Bigger Than Oneself: A New Approach for Corporations
Blog Post › Enterprise-Wide Transformation
Over the past months, we have been questioning our ways of working, what we stand for in our lives, what purposes our companies have that makes us feel engaged and willing to serve differently, and what kind of impact we would like to have on our world and on our ecosystem.
What is the reason for this inquiry? Human beings always want to make meaning out of everything, and chances are that the crisis has spurred us to attempt to make sense of what is happening. However, if we tried to go beyond this, if we tried to inquire into a new possibility of creating a business that would serve something bigger than ourselves as individuals, what could come up that would inspire and empower us?
To start with, we could address the existence and identity of the systems we work in and for, as living intelligent entities that need integration, alignment, and differentiation to exist and last. We can question what differentiates our business with regards to the question: What impact do we want to make? You cannot pretend to make a difference in the world if you do not know who you are being and why you are unique as a corporate entity. Is it your culture? Is it your particular way of operating? Is it a unique, game-changing product or service you are providing that distinguishes you from your competitors?
Having done and completed that, we turn to the impact we are willing to have, in service of what, an impact that would be bigger than our current considerations and aspirations (although responding to them thereby). This is the occasion to revisit the economic impact of the company on its market, and its strategy to achieve that impact. Then would come the social impact it has on its employees, including asking: what are the necessary conditions for the teams to perform at the highest level of excellence in the best possible environment? What should we change to make this happen? What can they change in their behaviors and commitments?
Finally, we would revisit the environmental impact of the organization (the CSR), making the choices and decisions to transform the way we are doing business, in order to preserve our planet and the biodiversity that makes it so unique. Thus, these three impacts are interconnected and indivisible, in service of each other in a recurring productive and performing dance. Be it internally or externally, serving markets and clients, shareholders, employees, and the planet should be, from now on, considered as a winning formula. No antinomy here!
How would we achieve this? We would first have to create a powerful stand for the whole organization, a mission that would serve a commonly agreed-upon purpose. To support the articulation and implementation of that purpose, we lean on responsibility, presence, authenticity, professionalism, pertinence, sharing, and compassion, all values that would be leveraged and embedded in the company’s culture to catalyze our actions.
What would inspire us to do this? In these times of uncertainty (although we have mostly been living in uncertainty since we were born, should we be aware of it or not), there are many new possibilities of questioning, revisiting, reinventing, accelerating, and engaging people. As long as we all serve something bigger than ourselves, with the purpose of bringing value, with shared values, we can reinvent a new future that is more powerful, with more inspiration and a greater impact. In a world where we more often than not separate matter and spirit, being part and acting in service of something bigger than oneself could be the beginning of a new era for corporations and organizations.