I love Autumn – the sights, the smells, the mist, and the gentle changes into winter. The evenings draw in. Time to light the fire. A time of senescence as what has given us such pleasure over the summer gradually folds back into itself and prepares the soil for new growth next year.
It always seems such a shame that we can’t recognise the same qualities in ourselves and others. Age isn’t failure, its what we leave behind that will fuel whats next that is a real indication of success.
Right now, senescence is a term we could usefully apply to many of our businesses. They have done well, but they were never for ever. We should be really grateful for what they have brought us, let them go before they mutate, and focus on new growth.
Generative businesses that nurture the people who work for them, delight the people who buy from them, and which don’t exact an untenable price on the planet and those we share it with.
Businesses that have beauty in mind – whatever they create. Beauty is a mindset.
It can appear in all sorts of unexpected places. When my internet line went down, Utilities Warehouse were amazing. Phone answered, by a person, in three rings. An engineer, three hours later who put in a fix (the fault was further down the line) and rang us after he’d left us to say he’d found the problem (an altercation between a junction box and a car. He didn’t need to do that, he just did.). The full fix was in place before evening.
I expected the problem to be fixed, but not the courtesy, the interest, or the man in a van on a mission. People treating an “ordinary” job as a craft. There was beauty in it. The generation of gratitude.
David Hieatt, in his book “Do Purpose” suggests one of the prime signs of purpose is people building a business they never want to sell. Da Vinci carried the Mona Lisa with him till he died – always trying to improve it.
I think the point for me however, is that beauty cannot be bought and sold, only lived and appreciated.
We have all seen remarkable businesses, ideas, and people reduced by having a value assigned to what they do. Growing, vibrant businesses bought by corporates who had mislaid their soul, and reduced to mediocrity within a very short time by bean counters.
I think all of this is natural, if sometimes unfortunate, and there’s a real lesson for us.
All businesses have a natural life cycle. When they start to fade, don’t try to rejuvenate them. (Botox is as evident in a business as a person). Appreciate them for what they have brought, wish them well, and let them go.
Do the planting, and look forward to Spring.