There has been a lot of talk going around about the Pendulum that has swung to the other side of business. In other words, over and done are the days of the lone alpha CEO who rules his kingdom for maximum profit. Suddenly, we are talking about teamwork, the greater good, and businesses that act responsibly.
These are lessons that we learned at a very high price. First, many of our American companies outsourced our best ideas to China. And why not? Production costs were low and corporate profits skyrocketed. Consumers thought it was great for a while, too, because the things we love to buy were cheap. But, we were all in for a big surprise once we realized how many of our neighbors no longer had jobs to even pay for those cheap products.
We have nobody to blame but ourselves. We put profits over people. Loyalty and dedication were considered liabilities on the financial spreadsheet and Corporate America couldn’t get rid of their most experienced and deserving people fast enough. Pensions were denied while job security became an echo of a past generation.
The result? An extended recession and an economy that is still desperate to recover. Retirement is simply not a financial option for many Americans. And when 50-year olds vie for $35K entry-level sales jobs at places like American Apparel, we don’t need to wonder why our Millennials can’t find their ways out of their Boomer parents’ homes. The long-term damage we did to ourselves will continue to nip us in our behinds for many years to come.
As long as we behave like we exist in isolation, we will continue on this downward spiral. The choices you and I make affect other people—selfishness doesn’t work.
The truth is that, ultimately, we are all in service of and for each other. We can’t run our businesses alone, we don’t win alone, and most of the time we are not better alone. We all need other people in some capacity for companionship, love, and success.
As many of us (including myself) are enjoying summer vacations with friends and family, perhaps this is an appropriate time to think about where you stand when it comes to showing the people close to you (including your work team) the cracks in your armor. Perfection is so over; vulnerability and openness are in. This new swing allows others to step up and contribute to the whole. Trust me, it is a lot more fun to reach goals together instead of getting to the top with nobody to clink champagne glasses with.