Globally Responsible Leadership

Greetings from Oulu Finland and the GRLI General Assembly!

In the interest of sharing this exciting conference with a number of people, I thought I’d try my hand at blogging. So, welcome to my first blog post!

Let me start with a little background…GRLI stand for the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative which is a worldwide partnership of companies, business schools, and learning organizations working together in a laboratory of change to develop a next generation of globally responsible leaders. GRLI members share a commitment to dramatically reshaping the nature of business and leadership in the 21st century. They envision a new role for business that moves beyond a narrow focus on growth and unsustainable consumption to one that contributes to society and promotes progress for humankind. Correspondingly, the focus of business and leadership education shifts from being the best IN the world to being the best FOR the world. For more information, see the GRLI website:

I’m attending the annual GRLI General Assembly in Oulu. Why am I here? A number of reasons:

  1. GRLI is in alignment with my practice and what I hope to achieve in my consulting. I’ve been looking for an organization that was devoted to deep, meaningful change in business AND in how businesses approach leadership.
  2. My connection is through a wonderful colleague, Ann Dinan, who has taken the initiative to bring GRLI (which is a primarily European organization, based in Brussels) to North America. Ann has recently become the North American Head of the organization and I’m partnering with her to create a GRLI presence in our part of the globe.
  3. To be a little less serious, those of you who know me well can attest to the fact that I always love an adventure. So the opportunity to take a week to visit an unknown place such as Oulu Finland in hopes that an unknown organization, GRLI, would be a “fit” for me was irresistible!

It’s now almost midnight on the 23rd and I’ve just returned from my first dinner with the group who comprises the “GRLI consultancy and advisory interest group.” This is the first meeting for those of us not affiliated with business schools, large consultant organizations, or businesses. This group may be small, but are already incredibly diverse: German, English, South African, Swedish/Iranian, Chinese, Australian, American…more expected tomorrow. In our different ways, as we got acquainted over dinner, we talked about an intense dedication to a common vision: a more human, socially just, and sustainable approach to business. We meet all day tomorrow to have dialogue around the important role of consultants in developing globally responsible leadership. (Responsibility, you may ask – what is that? Exactly the question on the table!) I will send more tomorrow, but based on my initial introduction, this will be a fascinating experience!