Why business as usual is not possible.
The business landscape has changed. With the previous generation leaving a business legacy that is vastly poorer, in many ways, than any other generation in history. The state of business that the incoming Gen Y leaders are inheriting is one that is much more inequitable in terms of resources and pay structures. This applies in both the First and Thirld World. Natural resources are being depleted and many business processes are still largely unsustainable.
Business goals and business conditions have been very profit centric with little regard to both personal and social consequences. As a result, today we have less young people aspiring to a corporate career with 70% prefering to pursue entrepreneurial goals. The turnover of the graduates that do enter business is also higher than ever, with many leaving after as little as 18 months.
I blogged last year about the challenges that businesses have when they do not have a diversity policy. Many women, and an increasing number of men, leave because business still largely ignores an employee's broader social responsibilities. As emerging Gen Y leaders begin to step up into senior roles they ae not by and large inspired by yesterdays leadership. These emerging leaders can see that they need to build strategies and source new business models to achieve a quantum leap forward in addressing needs in the current business climate.
There are serious ramifications emerging from business goals focused on short term gains. Long term planning will need to be part of successfull business modles of the future.
Business needs to be responsible in setting its targets towards sustainable and equitable growth. New models need to be introduced, refer to my Biodiversity Model for business strategy development. New ways of measuring success and outcomes is required.
Singular profit only motives have seen business leaders in just one generation further exacerbate the bigger picture strain that business places on society and economic wellbeing. Instead of helping to alleviate the global issues in the world that they play in.
As such new business leaders will need to be courageous, and create a path where business has previously not been.
1. Name the problems - and some of these have pre dated the current leaders and have long histories
2. Own the problem – its time to step up and fix the problems that have long histories.
3. Create a new business landscape - I will blog about this tomorrow
The Unilever case study that I blogged about last year, then you can get a sense of what sort of issues need to addressed, and how important it is to put new items on the agenda and this needs to be driven by the CEO. They understand that they can set goals given their size and achieve global social strategy success in ways in which governments can only dream of. Their own ambitious plan to remove a billion people out of poverty is only once such goal, a great example that the strwegy is not just limited to environmental footprint but broader societal sustainability goals.
LOCAVORE principals will also be at the heart of a global business strategy.
Employment of local resources and creation of jobs for the local youth market is once such challenge business must address. The word ‘head count’ still is bandied about as a measure of success but does not address this growing issue.
Not only supporting employment of locals, but mentoring and sponsorship of locally based business partners where corporations actively mentor these partnerships to help business support them in their global operations.
Equitable distribution of company resources – we have global CEO and executive salaries, but a global minimum wage seems ludicrous? Business needs to be responsible for the wellbeing of the societies in which they operate in, as a failing society is not conducive to strong markets.
So there is a lot to consider as business goals are broader than ever before, business resources are limited and markets are not only more powerful, but need to be nurtured not exploited under this new model. The structuring of the business and the needs of employees under this new model.
Shares value is here to stay and the sooner business addresses this the better it will be the entire business landscape, allowing business to flourish again and take a position where it will be truly a positive role model and contributor to the societies in which they operate in.