Sandra Waddock - University of Pretoria

Intellectual Shamans and
Difference Makers: Stewardship
Across Boundaries for the
Necessary Transition
Sandra Waddock
Boston College
3rd International Conference on Responsible Leadership
University of Pretoria, South Africa, November 5-6, 2014
Why a ‘Necessary Transition’?
* Malcolm McIntosh
Ethos of consumption, materialism
Ethos of constant growth
Where financial wealth is all that matters
World of inequity, conflict, and destruction of our
own habitat
 Constant competition rather than collaboration
 A call for stewardship of our planet
A Need to Connect Across Problem Areas
 Numerous socio-economic
problems facing the world,
Climate change
Inequity, inequality
Collapsing ecosystems,
Species extinction,
Inherently unsustainable
economic and financial
 Failing states
 Integrating across
scientific, political, and
business systems
 Conflict, terrorism, and
human rights abuses
 Access: education, water,
human rights, sanitation,
energy, security, women’s
 Jobs crisis
 And the list goes on…
The Situation is Dire…and
affects all sectors
 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon :
 “In the twenty-first century, supplies are running
short and the global thermostat is running high.
Climate change is also showing us that the old
model is more than obsolete. It has rendered it
extremely dangerous. Over time, that model is a
recipe for national disaster. It is a global suicide
 Ban Ki-moon, 2011
The world needs (responsible)
leaders-- in all sectors who can…
 Think holistically and systemically…
 Aware of impacts and consequences of decisions
 Cross disciplinary, institutional, sector boundaries
 Are forward (v. past) looking
 Are open to paradox and ambiguity
 Are imaginative, creative, and risk-taking
 Probably do not follow today’s rules particularly well
 Most importantly: acknowledge wanting to make a positive
difference with their work!
 ‘Stewards of the future’
Stewardship of the Future
 Stewardship: to hold something in trust
for another
Peter Block, Stewardship
 Beyond companies to societies and even Earth itself
 Is it the 1020? (Eccles and Serafeim)
 Or is it all of us, wherever we sit?
 Scientists, politicians, economists
 Civil society …as difference makers
 Academics…as intellectual shamans
 The stakes are high…
Stewardship of the Future…
 Social license to operate
Assumes (growing) stakeholder power
Corporate charter change (re-purposing)
Connected civil society: ‘blessed unrest’
Connecting science, economics, governance
 Earth System Governance across sectors
 Re-think large scale change
 Integrating science, governance, economics,
and …life!
Stewardship Changes Needed
For Businesses…
 From Short-to-Long Term
 Rethinking Growth…which is a core
 Redefine…as development (not
 Higher complexity without material
 What would this look like?
 New Measures and Metrics
 Impacts on key stakeholders
Ecosystem impacts (preservation,
replenishment, renewal)
 Ratings (e.g., GoodGuide)
 Full cost/life cycle accounting
 Integrated reporting or <IR>
 Internalize costs
 A science of the better
 Governance for equity, social
justice, and sustainability
 Think: resilience!
To accomplish this, the world needs…
Intellectual Shamans / Difference Makers
What is a shaman?
 “A shaman is a healer of
relationships between
mind and body, between
people, between people
and circumstances,
between humans and
Nature, and between
matter and spirit.”
Painting by
Jeannette Saco-Belli
 Kahili King (1990, p. 14)
 Move through different frames or realms of experience
 e.g., across worlds, communities, disciplines, sectors,
 Traditional shamans cross spiritual realms
 Often in altered (meditative, trance-induced) states
 Gather and bring back needed information
 Experience themselves, others, and the world in [spiritual
and intuitive] ways that go beyond physical boundaries
 Are ‘Shapeshifters,’ comfortable in many realms
 Purposefully use discovered information (wisely) to heal
their patient, community, or the world
 World’s oldest spiritual tradition
 Found in all cultures
 Frost & Egri
 Healers of the tribe
 Individual, community, world
 Shamans ‘dream the
world they want into
 Villoldo
Intellectual Shamans intellectual work includes
three related, overlapping roles:
 Healer
 ‘A shaman [is] a healer of relationships: between mind and body,
between people, between people and circumstances, between
humans and Nature, and between matter and spirit.’
 Connector
Serge Kahali King
 Shamans are boundary spanners or mediators of different realities,
they are ‘seers’ who journey to other realms to gather information
and bring it back for healing purposes.
 Sensemaker
 Shamans are ‘sources of knowledge and wisdom, prophets of the
future, and counselor,’ drawing on theory and practice and sharing
it with others, in a sense, acting as spiritual leaders of their
respective clans.
