In the following, Kevin Kauzlaric interviews Carol Sanford about her new book, The Responsible Entrepreneur.
What inspired you to write The Responsible Entrepreneur: Four Game-Changing Archetypes for Founders, Leaders and Impact Investors?
All my books are based in stories of my clients, colleagues and students. They are not academic research projects. This new one is about businesses that are changing the course of history with a small entrepreneurial business or unit inside a business. The book pushes the idea about what is possible where too many businesses think too small. I had taught dozens of entrepreneurs how to get a ‘course changing’ outcome for their business, their industry, and much bigger outcomes. I wanted to tell others how to do what these folks had done and make the frameworks they used, and that I had developed, available to many more entrepreneurs and businesses. My last book, The Responsible Business, tells how to build a great business, responsibly. This one is how to use it as a platform to change the course of an industry and history itself.
Great, thanks. Please tell us a little bit about your background and what you are currently doing.
I started as a university professor in Silicon Valley, at the acceleration of the innovation era there—leaders at Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Intel and soon to be executives were my students and then clients. First, from a business school platform, and then as an independent educator who offered consultative learning formats, I would collaborate with them to redesign businesses over 3-8 years. I have been doing basically, the same work, in an evolving state, for four decades. I have been an educator and coach to Fortune 500 Executives and over 100 Rock Star Entrepreneurs, from Seventh Generation to Google. I provide an innovative education process that give them capability to lead game changing business results with beneficial societal impacts, while producing financial effectiveness that far exceeds their industry.
Delving into your book now, who would benefit most from your book?
Executives and Entrepreneurs who want to grow their business as well as use that business to create healthy humans, societies and the planet. That means founders, CEOs and other executives, business unit leaders inside a business— and those who aspire to do so. I have worked in 52 industries and my books cover that range of experience from technology to food and fashion, to finance. Any one who aspires to change the course of history. I give them real stories, which I also lived, of great leaders shifting an industry’s aspiration, contribution and their position in those industries.
What makes your book different from other books that cover this same topic?
Both of my recent books are about really big change with a business, not just being better in business and not about doing social good which covers 90% of the books in the market. This recent book, The Responsible Entrepreneur targets small and entrepreneurial business and how much effect they can really have. It offers four Icons who have created big change plus 15 stories of ordinary people creating significant outcomes that change the course of history—an industry, a social system like criminal justice, cultural paradigms and beliefs and what governing agreements mean to us. It lays out in detail, how anyone with the courage can use the same principles and practices plus have an exceeding meaningful life. The stories combined with the lessons, plus a kick in the butt, invite you to be a much bigger player than you every thought you might be.
Rare in any business book are stories of women change- agents and leaders of color making a big difference. This book is over fifty percent stories of other than white male heroes. But they are there also. A much better mix.
This book has won four major awards. It is the Winner of Best Entrepreneur Book of the year by two global organizations and the largest business book distributor on the planet. Plus it was selected from over 11,000 business books that are published each year as one of the Top Thirty by Soundview for a summary. They do not rank them.
What are the most important elements, messages, or takeaways of your book that you’d like readers to know they will benefit from?
- Big Changes can happen with small-targeted efforts by ordinary people, or business, like you and like your business!
- History changes course because people, including in a business, decide to make it happen and take it on. They have the tenacity to learn how. It could be you.
- Entrepreneurship is innate in us all, as is a desire to have a significant life where we contribute. Focus your personal agency and target systems in need of change, and then your own entrepreneurship will matter.
- Financial Effectiveness (Earning, Margins and Cash Flow) is necessary to make a difference. Which is not the same thing as greed and getting rich. Know how to produce financial effectiveness, “responsibly,” will free up your Will and then there is no stopping you.
- Entrepreneurship requires courage and the development of one’s self as a person, but it also produces courage and growth.
What are the major sections of your book?
