speaker, consultant, coach

Business is more than business

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” -- Peter Drucker


There's no escaping that everything's about business.


The business of manufacturing.


The business of professional services.


The business of selling spirituality.


The business of selling healthcare.


The business of selling ideas.


The business of persuasion.


Oh, and probably, the business of politics.


However, for most people they see business as just that...business. More particularly, a place to go to work and not much else.


Many others have written of the need for business to be much more than a cubicle where paid work gets done and a profit made. In short, a place where we live out who we are (if we ever know), we fulfill our dreams and we come out the other side (after 50 years) knowing what we did mattered. However, the disconnect is that that those in charge never ever (or very rarely) understand that beyond making a tidy profit, a business should be so much more -- how about thinking of it as a Cathedral of Excellence in every single way. (If anything, the so-called leaders see their cohort as a problem to be managed with the aid of a 'Human Resources' department.)


Now, on one level, that's perfectly understandable -- if the model works, why break it -- but, on another, more fundamental level, it's the biggest waste of talent 'resource' and life-force imaginable.


At this stage, I could of course leap into the abyss and lay down my faux formula to reverse the situation, but you and I both know that that won't work, not least because no one possesses the guts to start putting their people first...and well before the blasted customer. Neither are they willing to sacrifice the pyramid they stand atop of and embrace a more collegiate, trusting environment. I could expound further but you get the point.


You might ask, "well Summerhayes why write this post if you're not going to give us a prescription to change the status quo?" If I'm honest I don't know. Probably because I know it won't make a jot of difference but, more likely, because the system is the problem and how the hell do you break that down?


I suppose when all is said and done, this post is no more or less than another polemic at the system, but, more fundamentally, I still have this perverse notion that one day I'll read about the new new model business (and I don't mean a John Lewis clone) where every person at every level is developed to their fullest, amazing potential. Of course, on my travels, I may have missed the exemplars or better still thousands of developing-their-people-to-their-fullest-potential businesses but, somehow, I don't think so. If I did everyone would know about them and, presumably, want to work for them or something very similar!


Anyhow, I live in hope.


One last thing. If you're a leader, manager or owner, ask yourself what one thing did you do yesterday to develop the people in your charge, i.e. to develop them as the next leader in your business.


You didn't.


Well perhaps you ought to think carefully about where the future leaders are likely to come from. If I've learned anything about leadership, it doesn't happen by a process of osmosis. It only happens when someone cares more about someone else than they do about their own career and future in the business. Yep, really.


Anyway, onwards, forever onwards.