The task of a leader is to get people from where they are to where they have not been
There where is love, is life.
What inspires us touches our soul from deep inside. To understand what touches us, provides us with a compass in life. We love to share some examples that inspire us, in business as well as in personal life.
'Thursday appointment' short Iranian video
The Iranian man steering the car, is actually alone in the car. In his mind his deceased wife is sitting next to him and he's talking to her. He brought flowers to put on her grave, something many Iranians do on Thursdays, hence the title of the short video 'Thursday appointment'. It starts with the couple playing the game of exchanging verses from famous Iranian poets with each other (for example Hafez, Rumi). One says a verse from a poem, the other continues with a different verse from a poem starting with the last letter of the other one's verse. Until they stop before a traffic light and they witness an argument of a young couple in the car next to them.
Epilogue: the video illustrates in an impressive way the power of a little token of love to another person and the impact it can have. We are all capable of doing this, with a little token of love touch the lives of people around us.
- click the image to watch 'Thursday appointment' -
'Down to Earth' - Rolf Winters
The leadership principles and way of life of the Anishnaabe (the original Native Americans) inspired him to embark on the adventure that would eventually last five years and result in the film Down to Earth. Life in nature and the encounters with the Earth Keepers have permanently changed his life and his attention is now focused on creating wisdom-based leadership, where care for people, profit, planet and purpose go hand in hand. Rolf works with current and future leaders who see it as their responsibility to work for future generations.
Epilogue: Rolf and his wife Renata together with their kids have succeeded to, in an inspirational way, make the wisdom of the 'earth keepers' around the world accessible for us. And that wisdom is very relevant, up to date and somewhat uncomfortable in the eyes of many. Our Futuresmart strategy is partially based on this wisdom.
- click the image for the 'Down to Earth' trailer -
'Motorcycle diaries' - Ernesto 'Che' Guevara
In 1952 two Argentinians, Ernesto Guevara and Alberto Granado, depart together on a motorcycle journey through South-America. Ernesto is an asthmatic 23 year old medical student specialized in Lepra research and Alberto is a 29 year old biochemist. The old motorcycle is called 'la Poderosa' (the Mighty). During their journey, from the Argentinian pampa's via the Andes through the dry Atacama desert ending up in a Lepra colony in Peru, they have encounters with dayworkers, the poor, the sick, the suppressed and other members of the lower class, what for both of them changes the way they view their privileged position as members of the higher class. At the end of the movie Ernesto has developed from a young adventurer to a political rebel wanting to fight the inequality.
Epilogue: the movie inspires because of the rawness, authenticity, humor and tragedy between Ernesto and Alberto. The peace and determination that arise within Ernesto when he gains understanding of his purpose, is beautiful and profound. A movie well worth watching, which leaves an unerasable impression with many.
- click the image to watch the 'Motorcycle diaries' trailer -
Harry Potter author JK Rowling - Harvard commencement speech
In 1990 Joanna Rowling, during a 4 hour delayed train journey from Manchester to London, invented the story of a young wizard: Harry Potter. In the following 5 years she extended the storylines to a seven book series. The last four books in the series became the fastest selling books in history. Worldwide more than 500 million copies have been sold. In the commencement speech for Harvard University she highlights: 'I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And because you are all at the so called threshold to real life I also want to emphasize the crucial meaning of the capability to imagine.'
Epilogue: the benefits of failure and the power to imagine are important ingredients for personal development. Text and video of the speech are highly recommendable. It provides wisdom for life with the modesty of someone who knows what it is to fail and by finding her purpose could get up back on her feet again, and more.
- click the image for JK Rowling's Harvard University commencement speech -
Ordinary love - U2's Bono (and Nelson Mandela)
Bono, short for Bono Vox, is the U2 rockband lead singer. For decades he has been producing succes after succes with the band starting with 'I will follow'. He personally strongly advocates against the injustice in the world, everywhere and especially in Africa. With quotes like: 'It's not ok anymore, to let children die from the lack of a 50 cent immunisation injection'. He holds leaders from across the globe accountable. He also had a strong connection with Nelson Mandela and the music video 'Ordinary love' is in honor of that friendship. 'I am rebelling against the idea that the world is the world as it is and I can do f@#k all to change it. So I try to f@#king do something about it.
Epilogue: the determination in his fight against injustice paradoxically originates from his father being a vicar. His father always told him he was never going to be good for anything. And it's exactly that what has turned him into the 'megalomaniac' he still is today, quoting his own words.
- click the image to watch the music video 'Ordinary love' -
Rovio Entertainment CEO (Angrybirds) - Kati Levoranta
In 2017 she was awarded number 3 of the coolest tech-CEO's of Europe: the Finnish Kati Levoranta, leader of Angry Birds producer Rovio Entertainment. She studied law in Columbia and economy in Helsinki. After her study she worked with Nokia and in 2012 she started with Rovio. First as head of the legal department and after that as sales director Europe, Middle East and Africa. She then proceeds in the role of CEO of the company. ‘We have brought back the entrepreneurial spirit and created an environment in which employees can experiment again. Besides that, we have worked hard on an open culture, in which transparency is key. Employees should feel important and valued. It's ok to make mistakes. This thought releases tremendous energy and creativity.’
Epilogue: Kati has put people first again in an economic challenging time. That takes vision and guts. She demonstrates that she has understood how organisations in modern times can be successfully managed with instant delivery of positive results. The video reveals her balance between stamina and people orientation. 'I got it all from my grandmother'. In the video she also talks about diversity and combining her CEO role with her role as a parent of two teenagers.
