A Time for Beauty

This is an important time. We are just beginning to really understand how important as fragile jobs that we assumed weren’t, disappear and we realise on what soft ground our economy has been built.

Far too many transient jobs, creating transient value, and nowhere near enough organisations creating and developing sustainable value, that themselves contain the seeds of even better.

We have had the opportunity to create beauty, and squandered it. We can learn from that.

Beauty is not a word we normally associate with business. I think it’s entirely appropriate. When something is beautiful you appreciate it from every angle. It makes you feel better for being in its prescence. It feeds your soul.

I don’t see any reason why the way we make money cannot be the same. Businesses like this exist, but you’ve probably rarely heard of them. They are small, local enterprises doing things they love for people they know. They are about far more than money. You can be inspired by them.

They always face a challenge. Someone, a VC, or an adviser, or someone who doesn’t have their magic whispers the “scale” spell in their ear. In a flash, outside investors appear with a different agenda based on ROI and the rest is inevitable. You can feel the soul of the business shrivel, the founders disappear, and what was beautiful becomes wizened and ugly.

Once that happens, it’s virtually impossible to make an ugly business beautiful. The damage is done.

As we speak, many of these ugly businesses are off the the beauticians, hoping a cost reduction nip here, a marketing tuck there, and some judicious PR botox will disguise them. Failing that, they will get their cheque book out and go and look for a business they can “scale”

Covid-19 has caught many of them out, and showed them up in it’s unforgiving glare. We can see them for who they really are. It’s not pretty.

If we want to change this, it’s down to us. About who we choose to work for, about the businesses we choose to build, the clients we choose to serve. Pursuing what really matters to us.

We can build back beautiful, or we can be complicit in retained ugliness.

Covid-19 has held a mirror up for all of us, reflecting what we do and what we want (as against need)

What do you see in the mirror, and what might you change?

It doesn’t have to be huge. Even a little, added to other’s little, will start to change things.

A Beautiful Snowlball.

One response to “A Time for Beauty”

  1. For me it is about making work meaningful for people.
    I my particular sector of manufacturing I have seen too many badly managed companies that lack a basic respect for people. Too many businesses with command and control cultures where people spend their time firefighting with no say or control over what they are doing. Too many leaders who lack the basic intellectual horsepower, humility and curiosity to understand how to inspire people to a common vision and develop the processes to build a learning culture where everybody can see the flow of value to the customer and fix problems as they happen.


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