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Saturday, 19 November 2011

An idea whose time has come

I was really excited yesterday to read an interesting article in The Guardian about love and business and whether it was possible to combine them within the same sentence. When I read things like this, I know that the world is changing and that those such as myself and other like minded friends who have had these ideas for years, are no longer classed as nuts, but as mainstream, with those who do not share these views considered the real nuts. This is not though a debate about who is right and who is wrong, but a debate about whether it is possible to operate a business with love rather than profit as your aim. To my mind, the real question should be is it possible not to?

It is though, as the article points out, a sad fact that this is not on the whole, how the business world operates. Empoloyees, who are most companies biggest asset, are treated not as indivuals, but as commodities to be bought and sold, and tossed aside when they are no longer useful. For far too long, employees have been expected to leave large parts of themselves at home before they head off to the the shop, or the office, or wherever else it is they work, pretending to be something they are not in order to conform so the so-called corporate norm. This is something that I know all about, only too well.

As Neale Donald Walsch states so eloquently in his best selling Conversations with God series of books, the business world (in fact the whole world) is built around the concept of scarcity, the idea that there is not enough of whatever it is that we perceive we need (and most of the time we do not really need, but rather, want it), and that we therefore have to fight and compete with others in order to get our share of that 'stuff'. This is of course nonsense, for there is more than enough of everything to go round. Hence it is though that companies (and indeed life) are run as battlegrounds, with the winners and the losers. If you are not hostile enough, tough enough then you fall by the wayside and are swallowed up by someone who is, usually one of the big four banks foreclosing on your loan. That though is a whole other debate.

As human beings, we know instincively that this is not how things are meant to be - there is another way, borne from love and borne from compassion, work it not meant to be a battleground, but a means of expressing who we are in joy and in love, creating changes in the world, and offering meaning and growth (and I do not mean economic growth either) to everyone. That is nothing less than we deserve, and I count myself incredibly lucky that I have all of that and more in my own working life.

The signs are there that companies the world over, are beginning to recognise that their connection and obligations to society go a lot deeper than their share price, or how useful their goods are. It is time to tear down those walls, the armour that both companies and individuals wrap around themselves stating honestly and openly stating that this is who and what they are - it is time for compassion, for honesty and for integrity but most of all, for transparency. The signs are there that the world is poised and ready for change, as we stand on the precipice of something very big and very life changing, from the Arab Spring to the Occupy protests that have swept around the world. As they say, you cannot destroy a message whose time has come. In short, we need a 99 percent that serves the world, rather than the vested interests of the few. The Occupy protests give voice to that message, signalling the need for change.

The idea of profit being the sole aim of business no longer works, that much is clear. We need a new model based not on what we can do for business, but rather on what business can do for us, based on the idea of prosperity for all, where the acqusition of joy becomes the motivating force, rather than the acqusition of wealth.

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