Tuesday, 6 August 2013

What’s wrong with Business? Our “One Word” Solution to a “One Tweet” Problem

Image Collage by PeapodLife: Exploitation v.s. Symbiosis:
Image of Tweet from @DarylIT “[Employees] are costs. Full Stop.” In response to @hblodget. 
Source: linkedin.com: Henry Blodget: This One Tweet Reveals What's Wrong With American Business
Cartoon Re-Thinking Symbiosis by Nick Galifianakis, 

Today an article by Henry Blodget, CEO and Editor, Business Insider, arrived in my inbox via LinkedIn. The article was entitled “This One Tweet Reveals What's Wrong With American Business.”

In it, Mr. Blodget describes what he believes the problem with business today to be: the overwhelming belief among senior managers that employees are “costs,” nothing more.
“And "costs," as we all know, are supposed to be reduced as much as is humanly possible (except the "costs" of the salaries of senior management and investors--those are supposed to be increased).”
~ H. Blodget, in This One Tweet Reveals What's Wrong With American Business.

He also offers the above tweet by Twitter user named Daryl Tremblay as succinct synopsis of this widely held belief, tweeted in response to his suggestion that McDonalds increase restaurant workers’ pay:
“(I was arguing that McDonald's employees should not be treated as "costs," but instead as valuable members of a successful team who shouldn't have to work that hard and still live in poverty.)”
~ H. Blodget, in This One Tweet Reveals What's Wrong With American Business.

What Blodget is really highlighting at this point in his article is the culture of exploitation. Then, in exploring the reason for the presence of this widely held belief, Mr. Blodget drops the “S-word:”
“Whenever you suggest to folks like Daryl that it doesn't have to be this way, that some companies can and do balance the interests of shareholders with the interests of customers and employees—and, in so doing, create a symbiotic relationship that supports all of these constituencies—folks like Daryl call you a ‘socialist.’”
~ H. Blodget, in This One Tweet Reveals What's Wrong With American Business.

Sorry Daryl et al, the magic word here is NOT “socialist,” it is “symbiotic relationship”…SYMBIOSIS: the close interaction between two or more organisms of different biological species.

So how does a business move from a culture of exploitation (people are “costs” to be squeezed, like the natural world, for every last drop of value), to symbiosis?  Why not start with the work environment?

We are all products of our environment. Our environment affects us in ways medicine and psychology are barely beginning to comprehend. Nonetheless, it is well documented how stress adversely affects wellness (the word disease itself is a compound word: dis-ease, not at ease…stressed).

What if there was a way of injecting the workplace, office, boardroom, staff room, etc. with an engine of wellness whose very foundation was symbiosis? Not only that, what if that engine of symbiosis was made possibly only because of a symbiotic relationship between human technology and nature?

Is it possible that an environment saturated by the forces and dynamics of collective symbiosis might have a positive effect on the decision makers working in said environment? If they breathed the same air, drank the same water, and shared the same indoor space as an ecosystem, would they not, on some level, begin to align their thoughts, emotions, and decisions to the underlying matrix of the ecosystem?

Image by PeapodLife: EcoSystem in Canada Life Meeting Room

At PeapodLife, we know making an investment in an indoor ecosystem for your management and employees will yield tangible benefits to your bottom-line. Improved mood, reduced stress, fewer sick days, and much more—all the reasons why many companies already invest in wellness programs.

But we also know that ecosystems will have another, more subtle and yet more significant impact on your business. A business whose strategies and tactics are more aligned with what’s going on in the world.

Just imagine corporate activities and culture which embrace a more holistic view of life “out there” by embracing a deeper and more conscious understanding of our worlds “in here”—in your business; that is, the collective bodies, minds, and hearts of your company’s people.

See, people are only “costs” if we adhere to primitive, mechanical belief systems expounding the virtues of exploitation as the highest goal of capitalism: maximize profits; minimize costs.

When you comprehend the inner workings of an ecosystem, the beauty and power of symbiosis reveals itself as a far more effective modus operandi (which is probably why it works so damn well in nature): support all beings in their efforts to achieve optimal expression of their inherent abilities, and reap optimal benefit in a mutually symbiotic, collectively harmonious, and highly successful enterprise.

So what other kinds of things can people imagine when technology and ecology come together in mutual symbiosis?
“Mexican artist Gilberto Ezparza has created a piece title Nomadic Plants, a plant/robot hybrid which forms a symbiotic relationship…[which] carry plants and biodigesters on its back, and moves to different energy sources when it needs to replenish its fuel….His small robot runs on energy produced from a store of bacteria. When these microorganisms need nourishment the machine seeks out dirty water, which is then decomposed to create energy; any surplus is used to emit a noise and sustain plants carried on its back. The machine and plants becomes co-dependent.”
~ GRANT, in D-Build Blog: Deconstruct Design Develop: A Symbiotic Future for Plants

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