When goodness in management overcomes greatness

“God wants, man dreams and the artistic creation is born”, as Pessoa said, and similar was the UNIAPAC WORLD CONGRESS – Entrepreneurs and Managers’ International Catholic Union – that took place last November in Lisbon. To explain what this congress represents is like telling a story, an open story in eachone’s heart. The truth is that it has not finished yet, keeping on alive inside us, through images, affections, reflections…

During the last five months we, ACEGE members, have been defied to be co-organizers of this congress. From blank, we kept on building from the title “Business as a Noble Vocation”, what we intended it to be: more than a mere event, an innovative experience, containing a before and an after.

Together with ACEGE associates, particularly with the reflection groups “Christ inside the Enterprise”, we have meditated on this vocation (from Latin vocation, appeal), living in Mission, in an united life, in the reality of our work, in our profession, in our enterprises or in the multiple ways we serve the ones around us. And always conducted by our exceptional president, Rolando Medeiros, an entrepreneur from Chile, a disposable man, an engaged disciple, an entrepreneurial and personal leader, sparkling energy, will and desire, exceptional in his work and reaching all corners of the world with his generosity, always close to the others. So, all together, we proceeded, supported by a great local involved and dedicated team that organized all the initiative, never abandoned, but determined in reaching an objective shared by everybody.

The leader’s role in work is determinant as he is the one who sets the guidelines, contributing for a virtuous work environment. But coming from a leadership not lived as an exercise of power, of influences, of own merit, , but preferably as the practice of a service, of a delegated power and, precisely because of that, of mission, with a purpose that goes beyond the “I”, centered on the other, the others. Considering all of this, it´s a vocation , a noble vocation.

And the truth is that we assist to testimonies of leaders who have allowed others to transform them, who stopped worrying about their ego, choosing to confide on the idea that it’s worthy to search for a Bigger Good as a purpose of life. This transformation is not an improvement of what exists, but rather a profound renovation, a new beginning, concerning the way one looks, gestures, attention upon others – on thinking, on the way one decides and acts. Also on the authenticity and on the pursuit of new ways of living the unity of life, the search of happiness.

And from these leaders, this path, there are multiple examples of enterprises whose purpose goes beyond the aim of their performance. They may act, for example, on the industry field or on construction, but the purpose, the mission, is to contribute for the integration of ex-prisoners in the workforce, training them, giving them skills and offering them work since the very first day. Enterprises whose center is people and the defence of their dignity. Not just people’s dignity but also their families’, enlarging the perimeter of responsibility of the organizations and of who leads them. That dignity is nourished by the offer of dignified and fair life conditions. But also from a self-evaluation of the families, aiming a conscience of their real situation, their needs, training ,materials, education , health, settled habits, among others. The purpose of living in a world of enterprises without poverty (www.povertystoplight.org), similar to the developed initiative born in Paraguai and spread all over the world.

These leaders and these enterprises don’t have the primary purpose of profit, the financial result, in short meaning, but the one of going beyond their aim, on the sign they set on the mission, more noble than their activity. The activity itself tends to be a means towards that superior purpose.

Adding that there are various models, socially innovating, that may lead to absolutely extraordinary results, such as the case of Walgreens with the incorporation of handicapped people in their logistic chain that became a reality after the decision of a leader, an handicapped person’s father, who tried, this way, to create work conditions for handicapped people. Randy Lewis showed that Goodness may be a management criteria which comes over Grandiosity.

Business lived this way- people respecting one another – , promoting inclusion and equality of conditions, may lead to results that overpass economically the results obtained by the so called “normal people”. And maybe we have never thought that the number of problems of the people with deficiency seems to be minor , as they are more humble, more open to learning, more involved, trying to give the best of themselves in details; when they make mistakes, they see in that the opportunity to grow, and not to punish themselves; they are more generous and attentive to others and create a better team spirit; they compete based on mutual esteem and help and not on the obsession of being “the first one”; talent is not individual but collective and they complement themselves in their needs; they are more faithful and their rotation is minor; they are more resilient towards problems and smile when facing difficulties. Understanding, help, common good and happiness become part of the present culture. They dance and invite others to dance. They do not complain.

These new models, where truth and love may be central, aren’t easier to execute, but bigger. They aren’t more relaxed but tenser, as they are more demanding. They do not exclude, but, on the contrary, they include new variants that apparently complicate, but are afterwards more inclusive. They aren’t less rigorous, and they aim higher goals, as they imply a vaster and more lasting culture of values. And they allow the rebirth of new values, new forms of seeing, acting, thinking, judging and operating.

This is, no doubt, the most virtuous management model. The one which promotes the Common Good beyond the individual good. Common because it is collective, more extensive and doesn’t get completed inside the walls of my enterprise or, worse, “my-me”. It is associated to subsidiarity, to the availability of having less so that others may have more and everybody may be better in a wider collective view. With that, it´s solidary, it makes the lens of the heart and intelligence change, in order to go further in the obvious and the immediate. It is so the most dignifying one, for it promotes the person in the center of everything. This is the most inclusive of all models. The one that aggregates the other, but also the person as a whole, such as me myself, “excluding” either visions, judgements or values.

This is the entrepreneurial leader’s vocation and the noble vocation of business. Based on this ethics we will be able to look at the future with an even bigger hope. This way, the technological and scientific developments will by sure provide a significantly much better world, bearing in mind that ethics will always be in the person and not in the technology. Such as Love and Truth, relation and commitment.