The Revolution is Live…

This is the closing lyric of the song, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by Gil Scott-Heron written in 1971. The song/poem speaks to the transformation of America, through dismantling racism, capitalism and mainstream media by Blacks getting off the couch and taking to the streets to reclaim their humanity. 

Over the last 50 years, we have experienced a variety of social revolutions in the United States and perhaps the most recent revolution is in the workplace.

As Ariana Huffington recently stated, “Welcome to the Human Revolution” She continues by acknowledging the truth that “life should be centered around our full humanity, which includes work but also includes nurturing our health and well-being, our relationships, our capacity for joy and wonder and for giving back.”

The Pandemic has been the global disruptor for our generation in all aspects of our lives: personal, work and community. We have been experiencing dramatic shifts in the workforce over the last three years. The Great Resignation continues, the priorities of the current workforce are changing and employees are demanding changes that support their overall well-being.

The Human Revolution is Live.

In the article, What the Pandemic has taught us about prioritizing well-being, Julia Hobsbawm suggests that the old strategies used to address well-being considerations no longer serve the needs of employees. 

Covid-19 has forced organisations to dial back on pingpong tables, massages at your desk, to focus instead on strategy and specifically how you create an organisation where people feel valued, trusted, and you identify the problem areas, and how you correct them.

The Human Revolution is Live.

In a recent HBR article, Designing Work That People Love, Marcus Buckingham reinforces this strategy of downplaying the “trendy perks” and focusing on redesigning jobs around a simple and powerful concept: love for the work you do. What does love got to do with it? Actually, quite a lot. 

As we know from neuroscience research, when we engage in activities in which we experience love, hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine are activated to promote access to the prefrontal cortex of the brain where the executive functions of creativity, innovation, empathy and strategy reside. Research done regarding employee engagement shows that people who find love, strength, joy and excitement in what they do each day are far more likely to be productive, stay at companies longer and sustain themselves in the face of life’s inevitable challenges.

Work hasn’t been working for us for awhile, the Pandemic just turned up the stress and cast a bright spotlight on what was broken, people hate their work.

There are two aspects of fixing this problem. First, individuals need to have clarity about what they love and second, organizations need to see people as full human beings not workers. When those two elements are aligned we have thriving human beings and a prosperous economy.

Designing the Life and Work You Want
Over the last 12 years, I have coached people who were not happy in their jobs and didn’t know what they wanted to do next. I created an individual coaching program called the Personal Odyssey Tour that helps clarify your life purpose and uses design-thinking principles to identify the path toward the job or career that aligns with what you love. Stanford professors, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans published a fantastic resource, “Designing Your Life” back in 2016 and are soon to release a new book called, “Designing Your NEW Work Life” in response to the disruption that has been caused by the Pandemic. First you need clarity about what you love, what gives you energy, brings you joy and then you can go after it!

As Buckingham suggests,

a true Love + Work organization is built on a recognition of and commitment to the fundamental importance of each person who comes to work. 

Buckingham tosses out Milton Friendman’s model of shareholder capitalism, which focuses on maximizing shareholder value which has definitely been losing favor over the last 15 years. However, he takes it a step further and challenges the concept of stakeholder capitalism which is a pillar of the certified B Corp movement. Stakeholder capitalism introduces the construct that organizations should also maximize value to employees, customers, the broader community and the environment. Buckingham contends that employees are the integration point for all stakeholders rather than one of many. They are where the work actually happens.

Organizations Investing in Human Sustainability Thrive
What has also become clear throughout the Pandemic is that globally we are in a mental health crisis. Research conducted by Gallup in 2021 states that seven in 10 people are struggling with mental health issues. It has been known for decades that organizational productivity is tied to employee well-being. Yet, very little has changed. 

The Human Revolution is Live.

Organizations that focus on the well-being of employees will lead us to the future of a prosperous, inclusive and regenerative economy. How do they do it?

A few strategies proposed in Time to Invest in Human Sustainability and Designing Work That People Love include:

      • Give employees control over when, where, and how work gets done. 
      • Create an environment that builds trust, creating a safe environment for open discourse on topics that matter whether it is DEI, mental health, climate change or organizational policies that impact overall well-being. 
      • Foster a culture that supports and encourages life-long learning, focuses on teams and the use of wellness resources (time off, tuition reimbursement, leave)
      • Set goals for achieving workplace well-being—then aim to surpass them. 

It’s time for all of us to get off the couch, the human revolution is live.

Community Impact: How B Corps Measure It

My whole life I have volunteered, it is just who I am. In elementary school I volunteered at a local nursing home.

