1711 – Nadine Hack on the Art of Connection and Collaboration

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the CEO of beCause Global Consulting, Nadine Hack.

Nadine's company, beCause Global Consulting, has earned recognition as the best stakeholder engagement consulting firm, a testament to her expertise in improving connections within the corporate world.

Her upcoming book, “The Power of Connectedness,” features a foreword by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, further emphasizing the importance of her work.

Nadine also introduced her concept of strategic relational engagement. This approach involves showing up with oneself, including flaws and vulnerabilities, to invite deeper engagement and discover the humanity in others.

While she acknowledges that not everyone may be open to this approach, Nadine firmly believes in its potential to foster authentic communication and connection in a highly divided world lacking trust.

Nadine shared an exercise she uses to help people go beyond surface-level introductions and truly understand each other. By reflecting on what is happening in their lives, individuals can share from a deeper, more authentic place, leading to better understanding and connection.

Nadine's work extends to various sectors, including business, government, and civil society. She helps individuals and organizations reconnect with their core purpose, break down silos within their organizations, and establish meaningful relationships with external stakeholders.

She emphasizes the importance of clear communication and mutual expectations in these relationships, whether with friendly or adversarial stakeholders.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Introduction of Nadine Hack as CEO of beCause Global Consulting
  • Recognition of her company as the best stakeholder engagement consulting firm
  • Mention of her book “The Power of Connectedness” with a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Overview of her book “Adversaries to Allies” and its impact
  • Experience working with notable individuals and heads of corporations
  • Emphasis on the importance of building connections and expanding networks
  • Introduction of Nadine's concept of strategic relational engagement
  • Discussion on the importance of authentic communication and connection
  • Examples of her work in bringing together different stakeholders

About Nadine Hack:

Nadine Hack is a distinguished figure in responsible business leadership and corporate social responsibility. Recognized as a Top 100 Thought Leader in Trustworthy Business Behavior, she has garnered numerous accolades, including a Lifetime Achievement Trust Award.

Nadine is a trusted consultant, advisor, and coach for senior executives in business, nonprofit, and government sectors. Her expertise lies in clarifying goals, overcoming obstacles, and excelling in leadership.

A strong advocate for ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), Nadine actively promotes global citizenship, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

She was the first woman Executive-in-Residence at IMD Business School and has served on the boards of various companies and nonprofits, including the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation.

Nadine founded beCause, recognized as the Best Specialist Stakeholder Engagement Consulting Firm. She is also an author, TEDx speaker, and a respected presence in media, contributing her insights to publications like Forbes, The Financial Times, and The New York Times.

Nadine's extensive experience and passion for responsible leadership have made her a sought-after expert in stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and organizational change management.

About beCause Global Consulting:

beCause Global Consulting is a pioneering firm that fosters connectedness within individuals and organizations, their mission revolves around helping clients establish a deep connection with their core purpose, bridging gaps across internal silos within enterprises, and fostering meaningful relationships with external stakeholders, even in challenging situations.

Led by the expertise of Nadine Hack, the organization offers speaking engagements tailored for board meetings, conferences, and various events. beCause Global Consulting stands out for its commitment to enhancing collaboration, understanding, and trust, empowering clients to navigate complex challenges and foster positive relationships.

Focusing on connectedness, the firm enables clients to embrace their purpose, break down internal barriers, and build strong, enduring partnerships with stakeholders, emphasizing the importance of unity and cooperation in today's interconnected world.

Tweetable Moments:

08:15 – “The whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out beCause Global Consulting at

Check out beCause Global Consulting on LinkedIn at

Check out beCause Global Consulting on Facebook at

Check out Nadine Hack on LinkedIn at

Check out Nadine Hack on Facebook at

Check out Nadine Hack on Twitter at

Check out Nadine Hack on Instagram at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now it's Nadine Hack. Nadine, you are a speaker. You're a connector, you're an author, you're a strategist, and you are the CEO of. Because Global Consulting, your website is because dot net. Nadine, thank you so much for joining us.

Nadine (00:01:15) - Thank you. It's my pleasure.

Josh (00:01:17) - Well, you have a long and storied background of working with quite some amazing notable people.

Josh (00:01:23) - Would you give us maybe just a quick overview of your work today?

