(B)uilding More Humane Organizations With Germany’s Newest B Corp: Leadership Choices

Nestled away in Wiesbaden, Germany, a city known for its famous mineral springs and for being the state capital of Hessia, is a professional services company with a global reach. With 150 coaches based in 27 countries (and fluent in 15 languages), Leadership Choices works with organizations around the world, coaching their leaders to be more resilient, supporting their teams to develop more psychological safety, and helping their people to build more humane company cultures.

Since 2008, Leadership Choices has operated under the philosophy that leadership is about empowering your people, fostering self-reflection and self-discipline, transparency, learning together, and understanding that there are no perfect leaders and no perfect companies—it is a journey to be embraced.

And they don’t just work with their clients on the art of continuous improvement, they live this philosophy internally as well. So when Profitable Purpose Consulting’s CEO, Nathan Stuck, appeared on the Leadership Choices podcast, Leaders Talk, and started talking about B Corps and his work using the B Impact Assessment to help companies strengthen their organizational commitment to a more mindful and ethical capitalism, Karsten, his colleague Uwe, and Nathan started talking about what that journey might look like for Leadership Choices.

Fast forward almost three years since that podcast, and two years since they were able to meet for dinner in nearby Heidelberg, Leadership Choices is now Germany’s 104th B Corp, and the 1st in Wiesbaden. Nathan recently sat down with Karsten and Uwe to check in on the certification celebration, and what’s next as they continue their impactful work with organizations around the world.

Nathan: Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Leadership Choices is finally a B Corp! How does that feel and how have you celebrated this accomplishment with the team?

Karsten: Thank you, Nathan. We are thrilled and grateful. So far, the celebration has been only virtual. But will celebrate it together with our colleagues at our next spring party. And also thank you very much for your support with the process.

Nathan: As we mentioned already, our paths crossed when I was on your Leaders Talk podcast back in late 2021, maybe early 2022. What was it about that conversation that sparked your interest in B Corps? And what ultimately led you and your business partners to decide this was worth pursuing at Leadership Choices?

Karsten: Our interview streamed in April 22 and I still remember it very vividly. At that time, Uwe and I were looking for opportunities to take our entrepreneurial responsibility and our societal commitment to the next level. You inspired us to start pursuing the B-Corp path.

Nathan: In the assessment, we scored some points because of your commitment to giving back—and you do it in a very creative manner. Can you talk a little bit about your annual bike ride, why you do it, and what the money raised supports?

Karsten: In 2017, I started a quest combining long-distance cycling and fundraising. Cynics would probably label it as a typical male midlife crisis project. Over the years, this turned into a project called Around the World by Bike. My goal here is to circumvent the earth by bicycle from West to East, alone and unsupported, with one major tour per year. So far, I have cycled from Gibraltar in the South of Spain to the Northern tip of Norway, the North Cape.

Furthermore, I crossed Europe from the West of Portugal to the Polish border. I also cycled through Canada and parts of the US from Vancouver, via Chicago and Detroit to Toronto with full camping gear overcoming both the Rockies and the Prairies. This year, I will complete crossing through North America by cycling from Toronto following the St. Lawrence Stream all the way to St. Johns in Newfoundland. After that, I will tackle the crossing of Asia.

The donations raised are dedicated to our Cosmikk-Foundation which my partner Uwe and I founded in 2022. The purpose of this foundation is to give NGO leaders free access to high-quality coaching services while paying the coaches for their valuable work. For the next years, we will support the Future for Ukraine Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine. This NGO provides prosthetics to wounded soldiers, psychological support to women who experienced sexual violence during the war, and also works with children with mental health issues. I can strongly recommend the podcast episode with the president of FFU, Natalio Nikoleienko. Very inspiring!

Nathan: Not everyone knows this about me, but my mother is from Berlin and I speak pretty decent, conversational German. So, it was a real honor to have a German client, and I’d like to thank you and Uwe for that. But I am also curious, what it was like to work with a B Corp consultant (a US-based one at that) and how it helped you get this initiative across the finish line)?

Uwe: Like with every expedition into unknown terrain It is important to have a guide with you in this process. You and Jenna have been these guides and it was super helpful, especially since there is not so much experience with B-Corp certifications over here in Germany yet. Even though the process was not easy for us and quite lengthy to be honest, you helped us navigate and provided answers to our questions which was very encouraging.

Karsten: Yeah, and we had instant chemistry, so it was fun, too!

Nathan: With the initial certification behind you, at least for the next three years (editor’s note: B Corps are required to re-certify every three years), what’s next for Leadership Choices and how do you plan to grow both the profit and the purpose of the company?

Karsten: Phew, that’s a big question. With the B-Corp certification, we have shown that we are for real when we speak about our mission “Better Leadership - Better Organizations - Better World”. We will continue with all of our social engagement and community work - but with even more enthusiasm. On top of that, we will add more NGOs to our client portfolio and we will leverage our Cosmikk Foundation to make this financially feasible.

Uwe: What we are also noticing just now is that many companies we work with are also certified B-Corps which simply deepens the trust and the curiosity to do more together. So deepening this collaboration is something that we will also pursue going forward.

Nathan: Thank you guys and all the best to you! See you in Germany on a Schnitzel.

Profitable Purpose Consulting is a full-service culture and impact agency that specializes in B Corp certification. While they’re headquartered in Georgia and their heart is in the southeast, they work with clients around the world and have a network just as global. At PPC, it’s not just the certification, it’s successfully implementing every part of the process and telling the story of the good you do.

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