Sunday 11 October 2009

Secret of Business Success: Build a Better World

What's this? One of the world's top 20 most influential business community futurists subscribes to my feed? That in itself was a pretty interesting happening for a Sunday morning, and following the links into @PatrickDixon's Global Change was perhaps more interesting still:
"Biggest ethical test for every culture and every nation: creating a better world, improving life for people. This core value drives every political debate, underwrites all laws, and is the basis of all team leadership. It is impossible to lead effectively for long without using this principle: will the world be a better place as a result of this activity or not? It is the key to all effective management, marketing and motivation."

Now excuse me if I'm over simplifying here, and I mentioned this yesterday on the #greenfest keynote, but if I am not mistaken the pre-occupation pre-MarshallPlan business philosophy of Imperial Japan was always to "Make sense first, then make money, if possible." This Shinto philosophy persisted even beyond the fall of the Imperial Court, driving the fantastic economic gain and infectious demeanor of Japanese culture through the 1960's right up until about 1980 ... right up until the old pre-MarshallPlan administrators and executives started to retire, handing the positions of business authority to the upcoming young execs who had been trained in the 'American' way! I'd underline that twice if I could.

As the Europeans have been lamenting since before the days of the Unsinkable Molly Brown, the 'American' way was always and explicably, "Make money first, and then make sense, if possible." and I offer as proof of that how our community halls and music/arts programs across this continent have been decimated since the post-war years on the grounds that there is no 'business plan'.

Henry Ford himself remarked to Bucky Fuller, "You can make money or you can make sense. The two are mutually exclusive." He'd said that in the context of his refusal to support the military-industrial complex and as punishment had to sit by while his inferior-product competitors were showered with juicy contracts.

And here, now, a decade in on the early twenty-first century, what do we discover? We discover to our shock and surprise and massive book-sales and conferences unprecidented that Grandma was RIGHT!! We discover that all that we should have learned we should have learned in Kindergarten. We discover horror of horrors that Greed For Money is not the business god to worship, that subservience to Quarterly Results is the fast path to a dark downward spiral, and we discovered that the Evil Empire we so sought to arrest and destroy and reform in actual fact had the keys to our own salvation from sin tucked in their kit-bags.