Social change: Why business needs smiling Yoga at its heart

20131128-090711.jpgDon’t we and our industries, we as managers know about poverty, ecological problems, hunger , missing education and similar necessities in this world? Don’t many of us already engage? Individuals, foundations, companies…
Yes. We do. Many of us are interested in social change – we all know that. Nevertheless, the success is still limited. Don’t get me wrong. There are many good initiatives in the world, but there is still a huge gap between business thinking and doing good and there are many reasons why.

Bad business that does not care?
One reasons seems to be that we are still thinking in isolated ways on how to change the world. We develop products and services and sell them. Sometimes we work a lot, even too much, we identify needs, offer products at a low price, engage and behave in responsible way. But can we really change for good by bringing devices, technical services and products into hopeless parts of the world?
Yes, we can – partly. Exactly as long as the product/service delivery is ongoing.
But the roots of all these problems are still there and just wait to re-appear again.

The missing link between traditional business and cultural engagement
Traditional business managers separate business from cultural engagement. What we learn in universities in economics does not include ‘unproductive’ elements. What we learn is how to make money in the simplest, the direct way. Main rule: esclude elements that are not part of the business world.
Unfortunately, there are elements outside the business world that are the main drivers on how we think and behave. It’s what we call culture. Culture that allows us to think and behave differently. Can you tell me some companies that include regularly cultural elements into their business plans? In many business driven campaigns the cultural part, the one that drives emotions is underestimated. Because traditional business plans do simply not take them into consideration. Cultural education, things that add feelings to the hardcore business seems to be unattractive. They are not part of the business world. Culture means somehow leisure, a nice- to- have.
A business manager has to do business and not spend too much time with emotions, at least in his working time.

Of course, we know that in TV/ promotional spots we try to make feel people good. Showing how certain products give us the idea of freedom, well being, joy. But what, when it comes to the strategic business planning?
Have you ever tried to make the emotional, the cultural change a decisive factor in your business strategy?
Products, innovation, technology… These are the right terms and accepted. They influence our business structures. But what when it comes to include arts, theatre, smiling yoga into the planning how to do business? Have you ever tried to explain in meetings that the collaboration with musicians, theatre plays, artists should be the main driver to make people understand how to live healthier? Do we have departments that develop this cultural parts of a different behaviour?

Well, you get a nice smile from your boss:”Hey, nice idea, but not part of our hard jobs…or only acceptable at the periphery. Did you forget what you learned at university? If you want to sell show facts, give numbers, tell about the quality, use the right design…and show the advantages of the product.”
Can you imagine a sales rep instead of talking about a product, starts talking about social change, culture, putting soft factors at the focus and invites people to participate in a theatre play or coming to a smiling yoga session?
If a sales rep visit e.g. doctor there are only a few minutes time.”We definitely can not loose time with telling nice stories…can’t we?”

Let’s bring hope instead of pure product delivery
Sometimes I am not sure if with our traditional business thinking we do not loose the most important part. We sell. Ok. But changing mind sets? Really supporting a different thinking, a different behaviour, starting social change?
Why not make a difference when we do business by creating trust, by getting emotional buy- in. .. Do we really believe that the facts around our products and the way on how try to convince that we and our products are better than our competitors’ ones change the world?
Let’s build hope, let people smile. And give them a possibility to believe in a better world. It’s up to us, up to huge industries to change the world. Offering Cultural experience and opening new horizons of thinking to people is at least as important as our products. Make them become active supporters of social change and not just consumers of our products!

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