What might be the deepest purpose of any business: Starting a dialogue?

I cannot cease to think through all the aspects of what I discussed Thursday evening with this incredible leader, as explained on my blog post http://ow.ly/3ZxEk.

I wondered, what would it be like to start a discussion/debate/dialogue with the World. Would it fly? The only way to know is to try.

The question I would like to explore is the following:
What’s the ultimate purpose of any business enterprise?

My answer as of today would be:
Add real value to society & share the value retained in the business equitably, between all stakeholders.

What would be the outcome of pursuing such purpose?
I think it would lead to a totally different way of looking at the why, how and what of businesses (see Simon Sinek: http://ow.ly/3ZvHQ).

Reflecting about what to add to society comprises a whole lot of things, it pushes to systems (& ecosystems)  and wholistic ( incl. global) societal thinking. Thinking about how to simultaneously ad value to clients, customers, suppliers, partners, the public, communities, regions, societies, … whilst at the same time taking into account all aspects of the business that could present risks of unintended, indirect, devious, destructive effects. It would take into account short term as well as the term effects.

A chain of WIN,WIN,WIN,WIN,WIN,….  without any LOSE?

A key component of adding value would be growing people, have them flourish. It would be combining people’s strength and free commitment into perpetual novelty. Developing and allowing free mobilization of the full potential of people’s collective intelligence , would open up possibilities well beyond what any single individual can achieve.

The result would not only be felt in the company and its ecosystem, but it would have a viral, societal effect. Individual people, growing and flourishing in their company would virally influence family, friends, communities … indirectly spreading new mindsets for enhancing collective acting and behaving, responsible citizenship, democracy,  in broader society.

Am I dreaming when I believe that businesses could be acting and behaving as the best responsible (enlightenend) citizen would act and behave, locally and globally?

Dreaming? I believe I am not.  I sincerely believe it would work. Why?
Because I believe that people, every man and woman on this earth, is endowed with “systems intelligence”. It allows them to grow and flourish, constantly learning, throughout life, to self-develop autonomously in social contexts, by contributing to higher community purposes.  Raïmo Hämäläinen and Esa Saarinen have extensively demonstrated this in their work. I spoke of Esa in a prior post, in another context, months ago see (http://ow.ly/3ZvSh). To get a feeling of how Esa and Raïmo look at the power of “Systems Intelligence”, follow the link (http://ow.ly/3ZvUl).

I see believing in Systems Intelligence as a paradigm shift. I see many other paradigm shifts occurring. Whilst at present most are still repressed and sidelined by what Jonathan Haidt callstribal moral communities united by sacred values,  hindering research and progress” (see http://ow.ly/3ZxFV), slowly but surely the situation changes.

The situation changes, luckily, because more and more leaders appear. They are courageous enough to dare confront and overcome resistance and embrace new paradigms and “meaning systems”.  These are thus gradually becoming more and more accepted, they prove theit merit, they slowly destabilize and replace the old paradigms that have lead us to the undignified situations we know today.  

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
Walt Disney What would the final outcome of the dream be?

The final outcome might be that the shift in which we are, the beginning of an inescapable transition that is awaiting us might perhaps happen this time without too much toil. As more and more business enterprises increasingly discover that their purpose is to partake in the whole of society, as more and more espouse new paradigms, because it brings them value and success, a viral phenomenon might start. In other words, if the economy and business worlds are no longer seen as isolated from the rest of society moving, business might lead the way.  This is the insight I had, re-reading Brian Arthur. (see http://ow.ly/3ZwQS). It became so clear to me, so surprisingly clear… How could I have discounted this aspect in first place, during my earlier readings?

The discussion is now open, I’m sure many will disagree with what I wrote. I’ve not tried to be provocative – although I understand it can come over as such. Sorry for that.

Don’t judge, please. Look at what I wrote as a basis for launching a dialogue. I hope there are some merits in what I believe in.  Everyone is welcome in the dialogue, nobody should judge nor be judged. Diversity of opinions should lead to new ideas, should open up new possibilities, new insights, new avenues for thinking, seeing, sensing, precensing, prototyping, acting.

I hope many people will participate. I hope they will do so in an inquiry and learning mode….

Let’s try, adopting dialogue and Argyris’ ladder of inference as models for our exchange.

Will this fly?

Amplify’d from charlesvanderhaegen.wordpress.com

UPLIFTED after a conversation with a HUMANIST, a leader of to-morrow, who has proved it works today

Anyhow, the leader I met has already done it, already shown the immense potential of liberating the people in his organisation.

This company is the proof that, as the people benefit, flourish and uplift, their families do, their communities do, the regions in which the company operates do … but also, and as significantly, the shareholders get higher returns, the clients better service, products, quality and innovation, the suppliers and all the partners they work with are co-creating with the company and its clients an ecosystem that allows everyone to flourish.

Helping people and organizations close the gap between their most deeply held human intentions (purpose), and their present possibility. How to do that has everything to do with unleashing the hidden capabilities that lie in every individual and in the collective. The success conditions are courage:

Read more at charlesvanderhaegen.wordpress.com


About charlesvanderhaegen

I am a grandfather of an immensely inspiring family, thanks to the most incredible wife. To satisfy my family's needs, I was for 30 years business entrepreneur, roller coasting between success and failure. 17 years ago I was forced to stop and reflect. I dug into theory and discovered the World out there, that my involvement in Business had kept hidden to me. I feared that I will not escape remaining amidst my trans-disciplinary quest forever, bouncing back and forth from action to theory, always puzzled by Europe's apparent incapacity to free itself from its Institutional/Technological Lock-ins. My horizon opened up when Gunter Pauly, my intimate friend of 35 years, asked me to join him and take charge ZERI's development in Europe. I am now fully engaged alongside Gunter Pauli in the http://www.zeri.org and the @myblueeconomy Networks as CEO of ZERI.EU vzw (Non for Profit association)
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4 Responses to What might be the deepest purpose of any business: Starting a dialogue?

  1. RalfLippold says:

    Charles – You have hit my nerve 🙂 How did you know? Memories race back to our flight back from Muscat, Oman, April 2008 [the financial crisis had not yet started]. Talking about my life story. Frankfurt International Airport – and you couldn’t tell me yours. Half a year later, we set together in the Belgian countryside. Talking about what our purpose in life is, you told me your story. At lunch you said something that shook ever since my action in life, “I am going to the Penguins to Finland!”. My mind frowns, “What does he mean by that?”. Three days later I found myself at the Penguins up North in Finland – at a living learning place (school, university or similar would be a totally mislead to what it really is).

    A dream started off – http://bit.ly/a6rEeA

    Putting the dreams together in real life we probably will create what is business 3.0 – are you on?

    • Thanks so much Ralf. Extraordinary that you link what I was trying to say in my blog with Team Academy and with what Pater Senge was telling about it.
      I never would be able to make this connection.
      Only a mind like you can… Too sharp to be understood (:-))

      Hereafter what I posted on twitter, to honour your post

      “Peter Senge and @teamacademy commenting my post trough @ralflippold ‘s blog comment http://ow.ly/3ZzWh http://wp.me/p13j9h-1V

      Through Amplify it should also appear on Facebook and LinkedIn.


      • RalfLippold says:

        Thanks so much for your compliments, Charles!

        Has been a real pleasure to connect, it raced through my mind and the vision of TeamAcademy in Dresden is still more than valid and worked on:-)

        Best regards,

  2. Pingback: Charles van der Haegen's Blog

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