The ‘Humanization’ Of Business
Times are evolving and changing. The days of shareholder prioritization at the cost of other important values such as “ecological stability” has shifted dramatically over the years. The explosion of globalisation, advanced technologies, and expansion in sociocultural, socioeconomic and geopolitical borders has found us in a place where as a greater collective we are demanding for organisations to carry deeper levels of transparency in the business activities, be more inclusive in their actions and carry a longer-term vision for their business practices.
With this shift in consciousness in mind, what can we expect from businesses now and in the future? When we ask ourselves this question, what we are really asking is: “what are our collective values? What will we tolerate as a society from global business and what level of responsibility are we all playing at”? With that in mind and heart, let’s explore 2 ways that businesses can expand their impact and presence in the world in a healthy and positive way.
- Social Contribution
We want more. We want to know and even visibly see that our consumer dollars are contributing to worthy causes beyond our requirement to satisfy an immediate product purchase. Today’s consumer is not only looking at the quality of the product, they are looking at the ethos and ethics of a company. Are they contributing and sharing their profits? Are there clear giveback mechanisms and systems in place?
Is the organisation thinking about the land and its people? Are they making an impact in the world that is positive, healthy and healing?
This level of extended wealth creation and equity based-thinking is creating opportunities for groups of people around the world that would once not be possible. Ethnotek is an example where they are engaging villagers around the world to create hand-crafted traditional bags and accessories that are also sustainable in the materials used and practical.
- Sustainable Thinking
We extract resources to make things, so that we can purchase things, so that we can thrive, feel good about ourselves and also compete with the Jones’s (that is another article). Our world and wellness are defined by GDP. A measure that effectively tells us how ‘happy’ we are based largely on our country’s expenditure, economic activity and purchasing power. Whilst there is some validity in this, we are evolving beyond this – it’s simply a matter of time. In the interim, consumers and businesses alike are realising that we live on a planet of finite resources and rampant consumption and irresponsible resource / energy extraction is not viable long-term.
As consumers we are demanding the companies, we share our hard-earned dollars with are being considerate, thinking long-term (generational) and eliciting business practices of longevity in the creation and distribution. We are demanding less green-washing and more transparency. Companies alike, are realising that it is not sustainable for profit margins or steady growth that they do not consider the environment and master new ways of producing goods and services that carry sustainability in their practices.
This level of interconnectedness and closed loop thinking is more inclusive, safer to the environment as it provides the Earth and opportunity to regenerate, whilst also building deeper relationships with the consumer. Patagonia is a great example of this where they are moving away from production practices such as planned obsolescence and creating life-long products. Are they losing revenue? The answer is no and they are gaining raving fans, because people are not feeling they are numbers, or objects.
- Values First
When an organisation knows it values and what it stands for (it’s WHY), it is able to connect with people at a deeper and very visceral level. This level of connectedness empowers consumers to really see, know and feel the company they are either purchasing from or partnering with in some way. Ultimately a level of intimacy and closeness is developed and transparency becomes the norm.
The benefits of being transparent, open and clear with organisational values is the outside world can then observe the integrity in living them through coherent business practices.
Again, we come to a place where consumer and creator are developing a mutual respect for one another that begins to grow. It is this intimate growth that inspires organisations to simply do better and do more. To leverage efficiencies, prioritise a multitude of values and be more a company that does what it says. Wholefoods are a strong example of this and in fact combine all three of the suggestions made in this article.
“The world is changing. We are no longer a world isolated, but rather a world integrated – reliant on each other now more than ever. Our choices are to embrace the interconnected nature of our world or pretend we can continue unsustainable business practices and draw from a well that is finite.”- Stefanos Sinfandos