I remember very well some years back while I attended a class on business management in Europe, the training leader was talking about how to build a profitable activity. Wanting to reduce any possible objections from the group he added ” we are not here to save the little birds…”. He felt a need to state that business is not here to save the planet and that we should be fine with it, like if there was no other options. I remember my natural contraction at the time and the fact that I could not take anything from that serious-looking-guy really seriously.
“Work is Love made visible” Khalil Gibran…
When I tried to mention that creating a business and caring for the earth were not necessarily incompatible I was immediately rebuffed as not being credible. Competition was the key word, there was no business without competition and the “cost” of taking the little bird's life into consideration would send my initiative down the rank of any competitive sector of activity.
20 years later, when the magnitude of the damages we have made to our only-and-not-exchangeable planet becomes clearer by the day, the cost of not saving the little bird is evident. In fact the blindness we have been acting from over the last decades is like burying our head in the sand (a practice of certain big birds) rather than facing facts and common sense with courage and responsibility.
Today, Ethical Businesses, Conscious Capitalist Venture, Compassionate Leadership Initiatives, Mindful Management and other Benefit Corporation etc, the world of "Corporate Wellness" is thriving and it is easy to see why.
1. Efficiency. Working with purpose unlocks the full human potential. Employees working for purposeful companies are fully engaged, leading to a dramatic increase in efficiency, a serious advantage in a competitive world. Imagine what it feels like to wake up in the morning and go to work with the enthusiasm, energised by knowing that what you do serve the people it touches and the planet we all live in beyond paying your bills?
2. People buy the Why. Modern humans are driven by cause, beliefs, meaning and purpose. Why is at the core of what we do, hence people buy more “Why” we do than “What” we do. This is why people love to buy from Benefit Corporation, it makes them feel good in addition to satisfy another need. When there is a choice, people prefer the companies that make a difference.
3. Creativity Conscious Capitalism defines itself by 4 pillars: a higher purpose, (meaning higher than just profit), a business ecosystem that serves all the members of the system, a conscious Leadership that places the “We” before the “Me” and a conscious culture based on Love and care. This elevation in focus allows the Benefits Corporation to tap into an infinite source of energy and inspiration, a spring of creativity well known to genuine artists. When a manager is able to use the support of the very intelligence of the Universe, his creativity transcends the limitation of the triangular equation money / time / people.
4. Adaptability A recently conducted research at M.I.T. interviewed a large group of innovators who each in their own field had successfully created something new. The intention was to find out what they had in common that triggered successful change. The finding concluded that the success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener. Not what they do or how they do it, but the place from where they take action. The famous “Be the Change” of Mahatma Gandhi resonates deeply in this finding: it is not an invitation to merely act in coherence with what we wish to see for our future, it is an invitation us to act from a different place, to operate from a different source. That source is at the core of Benefit Corporations and allows them to be more adaptable and resilient to change. In an increasingly rapidly changing environment, this adaptation capacity is a key advantage.
5. Sustainability The previous business paradigm contributed to three deep divides in our society. A divide between us and nature (the little birds…), a divide between us and others through competition (manifesting today in violence, segregation and extremism…) and a divide between us and our deeper self (by ignoring the divine intelligence wanting to manifest through us). By focusing on finding solutions to our biggest challenges, Benefit Corporation shift from a win-at-all-cost to a win-win situation, reconnecting us with nature, with others and with ourselves, creating a virtuous cycle of prosperity and sustainability that benefits the whole and not only a part of the whole.
Infinite Love, Deva