There’s quite a lot of talk about an idea called ‘The Kindness Economy’.
The idea is that the ‘traditional’ capitalist approach to business is lop-sided and is harmful to people and the planet by over-stressing both – because of this unbalanced approach.
The ‘traditional’ approach was summed up by Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, in a landmark article in the New York Times in 1970: In it, he argued that a company has no social responsibility to the public or society; its only responsibility is to its shareholders. He justified this view by considering to whom a company and its executives are beholden:
In a free-enterprise private property system, a corporate executive is an employee of the owners of the business. He has direct responsibility to his employers. That responsibility is to conduct the business in accordance with their desires … the key point is that, in his capacity as a corporate executive, the manager is the agent of the individuals who own the corporation … and his primary responsibility is to them.
And this belief has just become more and more controversial, as the negative fruits of this approach are becoming clear to all.
To quote from ‘The Kindness Economy’ Podcast: The Kindness Economy is about making business better and making people and planet as important as profit.
And of course, like everything else that works: it’s bloody obvious common sense: an unbalanced approach will produce unbalanced results.
Not only is ‘The Kindness Economy’ common sense, it’s also the ‘right thing’ to do (we are, after all, social animals and this approach is the root of all religion), it’s much kinder to the environment (which has suffered terribly under Milton’s approach), AND, by the way, it also produces much more stable, sustainable, stress free and profitable businesses.
But also, like everything that’s bloody obvious common sense, it’s easy to say (especially if you’re a celebrity with lots of money), but MUCH harder to do on a daily basis – especially if you’re a start-up or small business who’s struggling to pay your bills, cope with the day to day, try and grow your business … and get a reasonable night’s sleep!
So, assuming that you’re one of the business owners, and not one of the celebrities, if you think ‘The Kindness Economy’ is a good idea, what can you actually DO about it.
And how can you DO this AND make profits and grow, without turning yourself inside out?
The good news is, of course, you’re already on track: the ‘Slow Selling’ approach IS ‘The Kindness Economy’ in action:
- Slow Selling makes a point of considering the needs of ALL stakeholders: that’s the start point (after all, if ALL stakeholders aren’t on board 100%, you’re going to struggle to stick to your principles in this super-competitive world).
- Slow Selling considers every aspect of a business in a holistic way: from stakeholders, to mission, to strategy, to processes, to actions, to results.
- Slow Selling is about measuring the ‘lead measures’ of doing the ‘right’ things BEFORE the ‘lag measures’ of getting the right financial results.
- And the 4 principles of Slow Selling apply to every stakeholder at every step of the way (whether they like it or not) because they are principles of common sense!
Let’s just take the case of one set of stakeholders: the owners of a business (because their need for bottom line profit is always a major issue!).
What’s the Mission? To ensure they make a profit in a way that they can hold their heads up high, be proud of what they own, and rest easy at night knowing that this will continue to grow over the long term … NOT simply ‘To make a profit’
What are their REAL Needs? A cup of TEA:
- Trust: that their systems are working well and that profits will grow long-term and there won’t be any skeletons coming out of the cupboard.
- Easier / better life: by sticking to the Mission and systems.
- Attention: by applying the ‘Slow Selling’ systems they will be assured that close attention is being paid to every inch of the business, so they will not only receive that attention, but rest easy that things are being done in the right way.
How do they make sure they’re getting these needs, and the business is doing all it can do deliver them? By ‘Going the extra inch’ in all they do at all levels.
How do they know this is happening, and rest easy at night? By having the right ‘lead measures’ in the business and using them rigorously, step by step, in their ‘Go the extra inch’ systems.
Of course! It’s bloody obvious common sense!
So what gets in the way?
As I stated right at the start of my first book, Great or Poor, sometimes, in order to achieve these wonderful things, there needs to be a short-term hit to the bottom line profits: then Milton’s approach kicks in with vigour, common sense goes out of the window, and we’re back to the dysfunctional ways of doing business that produce stress, aggro and destruction.
That’s why the ‘Slow Selling’ approach starts with the ‘Customer Focused Mission’ as the first step and insists that ‘Lead Measures’ (based on the Mission) come before the ‘lag’ measures.
First things first.
Now it’s up to you to decide what approach YOU want to take…
#kindnesseconomy #slowselling #customerattraction #customerloyalty #reputationmanagement
Slow Selling is a UK based not for profit organisation for leaders and managers in independent businesses.
Our systems deliver peace of mind and confidence to caring leaders and managers who have limited time and resources, and want to grow their business … all without sacrificing principles or profits.
To find out more, please click here