Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thoughts and Perspectives on Occupy Wall Street

1) #OWS is a massive system that cannot and need not be easily understood. I don't agree with everything I see or read. There is no central body of leadership or canon of perspectives. Nor is there a standard code of conduct - I don't agree with violence, vandalism, or the other harmful activities that have occurred.

2) For me, the central message is that there is something very wrong with our democracy and current iteration of capitalism.

3) Wall Street is a symbol of our current iteration of capitalism.

4) Corporations are being targeted because there seems to be an imbalance in power. I don't think all corporations are bad. I don't think corporations should have equal opportunity of personhood under the law. The corporations that hold the majority of capital, those that are too big to fail, gain privileges not afforded to all citizens and all groups. Why do big banks get bailed out for making bad financial choices in a macrocosm when individuals making the same bad choices in the microcosm achieve no recourse.

5) I don't think the police are being targeted beyond protest for wanton abuses of power and unnecessary use of force.

6) I think that government and the corporate structures of capitalism are being held equally responsible. Again, Wall Street and our current iteration of capitalism has become the symbol for the injustices of a system that has failed to support equal opportunity for all.

7) I don't think the majority of protestors are asking for a hand out. I think the majority are asking for equal opportunity and justice towards those that deny this opportunity.

8) The demographics of this movement make this movement a cultural expression of frustration. Equal democrats and republicans. Equal men and women. All brackets of education are represented equally. All income brackets are represented equally. There are business people, veterans, active military personnel, politicians, mothers, blue collar workers, unions, and students.

9) This is not a movement of hippies, liberals, and socialists. This is a movement of Americans.

10) Capitalism as symbolized by our market has failed to provide the opportunities capitalism promotes because there is an imbalance in power. Point of case, our traditional remedies and guarantees have failed and this movement is the market in radical reorganization and correction

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

It’s inevitable. Monday morning in the elevator I hear a variety of the following:

“The weekend was too short.”

“I can’t believe it’s Monday.”

“I’d rather be home in bed.”

“This sucks. Do I really have to work already again?”

On Wednesday:

“Thank god it’s hump day”

“Just two days left.”

On Friday:

“It don’t come quick enough.”

And the classic, “Thank god it’s Friday.”

I love the weekend as much as anyone, of course. And, come Monday morning I am truly excited to go to work. I am excited about my projects. I am excited about what I am doing. And, what I’m doing is requiring me stretch and grow - I have to step up. My work is my practice.

I’ll step out on a limb and say, if you’re not excited about your work you’re not living your full potential nor are you living on your evolving edge.

Find out what the world needs from you and what you’re passion about. Do that and the Monday elevator ride is a joy not a problem.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why Excel Analysts Aren’t Good Analysts

I love data. And I love data analysis. I also love spreadsheets. Making a great spreadsheet with complex formulas, multiple workbook links, and fancy macros brings me great joy. The simplicity that rests on rigorous complexity is very satisfying to me. There is nothing more comforting than knowing a function or an object will do exactly the same thing each time, and that the spreadsheet does exactly what you tell it to - the spreadsheet produces exactly what you want.

The predictability and consistency is near perfect.

As much as I appreciate perfect predictability, and as much as I value a solid body of data to make business decisions, I’ve really come to terms lately with the simple truth that life is not a spreadsheet and that the universe rarely functions logically, predictably, and consistently.

Of course there are trends and patterns. And of course making decisions with consideration of bodies of data analyzed and pivot-tabled to pristine perfect is a good idea. We can’t rely on just opinion, which is sadly what most do even in this day and age of pie charts and graphs.

The opportunity is to sense forward. Intuition is becoming an ever greater necessity in this day and age of the unpredictable and uncertain. And, after years in logic and predictability, our excel analysts (coupled with out dependency on them) have a lot of of catching up to do.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How I Raised My Klout Score By 40% In Four Days and What This Has To Do with Anything

I’ve been a bit obsessed lately with social media metrics. Partially because I’m a bit obsessed with metrics in general and partially because I’m a bit obsessed with the impact I have in the world. Impact is important to me. In certain terms, my life is about impact. And more specifically, intentional impact.

I’ve been playing with social media measurement tools the last few weeks. I have also created a few of my own social media measurement tools (specifically around blog posts, Facebook posts, and Twitter updates). I’ve been in an analytic wonderland which has been fantastic.

There is a key component of this wonderland that I’ve grown fond of - Klout.com. I’ve played with Klout a bit before, but have never spent much time with it. Over the last five days, I’ve checked my Klout rate often - like, six times a day. As I said, obsessive (and probably compulsive).

Checking in with Klout has added a loop into my social media engagement process: it’s inspired me to engage more. And in the last four days, my clout score has gone from 31 to 43. Actually, scratch that, I just checked again and it’s now 44. That’s a 41.935% increase!

