Do you have UBUNTU?
It is one of my favorite words. Actually, it is much more than a word, it is a philosophy. I came across it many years ago during a journey to Africa, and Ubuntu is an ancient Bantu dialect word meaning ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. I still recall the entire team’s feeling of gratification and pride, as we stood in the main hall at CBS – the team that planned and executed shared the indescribable pleasure of observing many hundreds of people networking, smiling and being in awe over the lifetime experiences of CCC 2002, or version 1.0, if you will. I am sure you recall the feeling of motivation and gratification it triggers in you to engage in a team, tribe and community, where commitment to the goals of the group is supported by the genuine desire to build a caring, sustainable and significant response to the community. Though only formulated years later – like many mission or vision statements embodying the DNA of the original idea – we wanted to create opportunities and lifetime experiences for students, CBS, partners, businesses, and everyone who engages with CCC! Ubuntu.
Our previous chairman and alumni, Bjørn Ruwald, asserted in the annual report a few years ago that soft is the new black. I couldn’t agree more, that is the kind of caring leaders we aspire to develop and promote in the CCC, both in our organization and everyone we collaborate with. A person with Ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share. Such people are open and available to others, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do not feel threatened that others are able and good, for they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a greater whole. This is the real importance of the work we do, the way we collaborate, and what we aim to achieve with the CCC. It is not an event, a tool, or a workshop. It is an overall environment. Ubuntu.
I am often asked what the drivers were for Simon and I to take the decision to found the CBS Case Competition, and how the team and we put in the enormous effort to conceive and execute v1.0? Well, our intrinsic motivation was just like most startup founders: because we simply had to do it! Your motivation is at, or close to, optimal when you are faced with an idea or a project that you simply cannot walk away from, you just have to do it! Yes, we had a bold vision and succeeded in building an incredibly passionate team, which arguably are two fundamental pillars for succeeding in the CCC organization (and in most of life’s endeavors). Nonetheless I am convinced we would never have gotten v1.0 off the ground if it hadn’t been for Ubuntu in the DNA of the team, and how this has lived on. CCC was always the idea of a company that would live beyond our entrepreneurship and leadership, as each OC would stand on each other’s shoulders. Alas, the idea is always the company; get engaged by it and engage other great people who believe in it, will develop it and can deliver sustainable success. And CCC has always attracted people who have Ubuntu. Ubuntu speaks about wholeness, it speaks about passion as well as your compassion. And then, some years ago in an interview, I added working hard and playing hard because Ubuntu people have good values and are good friends, too! In short, it’s your attitude, not your aptitude, which will determine your altitude! Ubuntu.
Co-Founder of CBS Case Competition & Member of the Board of Directors