Society today is caught up in a technological storm, a front which is quickly bringing people more closely together daily and enabling the cross pollination of idea’s and values. This is driven through the use of social media, shared media and news, automated processes and in many ways a growing social conscience which widens an individuals need to understand the wider environment and this big blue planet we all share.
When John Guare wrote a play about the (at the time) impossible idea that all people across the world were only 6 degree’s of separation apart, little could he know that today in 2016 that number is closer to 3.5. I am a big supporter of the world community coming closer together due to all of the positive ramifications it has on industrial and technological advancement and a shared sense of community responsibility.
So why is it, in today’s society, that “Big Business” and the large corporates are still held up as being the premier measuring stick for organizational performance? Yes, they have the largest profits and revenue and are seen as the preferred option for cultivating thought leadership and technological advancement but what if we set aside the dollar aspects of what makes great organizational performance and focused on the impact to the world? What makes for successful organizational performance to the individual person? In todays society it seems to be moving more toward satisfying a social conscience need developed and cultivated through a shrinking global environment.
The fact that any individual who is passionate about their ideas and beliefs these days has an opportunity to almost automatically connect with like-minded people and publish their thoughts and ideas on a global scale through the click of a button has the potential to redefine the way we look at doing business and creating employee satisfaction. I’m not talking about the incessant Instagram pictures of Saturday nights degustation menu, nor the retweeted ramblings of a reality TV “star” but rather truly world and community changing idea’s and philosophies. Should we be looking to employee’s to enter a global stage of thought leadership rather than inserting them into a cog like structure within (as an example)the big four (banking or otherwise).
Of course the Big Four exist to make a profit, that is their remit and are renowned for their work because society still rates profitability as the cornerstone of success. But in today’s closely connected world surely we should be looking to measure Organisational Performance through more than just dollar figures and number of partners.
So lets just dream for the moment, dream of a world which based success upon the betterment of fellow humans, animals and environments rather than dollars and acquisitions. A world in which any individual, either representing a business entity or their own interests would devote their time and talents to ensuring that all of the negative and abhorrent visions now streamed to us all daily could become a thing of the past. What if social responsibility became the new currency?
Organisations would benefit from their ability to understand and address society’s deficiencies and conflicts through applying their human capital and thought leadership to working through such problems. Teams and individuals would focus away from looking to solve a 12-18 month issue for business and focus on providing solutions to poverty, animal cruelty, illness and healthcare and environmental concerns. There would be a new world order in organizational performance, where the “Big Four” would be made up of organisations such as World Widelife Fund, Greenpeace, Unicef and Doctors Without Borders.
This is not a new idea by any means. Already the large corporates seek to give back in small ways to the community but in this globalized environment we find ourselves there requires a mindset shift to accomplish great change.
An example of some of the steps towards realizing this mindset is the work of Professor Muhammed Yunus and Saskia Bruysten. Based upon Nobel Peace Prize Laureat Professor Yunus’ work towards creating a world without poverty, they developed the ideology and later business entity of “Social Business”. The premise of Social Business is defined through its seven principles:
- Business objective will be to overcome poverty, or one or more problems (such as education, health, technology access, and environment) which threaten people and society; not profit maximization.
- Financial and economic sustainability.
- Investors get back their investment amount only. No dividend is given beyond investment money.
- When investment amount is paid back, company profit stays with the company for expansion and improvement.
- Gender sensitive and environmentally conscious.
- Workforce gets market wage with better working conditions.
- …do it with joy.
This type of mindset takes a step towards a higher level of corporate responsibility, away from the fundraisers and volunteer days Big Business already involve themselves in.
So whilst it may not be mainstream anytime soon, in a world in which we are being brought closer together, sharing each other’s and the planets misfortunes and concerns, perhaps it is time to rethink the way in which we define organizational performance and focus more on how we can perform more effectively on a global scale.