When I meet people during lunch time, when I talk to neighbors, friends and family, whenever I meet people outside the official business hours and talk about social engagement and empathy, about making the world a little bit better, I’m very often surprised. Most of the people around me get excited and very interested in social topics. Even top managers. Moneymakers. They like to hear about it, about social enterprises, about social engagement, about cases where help was offered. They really like it and start talking about their own life ideas and about meaningfulness and how they engage or how they would like to engage. Even those who seem to be” business drivers par excellence”.
There is a good news behind: The world is not divided into two parts – it is not a traditional split into the business and social world, as it seems to be. It is not the do good people on one site and those who make money and careers on the other, as often our educational structures and professional pathways make us think and teach: “…Business has to follow certain rules, KPIS, Maximum of profit…, and the social workers? Yes they have to make sure that they are always the nice ones who care. “
That’s how it works, but at the end, asking and talking to the colleagues, they all want to be human and they love it. It is just the daily world that makes them live differently.
The “bad” separation line
Within the companies, during the working hours the world seems to be divided: Business is business and empathy, putting a social need in the focus, that’s a case for social workers. Probably we follow this path because we are used to it, because this division is widely accepted.
Would you ever mention that business is based on an act of “love” and “empathy”? Or come up with a marketing strategy based on a theory that less profit could help to make the world better? NO? Well… , does this mean that in our traditional business world empathy is a “nice to have” and love does not really fit? Well, maybe. One thing is for sure: Talking about “love” during a meeting would be unusual – don’t get me wrong: I do not speak about marketing slogan that shows how nice life can be, but about a business idea or change that can bring more love to the world. Love is no argument in the big business. Business is around money, profit, customers, sales. The maximum value – in terms of money – by following the rules and laws- that’s the key question to be answered. Not more, not less.
Part- time empathy?
I don’t think black and white, business that makes no profit is dead. However, most of us feel good when we add ” love” to what we do. Is this artificial separation in hours of business and hours of love not a very unhealthy status?
One thing is clear: most of us would go for making a better world all the day, if… if we had more time, more money, more courage, more power and if it were “allowed” to bring more love to business. What do you think?