Saturday, December 5, 2015

Two Opposing Sides of Business

In my Introduction To Entrepreneurship class this week we learned about becoming a change maker. I believe that this lesson was very different from the previous weeks because it really made us study two opposing sides to business.  On the one hand, we had to write a book report on "A Field Guide For A Hero's Journey" by Jeff Sandefer and Reverend Robert Sirico which is literally a workbook full of stories and inspirational antidotes created to guide the reader as they begin a journey to change some aspect of the world.  This is applicable to both business and personal growth.  We also studied a talk about Entrepreneurship and the Law of Consecration which teaches us that we should be striving to be successful so that we can make the world around us a better place.  We studied Microloans and how Muhammad Yunus created the program in order to help end the world epidemic of poverty.
Then we studied an article called, "What's A Business For?" by Charles Handy which was printed in the Harvard Business Review.
This article spends most of its time stating what is wrong with capitalsim in the United States.  It provides facts and figures that prove that companies are inflating their profits and that CEO's of companies are having a disconnect with the rest of their employees as they strive to create wealth.  This article spells out the doom and gloom for the American Economy if something does not change quickly.  Handy states that virtue and integrity are so vital to an economy because without it society breeds mistrust and contempt.  Employees do not trust their employers, stock holders set unrealistic expectations of profit sharing and the economy becomes inflated to the point where it will collapse.  Charles Handy states that the "real justification" for the existence of business is for people to accomplish something collectively that they would not accomplish separately.  There is, according to this article, a disconnect between this philosophy and what is currently happening in the United States.  Charles Handy proposes that Americans take a look at what is happening in the companies in Europe and try to model themselves more like these companies.  One example that Handy gives is that in Germany the right of the employees is to have half, minus one, of the seats on the supervisory board.  This gives the employees the ability to have a say in the decisions that the board of directors is making.  By having ownership in the company, the employees are responsible for the outcomes of the company and end up having an emotional investment, as well as a financial investment in the company.  This causes greater accountability when reporting profits and losses and a greater desire to improve the company as a whole rather than simply increasing profits.   Another example of a way to improve the American economy is for employers to invest in people's lives.  He gives a European example that there are seven-week annual holidays, legally mandated parental leaves for fathers and mothers together, growing use of sabbaticals for senior executives, and working weeks of fewer than 40 hours.  All of these put together allow the employees to work smarter rather than working harder.  They have found that the employee's ability to produce increase because the employee is well rested, better rounded and has time to develop who they are as a person which then turns into a better contributor for a company.
So why did we have to study these seemingly opposing articles?  After spending most of a day being submerged in "A Field Guide For The Hero's Journey" and ending with "What's a Business For?" I realized that it made me decide the kind of entrepreneur that I want to be.  I want to be someone who is regarded as having integrity and honesty.  I want to create a name for myself that is synonymous with high morals and standards.  I want to truly make a change in the world and I know that I do not need to do something big in order to do it.  I simply need to remember who I am, surround myself with the best people, set up ethical guardrails and consistently work towards my goal of making the world a better place.  I want to be a change maker.