Summertime is always an excellent time to reflect, recharge and catch up on reading you’ve been meaning to read for longer than you can remember. My reading list this summer is longer than in years past as the sheer volume of new work critical to those in the global engagement, corporate diplomacy and public diplomacy spheres has exploded. It could be that this is due to a pervasive feeling of discontent and urgency – where ideas are formed, issues collide, and independent action has a new meaning and consequence for peoples around the globe.
As I work with businesses, governments and NGOs as well as teach both MPD and MBA students, I am reminded daily by how differently leadership in each sector thinks and behaves. My reading list is reflective of this dynamic as they speak their own languages and operate in fundamentally different ways. The nature of global business issues and challenges today requires all of these groups to partner where appropriate and work effectively together. With this in mind, I selected the following for my Summer Corporate Diplomacy Reading List which apply to leadership in all sectors – business, government and NGOs. At a minimum these should also be required reading for MPDs and MBAs as well as anyone working or traveling globally.
First up on my list is Richard Branson’s Screw Business as Usual which I initially learned of at Secretary Clinton’s Global Impact Economic Forum at Georgetown earlier this spring. The forum was exceptional, with a blend of fresh thinking and new voices, something which is rare in Washington. Branson appeared at the forum with a host of others issuing a rallying cry and drawing attention to what the Secretary called, “a convergence of the recognition on the part of government, the private sector, civil society, that we can be so much more effective working together than working at cross-purposes.” In his book, which is as candid and direct as Branson has become known for, he outlines various arguments and approaches on why and how good business can be a force for good in the world. It is a re-thinking and re-imagining of how business operates globally and where business can expand its role in developing solutions that benefit all. The book is only one piece of a broader Screw Business as Usual movement Branson is championing which has an incredible companion website where stories are shared, key insights and lessons profiled, with numerous portals for action.
In addition to focusing on issues of import for global business, I’ve taken my reading list and distilled out key Corporate Diplomacy trends and issues that those who operate in a cross-sector capacity should be tuned into over the coming months. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I welcome your recommendations as I am always eager to expand my library and learnings.
Read Prof. Guittard’s Summer 2012 Corporate Diplomacy Trends & Reading List on Huffington Post here.
Cari E. Guittard is Principal, Global Engagement Partners and Professor of Global Management at Hult International Business School.