We are in the grip of bad ideas, false assumptions, and wrong values. Our 20th century habits of thought and behavior are getting in the way of responding to the new realities that require attention in the 21st century.
The governance operating system is based on an underlying assumption that employees act in their self-interest. This operating system worked perfectly fine for decades, until leaders began calling on employees for other things besides productivity.
I agreed to teach an hour-long class to seniors at my Brooklyn-based high school alma mater, thinking I might inspire some young people to start and operate their own small business, as I myself had done at their age, and to do it responsibly.
The challenge of starting a service oriented business or any small company is that you have no corporate work history, no client referrals, no resume with your company name on it. Often times you feel like a small fish in a very large ocean and no one even knows you're there.
Congress will eventually pass financial reform legislation. But long after the nuances are better understood and loopholes closed, diligent enforcement and ethical business practices will ultimately foretell if it is successful.
My father would have never made it to the board room of BP or AIG. He never made a million bucks. No government bailout would be there for him. He had to succeed - and he did. The basis of his success was five bedrock principles.
What strikes me about the Mahabharata is the emphasis on character development and integrity before skills are bestowed. Were this rule applied in business schools today, the BP rig leak may never have happened.
To create a better future, leaders and aspiring leaders must first envision their company as an authentically "good company" -- and then summon the creativity and the resiliency to overcome the obstacles that await.