Con­ver­sa­tions with Derek Han­d­ley

Element - - Business -

The global con­glom­er­a­tion of su­per­star busi­ness peo­ple known as the ‘B team’ is so named be­cause ‘busi­ness as usual’ needs a plan B if we are go­ing to have a bet­ter world and a dif­fer­ent set of cir­cum­stances. As the for­mer CEO for The B Team, Kiwi Derek Han­d­ley spent a year draw­ing to­gether global busi­ness lead­ers who “see the world the same way and try to un­der­stand what needs to change.” What emerged is a man­i­festo of 12 key change ar­eas known as ‘The Agenda’. It ranges from ed­u­ca­tion – what busi­ness teach as the ‘pur­pose of busi­ness’; ‘true re­turns’ – the way suc­cess is mea­sured; un­equal wealth dis­tri­bu­tion and fair re­wards; sus­tain­ing na­ture; and a ‘level play­ing field’ – which calls for a ban on cor­po­rate sub­si­dies, par­tic­u­larly for in­dus­tries which de­grade the planet. But Han­d­ley is nowan ‘en­tre­pre­neur-in-res­i­dence’ with the B Team. His project is to col­late “the world's big­gest case study data­base of all the dif­fer­ent in­no­va­tive mod­els of the future of cap­i­tal­ism.” When com­plete, Han­d­ley plans to make this re­search freely avail­able. “When you first talk to busi­ness peo­ple about this type of stuff they think it's CSR, or phi­lan­thropy, or char­ity, but the more you give them ex­am­ples they un­der­stand the mindset shift. With a whole range of ex­am­ples the more they un­der­stand that it is embed­ded in ev­ery el­e­ment of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. “It's a big shift from the per­son in the cor­ner of­fice with the ti­tle of CSR of­fi­cer spon­sor­ing the sym­phony and the cleanup in the park.” “I think you can con­vince busi­ness peo­ple be­cause they look to their peers. And they get wor­ried that they might be on the be­gin­ning of the wrong end of his­tory.” “When I was a kid [in Hong Kong], all my dad's friends who had tons of money and all had big boats, ran to­bacco com­pa­nies. That was a sexy job. And then, all of a sud­den, it be­came the most un­sexy job in the world, so busi­ness peo­ple quickly had to de­cide whether they wanted to be in that or not. Some­times that peer pres­sure can turn peo­ple. “For politi­cians it's much more dif­fi­cult. If the cur­rent Na­tional gov­ern­ment were to even move in this space it's a space they don't want to be which is the green space and it be­comes dif­fi­cult… you have a party in­fra­struc­ture called green – it's a global phe­nom­e­non – if they changed the name of that party it might help, but it doesn't help be­cause ev­ery­thing that's to do with the en­vi­ron­ment is at­tached to that name. It makes it harder to see it in the light of a non-po­lit­i­cal idea.” But Han­d­ley says that gov­ern­ment must play a role. “It's im­por­tant to have the sup­port of gov­ern­ment to help kick start some of th­ese things where the gap is too big. If you look at the run-off into the rivers in the coun­try and the farm­ers – where do you start? Should Fon­terra take all that on? Or should the gov­ern­ment at least help kick-start it, or match?” He's scathing of the cur­rent gov­ern­ment's per­for­mance in this area. “I don't think the gov­ern­ment gives a shit about that stuff. I don't think they re­ally care. I don't think they get it. You ei­ther get it or you don't.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.