A video released earlier this month highlights the problem with irresponsible supply chain selection. Some companies simply make supply chain decisions never considering the conditions or standards of their sources. They focus solely on price, forgetting there are other serious “costs” involved. Read more
Today, two news articles popped out at me. One was about Zappos “squishy” culture and the other was about Panera’s profit from shared values. The message is clear: people care about values. Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and other publications as well as the swelling number of books written about profit built on purposeful intent (e.g. Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia, The Responsible Business by Carol Sanford, etc), are removing any doubt that the future of business must be squarely focused on human needs beyond the simple product offering.
Too much headline news is curated based on fear or tragedy. To be honest, I think it makes some people nervous to believe things are improving. Perhaps trouble has become a “safe place” for them and the idea of change for better makes them nervous? But the facts are that the world is indeed getting better, and people truly do care about each other. The sooner businesses wake up and realize it, the better chance they have for success.
Another popular Darwin misquote came through my Facebook feed yesterday.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
While I would love to use that sentiment to talk about sustainable business practices, Darwin never said this nor is it consistent with his theories.
My friend Carol recently had an article published in a local print magazine. The inexperienced editor changed her word segue to Segway and made other erroneous editorial changes without her knowledge before publishing. She shared her dismay with me that readers will think she made those errors.
Now someone is claiming the tragedy at Sandy Hook is a hoax in order to gain gun control. No doubt there will be some people who leech on his conspiracy invention. With the abundance of conspiracy aficionados, who knows how long this one will float around and whether it will eventually disappear or worse yet, pick up new believers.
Most people are aware that information on the internet and passed around through social media is not necessarily true or even close to accurate. Words get invented, massaged or distorted much like in the game of Telephone I played as a young child.
The problem existed long before internet or other broadcast technology, even before the printing press when people relied on scribes (many who were uneducated) or tribal storytellers for their most vital information. So how is anyone supposed to know what is true?
- Confirm, fact-check, do your own research. While we can confirm some facts through research, sadly much information gets filtered through personal or corporate agendas and belief systems.
- Commit to personal and corporate integrity. Make sure what you put out to the world is as true as you know it to be. If you find out later you were wrong, own up to it.
It sounds simple but it’s amazing how many people find honesty so difficult.
Change is interesting on every level. I’ve heard that public speaking is the #1 fear, even more so than death. My experience with business owners and corporate execs tends to indicate that change is even more frightening.
We soften the concept of change by calling it innovation. Still, innovation seems to be interesting mostly if someone else is doing it. When it comes to your own doorstep, as in you have to learn or do something differently now, it loses it’s sparkle.
There are a few companies who recognize that business must systemically and fundamentally change in order to be relevant and sustainable going forward. These are the brave ones, the committed leaders who’ve embraced the understanding that all business is ultimately human business and as such, must appeal to the higher nature inherent in humanity.
The old days of simply looking at bottom lines and profit margins for maximizing revenue is over. People, at an increasing rate, are choosing to do business for nobler reasons and are voting for attention to human values with their dollars. They have figured out that lower prices for them may mean hardship for others or a manufacturing process that is unhealthy for workers and/or the environment. In other words, low cost may be more expensive than anyone wants to pay.
The companies that don’t want to change will ultimately be forced to accept their responsibility to society and the environment (either by loss of sales, government regulation, or public disgrace, etc) or they will cease to exist.
It’s time to reimagine business. Do good while doing business. Make it a part of your business model, your processes, your supply chain, your people, your services and products. Perhaps you need to chuck the status quo and even daydream a little bit. What should a company looked like that actually cared about the people it impacts?
The business leaders that ask that question and make the changes necessary today will be the true leaders of tomorrow.
Take a look, find your color and save a life. http://www.ownacolour.com