Sometimes an idea emerges in different places around the world at around the same time. Some call it synchronicity. It might just be that the time is right. This is precisely what’s happening in business and society right now.
All around the world, people are expressing unease – or outright discontent – at what some have coined ‘bad capitalism’. There is a perception that some businesses (with the banking sector reaping most criticism) have taken away more than they’re adding to the world and society. There’s a growing sense that a focus just on profit and growth isn’t getting us to where we need to be. The feeling of trust, integrity and authenticity have diminished, while people’s feeling of fulfilment at work has declined too. The models that have worked for decades are starting to look more than a little flakey.
Some may say that the purpose in many businesses has become clouded. And as times become tougher, there is a tendency to withdraw and for business to focus inwards – rather than on those they serve. And when people lose purpose in what they do at work, they tend to leave and go in search of it elsewhere.
So, where does the source of hope lie? What can act as a better guide to business – and life?
And so to synchronicity. In the States, the writer and leader Simon Sinek is spreading the word about connecting to our ‘Why’ – our purpose, cause or belief that underpins what we do – and enables companies, connected to their Why, to be sustainably different. Then there’s Bob Chapman, CEO of the thriving global US-based company Barry-Wehmiller that measures success “…by the way we touch the lives of people”. In the UK, Richard Branson is looking at a new approach to business, expressed through his soon-to-be-released book, Screw Business as Usual, focusing on better business – business that gives back and is a force for good. We can also see a huge hunger in sectors such as the Health Service to reclaim the sense of caring that used to be synonymous with medicine but now seems to be lacking. And then there’s the banking sector – seen by many as both the source of the problem and of the potential solution – and where there’s the greatest opportunity to shift the context.
Good Business is about thriving through being connected to a higher purpose – the company’s Why – and using that to inspire and serve.
So, the challenge is to crystallise what many people are recognising as lacking and offer an approach to make things different. This is what we’re calling Good Business. Good Business is about thriving through being connected to a higher purpose – the company’s Why – and using that to inspire and serve. It’s about having different conversations within organisations that generate different ideas and results. It’s about being committed and having our words and actions be consistent with that commitment – and being open to having others to hold us to account. It’s about business being authentic and having integrity. It’s about a focus on people and relationship – be they customers or those who work for us. It’s a change of mindset, which starts with those who Lead the business, and the courage to lead in a way that inspires others to follow rather than just manage. It’s about overcoming the fear to move away from what we’ve known and experience what it’s like to create an organisation where perhaps not much changes, but everything is different.
The time is right. The time is now. And it’s entirely possible for those who dare.