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SEASON 1 recordings and materials

SEASON 1: the quest for "good"

Today's world is complex and defies simple answers. In order to progress, we need to reflect and explore, unlearn and rediscover, and engage with our heads, hearts, hands and souls. Together, we need to learn how to become the conscious and caring leaders humanity needs.

In our interview series “Leaders for Humanity” we plan to ask global thought leaders three simple questions: a) What is Good?, b) What is a Good Organisation?, c) How can we become Good, individually and collectively? Our hope is that, over time, these dialogues will help to shape and guide our evolving narrative. And we are extremely proud to present you an exceptional group of thought leaders in our brand-new "Season 1"!

For each interview you will find pre-readings and transcripts, pointers to further work, and our notes. Hopefully you will enjoy the sessions as much as we do!

Leaders for Humanity with Henry Mintzberg: The Urgent Case for Rebalancing Society

Henry is an outspoken critique of today’s "Corporate Society", advocating instead a Rebalanced Society which is — in his own words — made up of “a public sector of political forces rooted in respected governments, a private sector of economic forces based on responsible businesses, and a plural sector of social forces manifested in robust communities”.

Leaders for Humanity with Margit Osterloh: Stop the Crooks! The Case for Virtuous Organisations

In our interview Margit clarifies why shareholder capitalism is not sufficient; the importance of institutional ethics and how dialogue needs to be embedded in an institutional framework — touching on the relevance of power and procedural fairness; the difficulty to maintain corporate commons in large businesses; what we can learn from Athenian democracy and monasteries; and why academia has often abandoned the right path.

Leaders for Humanity with Stefano Zamagni: The Passionate Quest for a Civil Economy -Of Markets, Money and Morality

In our interview Stefan explains the paradigm of the “Civil Economy”, building on early European and Italian Economic theory, Christian values and the work of many renowned economists and political science researchers — from Amartya Sen to Elinor Ostrom, Joseph Stiglitz to Robert Putnam and many others.

Leaders for Humanity with Alicia Hennig: Virtue Ethics in Business - Do We Need Philosopher CEOs?

In our interview, we especially focus on business ethics as a discipline, comparing notions of virtues across philosophical systems and touching on Confucianism and Daoism; and we also looked at modern organisational models like “Rendanheyi” in Haier — whilst touching on Alicia’s personal experience of living in China.

Leaders for Humanity with Carol Sanford: The Regenerative Paradigm - Creating A Better Future For All

In our interview, we explore Carol’s perspective on paradigms and critical thinking, on the concept of “regenerative business” and how organisations can transform, and her thoughts on “nodal roles” that we can all adopt in our lives to enable positive change. Carol is convinced that all progress starts with eduction: when we start to truly adopt a “living system” paradigm, our lives and businesses will develop.

Leaders for Humanity with Alejo Sison: Happiness and Virtue Ethics in Business

Virtue ethics has been around for more than two millennia. Until recently confined mostly to tedious academic seminars or discourses between catholic priests, Aristotle's theory today is living a veritable renaissance. We discuss with Alejo how virtues have become a credible proposition for modern business, what we can learn from MacIntyre's After Virtues, and what it means to build a "common goods company".

Leaders for Humanity with Bruno Frey: Happiness and Economics

In our interview with Bruno we move beyond organisations and ethics to investigate public choice theory, the relevance of happiness in Economics and the importance of institutions. Bruno extends economics beyond standard neo-classics by including insights from other disciplines — like political science, psychology and sociology — and advances a number of highly innovative suggestions.

Leaders for Humanity with Blaine Fowers: An Emergent Theory of Natural Ethics

In our interview we had an intriguing dialogue about Blaine’s in-depth investigation into evolutionary theory seeking to bring Aristotle’s notion of “essentially human” excellence to live. Moreover, his research and teaching combines insights from psychology and philosophy — especially virtue ethics - to further enrich our understanding of how to lead a “good life”, at and beyond work.

Leaders for Humanity with Hari Tsoukas: Bridging Morality and Management

In our interview, we discuss with Hari the connections between ethics, organisations and leadership — investigating into multiple theoretical and philosophical perspectives on organisations-as-institutions, the relevance of strategy as a virtuous process, the importance of reflection-in-action, business ethics, and dialogic approaches to knowledge creation and system thinking.

Leaders for Humanity with Paul Adler: Capitalism Has Failed- Can Democratic Socialism Save Our World

In our interview, we discuss with Paul the symptoms of the 99% economy and explore how can we learn from both past and present to mitigate the crises of neoliberal capitalism; we review modern “high ground” organisations like Kaiser Permanente and deep dive into the configuration and challenges of a highly participative “strategising” process; and learn why bureaucracy will not disappear any time soon. Finally, based on his extensive inquiry into both political and organisational theory and practice, Paul develops his alternative model of democratic socialism.

Leaders for Humanity with Bill Torbert: The Powerful Art of Action Inquiry

In our interview, we discuss with Bill how to practice “action inquiry” in order to transform ourselves individually and collectively, and become good leaders of ourselves and others. We review the “action logics” - Bill’s framework for the development of mental paradigms, and investigate how organisations and academia can contribute to increase our capacity to reflect and act wisely. And we also hear about Bill’s ontological perspective on science and the nature of time — a session not to be missed!

Leaders for Humanity with Simon Western: A Quest for Eco-centric Leadership

In our highly stimulating interview, we discuss with Simon the implications of critical management theory and his research in social movements, his in-depth revision of salient historical leadership discourses and the challenges with new and systemic leadership approaches. Building on Simon’s personal experience we also centred on the relevance of psychodynamics and morality, and the opportunity to re-enchant our work and lives.

Leaders for Humanity with André Habisch: Leadership and The Art of Practical Wisdom

In our fascinating discussion, we explored with André the institutional and cultural embeddedness of entrepreneurship — focussing especially on the role of entrepreneurs in Germany’s post-war period, as well as the outstanding success of the German Chambers of Commerce and its vocational apprenticeship model. Moreover, we reviewed concept and importance of practical wisdom in leadership development, as well as the role of religion and spirituality in a“good life” - and discussed whether moral norms are in contradiction with modern pluralism.

Leaders for Humanity with Emanuele Quintarelli: Pioneering New Ways To Organise

There is much discussion about new models for modern non-bureaucractic organisations - from holacracy and sociocracy to adhocracy, humanocracy, agile and Rendanheyi. With Emanuele we will seek to disentangle these new and diverse forms and explore how they link to ethical design principles, as well as discuss the maturity and limits of their application.


Additional materials:


Our selection of insightful and inspirational quotes from all the 14 interviews in Series 1.


At the global "Teal Summit" 2022 we present our latest thinking about a new theory of Good Organisations. At its core is a new purpose for better business: "GoodOrganisations seek to develop our highest human potential in support of the good life and sustainable prosperity of all – carefully developing organisational routines that enable meaningful work, generative and co-elevating communities, sustainable products & services."


At Simon Western's Eco-Leadership Institute we briefly present our current thinking about a new theory of leadership development, focused on practical wisdom. We seek to integrate traditional skill development, psychodynamics and cognitive development, as well as moral development.

KPMG Board Leadership News 01/2022: The Scientific View. Stop The Suffering: “Good Organizations” Wanted

We have formulated initial hypotheses about “Good Organisations” and “Good Leadership”, building on many of the discussions during our Leaders of Humanity Season 1 interviews.Some of our thinking was picked up by others, including Haufe Group and KPMG.
If you have any additional resources, contacts, suggestions, ideas  - or if you have comments or questions - please get in touch via our contact form!