Klout also says that I’m influential in yoga, spirituality, moms, and culture. I’m a bit bummed I’m not influential in business and social development. I’m a bit confused about why I’m influential in moms, but assume it’s because @jessicagottlied and I reply sometimes.

Having such a substantial increase in just a few days hasn’t been difficult, challenging or mysterious. The increase in my social media clout, at least on Twitter, came down to a simple thing: engagement.


  • I posted more
  • I replied more
  • And I retweeted more

That’s it. I simply became more engaged with those around me.

This got me thinking more about impact: how active am I with those around in other environments? Am I offering the same engagement, attention and value to those I sit with face-to-face? (My fiancee would probably say no).

The environment of life is more challenging than the environment of twitter. Twitter is fairly linear and it transcends time to a certain degree - I can look backwards at tweets to catch up. Secondly, here’s not a face-to-face Klout scoring system I can reference.

Given my experience the last few days, I am now more inspired to offer value face-to-face in the same way I do on Twitter. In walking life, this looks like:

  • Being present and participating with those around me (no mobile device distraction)
  • Responding which requires real listening. A lot of listening, and
  • Reflect what others or saying and doing

What’s your impact?

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Yoga of Business (And The Business of Yoga)

In a recent dialogue with Yoga Teacher and Ayurveda Practitioner Cate Stillman we worked with a group of teachers, healers, and visionaries to unravel the challenges of being a visionary sole proprietor, and delved into the opportunity of operating a vision business.

From Cate's Blog:

“Getting over the illusion that business is non-yogic, non-spiritual, I think is one of our next frontiers in the evolution of yoga.” – Kris Nelson

Most yogis don’t have a goal of making a enough money to have a sizable impact. Most yoga teachers I know would be quite pleased with themselves if they can buy organic kale, dark chocolate and travel to study with their chosen teacher. What is the impact of our yoga teaching community investing more in their yoga than in their business planning & business skills? This is one of my favorite conversations. And the person I go to to have this favorite conversation is Kris Nelson, who doesn’t hold back from addressing skills we need to cultivate to make a bigger difference.

To listen to the dialogue:

Your Business is Yoga (with Kris Nelson)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

askintegralexperts.com Interview: The Seven Relationships of an Integral Business

Below I am sharing the written answers from my interview with askintegralexperts.com. Not all of the questions made it into the interview or the final edit, so I have decided to share them here. When you have a moment, check out the interview on askintegralexperts.com. Because of the length of these answers, I have decided to post each separately.

3. One of your key ideas is called The 7 Relationships Of Business. Can you tell us what the 7 relationships are and how Integral theory influenced your thinking?

With the complexity of our world today and the volatility of our current market, it’s now more important than ever for consultants and businesses to have a big picture perspective. The 7 relationships of an integral business provides this perspective.

In the blog post It’s Time for the Bottom Line to Get Bigger I discussed the five major bottom line values of an integral business. This is a transcend-and-include hierarchical model from profits-only, to people-planet-profits, to profits-people-planet-principles-progress. This hierarchical line of development for business once realized creates sustainability, long-term success, and greater impact. This, though, is one measure of an integral business. To have a fuller picture, we must consider the Seven Relationships of an integral business.

The penta bottom line is a path of evolutionary growth that looks something like this:

With this view of evolutionary growth, an integral perspective allows for a whole picture recognizing that reality, life, business and all human disciplines exist in several distinct perspectives. If these perspectives are reduced key elements of consideration are lost.

The crux of integral theory is the four quadrants, which represent the perspective of the individual interior (subjectivity, thoughts, feelings, worldview, development), individual exterior (actions, objectivity, objects), the collective interior (intersubjectivity, culture, shared value), and the collective exterior (systems, society). Coupled with the evolutionary line of business value, from a singular bottom line to a penta bottom line, we begin to get a more clear picture of what makes a sustainable, profitable and impacting business with great meaning and value.

The last key consideration in an integral perspective is time: past and future. I like to view all of these pieces as relationships. When I analyze a business or an individual, I look at their relationship with each of these elements noting their degree of awareness and action creating a healthy or unhealthy relationship.

In a business system, these seven relationships each hold and create value and profit. Instead of a hammer seeking a nail, we need a big toolbox to build a profitable and sustainable business.

The Seven Relationships of an Integral Business


Individual interior:

  • Development
  • Worldview
  • Awareness
Individual exterior:
  • Actions
  • Roles
  • Assessment
  • Customers
Collective interior:
  • Culture
Collective exterior:
  • Systems
  • Organization Structure
  • Market

  • Data Analysis
  • Retrospectives

  • Strategy
  • Projections
  • Value consideration: The Penta Bottom Line
  • Meme Growth

Individual Interior:

This considers individual motivation, perspective, development, and worldview, all which create an individual’s actions making effective and efficient employees, skillful managers, and game-change leaders. Most coaching and development processes focus on individual interior development to improve exterior action and interaction.

