What is a Business Revolutionary?
Well I want to be one. To create, innovate, serve and grow, and to know that when my days are over, I’ve made a positive difference in this world.
As soon as you make a sentence, like “I want to be a business revolutionary”- to be motivated by love, passion, purpose and a sense of creating something that helps positively shape society….surely you are setting yourself up for a fall. I know. I set out with those intentions and I failed to deliver in my first business.
Love is not a word found in business much. It leads to an idealistic point of view, that it doesn’t commercially make sense, or for some quite frankly it’s so low on the agenda against the obvious motivations of profit, that it’s easily dismissed.
Kevin Roberts made a challenge to this viewpoint with his fantastic book Lovemarks. More recently, with the advancement of social media and language of Facebook friends and creating a Thank You Economy as described by Gary Vaynerchuk in his book there is a greater level of openness to this way of thinking. Mitch Joel gives a helpful warning in his new book Ctrl, Alt, Delete that few people actually love brands, when they don’t foster a long term relationship but push content at people expecting others to be interested. He writes:
If you give something to people that actually want and need they will love you for ever.
So how do we think about work differently and what makes a business revolutionary?
Passionate. Don’t waste time working in environments you don’t like. Yes, sometimes it’s important to slog your way through the birthing pangs or the thorns of frustration, but often people get stuck in work they don’t like. Be passionate about what you do. Passion is contagious.
Strengths. People should play to their strengths, and have the humility to recognise where others are better than themselves. When people are able to carry out work that they are both good at and enjoy, they can end making a far better contribution towards profit for an organisation.
Money. There are more important things in life than money, and there are more important things in business than simply profit. But without profit a business cannot succeed and achieve it’s aims and objectives. A Business Revolutionary should make sure that they are financially sound, and have the ability to financially honour all the people that they work with.
Love should be a bigger motivation than fear. The fear of being misunderstood, ridiculed, a failure or someone who makes mistakes. Perfect love drives out all fear, and although fear can also be a good reminder of potential risks, love should be in the midst of that. Whether that’s loving staff, customers, shareholders, or other stakeholders, the business that has no love can easily make decisions that are not in the interest of common good. Be a lover.
Generous. Generous with their time, their contacts, their resources, their emotions, their finances. Not to the point where they are so exhausted giving that they don’t receive, or where they become a doormat that others take advantage. But to make sure they have space and time in their lives to give. Those who give out to others, so often receive back more than they give. If you focus on taking all the time, people grow tired of you.
Positively Impact Society. The three Ps. Profit, People, Planet. A Revolutionary Business will make a difference through it’s products, it’s service, it’s attitude to staff, it’s relationship with it’s customers, it’s business model and it’s long term impact on the world.
Powerfully Counter Cultural. Not simply for the sake of it, but where there are injustices and greed, a Business Revolutionary has the challenge to speak out and work differently. It’s important to tread lightly in business and use power for good.
Not Controlling. A Business Revolutionary is not trying to ‘own’ staff, customers, suppliers, contractors or any other third party. There needs to be controls and checks within a business for safety, efficiency and success, but when others are left crushed, the business has overstepped the mark.
Humble. A Business Revolutionary should be able to admit where he has made mistakes,and where she has got things wrong. It’s through mistakes that lessons are learnt in life. A lack of humility often means those lessons aren’t learnt, and will be repeated at another time.
Team Life. In an individualistic world, a Business Revolutionary creates a culture where people enjoy being a part of the team. To honour and to speak well of each other, challenge and be challenged, affirm and express gratitude, go the extra mile for someone and look to draw the strengths out of each other.
Determined. Hard work, focus and innovation are all key characteristics of a Business Revolutionary. We are not going to get there overnight. It’s going to require a lot of graft and hard work to make something happen. There will be set backs, disappointments, frustrations and heartache- but determination and passion keeps the revolutionary moving along. It’s so important to push through, to set your face like flint, and to never give up. However it’s also important to have the insight to know when you’re stuck in a cul-de-sac, and to change direction.
Wisdom. Taking time out to be still and make sure that the decisions that are made are in keeping with your conscience. To look to grow in wisdom and understanding, to listen to the still voice that would nudge and prod, and to value wisdom in all decisions. To recognise that we only see in part, and it’s with the input of others who have wisdom where we lack, that better decisions can be made.
Successful. People have different definitions of success. It is important that the organisation is financially successful and achieves it’s well thought out objectives. But also success is found in the thoughts and feelings of the staff, customers, stakeholders, shareholders and others who can benefit from the Business Revolutionaries hard work.
So what do you think? Do you want to be a Business Revolutionary? It’s a near impossible feat at times and what it looks like on a day to day basis is the real challenge. What do you think makes a business revolutionary? I’d love to hear from your experiences in the comments below.