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  • Writer's pictureStuart Williams

Changing the Narrative 1: Not All Business is Bad Business

There is no doubt that the future of Leadership and Management will be through the lens of Profit for Purpose, and that capitalism needs "editing". However, as much as businesses need to adopt a focus of driving returns to all stakeholders, other community stakeholders must also play their part if we are to truly create a sustainable future.

As is often the case, many people are taking a "ready, fire, aim" approach in their demands for businesses to become "better actors". At In Place Impact we have been calling for a new approach since 1993 so we are on board with the need, but we are not wedded to the methodology of wild swings of the pendulum.

In a recent article (Demonizing the "Top" and or the "Bottom" is Not The Answer to Eradicating Poverty), we were lambasted for suggesting that many of the capital flow chokepoints that prevent the majority of "Top-Down" capital from funding the "Bottom-Up" innovations they were targeted at are hiding in plain sight. We are fully prepared to be lambasted again as we suggest that the "catch-all" narrative for businesses be changed.

It is our stance that we cannot rely on business alone to solve the seemingly Gordian Knott of creating a sustainable future, furthermore, while playing their role in contributing to the imperative, we also believe they too should benefit.

Numerous business leaders care about a sustainable future and are working hard to make the internal changes necessary to make a difference while making a profit. However, these are also the people who are tiring of being chastised in a "catch-all" meme about business being bad.

This catch-all meme suggests that:

1, Businesses must give up some of their financial gains to make a difference

2. When other community stakeholders fail to benefit from the positive actions of a business, the business is again blamed even if the opportunity for communal benefit is left to happenchance.

3. Businesses are still blamed if the positive impacts from their actions are "choked" by other community stakeholders residing within the community ecosystem.

In short, many business leaders feel "damned if they do, damned if they don't" which is not conducive to mass adoption.

Impact Economics has been designed to drive positive impact for businesses while ensuring that when a business "wins" all other community stakeholders naturally win, i.e. it is not left to happenchance and the chokepoints are unlocked. Because it is fundamentally based upon business and economics and not on philanthropy, charity, or entitlement, businesses are not even asked to give up portions of their gains because it happens naturally.

If we truly want businesses to play their role in the creation of a future that is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable for all, then we must:

  • Challenge all other community stakeholders to play their part

  • Stop blaming business for everything that is wrong

  • Adopt a more "ready, aim, fire" approach

  • Unlock the choke points preventing positive outcomes from being shared (and not leave it to happenchance that it occurs)

  • Raise the value of all other stakeholders to balance those of businesses needs instead of lowering those of businesses to the others

After 10 years of live pilots for Impact Economics, we have proven that this can be done, hence our stance is not based upon an "idea" but instead it is grounded in reality.

It is time to embrace businesses as important stakeholders in any community ecosystem and instead of vilifying them, we need to work with them.

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