As multi-national companies expand, we see many continue to focus more on profits over people. The race to the bottom line accelerates. As a result, we have seen increased corruption in our governments, businesses and business toxic work environments.
As more global companies stare into the abyss, certain purpose driven multi-national companies are taking a unique approach and bucking hate with compassion and speaking out. They are reminding us of our core values such as respect, inclusiveness, diversity and fairness. Yes, most companies are designed to make profit but they are now adapting to meet new social and political expectations. We are starting to see a shift with cut throat business to conscious capitalism as more millennials enter the workplace.
Today, companies are more global than ever. They are made up of people – diverse people that serve a diverse set of customers and communities. As Jamsetji Tata, founder of Tata Group once said, “the community is not just another stakeholder in the business but in fact the very purpose of its existence.” We are seeing a shift where companies are taking a strong position and acting on their core values which come from listening to the collective voice of their diverse set of employees, customers and communities.
Employees, customers, and communities expect business leaders to speak out in support of them, and in support of humanity’s collective values of compassion, honesty, fairness, and kindness. Yes, reacting to high-profile events and comments can somewhat be risky but, having worked with many honorable leaders, I know they’re doing it because it’s just the right thing to do from a moral and ethical place. I only see more business leaders and companies taking public stances and speaking out in support of their global communities.
“Not every business decision is an economic one,” said Howard Schultz, the chairman of Starbucks, who was one of the global first company leaders to proactively address social issues. Global companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Emirates, Google, Whole Foods, and Patagonia take this compassionate approach with capitalism. They continue to voice to their employees, customers and citizens of the world that they stand for core human values.
Many business leaders have already heeded the call to change and adapt. They’re asking themselves, “What’s our company footprint? What do we stand for? What do we contribute locally and globally? What do we want to leave behind?” Taking this risk for doing what is right sounds simple but requires courage and action.
It is about ‘being’ a conscious business to raise the human condition. It is not about philanthropy, charity or corporate social responsibility but rather about always being a conscious business. It’s about each of us doing the right thing always.
We all have choices. And it is upon us to help reclaim our moral compass in this challenging environment. We do this by starting both at work and at home. Reminding each other of the simple acts of human kindness, respect, fairness and inclusion. It requires strengthening our Moral Fiber, knowing and acting on our common core values.
Shawn Vij is an accomplished business leader who has over 25 years of Industry and Consulting experience. He has worked in various leadership positions for Ford Motor Company, Ernst & Young, VISA, Deloitte Consulting, Microsoft, and Intel Corporation. He holds an MBA from Purdue University, an MS in Engineering from the University of Michigan and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Shawn was raised in the Midwest and now resides in the Pacific Northwest. His new book isMoral Fiber: Awakening Corporate Consciousness.