Egri and Frost
 HEALER: So I think the business paradigm as
we know it is broken. So it’s not about me
deriving meaning, …it’s our obligation as
people who had the privilege of being funded
by public resources, it’s our obligation to
create a better society. And if the business
paradigm is broken, then it’s our obligation
to provide something to fix it.
 Tima Bansal
 CONNECTOR: But there are no limits to human
cooperation. …Because so many of the stories
that we lifted up showed that perhaps business
could emerge as one of the most powerful
forces on the planet, I decided to …[study]
business as an agent of world benefit. Business
as a force for peace in high conflict zones.
Business as the force for eradicating extreme
poverty. Business as a force for eco-innovation.
 David Cooperrider
 SENSEMAKER: [Business is] a deeply human
enterprise. It’s how we create value and trade
with each other. It’s how we create meaning for
each other. It’s how we spend a third to half our
lives. Until we come to see that, a human
activity full of emotion and rationality and
spirituality and sexuality and connection with
others, until that’s in the center, not at the edge.
 R. Edward Freeman
Intellectual Shamanism
 Three core functions
 Healing: A healing (greater good) orientation
 Connecting: The ability to connect different realities (or mediating realities,
boundary spanning, bridging worlds, e.g., disciplines, sectors, institutions)
 Sensemaking: The ability to make sense of what has been seen and provide
leadership around it
 Combine with…
 Power of purpose (driven by values)
 Courage/will to become fully oneself
 And a maverick if necessary
 And take necessary (intellectual and other) risks
 Systems/holistic thinking
 To generate…Wisdom
 Integration of moral imagination, systems understanding, and aesthetic
sensibility in the service of a better world
Difference Makers
Social/institutional entrepreneurs and change agents
 Pragmatic visionaries
 Often action first…imagining what will make things better
 Then in hindsight recognizing the vision and its values-based underpinnings
 Focused on creating a better world
Systems thinkers
Purpose driven
Desire to make a (positive) difference (healing)
Supported by strong values (maybe no grand vision)
Understand dialectical process of change
Politically savvy networkers who cross boundaries and see things in new ways
 Synchronistically ‘lucky,’ persistent, and hard-working
 Reframing and re-envisioning conversations through their actions and
institutions (sensemaking)
 Taking risks, being mavericks
Intellectual Shamans and Difference
Makers have in common…
 Healing
 Purpose driven: healing…make the world better
 Think holistically (systemically)
 Understand process, dialectical change
 Connecting
 Operate across traditional boundaries
 Are ‘seers’ of what might be different/better
 Are risk-takers and mavericks (not neatly categorized)
 Sensemaking
 Use action, vision, narrative to create new cultural myths or
institutions and heal old ones
Intellectual Shamans and
Difference Makers want to create…
…stewardship of the future!
 Seeing what needs healing in relationships
 In ‘broken’ cultural myths
 In people, ideas, theories, practices, institutions,
methodologies, i.e., cultural myths
 That are dis-eased or dis-ordered
 Shamans bring ease to the dis-eased and order to the
 Healer, Heal Thyself
 Asking questions that others do not ask to find
answers that others do not find
 Boundary-spanning or ‘walking between worlds’ or at the
edge of what is known or practiced
 Mediator of realities (intermediary)
 Journeying (often in trance for traditional shamans…perhaps
‘flow’ for intellectual shamans)
 To gather and bring back information
 That heals relevant cultural myths through using intellectual
capacities to share insights, knowledge, and wisdom that
comes from making connections that others have not (yet)
 That helps create holistic balance across realms of experience
 That provides new insights, ideas, and practices oriented
toward healing (improving) something of interest
Storytelling and Spiritual Leadership
 ‘Sources of wisdom and knowledge, prophets of the
future, and counselors’ who ‘draw on both theoretical
and practical knowledge in their practice’
 Egri and Frost
Storytelling: Making sense of the whole
Seeing into reality more or less as it is
Future Oriented: Seeing around the corner
Wisdom: Not ‘magic’ but there is an element of spiritual
 Making sense for others—beyond the self
As Intellectual Shamans, we can
dream the world we want into
Becoming an intellectual shaman
or difference maker…
 Find purpose and passion
about something that has the
potential to make things better
 Become ‘fully who you must
be’ in a way that helps the
 Ask questions with import for
the world
 Rise up a level of abstraction
and think integratively about
what needs to be done
 Take necessary risks
 Act on your ideas and what you
‘see’ needing to change
 Act as a steward of the
The world needs more of us to act
…and there are risks and rewards!
Thank you!

similar documents