Living Ecosynomics: Brand Stewardship at THORLO

Past-cast Series — Seeing relevance in earlier publications

Ritchie-Dunham, James, James Throneburg, and Michael Puleo. 2010. Living Ecosynomics: Brand Stewardship at THORLO, White Paper, Belchertown, MA: Institute for Strategic Clarity, October.

This is a story about a company whose idealistic and successful leader has long been engaged in re-inventing it as an American-based, community-rooted, sustainable manufacturer and retailer. Entrepreneurial leaders, at their best, are valued for a capacity to read the changes taking place in the world and respond creatively to open up new value creating opportunities.

Jim Throneburg (JLT), owner and CEO of THORLO, a well-known hosiery company in Statesville, NC, sensed several years ago that as he got older, he was facing a management succession issue not uncommon to entrepreneurial companies. After several failed attempts at stepping back and letting his management team run the business, transforming THORLO’s business model into a something that was high performing and sustainable became a very strong mandate. The main issue was that nobody, including JLT, was able to make explicit and put in practice what JLT knew how to do unconsciously – what he calls his unconscious competence.

Guest post — Ecosynomics Salon at 30 Rock in Manhattan

Guest blog by Carol Gorelick and Mike Puleo

On August 1 Jim Ritchie-Dunham, Carol Gorelick and Mike Puelo co-hosted an Ecosynomics salon in a 41st floor Deloitte boardroom with a beautiful view of Manhattan. 18 interested and interesting people gathered to learn about Ecosynomics.

Individuals introduced themselves as educators, trainers, strategists, academics, consultants and authors. The common thread was experience in cross-functional, cross sector work, curiosity about groups/organizations that outperform others and deep commitment to continuous personal and organizational learning.

The invitation was to a 2-hour salon, or “tasting” to dive into one’s agreements and understanding of how they support the sustainable success of an organization as well as its extended community. Thanks to Leslie Ritchie-Dunham, participants were welcomed into an open, warm space with delicious wholesome food and drink, served with care. Deloitte generously let us use their space for the Salon. People entered the “formal” boardroom already engaged and chatting. When we ended, several people continued the conversation for more than an hour.

Jim described the Ecosynomics framework and harmonic vibrancy survey with its outcomes. The highlight was small group conversations that allowed each person to apply the framework to themselves and groups they believe were or are examples of harmonic vibrancy.

Following the salon we have offered attendees the opportunity to take the survey and the Ecosynomics ecourse. We elicited feedback from the participants. Their words are the best way to share the experience:

“I have already ‘bought’ Jim’s e-book on Ecosynomics…. I also have found a client opportunity to introduce Jim’s work to them, and want them to take the survey as a ‘family group’…and incorporate the feedback / survey results into a 3-day workshop.”

“It was utterly fascinating…and even more fascinating were the incredible group of people who were in attendance…but it was way too little time for the deep discussion we started having, and I have many more questions than answers regarding the presentation, methodology, and potential applications!”

Our intention is to continue to evolve the “Salon,” inviting people from diverse communities. We have been asked and will host another gathering to continue the conversation we began on August 1; perhaps this will be the beginning of a Harmonic Vibrancy NY community of practice.

We would be delighted to help design and facilitate if you are interested in hosting or participating in a salon event.  Please contact us if you are interested.

Carol Gorelick is co-founder and Executive Director of ABC Connects, working in the U.S. and South Africa to develop school-community partnerships that strengthen schools and build communities.  Having worked in large global companies, a consultancy, and at Pace University and the University of Cape Town, Carol bridges the worlds of practice, capacity building, and research.

Michael Puleo is a founding board member of ISC.  He is a Director at Deloitte Consulting LLP.  His passion is yacht racing, campaigning across the eastern seaboard.  He also chairs the board of the Stamford Symphony Orchestra.

