In the turmoil of business and the corporate world, we are beset with an accelerated change demand. The markets are shifting faster than at any time before this moment. Even our historical successes tell us little. The picture is clear that now we are completely driven to globalization because of technology. No force can stop this powerful push; the world is our customer, and the company that is not thinking global is going broke. We are at a time equivalent to when the plates shift under the earth and create new continents. We are living business history; there is not much in our past to look back to as the road map, nor do we have reliable harbingers that light the way forward. The companies that are to be most successful and the ones that are to survive must have, at least, a two-part strategy. This two-pronged strategy is the larger view of globalization through collaboration and the internal view to organizational leadership that varies somewhat from the current model of maintaining the status quo. The shift is to a model of sustainability where, while incorporating the requisite risk-taking, leadership sets a course that incorporates profit, sustainability, and ethics in a Venn-diagram model that filters the mission, vision, and every decision through the three-part lens. The shift from a total profit driven model takes the corporate culture in an entirely new direction. Profit is essential in every business, and the maximizing of profit is a core competency; however, this model, as is clearly seen in the daily headlines, is not sustainable. The shift to social consciousness is being helped along by the desire for 24/7 connectivity, investigative journalism, and an innate human curiosity that can now be satisfied. No one escapes public scrutiny. Sustainability must be a large net that scrutinizes the product, the process, and the people in total accountability and transparency.
The way forward for the corporation has three distinct parts. Moving forward and not just on (major difference) involves a complete audit of the current culture, the real one, not the one over the door. The audit reveals where the company is stuck; remember we always have the answers, just no one is asking the questions. Identifying the silos and naming them so they can be revitalized to new goals of collaboration is an essential part of this process. The complexities of business often inadvertently create an atmosphere of distrust and add to that a larger macrocosm landscape that fuels anxiety; you have the perfect operative microcosm of fear and inertia. Moving forward requires leadership to take a hardline on sustainability for not only the planet, but also a commitment to review all vendor relations to determine the legitimacy of the relationships as being aligned with corporate policies. This is a practice that means you cannot lead with the profit foot, but rather with the ethical leadership that values social good over gain. This can begin a process where the weaker become stronger in order to survive and stay in the game. (See Jeff Bezos response that Amazon will put so many out of business.) Everyone wins. Moving forward requires a daily check on ethics with an overarching scrutiny that brings in all the players in a definitive way. Becoming ethical leaders, with ethical employees, who practice ethical behavior, requires a core evaluation that highlights where you are doing what you say you are doing and where you are not. A frank and sometimes brutal process requires putting more rather than less into words.