CNLP 450: Jacqueline Novogratz on How to Actually Change the World, What Young Leaders Should Do if They Want to Make an Impact, and Why Money Doesn’t Solve Poverty

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Acumen founder, Jacqueline Novogratz, has been voted one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds by Forbes. She explains why money can’t solve poverty, why empathy isn’t enough, and how philanthropy, entrepreneurship and governments can combine to truly make an impact.

We also explore how listening and lean data can help you have a greater impact, and what young leaders can do if they really want to change the world. Her work has impacted hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Welcome to Episode 450 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

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Manifesto for a Moral Revolution by Jacqueline Novogratz

The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz

Acumen Academy

More about the Moral Revolution

The Path of Moral Leadership Course

60 Decibels

In the Name of Identity by Amin Maalouf

The Accidental Anthropologist by Michael Jackson


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Insights From Jacqueline

1. The opposite of poverty is not money, it’s dignity

Through Jacqueline’s work in poverty-stricken countries, she has witnessed firsthand how broken systems and corrupt governments have stripped low-income people of their dignity. We might think we need to give people money, but Jacqueline sees it differently—what these people need are dignity, choice and opportunity.

Markets too often overlook or exploit the poor. Government aid and well-intended charities too often create dependencies. Jacqueline saw that the better solution was to use the best of markets, because they have such an important role to play for innovation, for believing in the future, for allocating resources, and ensuring that they can then be used in a way that includes low-income individuals.

2. You can’t be everything to everyone

In the midst of the COVID pandemic, many of us have experienced compassion fatigue. It can seem there are too many problems and too big of problems for us to solve. In this conversation, Jacqueline reminded us that you can’t be everything to everyone. When this happens, she says, “Too often we end up being very little to anyone.”

Sometimes the most important thing we can do in crisis is simply doing the work we’re created to do, and let the experts do the rest. Jacqueline suggests finding a practice that reminds you of your purpose and that we are all a part of something bigger than ourselves.

3. Make a bigger impact by being a better listener

To truly know your customers, you need to be a good listener. So many of us think that we’re good at listening.

By being good at listening, you should enter from a place of inquiry, not certainty. Do not focus on trying to convince or convert another person, and learn to ask questions that allow people to find their own truth.

Quotes from Episode 450

The opposite of poverty is not income, it is dignity. @jnovogratz Click To Tweet Purpose comes to those people who dare to try. @jnovogratz Click To Tweet Empathy without action is too close to sympathy. @jnovogratz Click To Tweet If we are trying to be everything to everyone, too often we end up being very little to anyone. @jnovogratz Click To Tweet Moral imagination has the humility to see the world as it is, and the audacity to imagine what it could be. @jnovogratz Click To Tweet The way we spend our money is connected to what we value and what we build. @jnovogratz Click To Tweet Government aid and well-intended charities too often creates dependency. That is not dignity. @jnovogratz Click To Tweet The more you learn about human nature, the more we understand that being a big fish in a small pond is still power. @jnovogratz Click To Tweet Low-income people are rarely seen as full human beings. @jnovogratz Click To Tweet I've come to see beauty as the urge to life. @jnovogratz Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 450

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Next Episode: Max Lucado

Max Lucado has sold over 150 million books to date, and in this return interview, the multiple New York Times bestselling author returns to talk about how he captures his idea, why his first book was a disaster and how he got better, how to keep fresh ideas flowing into your content well, planning an effective succession, and how to recognize insecurity in yourself as a leader.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 451.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.