The Costs of Scarcity … The Benefits of Abundance

“The Costs of Scarcity … The Benefits of Abundance” — a white paper from the Institute for Strategic Clarity

We contend that most organizations are losing the benefits of the capabilities for which they pay dearly and exercise daily.  When one understands that these losses arise from a measurable scarcity state that produces scarcity practices, one can begin to substantively reduce these “costs of scarcity.”  We demonstrate to the reader from case studies herein that working out of a conscious “abundance dynamic” – versus a less conscious “scarcity dynamic” – enables one to make sustainable, striking gains in the conduct of day-to-day and long-term business.

What if you could increase the quantity and quality of resources in your organization, their efficiency, effectiveness, and innovativeness by 100% at no cost?  The fact is that most organizations are missing at least 75% of the benefits of the capacities they have already paid for, as a result of, costs of waste, poor quality, excessive inventory, turnover of high-performance employees, stress, and the failure to meet customer needs.  These same organizations may also be missing up to 90% of the benefits of the potential within their reach, such as seeing new opportunities, attracting top performers, increasing the percentage of the highest margin products and services in their niche, the potential contributions every employee brings every day, and stakeholder loyalty.

Our calculation of potential lost benefits is further supported from the large volume of research in lean manufacturing.  This research shows that only 5-35% of work adds value, with 65-95% of work being one or more of the “seven deadly wastes:” overproduction, waiting time, over processing, defects and rework, excessive motion, inventory, and transportation.  The “costs of scarcity” framework highlights many of the systemic root causes of the seven deadly wastes, indicating they are a conservative estimate of the costs of scarcity.

Abundance is a dynamic state, accessed through your organization’s capacity to generate and sustain a flow of more than it needs, more than it can use, and to spin-off the surplus to the benefit of itself, its stakeholders, and its larger system.  Abundance is an inner and outer state in which one exercises specific capacities to produce and sustain the resources one needs to realize an individual or collective purpose.  Outwardly, abundance produces material and financial resources, sufficient manpower, necessary skills and competencies, etc.  Inwardly, it generates and sustains initiative, creativity, leadership, intellectual know-how, confidence, and clear understanding of future barriers and possibilities.  Inner and outer abundance capacities are mutually reinforcing.  The riches one creates enhance one’s confidence and capacity to generate further riches.  The dynamic of abundance acts as a self-perpetuating virtuous feedback loop, raising all players in its system.

The capacity to be in abundance provides obvious, ample and direct benefits.  The capacity for this abundance already exists in your organization in:

  • the potential and development of your strategic resources, both tangible and intangible
  • new and more effective possibilities in your organizational structures and processes
  • your stakeholders’ perception of the value of their relationship with you.

Abundance is a desirable state for any organization.  While this seems obvious, direct measurement of this abundance is not.  If you can measure your capacity for abundance, your company can assess the benefit-cost of investing in abundance-based practices.

Most organizations live in and compensate heavily for scarcity.  Some organizations are figuring out how to live in abundance and benefit from the extraordinary outcomes it produces.  We will show you how to measure the benefit of abundance, providing a benefit-cost investment framework, as well as where to invest in abundance.  Four case studies illustrate the framework.

Download the white paper.

The Costs of Scarcity and the Benefits of Abundance

Ritchie-Dunham, James, and Michael Puleo. 2012. The Costs of Scarcity and the Benefits of Abundance, White Paper, Belchertown, MA: Institute for Strategic Clarity, June.

Abundance – more than you can use – provides ample direct benefits to any organization. This abundance already exists in the potential and development of your strategic resources, in the unfulfilled possibilities in your organizational structures and processes, and in your stakeholders’ perceived value of the relationship with you.

Abundance is a desired state for any organization. While this seems obvious, direct measurement of this abundance is not. Without measurement, a company cannot assess the benefit-cost of investing in abundance-based practices. The quality movement shows us the way. The measurement of the cost of no-quality provides a minimal estimate of the benefit of quality. Similarly, this paper proposes a framework for the costs of no-abundance or the costs of scarcity. The framework is then applied to four cases, making direct measurement of the benefit of abundance obvious.