We continue to hear people calling for the business community to be more accountable for their actions. Nowhere is this stronger than in the relationship business has with our environment, our planet and its resources.
I don’t want to pretend this is a simple issue and one that can be easily addressed. I do not believe in placing all the blame for the social and environmental challenges in our society totally on the shoulders of businesses.
Our society is made up of an intricate web of relationships. We are all involved in an interdependent dance, and all of us contribute to the results we have (both the positive and negative results).
It is time for us to change, for all of us to change. But to change we need a new way of thinking: We cannot solve the current problems within the same paradigm that created them.
We have held ourselves separate from our environment. We have viewed labor separate from management and we have held businesses simply as machines of production. And as we know, machines do not have a soul: they merely produce what they are designed to produce.
What if we changed our view of what a business is? What if we saw business as another life form, a living entity that is meant to create?
A living entity comes into being to fulfill a unique purpose, a Soulful Purpose™; a purpose that is about contributing to the well being of our society. This purpose serves the advancement of the organization and of our society; the advancement of life in general.
All life forms are composed of other life forms. The human body is comprised of cells that form organs that work together for the well being of the host body. What if we recognized that employees and management are the organs of their host body, “The Living Organization®, and the organization was part of its host body, our society?
It seems to me that the conversations would change, and we would stop blaming business alone for the ills of society. We could actually begin to see a new way of thinking and deciding which will yield a different set of choices and behaviors
To begin to shift our paradigm will also call for a shift in our language. For example instead of saying “our people are our most important assets” (assets are things we own) we might say, “Our people are our most valuable resources, the source of life energy within our living organization.”
When we view our organizations as living beings, we recognize they have a responsibility to behave as a contributing member of society, in the same way we expect people to behave as contributing members of society. It will be a natural part of a living organization to understand one’s role in the ecosystem and to fulfill that role. We would be in relationship with all other living things.
After years of trying to evolve business, of trying to bring about a change of awareness and to create social responsibility and higher ethical behavior, I have concluded that the only way we will get there is if we reorient our framework and shift the paradigm from a machine of production to The Living Organization® model.
Does your business function as a responsible contributing member of our society or as a machine that is just interested in producing? Do you know your soulful purpose and are you living true to it?