“Can we create a world where the best side of humanity finds expression?” – Dr. Todd Kashdan and Dr. Joseph Ciarrochi
It is hard to imagine another time in history where we have seen the pace of change we are experiencing in business today. One of the most prolific changes, which some describe as an era shift, is the new standard for companies to make meaning and make money, a focus on mission and margin. The mission, the difference businesses are being asked to make in the world, must have a positive, lasting impact in human terms as the expectations for conscious capitalism continue to rise. Leaders, and subsequently their organizations, have a new responsibility to make the world a better place for future generations, while taking into consideration the impact of their choices on the lives of others and the earth as our common home. Words such as transparency, vulnerability, compassion, openness, love, and purpose are becoming commonplace in corporate vernacular and employees, customers, and communities are beginning to take notice when these words do more than just hang on corporate walls. In his essay, The Essential Connection of Good Intent, author Tony Balis states, “For in the spring stirrings of the last few years, there seems a new grace born upon this world, perhaps nothing less than a resurrection of humanity.” And humanity, an ethic of kindness, is clearly a standard that companies will be judged against in the future world of work as this new grace extends itself to all of us in the business community.
The best side of humanity is rich with benevolence, selflessness, and yes, grace. In the context of work it is clearly a shift to the Human Side of Business. A shift that will require a whole new set of actions, behaviors, mind-sets, and skill sets in response to the rapidly changing expectations of employees, customers, and communities. Embedding this new way of doing business is mission critical for organizations in the future of work. As always, the transformation begins with the leaders where more attention needs to be paid to who the leader is verse what they know. There are countless white papers and data that demonstrate the culture of an organization is clearly a shadow of the leaders. As such, if organizations aspire to an ethic of kindness and an orientation towards the living, the leaders must be models of the behaviors they expect of others. Who the leader is on the inside– their personal core values, principles, beliefs, and purpose– is the best predictor of how they will show up in work and life. Companies committed to transforming in alignment with the new standard understand the work begins at the top. Human businesses require truly human leaders.
Kashdan and Ciarrochi answer “yes” to the question, “Can we create a world where the best side of humanity finds expression.” They believe with a focus on human strengths and the promotion of human flourishing, “Positive change can occur at multiple levels, from individuals to relationships, to organizations and cultures.” The key word here is human, the standard is kindness and it goes without saying that companies who themselves resurrect humanity both inside and outside their walls will reap societies richest rewards in the years to come.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at Switch and Shift, and has been republished with permission.
Dr. Todd Kashdan & Joseph Ciarrochi’s quote comes from their book, Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Positive Psychology