There is nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself. Capitalism is not evil. What is wrong is when you don’t look beyond that to find a way to make your business grow and become something greater than profit and loss. Functioning from benevolent capitalism is where you are working to create more in the world for everybody, not just you, and it’s a very powerful concept when executed well.
Benevolent capitalism acknowledges the interconnectedness of all life, inviting every leader into the space of sustaining the good of all through your every contribution. As a benevolent leader, when you truly receive the enormity of this, you recognize that every single choice you make affects not only your business, but individuals, society, the planet and the environment.
How does acknowledging this reality change the future of your business? When we are unclear about the change that is required, the brilliance that nature is gifts us new directions. Science has looked to nature for inspiration, now benevolent leaders are too. Why? Because nature always evolves. Is your business always evolving? Or are there some areas which are stuck and stagnant?
I grew a $10 million business from scratch, not by following conventional methods, but by taking inspiration from nature. It is always moving forward. What if our planet can contribute to us far beyond its natural resources? The following perspectives are just the start of how engaging benevolent capitalism can change the future of your business.
Innovation occurs when you are willing to question everything. Whatever conclusions we come to, become the limitation of what we can actually achieve. Don’t assume, ‘We’ve got this part of the business right,’ like Kodak did. They assumed ‘We’ve got it right. There will always be film.’ They didn’t get innovative. They knew about digital and electronic imaging. Kodak never asked them, ‘Which is the direction we need to go? What do we need to create here?’ They just drew the conclusion that they would always have the answer. Once you decide that you have the answer, nothing that doesn’t match that conclusion, can come into your sphere of awareness.
Being a good leader, CEO or manager is so often about knowing when to follow and when to give over. If I hire someone to work for me or with me, I ask him or her what job they want to do. I’ll give them a list of about five things I need done, and I’ll ask ‘which of these are you good at? Which of these would you like to do?’ People will tell you what they would actually like to do. What you’ve got to be willing to recognize is, what they would actually like to do is what they will do easily. If you give them the choice to create their job, the end result will be that they will go beyond that. Everyone wins in that situation.
Almost all business models are based on the assumption of ‘either/or’. You can have growth, but only at the cost of something else. What would you create if you began to ask “What would it look like if our market share grew AND we created greater possibilities in the world? What difference can we make that no-one else can?
If you create your competitive advantage from this space, it becomes sustainable through your brilliance, not your ability to be 1% better than your closest competitor. Nature creates from abundance, not limitation and lack. If your strategy is based around what your competition is or is not doing, you are missing the abundance of possibilities that is available to you. Start asking ‘What can we be or do different that would outcreate everything that has existed so far?” Nature creates new species when we aren’t looking.
What can you create in areas where no-one is looking? Nature continually adapts to create a sustainable future, it doesn’t do short term thinking! A benevolent leader embraces their awareness of the future far beyond what is logically apparent. The moment your three year plan becomes unsustainable, you need to be aware of that, whatever your current sales figures are telling you! What do you know that you are trying not to know? Trusting your awareness will allow your business to be adaptable, flexible and able to pivot way before your competitors.
When nature destroys, it simultaneously creates. When business destroys, it mostly leaves a wake of misery and mayhem. At best, businesses take action to regenerate. Rarely does a business create from the ashes of destruction. If you must destroy, you have to do something different. Asking “What possibilities can this destruction create?” is just the first step. Have you made consumption more real than possibilities? Is it time for change?
Benevolent capitalism asks you to create for the good of all. To create beyond what currently exists. To create a new future that sustains and includes the interconnectedness of nature and humanity. Your acknowledgement of the brilliance of nature becomes an invitation to create business as a contribution to our future. What innovative approaches to benevolent capitalism can you invite and discover that will create our future with ease? Just remember – be willing to lose everything.