Regardless of where your company or organization is right now, 2021 is likely to be a year like no other we have ever experienced. The world has never been so stressed, with people being under numerous threats both perceived and actual, and feeling alienated, divided and uncertain about the future.
As the author of (Management by Intent) – The Five Principles, I say thriving in the face of adversity is a choice that business leaders must make.
We can build our capabilities and achieve and protect sustainable economic practices by making certain choices and decisions.
In the face of great uncertainty, we must commit to certain principles in order to navigate a path that enables us to succeed economically and gain the support and trust of everyone we engage and serve. This means having a vision that enables us to see the unparalleled challenges, operate with compassion and hope, and stay focused so that we are ready and can deal with whatever comes our way.
We must work towards and commit to developing and applying five key pervasive principles to develop strength and provide people with confidence and clarity in our purpose and the way we operate in all respects:
One: Safeguarding Human Life: We identify and effectively deal with anything that threatens human life.
In Practice: We provide protection against workplace-related violence or sickness, and the potential harm arising from exposure to hazardous working conditions or chemicals. We provide people with adequate testing, health care, paid sick leave, workplace health and safety, ergonomic workspaces, and even work-life balance. We institute organized, concerted efforts in all aspects of our business, to care for and protect all life, within every aspect of the ecosystem in which we live.
Two: Preservation of Dignity: We safeguard human dignity from anything that degrades it.
In Practice: We acknowledge things like labor commoditization, child and slave labor, income inequity, exploitation, degradation, and the deprivation of rights, and other degrading practices that exist. We acknowledge the interests of stakeholders give them the dignity of having their interests recognized. We commit to concerted efforts to care for and protect human dignity in every aspect of the ecosystem in which we live.
Three: Preservation of Reason: We safeguard the rationality of our purpose and the related behaviors that result from it.
In Practice: We acknowledge and commit to remaining mindful of our self-interest vs the interests of the many other people we engage with. We respect dissent by listening to varying perspectives; and by being aware of the biases in authority and its impact on people. Individual or collective reasoning can be many things to many people, but we focus on producing outcomes that bring about greater good in every aspect of the ecosystem in which we live.
Four: Preservation of Wealth: We focus our efforts on the holistically financial wellness of our system.
In Practice: We commit to respectful acknowledgement of where and how we make money and the hard work that was required to bring it to its current place. We focus our efforts in a just manner, maintaining and protecting our financial interests, growing and multiplying it for the benefit of as many people as possible. This responsibility is shared and shouldered by everyone and every generation of managers and leaders that takes on the charge to ensure wealth circulates in society. It requires instituting a concerted effort to care for and protect the financial wellness of all stakeholders in every aspect of the ecosystem in which we live.
Five: Preservation of the Future: We commit to the conservation of our natural resources, natural habitats, and biodiversity of the earth for the continual benefit of all living beings.
In Practice: We commit to being mindful of the delicate balance of all living creatures face on earth and commitment to their long-term sustainability. We acknowledge and commit to stewardship of the environment and our responsibility for preserving it for future generations. We will actively preserve the knowledge of sustainable practices by investing in training, succession planning, mentoring and coaching, and maintaining social safety-nets through strong public and private partnerships.
The Practice: IT IS THE character of the leadership that shapes the organization’s value system, just like the tenacity and the intensity of the wind that shapes the dunes in the desert. But in spite of the sheer strength of the winds, the essence of the dunes remains the same: sand. In order to change the essence of sand, and transform the desert itself, water is needed. What water is to desert, intent is to character.
If a leader’s character is grounded in an ethical and moral code of conduct, infused with a deep understanding of these five key principles, the end result leads to clarity of purpose, and outcomes that are tied to safeguarding the general public interest of all.
It is a worthy quest that can achieve meaningful results. When the principles are applied judiciously throughout an organization decision-making process, they become a driving force in refocusing an organization’s entire mindset from short-term earnings into a broader and more balanced growth strategy; one dedicated to the cause of preventing harm and promoting good.
It is time for every leader to step up and commit to operating in a clear focused way:
- We are stewards of a closed-loop system called the Earth.
- Our responsibility to do good is directly proportional to the reach and impact of our products and services.
- Doing good requires the ability to reflect and reason, inducing harmony between our emotional, behavioral, and cognitive systems, and tying us to a higher level of consciousness.
- We must exhibit wisdom, courage, and temperance to get to our purposeful outcomes.
- We have to become systems thinkers to understand the structure and complexity of the whole, keeping in view the interrelationship and interdependence of its parts, before we act.
- Our actions must reflect the preservation of life, dignity, reason, wealth, and the future as universal principles to be part of our short-term and long-term strategic imperatives.
- To be holistically and wholly successful, we need to partner and collaborate with all stakeholders
Abrar Ansari is a business strategist and facilitator in designing and deploying transformation change initiatives in government and industrial organizations. He is a Certified Management Consultant with 28 years of experience with Fortune 500 company executives in the in energy, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and agribusiness sectors.