To build a new generation of soulful companies, we need to move beyond seeing companies as machines and begin seeing them as on open, living systems that are inherently social and alive.
Companies are moving away from centralized, monolithic organizational models to more distributed, more modular network-centric organizational structures. Networks help companies become more flexible and help them scale their connections with customers, partners and other external stakeholders.
Engagement is building relationships and putting those relationships to work to accomplish shared goals. Companies that know how to deeply engage employees, partners, customers and other key stakeholders in their work have an insurmountable advantage because they are powered by the greatest force on the planet: the human soul.
Value grows from doing things that matter. The human soul is driven largely by this quest for meaning. Soulful companies engage this powerful drive with their employees, customers, partners, investors and other important stakeholders to create a community of shared meaning and build tremendous economic and social value.
When equity and ownership are aligned with contribution and accountability, the profit incentive can help reinforce the value creation process of the firm. Those most involved in value creation are rewarded with the upside of their initiative, helping to build a positive feedback loop that creates a true and deep sense of ownership in any enterprise.
What would it take to make our companies and the other institutions in our lives more soulful places? I ask this question, not from the perspective of somebody trying to inject religion, or even necessarily spirituality into our places of work. Instead, I ask it from the perspective our shared humanity, that part deep within each of us that is greater than what we are on the surface. The soulful company is the organization that knows how to not just tap that part of us, but feed it as well.
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