The other day, I was discussing with someone the need to re-invent capitalism (so just a light chat…). We were having a heated agreement about the need for business to be values driven, doing good for all stakeholders, not just investors.
Then I mentioned the UK Values Alliance and Conscious Capitalism movements and described some of their main tenets – All businesses should have a higher purpose; They should benefit all their stakeholders; They should develop a conscious culture; Their leaders should practise conscious leadership.
Again we had heated agreement – except on the word “movement”. My companion paused and asked “Why do we need a movement? Aren’t a lot of businesses doing this anyway? I don’t like the idea of a movement.”
That made me think. Was he right? Is the problem with the language? Maybe “movement” sounds too preachy. Too “holier than thou”. And in any case, what is a movement and what’s the best way to make it happen, without alienating potential followers?
A few days later, someone told me about a video and TED talk that I think helps answer at least some of those questions – and it’s quite entertaining:
So do we need a movement?
Well, I think we need some momentum behind the idea of businesses rediscovering their core purpose, being values driven and working for the good of ALL their stakeholders – customers, employees, partners, suppliers, community and of course investors. We need to highlight where that is already happening and the commercial success of those organisations. And we need to help those organisations with an appetite for doing things differently to implement change.
What intrigues me from the video is the idea that success probably lies more in the nature of “followership” than it does in leadership. It’s the courage of the first and subsequent followers that will determine the success of the so-called “movements”. There’s a challenge for us all.