Businesses with soul – a vital new trend!
Generosity, not greed, is the new gold
Businesses with soul – based on numerous variations of ‘generosity’ – evidence strong personal, team and competitive advantages. They also offer their clients and stakeholders far better deals. It is vital we begin to take this global trend seriously, and indeed to become part of it.”
This notion is introduced by by serial entrepreneur, company chairman, innovation specialist, and entrepreneurial mentor Neville Christie, who has, to date, co-founded two Venture Banks; New Enterprise Services and Alchimie Innovators.
Global Financial Crisis
The Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, which nearly saw the collapse of the world’s financial system, had multiple causes and many flow-on effects.
One such flow-on, according to trendwatching.com, was that up to 87% of consumers in 22 countries expressed their disgust at greedy, deceitful corporations in which top-level executives employed underhanded tactics to further their own financial gain. These consumers then voted with their feet. As a result, a noticeable antidote to the ‘soul-less’ corporations is emerging, notably through entrepreneurs world-wide creating and growing ‘businesses with soul’.
According to an article in The Economist, published in October 2015, what we are coming to see is the rise of an insurgency model, in which entrepreneurs and disrupters are redesigning the basic building blocks of capitalism; reinventing not only how business works, but also what it means to be a company.
Generosity the conclusion
“The need for the opposite of greed – that would be generosity! – is never greater than in challenging times. Challenging times see people craving care, empathy, sympathy and generosity.”
These same researchers see the antidote emerging from the ranks of the Millennial Generation, Generation ‘G’ – the Generous Generation.
Why? As their research reveals, among Millennials, “…the larger and more lasting trend is passionate, empowered individuals – if not entire generations – being more willing and able to give, to share, to collaborate; to be more ‘generous’ in many ways. Which in turn has made generosity one of a new set of status symbols.”
The Generous Generation take over
By 2025, the Generous Generation Millennials will reach 75% of the global workforce. Many, if not most of their leaders now reject business as traditionally organised and run. Many will work for themselves, or work collaboratively, using digital technology…
The remainder want to work for organisations which “foster innovative thinking, develop their skills, and make a positive contribution to society”. (2014 Deloitte Millennial Survey).
Please pay attention!
At CEO Mentor Pty Ltd, we call these generous, caring, empathetic and collaborating individuals, ‘soul-full’. It follows that businesses who manifest these behaviours are seen to be ‘businesses with soul’.
We’re tracking the rise of ‘businesses with soul’ across the world. What we’re seeing is business with soul attend to more than just profit, focussing on as many as seven ‘bottom lines’ – Purpose, People, Potential, Performance, Profit, Planet, Philanthropy.
Each of these seven manifest sharing, caring, collaborating and ‘generosity’ in multiple ways:
- Generosity to the team
- Generosity to customers and stakeholders
- Generosity to the community
- Business-to-business generosity
- Generosity in marketing.
“Consumers – especially younger consumers – increasingly expect businesses to want to do good while doing well, and will reward them for it.”
Examples of generosity
- Skype encourages members to call their friends for free — and thrives.
- Greenpeace offers co-ownership of the new “Rainbow Warrior” and strengthens its community of supporters.
- Mondelez International trains small farmers in growing cocoa – which enhances the farmers’ income and secures Mondelez’s supply chain: “From cookies to crackers and chocolates to candy, our business depends on quality raw ingredients. That’s why we support sustainable farming projects. It’s good for our business, helps the environment and can improve the lives of local farmers and their communities.”
In different ways, Simplist, crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding, open-source software and the open source way, are all examples of a new sort of economy – midway between free-market capitalism and socialism: the sharing economy.
“The Sharing Economy encompasses the following aspects: swapping, exchanging, collective purchasing, collaborative consumption, shared ownership, shared value, co-operatives, co-creation, recycling, upcycling, re-distribution, trading used goods, renting, borrowing, lending, subscription based models, peer-to-peer, collaborative economy, circular economy, pay-as-you-use economy, wikinomics, peer-to-peer lending, micro financing, micro-entrepreneurship, social media, the Mesh, social enterprise, futurology, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, cradle-to-cradle, open source, open data, user generated content (UGC).”
[But it’s not all up, up and away!. See: Is the sharing economy high over?]
Other examples of ‘name’ companies leading the way to both the sharing economy and ‘business with soul’ include:
- AirBnB – opening up private homes as hotels
- Uber – changing the face of the taxi-industry globally
- Netflix – with generosity as its growth strategy
- Zappos – high-level customer service
- Tesla – surrendered patent rights in the hope of moving the electric car industry forward
- B Corporations – commit publicly both to a social mission as well as profit-making. Today, there is a growing community of more than 1,229 Certified B Corps from 41 countries and 121 industries working together towards one unifying goal: to redefine business success as “competing not to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world”.
In Australia, around 20,000 ‘businesses with soul’ are social businesses; run along profit-making business lines, but retaining a social mission (such as training volunteers who are unable to get a job, or distributing 50-100% of their profits to worthwhile developmental ventures like creating toilets and clean water in Africa).
Australian examples include:
- The Smith Family – clothing recycling which keeps the administration costs of working with disadvantaged children down.
- The ThankYou movement – headed by Daniel Flynn.
- Who Gives a Crap – co-founded by Simon Griffiths.
Melbourne’s coffee addiction
In Melbourne, a surprising number of these social ventures are based around Melbourne’s love affair with coffee.
According to the Melbourne Age; “Across Australia, there are more than 20,000 social ventures, including cafes, retailers and wholesalers. But cafes have become the driving force in the social enterprise sector in recent years, with established players Shebeen and Kinfolk being joined by Long Street Coffee, KereKere and The Final Step, among others.”
Social ventures and businesses with soul rewrite of the rules of not only capitalism, but also the sharing economy, and collaborative entrepreneurship. This movement are now clear world-wide trends.
“Creating businesses with soul – businesses that collaborate, provide meaning, and generously share – yields us enormous competitive advantage.” #Nevilleism.
Businesses with soul – a vital new business trend is the first Blog in a series of nine about ‘How to grow your business with soul – to generate wealth, wellness and well- being’ by Neville Christie. In this series Neville invites you to create and build soul-full businesses with seven bottom lines and seven streams of income. He shows you what and how, and points you to actual possibilities.