Individual Exterior:

The individual exterior perspective views the actions and objective measures of individuals as they engage in their specific role in business. This also considers all of the individual roles (and the people in these roles) that make up a business, and their impact of the business as a whole. The individual exterior also considers a business’ customers.

Collective Interior:

This considers the collective culture created and sustained by each individual of the organization, and is typically steeped from the top down. Though, new and emergent organization models like Holacracy http://www.holacracy.org/ (Collective Exterior) are changing this.

Collective Exterior:

The collective exterior is the key perspective of organization structure, the work environment, and interacting systems (finance, human resources, teams, IT, etc.). This also considers the greater regional, national and world market (depending on the reach of the organization).


Resting on analysis the perspective of the past includes data analysis (sales, performance, budget, etc.), and specific industry history, and business history as a whole.


Strategy and projections light the way into the unknown, taking valuable information from the past.

Value Consideration:

A huge leap from traditional business’ singular value consideration of profit-only, the penta bottom line creates a bigger and necessary consideration of value.


A complex world requires complex perspectives. Take time to consider each of these relationships in your life and business. Which are healthy? Which are unhealthy? Have any been reduced or unconsidered? Opening up to a larger bigger and adding more tools to your tool box will build a more profitable and more sustainable business.

askintegralexperts.com Interview: The Evolution of Business

Below I am sharing the written answers from my interview with askintegralexperts.com. Not all of the questions made it into the interview or the final edit, so I have decided to share them here. When you have a moment, check out the interview on askintegralexperts.com. Because of the length of these answers, I have decided to post each separately.

2. I read in one of you essays about an idea called the “hierarchical line of business development.” Can you talk a little about what you mean by this?

It’s a confusing term – I need to find another way to talk about this, as most assume it’s about business growth in the traditional sense: finding new clients/customers and creating more revenue. Of course, I am all for new clients, customers and more revenue. And, in this circumstance, I am talking about something much bigger and ultimately, in the long term and high level perspective, something much more important.

I am talking about the way businesses grow through systematic perspectives and expressions of operations. One way we look at development is through outcomes or value measurements. One way we look at human development is through the lens of value measurement: what is an individual expressing in the world? We can do the same with business too.

Traditionally, businesses had a singular focus: profit for the owner (the bottom line). And, traditionally, businesses had just one owner (or a small group of partners), and this owner typically ran the business. As the business system has developed over time (due to human evolution), the measurement of value from and through business has also grown. One significant shift happened in the 1800s to the framing of the bottom line: the bottom line profit share grew as stock markets (buying share in companies) become more common. Instead of just one or a small amount of people sharing in a company’s success, a larger number of people could.

This economic shift created a shift in the way business was viewed. In the late 1800s, the Supreme Court decided that corporations were actual entities with the same rights of individuals (an early awareness that corporations is something unto itself affecting and being affected by the world around it – more on this later). In 1932 Adolf A. Berle and Gardiner C. Means published their treaty The Modern Corporation instigating the idea that business should not be run by owners but by professional managers creating a shift from owner operators to professional managers. These shifts paved the way for business evolution that we have seen through the 1900s and early 2000s.

In 1976, Michael C. Jensen and William H. Meckling published “Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs, and Owner Structure” in the Journal of Financial Economics which built a case that a business’ sole purpose was maximizing shareholder value. Many then (and now) saw this as a mistake, and in certain terms it was. Companies that have focused on and made decisions to maximize shareholder have underperformed companies that have focused on other things, for example, maximizing customer experience. This shift, however, created an important definition, which spurred both push back and evolution.

We saw inklings of the next major stage of business evolution during the cultural revolution of the 1960s but did not really see the full expression of the next major stage development until the late 1990s. This next stage was primarily expressed through triple bottom and LOHAS oriented businesses. With this, businesses began to open and expand the way value was measured. The impact of business created in the world was clear and the impact of a single bottom line profit driven company was clear – other things are affect and other things are at stake that affect both revenue and the world. This awareness also considered great spans of time (something we see in personal development too); a good single bottom line decision is not always a good triple bottom line decision and is not always a good revenue decision for long-term sustainability.

I believe the next stage in business evolution will be integral businesses that measure value through a penta bottom line lens: Profit, People, Planet, Principles and Progress. I won’t go into detail about this post, but you can read about it here.

Kristoffer Nelson | Krama Consulting & Development, Inc. | kramaconsulting.com