photo : (Alan Johnston)
We are all on the cusp of something and many are getting a sense of this. Perhaps an unsettlement within ourselves that ‘this is not it’; that this life which we have carved out for ourselves is not the be all and the end all, and there is something beyond.
Things are changing and shifting constantly and it is a challenge for most of us to stay steady within this constant uncertainty.
Life cannot be compartmentalised anymore. Many are witnessing a ripple or domino effect the moment something is not in sync, whether it be in our relationships, friendships, work, health etc, and we are starting to see how everything – and everyone – are truly interconnected and interdependent.
This of course applies to business and we’ve been called to re-evaluate our foundations including our values, vision ethos. How true can we stay to these values – and ourselves – when challenges come our way?
It seems our ancestors have something to teach us here. If we study ancient cultures dating back more than 5000 years ago, their values were never forsaken. There was something that is known as ‘Philotimo’, an ancient Greek term that was propagated and taught by elders back then, who had the wisdom of foresight.
Sadly if you look back just a few hundred years ago, the East India Company, for example, systematically stripped the Indian subcontinent of assets for more than 200 years and yet was largely celebrated by its shareholders as a roaring success. Blood shed, drug money, weapons trading, human trafficking, modern day slavery, corruption and exploitation in work places are still part and parcel of the daily currency in most countries and there are multi billion dollar corporations/brands that have grown on this corrupt foundation. And yet most companies and corporations would like to think that they have evolved their businesses, having made them sustainable and socially responsible, with metrics in place that measure governance, leadership and environmental factors.
The question is are these things truly integrated and at the core of the business or are they simply a tick box exercise to look good on the outside? Do we walk the talk or do we just paint a pretty picture?
Look at the millions of unnecessary products/services that have been created purely from driving need and greed and feeding off the back of that. We do not need such excess at all for even one second if we are truly enriched in our lives.
What if we could somehow unlock the ‘code’ to the DNA at the core of doing business ethically and sustainably? What if it was actually very simple? If it was just about authenticity and true service; leading the way and contributing to humanity’s evolution?
And this is where we come back to this ancient Greek term: Philotimo (philos= friend/love, timi= honour). Back then Pagan poets spoke about this in their writings and St. Paul the Ancient Greek/Roman philosopher was a huge proponent of upholding values in society that encapsulated what it means to live and work with integrity.
So what if we start to bring this ethical compass of transparency, and compassion to our everyday work life by incorporating Corporate Philotimy?
Could we then ask these very important questions on the road to achieving this:
1- Does our organisation have a culture of truly caring for our staff instead of just seeming to on the surface or paying lip service? This true investment will then enable everyone to bring through products and services that people actually can use to evolve themselves out of this quagmire swamp of excess and need driven economies. And in the process, simplify their own lives.
2- Can our companies take more account of the community we are in? How do we deepen our relationship within these communities and bring a transformation through engagement and collaborations instead of pushing sales-driven and fear-based services/products.
3- True compassion for every stakeholder no matter how big or small, there should is no difference in the way they are treated. Everyone’s voice is heard and honoured, everyone has a role to play. Is this possible? Are we truly there to support each other? Care for each other?
4- What if all decisions were taken from a place of transparency, integrity and accountability?
Would that then pave the way for companies to build trusted brands, more customer loyality, engaged employees and supportive stakeholders?
Aren’t all of the above great timeless ways of doing business? That’s the key question to ask here. Are these qualities not all fundamental to who we truly are? Or are we going to let the dictates of time keep us in the hamster’s wheel of how business is currently being done?
Many companies are now facing increasing pressures to perform; to keep to the status quo and upholding the falsities, even if there are those that are sensing a different way could be explored, responding to some sort of universal ‘call’ perhaps.
The level of daily exhaustion and burnout has reached new heights and yet has become the norm, having increased post lockdown here, and globally. Coffee anyone?!
Building a culture of true care and understanding deep into the foundations of the ecosystem can enable more people to make decisions that are from a place closer to the core of them, rather than the outer layers of lies of societal conditioning and self centralised ways of operating. True change really does start on the inside out.
We can re-learn and remember how to truly collaborate, co-create and inspire others in how businesses can be run. If every innovation is made from a sense of true service and evolution rather than greed and individuality; then there will be no one upmanship, no need for competition and there will be a place for every business to flourish naturally. To operate with high standards of integrity will enable everyone to go there together and no one gets left behind.
We may not have much control or say over government funded authorities that want to put humanity in a box; operating via the old paradigms of power, control and paranoia which serve to drive us apart from each other to keep us from coming together.
But we can shine our light and choose to live in a more connected and authentic way and your business can lead this change. Corporate Philotimy is about standing steady, standing with the truth bringing true innovation and collaboration to the world around us.
Our brand founder and author of this blog Chetan Jha is leading not just change but also innovation across the board through best practises that echo compassion understanding and reflection. To know more, email us: [email protected]