Section One. Four Icons who have changed the course of history with a business; how and why they did it. Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Oprah, Larry Page. With in depth parts of their stories you have not understood. Branson team told me that it was the best depiction they had seen, of how he works and why.
Section Two. Overview of Four Modern Leadership Archetypes that are changing how business and leaders lead.
First is the leadership process that helps people REALIZE what really matters. It focuses them on how to chose what to work on, what to build/create and where they can make the greatest contribution. In tribal cultures, the Warrior Archetype calls out this nature of effort. In modern times, I call them the Realization Entrepreneur- since they help and make people, face how things really work and overcome the myths that divert energy. They figure out how to fight for the ‘right things’ and ensure their people are renowned from their endeavors. The products and serves they produce surprise people because they are so disruptive, and on target for lives of their customers, they people are startled they did not see it before.
Second, is the leadership process that reconnects people to what they have lost touch with, making it easy to disregard our impact and take responsibility. In tribal cultures they are called ‘clowns” or ‘jesters.” They call out the elephant in the room. They ask us to see our own impact and effect. I call the modern archetype, the Reconnection archetype, because they connect us the world we live in and our role in it. With a great business, with great offerings, they people buy and love.
Third archetype that is a leadership process is the one that builds our connection to systems and to see the fragmentation we need to overcome in these systems. In tribal cultures they are called ‘hunters.” They help people understand they are embedded in a system and need to see the care that needs to exist for the whole to be healthy. I call this modern archetypal practice, the Reciprocity Entrepreneur, since the focus is on seeing how our co-dependency is inherent and co-evolution of our societies across the global ensures all prosper. You many be startled at the role a business can play on this scale. Google gets a shout out here in ways you never knew were going on.
The Fourth archetype or leadership process draws from the tribal archetype of the ‘headman or headwoman.” They are considering the way to use the governing agreements of a tribe to ensure the existence, creativity and regeneration when called for of a tribe or nation. The modern archetype I call the Regenerative Entrepreneur, because they lift up the aspects that unify and use societal agreements and founding principles to move a tribe forward. You learn of four entrepreneurs who have changed how we govern, using regulations and court decisions, to make life better for a community, nation and a planetary member.
Section Three. Nine stories, in nine chapters of amazing people who live ordinary lives, use of the four archetypes to life up their intention and means. Each is given with their personal and business story, plus the lessons from their experience. I will be surprised if you have heard any of these stories.
An outline of what is required of you to step into their shoes.
The final story shows why you need to know use all archetypes, have skill in each and become wise in when to don the mantel of each and drop the one that is not working. It is designed to build discernment as a leader.
Summary. Each archetype helps develop you as a person, becoming who leads significantly and how they use different archetypes for different challenges and opportunities. You get the details of results you may read in the press but did not know how they happened.
What is the best piece of advice for an entrepreneur you’ve ever received?
From Three different mentors:
- Promise others more than you know how to do, build capability to do so, and then deliver.
- Work to be authentic and in integrity with your highest principles.
- Fight for the things that will matter a hundred years after your life and you will not work out of fear, but from courage.
Give us an interesting fun fact about your book or the research you conducted for your book.
The “research” was lived experience in that the book is personal. I lived all the stories very close to these leaders. They are stories of my clients, colleagues and students. None are academic assessments, which most books are.
The second thing is that I am part Mohawk and I learned these archetypes from my Maternal Grandfather. There is a bit more detail on this in the book.
He told me how these archetypes were used to rebuild the Iroquois Nation after the “Trail of Tears” killed most native people while moving them from their chosen homes to Indian reservations. It had a huge impact on me.
Where can people find out more about you and/or your book?
You can also find the book and read reviews of The Responsible Entrepreneur on Amazon.com
Is there anything else you’d like to mention to our readers?
This is my eight book and second in the “Responsible” series. In June, I will publish the third book in the series, The Responsible Human: Living Great and Meaningful Life. Sign up for the newsletter on one of my websites to hear about its release. There is an RSS feed on blogs and podcasts so you stay up to date also.
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