Clarity First Newsletter, December 23, 2016


It’s almost Christmas, and Chanukah starts tomorrow. This weekend two of my three kids and one boyfriend will be home. I’m feeling sentimental and appreciative. So this letter is less about how we work and more about how we learn, and love and live.


Usually I put the Playlist near the bottom. This week I’m putting it on the top so that you can play this hauntingly beautiful song while you read the letter. Leonard Cohen, with his groove-tight touring band backed by a trio of angel voices, conjures the beauty of the dark winter so elegantly: Hallelujah. Yes it is dark, but it will lighten, is lightening. Special call out to Hammond B3 organ master Neil Larsen. Thank you, Leonard. Rest in peace.

Do you have clear, written and measurable goals for your business and personal growth?

Tis the season for turning over new leaves. Great advice from internet marketer Mitch Meyerson and Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
Article: 10 Rules for Setting Goals That Can Change Your Life

Don’t argue with family. Avoid Facebook rants. Do show up and speak at community meetings.

Infographic: From Safety Pins To Solidarity Marches: A Guide To Helping In 2017

The health and wellness benefits of reading printed material outweigh the convenience and affordability of digital devices.

Books are really cheap and they absolutely make a room. And darn if they don’t work better, too.
Article: Science Says You Should Still Keep Reading Print Books Over e-Books.

Mindfulness as antidote to unethical behavior

Many unethical decisions stem from a lack of awareness. Since mindfulness, which is becoming increasingly popular in organizational development, cultivates awareness, can mindfulness promote ethical behavior in organizations?
Article: Can Mindfulness Promote Ethics in Business?

A special DIY Brand Camp for non-profits

I’m working with Suzanne Beck and the Northampton Chamber of Commerce to present a one day branding workshop tailored to non-profits. Save the date: February 15, 2017, at the Smith College Conference Center. Watch this space.
Article: Learn to Be Your Own Non-Profit’s Brand Consultant

Even as Trump shocked the world, public and private sector action on climate change increased this past year.

Article: 9 Sustainable Business Stories That Shaped 2016

When people have a better understanding of systems, they are better able to identify actions that lead to desired outcomes.

The New England Food Vision describes a future in which at least 50% of our food is grown, raised, and harvested in New England, and no one goes hungry. It sees farming and fishing as important regional economic forces; soils, forests, and waterways cared for sustainably; healthy diets as a norm; and racial equity and food justice promoting dignity and well being for all who live in New England.
Article: Systems Mapping and Strategy Development for a Better Food Future

Images of the week

Since the election, thousands have expressed their anger, sadness, hope, and calls for tolerance by posting their feelings on walls of sticky notes throughout the NYC subway system. Last week the NY Historical Society announced that they will preserve and archive the entire project.

The effort is a part of their History Responds program, a focus on preserving objects “from spontaneous moments of crisis or exhilaration”. Previous ephemera-turned-artifacts have included relics from marriage equality celebrations and items from the Stonewall Inn vigil for victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. Photos by Claire Voon.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Clarity, the consultancy that helps mission-driven companies use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as powerful tools for transformation.

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  1. I enjoyed this newsletter! On the subject of systems thinking, in grad school I’ve been learning about “wicked problems”, which is a term used in public policy for interconnected problems that are symptoms of one another (i.e. education affects poverty which affects crime which affects housing values which affects school budgets, so you can’t solve them individually). The theory helped bring systems thinking into political science starting in the 70s. We read about wicked problems in a required class at NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. Keep it up!

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