If conscious business makes sense, why is it not more universally adopted?
If good or conscious businesses can be empirically shown to be more profitable, as more and more studies appear to show is the case; and if it can be shown that a more human approach to business makes the people who work in them happier, committed and fulfilled; then what is it that stops more people and businesses from embracing and adopting the principles willingly and gleefully?
Well, the first thing is simply knowing that there are other ways of doing things. That bad behaviour doesn’t have to be accepted under the guise of ‘that’s business’. That’s an awareness exercise.
But often what stops people is a simple case of resistance.
Human nature, by instinct, is very often naturally resistant to change, because there is a certain comfort in doing things the way you and other people have always done them, even if you don’t like the process or the outcomes. This can be put simply under the label of habit, and explains why people continue to smoke when they know and feel it does nothing for them.
And beyond that I also wonder if there other forces at play that might turn people off.
The first is hopelessness. If the size of the task or the change seems overwhelming, such as changing the nature of business, then starting the change alone can seem just a bit futile. (See climate change).
The second is preaching. From toddler to pensioner, no-one likes being told what to think and do, particularly if you’re being made to feel bad about what you have been doing.
That’s why all good engagement should start with a question – why should you, or anyone else, be interested in this? Or a story. That’s why the most famous preachers haven’t been preachers at all in the fear and damnation mould. They have been the more inspirational types, storytellers, the ones who help create a positive vision of the future. “I have a dream…”
And what is most prevalent in any stopping any form of change? An underlying sense of fear.
If I do this, because it’s against perceived wisdom or practice, what will happen? Will the world stop, will my customers and staff leave, will we make any money?
Fear is a very powerful emotion. Indeed it has been used for years as a sales tool to gain action. Sell your client a story based around fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) and you will scare them into action. But honestly, who wants to build a life or a career based around something as destructive as fear?
The truth is, the trick to overcoming this holy trinity of resistance – hopelessness, preaching, and fear – is to challenge them wherever you find them, and share and create new practice and stories that inspire and reassure.