How Business Leaders Find Hope
“If we don’t change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are going.” – Chinese proverb
Despite the world’s weight these days, we human beings by necessity must dream better ways to live and work, lead, and play into reality. We can rise wisely and together.
As I partner with business owners and organizational leaders, we’re laying out effectual visions to grow their businesses with grounded hope.
Reasons to be hopeful
Hope, not wishful thinking, is a proactive facet of wonder. The science of hope directs our attention toward other people and toward a better near-future possibility. So, aim to focus this week on someone or the people you most want to elevate and serve this year.
Imagine their day-in-the-life (versus only yours) and create services, experiences, or products that match their needs and bring out your unique genius.
Why? According to one recent study, 42% of businesses failed within their first five years because people didn’t want what the businesses offered. Oops. Maybe these trends can help you see yourself and the people you want to elevate.
#1 – Small business owners are becoming more flexible with remote workers. An Intermedia report noted that 57% of small businesses will continue to support employees who desire to work-from-home (WFH) or create a hybrid model.
If you’re an entrepreneur or service provider, by the way, consider how you might serve the growing niche market of remote workers. If you’re an organizational consultant, think of how you can help leaders make mindful, considerate decisions for their employees. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business owner, consider how you’re taking into account your employees’ safety concerns and home needs – as the pandemic years have rocked the majority of households (and thus work-from-home work places).
#2 – Green and social impact businesses are rising as consumers become more conscious. A recent Nielsen study reports that 48% of Americans say they definitely or probably would change consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment. 92% of Millennials reportedly say they prefer to do business with brands who operate according to an ethos aligned with theirs.
For your business’s near-future horizon, don’t hide your ideals and values. Now is the time to lead with your ideals and virtues. It also might be time for your business to revamp processes, systems, and vendors that factor the environment into the bottom line.
#3 – Businesses that support at-home health are on the rise, according to the US Chamber of Commerce, which could mean that more people are taking time to take care of themselves. For your business’s near-future, consider how your virtual services and experiences could serve home basement gyms and kitchen yoga.
#4 – Local is on the rise. The pandemic years have nudged many more people to buy and connect locally – and to start local initiatives. Here in the Hudson Valley, a new food coop is opening soon to support a regenerative local economy, an independent radio station is funded in part by Peter Buffet’s NoVo Foundation, and numerous farmer’s markets as well as numerous homegrown and micro-farm markets, CSAs, soap shops, herb products, craft breweries, and more are sprouting up and growing.
Brand Artistry Lab Alum Evan LaRuffa recently shared with me the many initiatives that his Chicago-based organization I Paint My Mind is taking into schools, communities, and businesses. Venture out in your local community and discover how people are convening and collaborating to make things better right where you are.
The need to dream
Kids and young geniuses are remarkably resilient. Children globally are taking a toll. When Charlotte Bowder, a high school student in Maine, got inspired to write a song to celebrate community during these Zoom school days, she recruited over 30 other musicians – including elementary school students on pots and pans – to sing about how they will “Make the World Better.”
Those teens and tweens remind us of what environmental scientist Donella Meadows once said: That as we envision a sustainable future, it is important to remember that almost all children know innately what an ideal world with ideal human behavior consists of. Yet as they grow older, they are told that their ideals are “childish” and they replace them with cynicism or despair.
Meadows reminds us, though, that “inside all of us are glorious visions.”
Make your vision real for yourself, your team, and the other people who benefit. Start with today.
Thanks for running with me,
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