Did we ever think we’d see fuel get cheaper? Did we ever believe we’d be faced with the prospect of robots really getting a foothold and taking many of our jobs? Did we think we’d get to the place of a cashless society?
All this and more are upon us and the pace of infiltration, let alone implementation, is rapid.
Although I had my fingers crossed, I didn’t think I would ever see business models, leadership and ways of working changing at such speed. The change has been so quick, that those in leadership positions are struggling to catch up, unless of course you’re one of those who are leading the way.
This is a change that’s not about new ways of doing old things – it’s about really big changes in approaches to the way business is done, the way people work, the way leaders become leaders and the way they lead.
Says Frederic Laloux (Reinventing Organisations) “There are no job descriptions, no targets, hardly any budgets. In their place come many new and soulful practices that create extraordinarily productive and purposeful organisations.”
The business model isn’t built around the marketing strategy, the style guide and the templates. It’s not built on leadership competencies and frameworks. It’s not built on policies and procedures, collective agreements and accreditations that need to be audited every other day by process-nerds.
The business model is simple. It’s based on some contribution to making the world a better place. The heart of the business is built around ‘why the business exists’. Then comes the ‘how we are going to go about doing this?’ Then, they just make it happen. The entrepreneurs and soulful leaders who are doing these things, grow organically by just ‘putting it out there’ and seeing what happens.
A young 20 something said to me recently, “I really don’t know much about engagement drivers, but I know what works and what doesn’t. I try stuff, ask for feedback, then change it if I need to.”
This is how these guys think and take action. They prefer to dive into the deep end and get creative about problem-solving on the go.
Never has there been so much freedom to experiment and improve as you go, as opposed to being scared to put a foot wrong for fear of being admonished by the marketing team or HR or your manager. The traditional norms are out the window – thank goodness for that. Outdated leadership and management methods create bureaucracy, squash empowerment and decision-making, kill off creativity and suck the life out of those of us who work for these people and in these businesses and organisations.
While many of the start-ups just make it happen, existing micro and small businesses may find the conversion a little more difficult, though very doable. It’s the medium sized and larger businesses that will be questioning whether the transformation away from the ‘profit at all costs’ driven model toward a purpose-driven model is either possible, probable or desired.
If you can feel the shift, even sense that the current model is broken, then bravo. There are many out there who cannot comprehend that things are changing, who cannot see that something is awry and that their relevance is crumbling. These are the ones who say how ridiculous it is to be even considering changing their approach to business – it’s working out just fine. And as for giving permission to people to nap at work – they laugh out loud. Let’s have a look at you in five years’ time.
There are also those who are wondering how they can go about contributing to something more meaningful while being caught up in organisational practices that aren’t doing it for them. They’ve got a job they can’t easily walk away from right now. At least, there’s an awareness there that will develop and enable the right decisions in time.
Did we ever think we’d see regions and smaller towns rise up? Places where people are happier, where there is less traffic and where there are a myriad of start-ups taking root?
The emerging business model doesn’t need a corporate office. The emerging business model is about people, purpose and planet and only needs access to hardware, software and the Internet to do business.
It looks like the number of businesses that will be created in the next 10 years will be exponentially more than the current trend. Owning a business won’t be a big deal. Getting a business off the ground straight after school or university won’t be a big deal. The need for a corporate role first is now being seen as a hindrance rather than a potential business and leadership internship because it stifles creativity, consumes energy and nibbles away at your soul.
I’m loving the fact that the Millennials are not bound by the ‘rules’ of business that slow down efficiency and crush creative thought and innovation. I’m loving the fact that they’re throwing the business plans, budgets, performance appraisal systems and current recruitment practices out the window.
Jo Burston from Rare Birds sums it up well, “There is no learning without action and no action without learning. You have to ask questions. You have to try stuff to see what works and what doesn’t. You then do what you know or think is going to work. Then you reflect and measure the outcome and results before you start that cycle again. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a business that started yesterday or a $100 million company, the process is the same.”
To make it work, you need to commit to your purpose (purpose is not meaningful to our species unless we’re helping someone in some way or helping the environment), be curious, be questioning and put it out there.
How would it be if we all took the time reflect on the planet we live on – it’s the only one we’ve got and it’s the only one we know of that’s so special?
What are you doing right now in your working life that’s adding value to other people and to the planet? The answer to that question is or can be your purpose, your path to soulful leadership, the path to soulful business practices.
What an exciting time to be in business.
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