Nadine (00:01:27) - Um, sure. Um, I've been at this for a long time, and my main focus is making connections, which is why I'm connected to so many different types of people. My company, because Global Consulting was named the best stakeholder engagement consulting firm for bettering connections across the corporate world. Um, the book I'm writing, The Power of Connectedness, has a foreword by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. My Adversaries to Allies, about the power of engaging others with conflicting perspectives has had over 15,000 views. Wow. My Forbes articles often focus on the value of different ways to broaden your spectrum of stakeholders for greater impact. And in fact, they published a success story on my work to help companies, governments, and nonprofits find common ground to solve the seemingly intractable problems of our world.

Josh (00:02:34) - Yeah. So you've mentioned think or, you know, certainly you've worked with some some amazing folks. And would you mind before we kind of get into this, just you mentioned Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, you know, just kind of spoiler alert, pulled that from your website.

Josh (00:02:55) - But would you mind maybe sharing some of the other folks that you've had the unique opportunity to brush, brush elbows with, or rub shoulders with?

Nadine (00:03:05) - Sure. Well, I've worked with many Nobel laureates. I've worked with many heads of state. The ones you would probably know are the American ones Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter. You can see that my inclinations lean toward the Democratic Party. Although I have worked, I worked with George H.W. Bush, the first President Bush. And, you know, I've worked with heads of corporations around the world. The entire board of Unilever Coca-Cola. Other major multinationals. In fact, when was shortlisted as responsible CEO of the year, it was with the CEOs of Patagonia, Accenture, Danone and other global companies. And at that time, I believe, you know, that was the first female executive in residence at Am Business School, where I lead sessions on the processes to make connections. And the president spoke about how I teach that it's possible to do well by doing good, because I really believe that no one individual, enterprise, sector or nation can solve problems on their own.

Nadine (00:04:32) - But when you work in cooperation with others, it increases the likelihood that first, you'll achieve your own goals while simultaneously ideally contributing to societal advancement.

Josh (00:04:46) - Yeah. And why is this so important, particularly today, that we think about our ecosystem, our network and who we connect with. And by the way, I think we should say this, right, that this is not just about getting to know celebrities and getting to no, no.

Nadine (00:05:03) - No no no no no. Let me make this clear. Yes. When people ask me, how do you know all these famous people? Yeah, I always tell them I know them before they were famous, when they were like. Like when Nelson Mandela was in prison. I was working his law partner before he went into prison was Oliver Tambo. And Oliver Tambo was leading the African National Congress in exile from Lusaka, Zambia. And I worked closely with Oliver Tambo and all these other names that don't mean much to most of the people in the world. But, um, because of my work with them, as soon as Mandela was released from prison, he invited me to his home in Soweto, and we began to work together.

Nadine (00:05:50) - And that's why you probably saw on the home page. On the landing page of my website, there's a quote from Nelson Mandela saying, when I was in prison, it was good to know that had people like Nadine Hack working on my behalf.

Josh (00:06:05) - Yeah. And what would be, you know, in terms of like activity that, you know, particularly for someone that just says, I'm just a small leadership consultant, you know, I've got a few clients what might be some great activity that they can start expanding their network, their reach, their impact. And certainly, you know, again, there's this kind of this social good that that you advocate for that seems to be a great like if we're focused in that direction, my impression is it's quite a lubricant to just get to know people. I just I'll just tell you this, I don't think there would be an up my influence were it not for the opportunity I had to start volunteering in my local community because I ended up meeting the right people.

Josh (00:06:54) - And they encourage me, no, no, no, you should go and continue in this way. I did, and lo and behold, here I am day. I don't know where I would be otherwise, but here I am today, where I am.

Nadine (00:07:06) - Well, I truly believe that whether we're talking about the personal sphere like your family, your friends, your neighbors, or we're talking about the professional sphere, your colleagues, your competitors, or we're talking about a global scale, the the issues that are facing humanity right now, um, climate change, global pandemics, social issues, social inequality, growing, um, that. Whenever we can make an effort. To have a deeper relationship. There's something I have, you know, created and proprietary work that I've done over the decades called strategic relational engagement. And it's all about that. The deeper you kind of plumb your own self and, you know, own all the parts of you, because we're all so multifaceted. And we had the good, the bad and the ugly inside of us.

