Are we reaching the limits of “growth” that’s only defined by more? What is our responsibility as business people? Just to make money, be profitable and chase endless growth? Or should there be something else – perhaps a greater responsibility to ourselves, our people, and others around us?
As dictated by the “market economy”, growth and profits are the only measure of business success, and GDP the only measure of a country’s success. But surely there are limits to growth when only defined in that way? How much “more” is possible before we buckle under the pressure. The signs are all around us that we are reaching those limits…
We all know that bigger is not necessarily better, more is no guarantee of greater satisfaction (indeed the opposite can be true). So why do we continue to buy the story that if you are not “growing” you are not successful? Perhaps there are other measures of growth that we can apply to our businesses, measures that will lead to sustainability – of profits, people and performance.
Consider the stories told in these articles from Ode magazine:
– Small is successful: Cliff Bar and other businesses turn their backs on opportunities for exponential growth in favour of sustaining their values and ideals.
– These not-so-united-states: “All around the planet there seems to be a widespread belief that bigger is better—not just for nations but also for businesses and social institutions. But in reality this seems more faith than fact…”
The book Deep Economy by Bill McKibben provides a provocative look at the myths behind the “more is better” maxim.
The fact is that we are smart people, who can see for ourselves that “more is better” has become the tired chant of the last century. So my challenge to you this week is to look at your business. Is “more” really what you need, or would you be “better” served by a different way of looking things… what is your true measure of success?
See you next week.
Lead writer Michel Hogan is an independent consultant and practising brand heretic, who firmly believes that success for organisations starts on the inside with alignment between beliefs and actions, a passion she explores daily in her work here with Brandology and in the United States with the Brand Alignment Group .
For more Cultural Leadership blogs, click here.