- click the image to watch the interview with Kati Levoranta -
DSM ex CEO Feike Sijbesma
Feike studied medical biology and business adminstration. In 1987 he began his career at Royal Gist-brocades as strategic planner within the Industrial Pharmaceutical Products division. From 2007 to 2019 Feike Sijbesma was the CEO of DSM. In an interview in the Dutch Financial Times he states: 'My parents have always believed in me and were clear: 'The talents you have, you have to use them. It is your own responsibility to discover what you are good at.' That gave me a lot of confidence'. He applied that on company level at DSM. Feike received the 'Humanitarian of the year award' (2010) and the 'Leaders of Change award' (2011), both from United Nations.
Epilogue: Feike is a strong ambassador for a circular economy, in which economies and industries deal with earth's resources in a responsible way. Watch the video with his vision whilst he was the CEO of DSM. The company transformed from the Dutch State Mines to 'Doing Someting Meaningful'. His personal story of when he was in Africa holding the baby of a young mother tells a lot: 'You know' are the two words he will never forget. We all know. But what do we do? Furthermore he is a role model for the modern CEO. 'I somehow always remained to be that little boy: sensitive, playful, full of questions and interests'.
- click the image for Feike Seibesma personal story working for DSM -
Khan academy founder Salman Khan - Let's teach for mastery, not for test scores
Salman started teaching his niece Nadia using the online Doodlenotebook from Yahoo!. When other family members and friends asked for his teaching materials, he decided using Youtube would make more sense. From there on a growing number of people discovered his videos and Salman received numerous reviews from people that were very appreciative of the content that he had posted. This initial and unexpected impact motivated Salman in 2009 to quit his job in the financial sector, working for a hedge fund. This way he could fulltime his focus on the 'Khan academy'. Bill Gates once commented on this: "I would say we approximately moved upwards 160 IQ-points from the hedgefund category to teaching-a-lot-of-people. It was a beautiful day when his wife allowed him to resign."
It's incredibly inspiring what Salman achieved. His video's on TED tell the story and the statement 'Let's teach for mastery, not for test results' is at the core of the learning proces. Khanacademy is non commercial and funded through philanthropic organizations (such as the Bill and Melissa Gates foundation) and has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, with branches in many countries.
- click the image above for Salman's TED speech from 2015 -
Melinda Gates - Pursue passion with a vengeance
In this very down to earth half an hour talk for a Stanford University class, she talks about her own background and her work for the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. She uses two examples: child vaccination and birth control in developing countries to highlight the importance of innovation and to not accept facts 'That should not be'.
She learned how to be good at managing teams. And when things got tough a little bit or she felt unhappy and she thought "Gosh I have to be like somebody else, I have to manage like that person manages that team", she just had to realise that she had to go back to who she was and to manage in her style.
Epilogue - The 'That should not be'-attitude that Melinda talks about, is the key for the work of the foundation. Her three quick thoughts at the end of her talk: 'We are in an amazing point in time to be here. Figure out what your passion is and pursue it, pursue it with a vengeance. Surround yourself with experts in fields you are uncomfortable in'. 'And do something NOW. If you believe in innovation, there are things you can do to change the world'. She closes with a quote: 'Never underestimate the ability of a group of committed individuals to change the world. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has.' - Margaret Mead (American cultural anthropologist 1901-1978).
- click the image above to watch her inspiring talk for Stanford -
The butterfly circus - Nick Vujicic, the man without limbs
This is a wonderful short film featuring Nick Vujicic born in Australia without arms and legs, who plays the main character, Will. Beginning his journey in a sideshow carnival act as the “Limbless Man,” Will encounters Mr. Mendez, the famous showman for his renowned, “Butterfly Circus.” What others see as a “defect,” Mr. Mendez sees as beauty in each one of his performers, causing them each to emerge from their own cocoon. Mr. Mendez encourages Will to discover his own abilities and reach his full potential, “The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph!”
Epilogue: this impressive short movie reveals the difference between focussing on your disabilities opposed to focussing on your possibilities. Everybody has a talent, it's up to you to discover it, develop it and use it.
- click the image above to watch this short movie -
Step inside the circle - Prison compassion project
Many of the men and women living behind bars aren’t aware of their Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Compassion Trauma Circle is one of the ways to raise awareness about what happens when the brain and body are traumatized before the age of 18. What naturally follows is an urgent call to change how we treat and care for these traumatized individuals, 95% of whom will one day become our neighbors again once they leave the prison walls. Those who have experienced the Compassion Trauma Circle and have learned about the symptoms of trauma feel a sense of relief and self-forgiveness. It has given them understanding about their past behavior and opens a doorway to forgiveness, making amends and healing.
Epilogue: this is a call to action, to spread the word about Adverse Childhood Trauma (ACEs), to understand the physical, emotional and social impact ACEs have brought on our society and to stress the importance of care (not punishment) going forward in the criminal justice system.
- click the image above to watch the video -
Steve Jobs - Stanford commencement speech
Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Epilogue: very valuable life lessons Steve shares in this speech, not at all about technology or business. He dares to share his own life story and connects his dots looking back, where at the time he didn't know what it would lead to.
- click on the image above to watch Steve's commencement speech -
The task of a leader is to get people from where they are to where they have not been