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Transforming Business As Usual Into Business At Its Best – Part 3 of 3

Sustainable Business

Photo by Adrian Balasoiu on Unsplash

Sustainable Business being a key player in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

This is not just about social responsibility as some sort of add on to a business. It is about business being core to a more sustainable world. Sustainable business for SDG’s. Go to the UN website & have a look at the 17 goals listed. Then think a little. Finally, ask yourself  – is  there anywhere that business cannot make a significant contribution? The answer should be, no there are not. But just to give you a little idea, here are three of the SDG’s:

  1. Good health & well being
  2. Clean water & sanitation
  3. Sustainable cities & communities.

After having checked these out do you still doubt its possible for business to be a key driver in building this better world? Put it another way, if the world continues as it is whether from a climate crisis angle or the disparity between rich & poor, then ultimately, everyone loses. Badly. Business can & must play its part. Sustainable business for SDG’s.

Books Worth Reading

Whilst I did a lot of thinking, discussing with others & used my experiences to come to the ideas discussed above & in the first two part s of this mini series, undoubtedly,  reading many great books helped me on my never-ending exploratory journey. So, below is a list – not all have been mentioned above but they all have played a role. Some are very recent – always a good idea to keep exploring. Enjoy!

  1. “Small IS Beautiful” – E F Schumacher
  2. In Search of Excellence” – Tom Peters & Robert H Waterman Jr
  3. “Business as Unusual” – Anita Roddick
  4. “The Hungry Spirit” – Charles Handy
  5. “Heroic Leadership” – Chris Lowney
  6. “Insanely Simple” – Ken Seagall
  7. “Small Giants” – Bo Burlingham
  8. “Company of One” – Paul Jarvis
  9. “Spiritual Capital” – Danah Zohar & Ian Marshall
  10. “Essentialism” – Chris McKeown
  11. “Building Social Business” – Muhammad Yunus
  12. “Enough” – John C Bogle
  13. “Lab Rats” – Dan Lyons
  14. “The Passions Economy” – Adam Davidson

Conclusion

Where to from here? All of this represents the approach I take to business at a philosophical level – how I see things from a macro standpoint. It helps inform how I go about working with clients – to assist them in developing successful, sustainable & meaningful businesses. Businesses that not only are profitable but inclusive – true members of their community. As indicated at the beginning of this piece, subsequent articles will follow to delve a bit deeper into how this can all be implemented.

If you would like to discuss this more or have a comment, please get in touch.

Transforming Business As Usual Into Business At Its Best -Part 2 of 3

Transforming Business

Photo by Andy Holmes – Unsplash

Business being better & not simply bigger – adding value to society as a whole

Business being better & not simply bigger? Is the sole motive  not just maximising shareholder value?

The late Anita Roddick, The Bodyshop founder said:

“Economic opportunity means much more…..than money. It promotes fundamental self-esteem, facilitates education, healthcare, cultural continuity and the chance to protect the past while shaping the future.”

Think about that for a second. Imagine it being taken totally seriously by business – not just lip service. Imagine how much better off society & everyone in it could be.

Put it another way business can be so much more than just a vehicle having the unfettered pursuit of profit as its sole goal. That would likely contribute to the already gaping inequalities around the world. Widening the gap between those at the summit & those not. Managing a business gives you the opportunity to add something that was not there before, adding value to its customers, staff, shareholders & other stakeholders.

From reading the works of Charles Handy, the term “caring capitalist” for me means a capitalism that is:

  •         Inclusive
  •         People not exploited
  •         People members of their organisations – not just employees
  •         A more balanced workstyle
  •         Fun to work & not just hard work for money
  •         Making dreams come true rather than simply producing more widgets every day
  •         Relatively small units where people know & trust each other rather than mammoth
            organisations.

Enabling people to infuse their work lives with real meaning, on a human scale

Can you imagine turning up to work every day, delighted to be there?  Excited by the possibilities, being part of something bigger than yourself? Of course, there would be times of quiet, manic busyness & when you do not feel in the mood. But overall though work is engaging.

Whilst part of this will be down to the business, really it is up to each person to take responsibility. The things you need to develop are not just the so called hard technical skills. You also need the soft ones around management, people, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, personal leadership, finance & time management.

So, leadership, soft-skills, personal development & management will be key in the 21st Century.  Portfolio Careers & independent working will increasingly be the norm & in that scenario, people will need to be stewards of their own potential & development.

Part 3 of transforming business as usual into business at its best to follow!