In October I attended the third Global Forum with Business as an Agent for World Benefit in Cleveland, Ohio, US. Together with 600+ global leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, consultants and thought leaders we talked about how companies can be not the best IN the world, but the best FOR the world. What was so inspiring was the true wish to collaborate – the good old saying “competitive advantage” is replaced by “collaborative advantage”. A new generation is ready to lead from a new mindset where strategy does not have to mean you outmaneuver others, but may mean you find ways to embrace others and make them embrace you. And there are already examples of companies doing exactly that. Companies with values like love and kindness, which deliberately have a business model with an emphasis on “doing good” – and thereby “doing good” themselves. One example of this is the Dutch it-company Schuberg Philis, another is the flooring company Tarkett. Both companies have reinvented the way they do business and found more sustainable solutions to their product-development, customer relationships and internal working conditions.
We do, seen from my perspective, need a new mindset. Mindfulness – to stay deliberate open, curious and kind in the moment – is finding it´s way into the corporate world. Why? Because it makes sense. Jon Kabat-Zinn once wrote a book with the title “Coming to our senses”, and in this new, even more fast-paced world, we need to use our senses when “finding our way”. It is no longer enough to survive, we need more than that. We need to think about models that will ensure not only sustainability, but flourishing. One of the things we talked about at the Forum was how the word and the condition “sustainability” in itself is not really worth striving for. Imagine sustaining your marriage… What we need is something else – something that ensures a sense of well-being in ourselves and others, something that make us flourish and prosper and thrive. That “something” is among other things a new way of leading, innovating and structuring. For companies. What is it for you? What makes you and others flourish and prosper? What is it that you yourself and/or your company do, that not only sustains life, but makes it blossom?