Each great purpose should be a cure purpose

The second panel in the afternoon (the fourth in the congress) was dedicated to the positive impact of businesses in the Common Good. Similarly to the previous panel, it included the participation of speakers from different parts of the planet, more precisely from European and Asian countries. And if in the third “group” there was an idea transversal to all the speakers, the same didn’t happen in this one, considering the diversity of the perspectives and the different ways the guests approached the theme.

Raj Sisodia, the co-creator of the movement Conscious Capitalism (CC) was (well) chosen to be the main speaker of the panel that would close the works of the panel on its second and intense day under the motto “to encourage the businesses with a positive impact on the common good”. After having been in Lisbon the previous day to “inaugurate” the CC Community in Portugal, Sisodia also took advantage of the stage for an early opening  of his work – The Healing Organization: Awakening the Conscious of Business to Help Save the World, which stands on the premise that, when the enterprises are led in the right way they can relief the suffering in our lives, the same time they have an extraordinary performance.

And it was precisely talking about suffering that Sisodia introduced his presentation, affirming first place that, although the physical violence is declining in the generality of the planet, the same doesn’t happen with the psychological suffering, rather the opposite. In possession of some statistics, Sisodia referred that the number of suicides is growing in a general way and that the way we work has much to do with this issue. As an example, data from a research realized in the United States refer that 88% of the workers affirm they work in enterprises which do not worry about them as human beings. It is proved that heart attacks happen in a higher number on Mondays, among other conclusions well exemplified in Jeffrey Pfeffer’s more recent book (VER has written about it), such as the case of 60% of American aggregates being technically insolvent and the common employees’ salaries increase not being higher than 10% compared to the 93,7% owned by the CEOs.

“It’s time for the enterprises to wake up, grow and assume themselves as part of the solution” – Raj Sisodia

All this to conclude that the human costs of doing businesses , as “it is normal” are very high, that there is no bill for all this suffering and that the consequences reflect on people, children, the planet and that “to cure has to be the goal-purpose of our times”, towards “we ourselves, our families, communities enterprises and countries”.

For the speaker, the true purpose of businesses is double and it includes both the creation of prosperity and the necessity to take care. The same way it should equally serve people’s necessities. That energy of service and care for one another leads Sisodia to the conclusion that “the entrepreneurial activity is essentially to cure”, together with the idea defended by Herbert Kelleher, co-founder, emeritus president and ex-CEO of Southwest Airlines, who has always affirmed that “the business of businesses is the people”.

After an explicative exercise of the “essential psychology of human energies”, Sisodia goes back to the principles of the conscious capitalism: the “why” of the existence of a specific business, the “how” it should operate – through the purpose – , the “what”that should take into consideration all the stakeholders’ inclusion and the idea that all should gain, and the “who” should manage it, that is, conscious leaders who practice care cultures. So, and in a fusion of his previous book and the next one, the purpose of any enterprise should be “to do something worth being done and earn money” instead of “doing something merely to earn money”.

Or, in short, any great purpose should be a cure purpose. For, and in truth, what we are doing nowadays is to use and explore, instead of taking care and cure.

In turn, and in a clearly happy tone, José Luis Perez began his testimony by saying that “it is a miracle to encourage businesses for the Common Good”.  As the founder of UCAM, a non-profit  Spanish organization, the speaker told that, together with his wife and eight of his fourteen children, he had already been a missionary and had lived in rather poor areas. An, based on the experiences he has already have, the speaker also explained that the university he created “works to be a reference in higher education”, helping the most disadvantaged youngsters through sports. According to the Spaniard, “the entrepreneur ‘s profession is wonderful”, being proud of giving a job to more than 20 people with deficiency.

“I’ll work eight hours for a good salary and 24 hours for a good cause”

Giving his testimony as an entrepreneur in the mining sector, Felix Pole introduced his presentation by questioning himself in which way business faced as a vocation is connected to the activity it develops. He also said that “45% of the PIB derives from mining”, being this a sector that “employs many people”. The speaker also explained that his enterprise “is small, operates locally and has an active role in society”.

