Your business can be the stimulant to positively impact the culture.
The thought is so new that most people will reject it without any serious consideration. That’s too bad because there will be thousands of specific things a business can do to promote a more positive culture. Listing of all of them is beyond the scope of this article.
The first step, though, is relatively easy. With just a simple mental shift in paradigm and very little extra effort, businesses can begin having a positive impact almost immediately.
As with so many other things, when you shift your thinking and see things a little differently, that change in perspective stimulates the birth of an entirely new set of principles and practices. Make a paradigm shift and see our business as an entity of greater potential than just the individuals who make it up. Once we’ve arrived at that new mental ground, the charge to “be the change you want to see in the world” takes on a whole new meaning. Now it’s not just about an individual, but it’s about a group of people already organized into a business.
What’s a Significant Business?
That brings us to a new term: Significant business. We all understand what a business is, but what’s a significant business? Merriam-Webster defines ‘significant’ as “1: having meaning; having or likely to have influence or effect.” The American Heritage Dictionary adds “Having or likely to have a major effect; important.”
So, a Significant business is one in which the leadership understands the positive potential the business has to influence culture and positively impact people’s lives beyond just making money. The business has importance and impact beyond the run-of-the-mill business. The leadership is committed to pursuing excellence in business and positive influence in the culture.
The Paradigm Shift
Begin to see your business as a potentially positive force, influencing the culture in ways above and beyond just making money. Look at its assets and resources from a different point of view. See your business as a collection of resources that can be applied to create a greater impact than the individuals within it. One person can volunteer for a food bank, for example, but a business has the collective resources to create the food bank. Once you make that shift, you’ll unleash all kinds of positive things.
You can then “be the change you want to see in the world,” but at a larger, more influential level. Now, it’s not just about you, it’s about the collection of people, contacts, and resources that make up your business. It’s no longer “I will be the change…,” but rather, “we will be the change…”
Nice idea, you’re thinking, but how do I pull that off?
If you are going to lead the stakeholders in the business to embrace a set of character traits that will lift them up and rub off on the folks with whom they interact, then your first step is to declare it. Put your new paradigm into words and distribute them to all your stakeholders. Once you declare who you want to become, you’ll find yourself naturally working to bring that vision into reality. One easy way to do that is to consider adopting the Significant Business Manifesto, below.
Significant Business Manifesto
- We value and respect all our stakeholders – employees, customers, vendors, and their families – as valuable and worthwhile human beings.
- We are cognizant of our influence, and proactively work to have a positive impact on the communities we serve, above and beyond just making money.
- We are honest in marketing, sales, financial management, and reporting.
- We actively promote rational thinking and evidence-based decision-making.
- We are conservative in borrowing.
- We pursue excellence in all we do.
- We adhere to ethical principles without compromise.
- We are proactive and generous in giving – money, time, and talents.
- We are profitable.
- We constantly pursue continuous improvement, both individually and organizationally.
Once you commit your company to a written position, the pressure will be on you to become the company you say you are. You will have introduced a whole new level of potential influence into your organization. You will have challenged yourself and all your stakeholders to see an opportunity for fulfillment at a level you may never have considered possible.
Your actions can be like the rock tossed into the pool – creating ripples of impact way beyond your ability to anticipate. The time is now.
How do you stack up? Take this short “Significant Business Self-Assessment.”