Article by #ebbfmember Mika Korhonen
There are many reasons and drivers for companies to strive to be both internally and externally “good” today.
First, the climate on the social media platforms is so ruthless that it will rip every company publicly apart if they only try to pretend to be ethical if they in truth are not.
Second, the need for distributed and decentralised decision making of self-managing teams requires each member to live up to the values they collectively share.
Third, the honesty and trustworthiness shown towards the clients and collaborators is a direct consequence of the conditions inside and therefore contributing to better business.
One of the most overlooked dimensions of business transformation is the development of the character. Gradual and continuous transformation of individual character is contributing strongly to the conditions needed for a healthy and thriving community, how the people behave with one another and towards the world around them.
This organic process, leading to become both internally and externally ‘good’ calls for transformation of every individual. Those involved are to be known for their character and behaviour, sincerity, trustworthiness, generosity, collaboration and mutual assistance.
Spirit of service has implications on the way business is done, in the interactions with fellow workers, members of other organisations and clients, even with families. Friendships become stronger. People become more aware how much people can learn from each other.
It is not unusual that very soon people start to observe collective change, different from individual change, where common will is translated into concerted action. People become protagonists of development, active members of the human family.
This kind of change is not a project that someone carries out for the benefit of another group of people. They themselves need to understand their social reality, assess their needs, and trace their own path of progress. The harder they strive to widen the scope of their knowledge, the better and more encouraging will be the results.
When learning is their primary mode of operation, then they make sure that their visions, strategies, goals and methods are re-examined. As tasks are accomplished, obstacles removed, resources multiplied and lessons learned, modifications have to be made in goals and approaches.
The standard is high. The transformation demands quite a different kind of leadership, sometimes referred to as ‘moral leadership’. In recent article published by the World Economic Forum “Why moral leadership matters now more than ever” (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/02/why-moral-leadership-matters-now-more-than-ever) Dov Seidman observes: “Leaders can no longer hope to scale shareholder value without scaling shared values. Mission and margin, profit and principle, success and significance are now inextricably linked.”, and continues:
“These leaders are not simply well-behaved, they stimulate action by anchoring their daily work — and the work of those around them — in a principled vision of what is good for the world. Moral leaders are advocates who see the humanity in everyone and take the time to build unique and deep relationships. They see people not as means, but as ends in themselves. They listen and learn from those they lead and are often more inclusive.”
While this organic change in the level of human character takes time and requires new attitudes towards leadership, a wise person envisions the results already at the beginning and enjoys the growth process all the way. Just as when you see a seed of a tree you know that in a fertile ground, with the right amount of water and sunlight it will one day bear beautiful apples.