The invited speaker in this panel also said that his enterprise “is close to opening a mine” and that “when the operations are finished the zone will be requalified and rehabilitated”. He stressed that the workers involved in this project “will have qualifications for life, which will allow them to work not only in mining but also in other areas as machinery”.

For the English entrepreneur, “businesses may be a noble vocation if they focus on doing good”, being sure that “between profit in the short-term and sustainability in the long-term, we always have to choose the second option”.

Giving a little more pragmatic perspective, Claudia Belli, responsible for the department of social entrepreneurship and microfinances from BNP Paribas, explained that, through some measures, the organization where she works has been successful in “doing the good and avoiding the bad”. And how? The manager said that “even with the possibility of having losses”, one the first taken measures was “to stop working with enterprises from the tobacco sector and stop financing some types of gas.”

“Businesses may be a noble vocation if they focus on doing the good”, Felix Pole

Not pleased, this financial institution administration decided “to do something in a pro-active way” and “create politics that help citizens to accomplish the Paris Agreement, supporting projects that contribute to the green economy”. As an example, the speaker explained they have decided “to give loans of positive encouragement”, that is, “if clients present projects that help the environment, we reduce the prices”. Another measure is connected to the growing support to social enterprises, with investments that have already overpass a million euros. The results are “more involved enterprises” and more green and environment friends products.

Coming from Philippines, Robert Laviña began by saying that, for him, business objective is “to make lives better”, particularly the lives of the most disadvantaged. The manager guarantees that the Phinma Group, where he works, “has already changed slums into social lodging, having built “1180 houses with legal electrical installations”.

Laviña stressed, as a complement, that the group guarantees accessible education for everybody. According to him, “many of the students who arrive have only completed the primary education”, being conducted to a program of literacy. The manager ended his testimony with a certainty: “I will work 8 hours a day for a good salary and 24 hours for a good cause”.

The last guest who spoke in this panel came from Thailand with the conviction that “businesses are noble, because they create work and, consequently, raise the wellbeing of humanity”. Virachai Techavijit is the founder and the president of Regent’s International Schools & Colleges and he defends that “it is any leader’s fundamental duty to guarantee that his businesses improve everybody’s life, inside and outside the enterprise”, but he adds that theory does not always correspond to reality, as “weakness is human and to make a mistake is even more human”.

Following this idea, the manager explained that “leaders should be attentive and create healthy environments” to avoid bad behaviours, bearing in mind that “temptations create corruption” and that this “is the disease that destroys businesses and countries, disturbing the global wellbeing”.

According to the speaker, technology – and namely through Blockchain and other inventions that are being tested in countries as Estonia – may be seen allied to the fight against corruption, bearing in mind that it is an unbreakable and “incorruptible” system, through which it will be possible to navigate and make transactions without danger, and where data are safe.

For Virachai Techavijit “the entrepreneurial leaders have the moral obligation to protect all the databases of businesses with Blockchain protection mechanism”, avoiding this way the existence of “more blanks in the organizations operational systems”. And, finally, he defended that, without that protection, “the way businesses are managed cannot be considered a noble vocation”.

After the presentations, there was still time for a debate between the speakers, moderated by Maria Manuel Seabra da Costa. The keynote speaker of this panel assured that the defenders of the conscious capitalism are NOT against profit – and the economic performance is also a business value – and that if it is socially irresponsible not to generate profit, it is important to know the way this is generated. If the enterprises create many riches, he proceeds, “the truth is that they also destroy them, financially, intellectually, socially, emotionally, spiritually and culturally”. And he concludes, “it’s time for the enterprises to wake up, grow and assume themselves as part of the solution”, Not the problem.

This idea put an end to the second and intense day of the UNIAPAC World Congress.