the virtuous life.

I’ve had this intuition for some time. But sometimes it helps to have another person with clear thinking to shape that intuition into a framework for making sense of the world. That’s why I reached out to Theo Horesh, this week’s guest on the podcast.

A seasoned entrepreneur, writer and author, Theo bring lucidity to any conversation he is in. Whether the topic is personal growth, spirituality, politics, or the state of the world, Theo is a fountain of wisdom and moral clarity.

As I discussed in last week’s episode, this podcast is entering brave new waters. Nearly every podcast about organizational leadership and personal development avoids politics like the plague. That’s certainly their prerogative. I’m making a different choice for two reasons.

First, I know how many of you are, like me, struggling to make sense of our political life and the world in which we live. The perspectives and stories we explore will light a candle where now there is darkness.

Second, I think that the life we take for granted in the developed West is up for grabs. The health of your company or college or not-for-profit depends on a form of government known as liberal democracy. It depends on protecting liberal democracy. The freedoms you and I have to make life choices, pick jobs and careers, choose partners, and speak freely in public exist because we live in liberal democracies.

Protecting liberal democracy is important because they are relatively new and uncommon. They didn’t exist in the Garden of Eden, hunter-and-gather societies, agriculture-based civilizations, or even most of the early industrialized world. They are a new invention. We take them for granted, but they are precious, and they can go away.

Theo Horesh has thought deeply about this. How is liberal democracy different from fascism, dictatorship and autocracy? How is it that the most classic and deadly example of a fascist government took root in what was then the world’s most advanced society, 1930’s Germany? What signs do we see of something similar happening today in the United States and parts of Europe? Why do so many of us still have our heads in the sand while, at the same time, so many others believe we’re already practically fascist, so what’s the point anyhow? Why does choosing the virtuous life—one that inevitably must involve politics—make sense no matter what happens in the future? How can we protect liberal democracy?

In this conversation, I invite Theo to help me wrestle with these questions and many more.

As I said, we’re breaking new ground into edgier topics. I this hope feels to you like we are breaking bread together. The most troubling and perplexing political questions can coexist with rigorous and respectful conversation. Indeed, why would we want it any other way?

As always, when you share with friends, we all win.

Highlights

  • 9:30 What is fascism?
  • 20:30 Germany before Nazi rule was the most advanced society in the world
  • 26:30 Fascism is not at all conservative
  • 35:30 We have a fascist President and movement but not a fascist government
  • 53:30 The benefits of living a virtuous life
  • 58:30 Why many on the Left felt glee about Trump’s election
  • 63:30 The importance of conserving democratic institutions
  • 1:08:30 The extraordinary freedoms we take for granted

Listen to the Podcast

Explore Additional Resources

 

Episode 85: Alive In The Life We’ve Been Given—My Journey And Yours

How do you know when you are alive in the life you are given, the one you were born to live?

This week, I don’t answer that question for you. In fact, I never will.

Instead, please join me in exploring a question that fascinates and haunts me: is my life work solely about leadership development—or is there something larger arising? Now that I’ve pulled back from social media, where can I fully express my passions and ideas about politics, public life, and culture?

This podcast, perhaps?

If so, at what cost?

Or is there any cost at all?

In exploring these questions, I invite you to continue a conversation within yourself: what helps you feel alive? What’s getting in the way? What are skillful means you can use for these obstacles?

This is both a retrospective on the podcast so far and a preview of episodes to come.

Highlights

  • The aliveness I hope for you
  • Aliveness for me: intelligent, respectful, sober and lighthearted conversations
  • Two fears that have constrained me
  • Exciting new horizons for this podcast

Listen to the Podcast

 

Episode 84: Kavanaugh/Ford From Seven Angles [The Amiel Show]

This week I look at the Kavanaugh/Ford hearings and the conversations about it from seven different perspectives. You will quickly discover how deeply immersed (OK, obsessed) I’ve been the past couple of weeks, how closely I’ve followed both the minute facts and the larger political and cultural story, and, at times, how emotionally involved I’ve become. Here, we fly the Amiel Show airplane up to 30,000 feet and observe—sometimes calmly and sometimes with great passion—the events of the past two weeks, what they mean, and how we can grow ourselves through this complex and challenging experience.

Highlights

  1. Should the Senate confirm Kavanaugh or not?
  2. What actually happened? Why do lies about blacking out matter? (23:00)
  3. Women’s voices and how men discredit then (34:30)
  4. Framing the political debate—right wing narratives, the straw man argument, and intentional polarization into tribes (53:00)
  5. Flake’s fuzzy request for an FBI investigation—there was no promise (1:17:00)
  6. Bro Codes—old and new (1:28:00)
  7. Parenting boys and girls in this era toward healthy development (1:49:00)

Listen to the Podcast

Explore Additional Resources