Extreme Kindness

Extreme Kindness

Good business

What does it mean to be a good business? Traditionally this description has been reserved for companies with an exceptional bottom line – profit generation was paramount. In today’s society, however, there is a slow, steady shift in the corporate framework towards balancing the bottom line with community and environmental responsibility. Although it continues to be a challenging progression there are business visionaries helping to wheel barrel other businesses up the hill toward a more robust meaning of being a good business.

I have recently started reading a new book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s, who was made famous in the realm of psychology after he published his worldwide bestseller, Flow the psychology of optimal performance. The book is titled Good Business Leadership, flow and the making of meaning. Mihaly brings the reader to a new understanding of how businesses can align themselves with their original intended purpose: to serve others. He asks people in positions of power in the workplaces to consider the question: how am I contributing to human wellbeing? With the majority of people spending a great deal of their lives at work, this is a question which should resonate with millions. He also reflects on the promise business makes of efficiency and profit, and ponders whether these values contribute toward filling life with joy and meaning.

In my own exploration of these issues, I have been reading Yvon Choirnards’ book, Let my people go surfing, in which he reveals what has shaped his business, Patagonia into one of the most forward thinking businesses in the realm of social responsibility. In Good business, Mihaly discusses Patagonia very progressive business plan and vision. Chinard is quoted as saying that Patagonia tries to act as a company that is going to be here a hundred years from now. It was in this sentence that I had a little epiphany: imagine if every company had a hundred year plan. This would help to move businesses away from the incessant quarterly push that pulls them away from being community stewards. I think if business continue to act with a view for the future not only our generation, but the coming one as well, then we will surely be able find a way act more responsibly. Starting with the end in mind may be the best way to achieve balance and happiness at work. Paradoxically, it may be that we must all look to the future if we want a happy future for those living in the present. Good businesses must learn to see the light over the horizon and use it to warm them where the place they stand.

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One Response to “Good business”

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    July 6th, 2014 at 6:53 am

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