Like many others, I was shocked (although not surprised) by the speed at which the banking world returned to its core value of greed once the financial crisis had seen its worst. I thought at the time that a golden opportunity to re-assess the model had been squandered.
So it’s with some delight that I have begun to read articles in recent weeks about a growing interest in other business models and new ways of measuring success. Two in particular have caught my eye.
The first was about the growing attraction of the employee owned business. The seemingly unstoppable success of the John Lewis Partnership appears to have at last seeped into the public consciousness. Maybe their consistent position as the UK’s favourite retailer, allied to their excellent financial results (and consequent staff/partner bonuses) means that their model has something going for it after all? I wonder what’s stopped others following this model before now?
The second was an article in The Observer about how economists are beginning to look beyond simple growth as a measure of company, country or world success. They are starting to look at wider aspects – even stretching as far as “happiness” and questioning whether growth as an aim in itself can be damaging.
Richard Barratt (www. valuescentre.com) has for some years advocated the adoption by organisations of a broader set of values that go beyond the mere survival level (the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy) and embrace concepts of working for each other and the wider community. He has tracked many organisations that have attributed their commercial success to such a strategy.
Perhaps the message is getting through that there are other ways of doing business. Maybe we’ll move towards a tipping point and the business world will change for ever. Or maybe I’m an optimist…