I’ve written before about the fierce debates over ESG from within the community. But it’s pretty fierce outside too.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis (whom the despicable Alex Jones calls “better than Trump”) and his state Board of Administration have directed the state’s pension funds to focus only on highest possible financial returns, and to not use “[c]orporate power…to impose an ideological agenda on the American people through the perversion of financial investment priorities under the euphemistic banners of environmental, social, and corporate governance and diversity, inclusion, and equity,”

The “woke wars” aside, there are false premises, and fierce failure of fiduciary duty, embedded in this move, which presumes that environmental and social concerns are inevitably ideological when they in fact often fall to fiduciary duty.

ESG points (albeit poorly) to a cascade of material risks: climate, ‘natural’ disasters, supply chains (how’s ship traffic in a dry Rhine River working out for you, Herr Bunky?), energy supply, soil productivity, the viability—and livability— of cities, ability to recruit and retain talent, cost of credit… I could go on, and so could you.

In banning consideration of such material concerns, DeSantis is of course imposing his own “anti-ideological” ideological agenda—a trend that will need to be stopped by voters (are you registered?) and by hard-nosed, bottom-line-focused, business leaders who understand that hey need to manage for the future, not the past.

In our 21st monthly conversation (here’s the recording), we talked about the multiple messes we find ourselves in; the dance between despair and hope in an utterly unpredictable world; the challenge of when to “vibrantly listen” across the gulfs that divide us, when to gird for battle, and when to ally with deep adversaries to defend against common foes. (Please like and subscribe!)

New this month: we did three rounds of WorldCafe-style breakouts to enable richer conversations. (These are not included in the recording.) “This was the call I’ve been coming for,” one participant said. So we’ll do this breakout process next month too.

(I’d welcome your suggestions potential seed questions for these breakouts… and join us! (We gather the third Wednesday of every month; you can register here for September 21st (and the rest of the year).

BTW, Ken Homer (one of the co-developers of the World Cafe, and my co-host for this call) recalls these words from mythologist Michael Meade: “If we can’t sit in those tough conversations with people who see things differently than we do and be open to incorporating their viewpoints, we will never make headway on solving the long and depressing list of problems, challenges, and messes we face”

OTOH, there’s this: No, I Will Not Debate You: Civility will never defeat fascism, no matter what The Economist thinks. What do you think?

Here’s my periodic reminder that elections matter, and that if we want to get better, then we’re going to have to do better. That means, imho, that the Dems need to run HARD on the issues that supermajorities of Americans care about—guns, Roe, AND climate, which polls higher than either of those!—and take both the House and the Senate in November.

Imagine what might happen if all of us did all we could—whether phone or live canvassing, campaign contributions, talking friends and family out of apathy…and even more of us running for office! (A great example of “think global, act local!”) Next time, I’ll offer some suggestions of where you can contribute your time and money to best effect.

A reminder: we can work together—if you’re ready. There are several ways that can happen. Pick your favorite(s)!

  • Coaching: I provide one-on-one, tough-love support for leaders and emerging leaders, to build effectiveness, power, presence, and peace of mind. Could you benefit from engaging me as your trimtab? One current client calls our work together “one of the best business investments I’ve made, ever.” Here’s my new video invitation.
  • Speaking: Invite me to keynote your next conference or speak to your board or company retreat. (You can watch some of my recent keynotes at my YouTube channel, linked below.)
  • Advising: Natural Logic helps companies commit to, and deliver on, sufficient goals—that move us closer to the world we need, faster than we ever thought possible, and deliver, in the words of one client, “massive value.” Could that be of interest for your organization? Then let’s talk!
  • Or just ask-me-anything—on-demand!

And as always, thank you for all you do for a world that works!

In solidarity,

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