In high school I served as an aide in classes for students with developmental disabilities and beginning in college I was volunteering for months in Latin America.

Fast forward a couple of decades and I founded Vista Global, certifying as a B Corp in 2012.  One of the categories for B Corp certification is Community. This category evaluates a company’s engagement with and impact on the communities in which it operates. Topics include diversity, equity & inclusion, economic impact, civic engagement, charitable giving and supply chain management.  

In addition, the Community category recognizes business models that are designed to address specific community-oriented problems, such as poverty alleviation.

Vista Global has worked with community-based organizations from the first day we hung out our shingle and will continue to do so until the last day we operate. It is in our DNA.  Another way that we work to improve the community is to offer pro bono services to community-based organizations.

Recently, I joined the Pro-Bono Business Advising program of Pacific Community Ventures. This incredible program facilitates mentorships between Small Business Owners and advisors who have unique and hard-earned skills to support small business owners to elevate their ideas to thriving businesses. It is exciting to be part of expanding businesses fighting for economic, racial and gender justice that propel thriving communities with equitable jobs.

To learn more about how other B Corps collaborate to amplify social and environmental good in their communities, check out the weekly B The Change article on “How Collaboration Empowers the B Corp Community”

Women Leading Business for Good

In 2018, Sara Schley, CEO of Seed Systems, and Eileen Fisher, CEO of EILEEN FISHER, along with over 80 other B Corp women leaders joined together to take action. What can we do together that none of us can do alone? Rose Penelope Yee, CEO of Green Retirement, and Kim Coupounas, B Lab’s Global Ambassador, stepped up to co-found WeTheChange with Sara. Since then, I have been an active member of this group, fighting for an equal and just economy for all.

WeTheChange is a collaborative declaration written by women CEOs of Certified B Corporations and other purpose-driven enterprises.. The leaders who have signed this declaration personally — and on behalf of her/their company — affirm and support the articulated vision and principles. This community spans a broad spectrum of gender identities, including cis-gender, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming leaders in business. We acknowledge intersectionality and the reality that we need to change systems and structures that marginalize certain identities.

Our values are also in harmony with the social and environmental practices embraced by the B Corporation community of businesses who meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental sustainability.

WeTheChange is committed to a world where women are equally represented in positions of power and influence. The issues of equality and social justice are prevalent in our society now more than ever, which is why I am honored to be part of a group of businesses and people willing to tackle these challenges every day to make the world a better place. 

Up until now, WeTheChange has relied solely on volunteering from founders and other members of the community. This model has carried us over the last four years, but it is time we take the next step forward in order to advance our mission and voice.

Between now and December 2 we are seeking 50 WeTheChange signatories and allies to give big and support this important shift by becoming an Activator.

This fundraising initiative will allow WeTheChange to hire our first staff member. This step is crucial for our group as we continue to evolve towards a more ethical, sustainable, and impactful future!

Click here to learn more about supporting WeTheChange and becoming a WeTheChange Activator.

Honoring Wisconsin’s Best for the World™

Vista Global is among a group of 17 Wisconsin certified B Corps committed to being a force for good in the world. We have also been recognized as a 2022 “Best for the World” company in the Customer Category. 

The “Best For The World” designation is given to B Corps that score in the top 5% of their size category from more than 5,000 Certified B Corporations from 83 countries. We’re honored to have received this designation for 5 consecutive years.

Congratulations, Wisconsin’s Best for the World honorees!

Five certified B Corps in Wisconsin achieved “Best for the World” status in 2022. Companies are honored in the following categories of the B Impact Assessment: Community, Customers, Governance, Environment, and Workers. 

The Honorees

Vista Global Coaching & Consulting – Best for Customers

 

ZYN – Best for Community

 

Riverwater Partners Best for Customers

 

Envest Microfinance Best for Governance

 

Cream City Conservation & Consulting Best for Workers

Learn more about the Best for the World™ designation and find other B Corp honorees here.

A Decade of B Corp Certification: Being a Business for Good

For the last 10 years, Vista Global has been a Certified B Corp, making us the longest certified B Corp in the state of Wisconsin. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. This third-party certification legally requires businesses to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, governance, community, and the environment.

In order to achieve certification, a company must complete an Impact Assessment where they are evaluated based on the five categories. The assessment is tailored to different industries and sizes of business. A minimum score of 80 points must be achieved for certification. 

Since our first certification in 2012, Vista Global has been dedicated to using business as a force for positive change in the world. I am proud to announce that Vista Global just completed its 4th recertification and received our highest score yet of 145.3 points! How have we been able to continuously grow our impact over the last 10 years? Below is a breakdown of our current score and how we got there. 

