The ‘great reset’ demands new values and great willpower
There has been much talk of the ‘Great Reset’ and it’s a theme that will surely flow into next year. Increasingly there are examples of people calling for a substantial shift in the way we view and relate to our world. Just one example, with many of the retail giants in the UK collapsing, is the call this weekend by Mary Portas retail guru, for a complete rethink of the UK high street.
There is no doubt that resets are needed (and in part happening) on both personal and collective levels as we get to grips with the often harmful realities of the world we have created, and the impacts of our largely selfish and self-interested growth agenda linked to over consumption and inflated financial growth.
For many organisations the rethink needs to be pretty dramatic. The skirting around ‘purpose’ and CSR that has taken place over the past couple of decades needs to find real traction at a much deeper level – a values level. Not just because cost reductions can be achieved or marketing boxes ticked, but because every organisation is signing itself up as a fully paid up citizen of the global community – a community that includes the well-being of the Planet and all living things as well as human interest.
Much of the current business research points increasingly to the expectation that CEOs and their boards and management teams will properly get to grips with this call for change. The same research sadly also shows us that whilst there is an intellectual awareness of the need for change, the shift of will needed to really overhaul the organisation in terms of attitude (and within that ethics and values) and mind-set seems to be lacking.
That same research often cites the shareholder as the core barrier, and the fact that most performance metrics – especially at CEO level – are geared toward continued growth and expansion of profits for the benefit solely of shareholders. This has to change. It is time to rethink the financing and investment rules for organisations so that shareholder return is itself placed in the context, not of a stock market where everyone is trading for quick wins and a fast buck, but in the context of the long term, providing holistic value and sustainability for the next seven generations to come.
Let’s not waste the opportunity that this time in human history is offering us – this is our watch after all. Let’s rethink the economic equation as one which is based on a more holistic and circular approach with everything being done to support every part of the system. For example, alongside campaigns to support the homeless (sadly much needed now of course) let’s also focus our efforts genuinely on solving the problem of homelessness and poverty and a planet that’s currently unable to sustain our ways of living.
We have the capability to solve every problem we are facing – but do we have the right values and the will? Do we have what it takes to fill the shoes of true leadership?