The world is caught in a never-ending chase. Without even realising it, we seem always to be hurrying after something - something we can't even describe - a chase to nowhere.
For hundreds of years, since the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s, the chase has provided vast profit, fuelling rapid human development and great advancements in science and technology.
But today, wherever we look, it appears to be reaching its sell-by date – wreaking destruction on the environment, on animals, and ultimately on human wellbeing.
As a result, we have arrived in the age of disruption – a word that has become part of our daily business vocabulary. We’re all aware of it, yet many of us still struggle to cope with its implications: fast-paced change.
How do we stop the chase, understand the change, and take control of our future?
Here are my 10 suggestions to guide you on the path to conscious capitalism and a long-term abundant future:
1. Think about the reason you started your business or your career path – does it still ring true for you?
Is your purpose the same as when you started out? A purpose-driven business/life is the way of the future. The reason you began – your why – is critical. Are you still following your why?
2. Encourage your employees to do only what they love.
Sure, this is every worker’s dream – to do only what they like doing. But you should be doing whatever you can to make this a reality. Your goal, especially in a large company, should be to allocate responsibilities to the people who welcome them, whether it’s doing the accounts, managing teams or dreaming up creative concepts. When people follow their passion they are far more engaged and productive – from the business’s point of view, you’ll be getting a lot more out of them over time. It will also do wonders for team morale, a priceless asset.
3. Follow the 70/30 rule.
A workable ratio for success is: allocate 70% of your time and energy to paying overheads – literally “keeping the lights on” – and 30% to planting seeds for what’s to come. In other words, spend approximately 70% running the show, and 30% on your longer-term vision. You can further breakdown the latter percentage to 20% focusing on becoming the leader in your sector, and 10% pursuing “Moonshot” ideas.
4. Focus on what your consumer needs, not your capability or “competitive advantage”.
Capability and competitive advantage are useful – but only to a point. “Be better and win!” just isn’t good enough anymore. To thrive in an ever-changing environment, you must focus on what the consumer needs and adapt effortlessly and quickly. Note that consumers often don’t know what they need – it’s up to you to show them, which means you should position yourself as a trusted thought leader.
5. Celebrate the contribution of your employees.
Motivating your hyper-sensitive employees is more critical today than ever. The traditional bonus is still effective to a degree, but what are you rewarding your staff for – efficiency or experimentation? In this age of business disruption we should all be experimenting – looking forward – and encouraging the team to do so too.
6. Assess your impact priorities.
Long-term success is based on the impact of your business on your employees, your current and future consumers, the environment and your balance sheet – in that order. If you prioritise balance sheet over the others, you will be setting yourself up for trouble down the line.
7. Evaluate your rituals and habits.
Rituals become habits, habits become behaviours, behaviours become your culture.
It’s important that all your staff are aligned to your values; the everyday routine within your company should reflect those values.
8. Spend time future-proofing your business.
Expose your staff to the future, so that the concept of inevitable change becomes a positive force, not a negative one. Promote and encourage the idea of adaptability: this is the key to survival in the modern business world. We should all be trying to embrace what lies ahead.
9. Spend time “imaging” the future.
Everyone in your team should have a shared, clear vision of the direction of the business. As US scientist and author Dr Joe Dispenza puts it, “If you are not defined by a vision of the future, you are left with only the memories of the past.” Now go and build your future memories.
10. Be Aware. Take Responsibility. Be conscious.
All the points above can be achieved only if you and the leaders in your business are conscious and have found their own purpose, if not then the balance sheet will rule the day. Doing conscious business favours long-term success over short-term profit.