So last weeks post suggesting that Google and Apple are authentic was controversial – there was even some quite intense debate through the comments on the blog and on Facebook, thank you all for your contributions.
It is easy to see corporations as great monolithic beasts who act with a single impulse, and I am sure that there are CEO’s who would like for this to be the case. The reality is that corporations are just collections of people doing what people in our society do and are rarely (if ever) that well coordinated.
Some decisions are good and some decisions less so. Some are willfully negligent or greedy and some are profoundly positive and inspiring. Some end up doing more of the former and some do more of the latter.
My experience is that most people, including those in corporations (even really big ones) are trying to do the best they can for their families, for their employers and for society, generally in that order, which is not that different to anyone else. I know this because I have coached a lot of people from eco-activists to senior corporate leaders. I have worked with them to articulate their Life Purpose, their Vision, Mission and Values.
At a deep level generally we all care about similar things – community, environment and art (spirit) the level of emphasis varies, but out of well over 3000 people I have coached not one was authentically driven by money. Clearly my sample is not entirely random, but it is large and diverse.
We have many different views on how to tackle the challenges of our society. We have, different views on what some of those challenges are and which are the priorities. We also have different levels of commitment in terms of what we are prepared to do about them, but most people genuinely care.
We will only transcend our challenges if we can embrace these differences, support one another and all do what we can.
Robert came up with an interesting definition of an Authentic Business in one of his comments on last weeks post he said: “My definition of an authentic business would be one which trades in goods, services or information which enrich humanity and help it evolve to a higher vibration.”
In a sense, this is what we all need to be doing. Inevitably we are all contributing to evolution one way or another. Even war and environmental destruction contribute to evolution – because if we are unable to transcend our challenges we prove ourselves unfit for survival. We don’t survive and, in time, another species will take over.
The “higher vibration” is the key. It is only by transcending our challenges that we prove ourselves fit to survive. By this definition I would still argue that Google and Apple are authentic. Education is clearly a vital component of our evolution and Google have done more to share and democratise the worlds knowledge and information than any organisation in human history (with the possible exception of the Moorish teachers of Toledo in the 13th Century). Apple empowers people by making highly sophisticated technology easy to use – just compare the experience of watching a three year old with an iPhone to the experience of watching a three year old with a pre-iPhone smart phone. With the iPhone they play games and navigate from one to the other with ease, the old phone makes a useful teething ring or hammer. When people are empowered it is easier for them to have the confidence to fulfill their purpose. Categorically, I could not do the work I do today without the innovations that Apple have contributed ( you can decide if that is a good thing or not).
Equally you can argue the evolutionary case for oil companies, car companies, airlines, food companies, pharmaceuticals and more. It may be in some cases that their time is passing or that they have gone past the point where their value to wider society is exceeded by the costs they externalise to it, but the benefits of cheap travel and energy, health care and freedom from subsistence farming are profound (and frequently taken for granted).
Corporations and the profit motive contribute substantially to our lifestyle and there are some very significant advantages to the lifestyle many of us enjoy. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with either, what we need is the wisdom and the courage make use of the energy and innovation facilitated by them to contribute to our evolutionary survival.
Please also visit the blog to comment
You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com