Nadine (00:08:15) - And the more you show up with your whole self, with your flaws and your foibles. So like Brené Brown talks about vulnerability, um, the you're presenting and kind of inviting the other person by showing up so fully for them to also show up more fully. And when you have that type of engagement interaction, again, whether it's personal, professional or in any way. There's. It increases the possibility that you're going to engage on a deeper level, that you're going to discover the humanity in each other, even with people who may have. Um, different views than you do, but you can you can find that humanity and in that place, engaging. I just think that the hole is always greater than the sum of the parts. As your example of how, you know, getting to work in a local community group exposed you to opportunities for you and and think that's true for everybody.

Josh (00:09:29) - You know, there in social media, I think sometimes even though it connects us, it can also isolate us because we tend to retreat to echo chambers.

Josh (00:09:41) - I think this is well documented and known. And and so we tend to or at least I was just heard the news and they were kind of talking about the the polarization of the politics in the United States. Currently. It's pretty hot. You know, the, the, the, the unfavorable of quote unquote, the other guys, I think, I don't think has ever been as high as it, as in recent history. And therein lies a problem. And, you know, when we compare that to what you're talking about is let's see what we can learn from one another. Let's see how we can serve one another to someone who might feel like, how on earth can I build a relationship with this person? They just, you know, they just believe in such far off ideas from where I am. How do we come together? Any tools or strategies that you'd recommend to find that that common ground?

Nadine (00:10:38) - Yeah. So first let me be clear. It's not possible, or I have not yet found the possibility of doing it with everyone.

Nadine (00:10:48) - Like not everybody is open. Many people are extremely territorial and they really play on the fear of the other. Like me, my tribe, my nation, my people, my my race, my religion, whatever it is that they that they define as their own insular bubble, we are good and the others are bad, and at the least we demean them, and at the worst we destroy them. And we certainly see this playing out in today's world. Not just in the United States, but sadly in many places, kind of their authoritarian type, nationalistic, xenophobic leaders becoming elected and or becoming very popular and playing on people's fears. So there are some people who are just so closed and certain about that. They have the the, you know, the sole ownership of the truth that you're just not going to be able to reach them. But the large part of the population, although those people may be extremely vocal, the larger part of the population, basically, as human beings, we have very similar drivers.

Nadine (00:12:17) - We all want to be happy, healthy. We want our families to be happy and healthy. We want to be secure. We want to be safe. We want to have our environment be clean and orderly and, you know, be able to go to school and get a job. Mean really very, very fundamental, whether we're talking about people from like the least developed parts of the world or the most developed parts of the world, people have very fundamentally similar and simple needs to like, feel safe, secure, be, have clothing, food, shelter, mean the really basics. And so therefore it is possible with most people to approach them in good faith. And say, I'm interested in knowing who you are, what you are. You know, I often give speeches at conferences, and whenever I'm asked to speak for an hour and field 15 minutes of questions instead say, can I give 15 minutes of presentation and instead do an hour of interaction with the audience? Because my experience is people learn the best when they're actually participating and not just kind of sitting back and receiving.

Nadine (00:13:40) - And especially, as you said, when you're at your screen, it's like a one way broadcast. So I have this little exercise where I ask the person to turn to someone they don't know and to introduce themselves and say, you've got one minute each, so I'm giving you two minutes. One person. Tell the other person about yourself. And then at the one minute mark I'll say switch. And then the other person do it. And then at the end of the two minutes I say, okay, so how many of you just said, here's my name, and here's the job that I do? And invariably almost everybody raises their hand, say, okay, you've basically just done the military code of honor, you know, name, rank and serial number like you did nothing about yourself. So now take 30s, close your eyes. Go inside. Let yourself feel you know what you're experiencing at this moment. What's going on in your life. You know nobody else but you knows whether your mother has cancer and your caregiving for her, whether you're afraid that you're going to be fired next week in the round of layoffs mean there's so many things going on.

