Last week I missed my Monday posting again. This time it was just down to too much work leaving me without the brain space to fulfill my self imposed obligation. The work, however, is astonishing and it is a story worth sharing.
In my last post I wrote rather pessimistically, which is unusual for me. My experience since then has given cause for optimism, but only if those experiences can spread rapidly. Firstly we had the crowd funding project for Civilised Money, we set an ambitious deadline to raise £100, 000 through crowd funding in 10 days, which actually became 9 and we made it. This is significant, not just for Civilised Money, but for business in general and especially for authentic business.
What has happened in the UK over the last fifty years or so, is what Douglas Adams would have referred to as The Banking Event Horizon. Gradually, in the UK at least, Banking and related activities in the City of London have appeared to become more profitable than anything else. To the point where investing in anything other than Banking and the City of London, looked and felt rather foolish.
The City became a sort of black hole for investment, sucking in all potential investments and sucking it away from industry and other forms of entrepreneur. Anyone seeking to start a business had to compete with the opportunity cost of not investing in the City. Very few fledgling enterprises could come anywhere close, and funds funneled increasingly into the city. Eventually a teetering monoculture is the only possible consequence, which is where we are.
Crowdfunding offers a way to avoid what happens to monocultures. It offers a way for entrepreneurs to connect with investors who are looking for something beyond the mono dimensional financial return and are looking for some social, environmental or other return as well. It gives budding authentic businesses a way to finance their business from fans, who will keep them honest, both financially and ethically as they grow. Crowdfunding is a very important component of both the evolution of business and our escape from economic meltdown, by enabling us to harness the creative energies of entrepreneurs.
The second part of my story follows on beautifully from this. A few weeks ago I received a torrent of complaint for suggesting that the senior leaders of major corporations might be human. Last week I had the privilege of co-delivering a session on Ethical Leadership to senior managers at a major corporation and it was a very profound and moving experience.
The session focussed on the need for leaders to bring their whole self to work, to bring the same values and ethics they would use with friends and family to their decisions and actions at work. We made the business case for ethics in business and we offered some tools to help build confidence and make decisions that consider long term benefits and harms.
As we closed out the two day session our 24 participants all had the opportunity to express their hopes about how their company would come to be seen in the future and what they were prepared to commit to, to make it happen. It was a profound and moving experience. Our group were all fundamentally good people, which is my experience of corporate people, who were eager to embrace the ideals of Ethical Leadership. This two day experience, helped them to make the values and ethics of their decisions and actions more conscious and intentional. As this rolls out across the entire leadership of this business, it will make a profound difference to how they behave as a corporation. It will change how they are perceived by society and it will give them a very significant competitive advantage as a result.
If other leaders in business and politics are influenced by this shift in time, it could well create a more positive future for all of us. This is why I started doing this work in the first place. It is profound, it is valuable and I feel honoured to be a part of it. We all play our part in creating the future with every decision and every action that we take. Let us all be more conscious of the future we are creating and let us create it intentionally – rather than accidentally, as so often seems to be the case.
Please also visit the blog to comment
You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com