Community – 67 points

The Community category evaluates a company’s engagement with and impact on the communities in which it operates, hires from, and sources from. Topics include diversity, equity & inclusion, economic impact, civic engagement, charitable giving, and supply chain management. In addition, this section recognizes business models that are designed to address specific community-oriented problems, such as poverty alleviation through fair trade sourcing or distribution via microenterprises, producer cooperative models, locally-focused economic development, and formal charitable giving commitments.

Community is Vista Global’s highest-scoring category. From the beginning, our business model has been centered around supporting the local community. We do this by offering pro-bono services, by volunteering on nonprofit boards, and through monetary donations. 

Customers – 57.7 points

The Customers category evaluates a company’s stewardship of its customers through the quality of its products and services, ethical marketing, data privacy and security, and feedback channels. In addition, this section recognizes products or services that are designed to address a particular social problem for or through its customers, such as health or educational products, arts & media products, serving underserved customers/clients, and services that improve the social impact of other businesses or organizations.

Customers is our second-highest scoring category. The coaching and consulting services we provide to our customers are specifically designed to improve education and support underserved populations. We’re honored to have received the “Best for the World” nomination in the Customers category the last 4 years. 

Governance – 13.1 points

The Governance category evaluates a company’s overall mission, engagement around its social/environmental impact, ethics, and transparency. This section also evaluates the ability of a company to protect its mission and formally consider stakeholders in decision-making through their corporate structure (e.g. benefit corporation) or corporate governing documents.

From the beginning, Vista Global has adopted a legal framework that is intentionally designed to create a specific positive outcome for all of its stakeholders. 

Environment – 7.3 points

The Environment category evaluates a company’s overall environmental management practices as well as its impact on the air, climate, water, land, and biodiversity. This includes the direct impact of a company’s operations and, when applicable, its supply chain and distribution channels. This section also recognizes companies with environmentally innovative production processes and those that sell products or services that have a positive environmental impact. Some examples might include products and services that create renewable energy, reduce consumption or waste, conserve land or wildlife, provide less toxic alternatives to the market, or educate people about environmental problems.

Vista Global operates in a virtual office, which in turn reduces our negative impact on the environment. We have also adopted policies that prioritize supporting environmentally conscious suppliers. 

To learn more, visit our B Corp Profile.

Finding Our Way from Distrust to Connection

In the wake of multiple acts of excessive violence against humanity, including the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I know I am navigating the feelings of despair, hopelessness, fear, and emotional numbness.  

All of this is on top of more than two years of the pandemic. How do we find our way out of such darkness?

Over these past two years, I have relied on my training in Conversational Intelligence® to guide me and clients toward conversations that move from distrust to connection. 

I think about the wisdom of Judith E. Glaser, mother of Conversational Intelligence®  who sadly departed the physical world in November 2018. What would she be offering us at this time? 

Her work is based on decades of research on the neuroscience of conversation. 

“To get to our next level of greatness depends on the quality of our culture, which depends on the quality of our relationships, which depends on the quality of our conversations. Everything happens through conversations.”

Our brain is wired to determine whether the information we receive makes us feel like we are “In or Out” of a social group. In .07 seconds our amygdala makes this determination and either pumps cortisol to position ourselves for survival OR pumps oxytocin and moves us to a state of safety and connection.

 I came across this article written by Judith in 2017, offering a few steps to move from dis-ease to ease through connection.

      • Invite to connect: If you are sensing a disconnect, move toward the other person. How can you move toward them without stress to activate positive energies?
      • Mind-and Heart-Map: The heart connection is vital for relationships. It is the gateway of your emotions. If you feel excluded, judged or rejected, your neurochemistry changes. You will see reality as unfair, harsh, and critical. Conversely, when you feel included, you see reality with possibility and optimism. You look for good things to happen. When you reach out to connect, you are remapping your mind-heart connection.
      • Conversational Agility: When you sense you are moving toward stress and distrust, you can use the tools of Reframe, Refocus and Redirect to move toward a mindset of connection. Reframing takes a difficult situation and turns it into an opportunity. Moving from what was lost to what did you learn from that loss?  Refocusing allows you to move from a place of being stuck to a larger topic where there may be connections you had not seen before. Redirecting moves you from a place of being stuck to a place of new possibilities.

It only takes .07 seconds to move in either direction. With awareness and practice, you can move toward positivity and optimism. To learn more about the tools of Conversational Agility, check out this blog post or listen to this episode of Minutes with Mary.