Nadine (00:14:53) - Go into that place. Access what's actually going on in your life? And after I give them about 30s. Because that's all it takes to get in touch. Say, okay, let's do the same two minute exercise and we do it and then say, so how many of you feel like you know the other person better and you feel better understood? And there's like always like laughter and everybody raises their hand because when you share from that kind of deeper, grounded place of, you know who you are, not just what you do in the world, it people respond to authenticity. I mean, particularly and you mentioned earlier about the highly divided world we live in. It's, you know, where people can't trust anything. They really. Human beings have an innate sense of like, this person is being authentic. This person is being honest. This person is accessible. This person is truly interested in who I am, and it just makes all the difference in the world. So whatever level you're operating at and whatever whatever sphere you hope to do this in, it's it's it's a simple, deceptively simple.

Nadine (00:16:15) - But it it takes some work. It takes some effort without it, without a doubt.

Josh (00:16:20) - Now, Nadine. Who do you work with today? Organizations like what types of organizations and what does that work look like? What I'm looking for specifically, someone may be listening to us right now, and they should probably reach out and connect with you, because you could likely help them with some significant issues within their organization, within their leadership, maybe some cultural type things. Who who needs to reach out and why?

Nadine (00:16:51) - Okay, so I work with individuals and I work with organizations from all sectors, from business, from government, from civil society. And I help them first connect to their own core purpose. Just as I was describing to you that I help individuals in a in a audience of where I'm giving a speech, I help them connect. Internally, a Kinect helped organizations remember what their core purpose is because that that can easily get lost. I also helped them. Connect across silos within their enterprises. And as you know, with companies spread.

Nadine (00:17:37) - Many lines, many regions, there's often a really big disconnect or, you know, at least a lack of. Solid ongoing communication. And in fact, sometimes people who are sitting in cubicles side by side are. Telling each other what they're doing. So I really helped them work to break down the silos and release the synergy that will come from having their organizations work more cohesively, and then I help them. Connect to external stakeholders like their friendly ones, like their vendors and their suppliers and their their customers. And. Because it's not just a check the box on a, you know, what is it called the those forms. Like how satisfied are you with our company and it's not a check the box or an internal check the box. Like what's your satisfaction working here as an employee? It's more of a discovery of what those stakeholders, you're willing stakeholders really want to get out of their relationship with you. And that's a really important point, is to be clear up front. These are our mutual expectations.

Nadine (00:19:04) - This is what I expect to get out of this relationship. And this is what I'm able to put into this relationship. And even do that to help them work with their external adversarial stakeholders. So like, for example, if they're a business that has a government. Regulatory agency or a nonprofit watchdog group that doesn't like what they're doing. Then how do you come together the way, for example, the people at Nestlé came together with the people at Greenpeace when Greenpeace was protesting their use of palm oil. So their first efforts, they were just they were just fighting and it was going nowhere. Each side was like just accusing the other. But as they began to talk, um, they began to realize that there were ways that they could do things. In fact, that's what my TEDx is about. It's about bringing together. Loggers, environmentalists, governments and communities back in the 1970s when people when environmentalists were chaining themselves to trees. So these are each of those stakeholders viewed the other as the evil other.

Nadine (00:20:28) - And through my efforts, and, you know, the TedTalk is all of 13 minutes for anybody who's interested. I was able to get them to see, like, let's just take the environmentalists and the loggers through our work. We got the logging companies to agree to plant two trees for every one tree they cut down, which was the very earliest steps of what we now call renewable resources, which is, you know, quite a, you know, in the common lexicon. But it was not that at that point they were just strip logging and then moving on to the next million acres. Um, so they began to see that it was in their own enlightened self-interest to do something different. And I've done over the decades, since the 1970s, I've done multi-sector partnerships with two of the companies I mentioned, Coca-Cola and Aids activist in the continent of Africa with Unilever and people working for child, uh, malnutrition issues in India. And, you know, multi-sector partnerships to me are really super important because, as I said earlier, the problems of our world, they cross all boundaries.

Nadine (00:21:53) - You know.

Josh (00:21:55) - Well, Nadine Haake, it's been a wonderful having you. Your website is because dot net and again you are a connector. You're an author, you're a strategist to speaker. And of course at because you serve as the CEO. Nadine, it's been wonderful having you. Thank you so much for this conversation.

Nadine (00:22:16) - Thank you. It's a pleasure to talk with you, Josh.

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