The nature of healthy growth is pretty straightforward. Whether a plant, animal, business or society, the essential elements are the same. We take in nutrients from our surroundings, meet our basic needs, and everything we don’t need for basic survival gets channelled into growth. Then, more of those nutrients get used for maintenance and repair and replacing parts that die as we age. Eventually, the balance tips, and we leave the stage to make way for those that follow.
We seem to be ignoring that in business. As a society, changes in technology have damaged vast swathes of our physical and social infrastructure. The pandemic has added to that. Yet all the rhetoric seems to ignore the fact that we cannot grow until we have repaired what can be repaired and let what needs to leave the stage go on its way.
It reminds me of the classic scene from Monty Python of the Black Knight. “T’is but a flesh wound,” we say and charge onwards for growth regardless, whilst seven billion still need vaccine, and we celebrate billionaires spending ten very expensive minutes at the edge of space.
We can get past the issues we face, repair where we need to, and replace what is gone with something altogether better – healthy growth, rather than a psychotic variety built on addiction to more.
We need to repair our relationship to work and remember that done well for the right reasons, it drives healthy growth in all its forms – personal, societal, and economic. The challenges we face on mental health are not flesh wounds, and inequality is not a temporary aberration.
We need to let go of our dependence on the industrial age and carbon hungry behemoths that, like the Black Knight, do not recognise their situation.
Most importantly, we need to take responsibility—each in our own small way. Work with and for those committed to repair and healthy replacement, and not prop up those whose time is done.
We know that “change management” doesn’t work in most cases – what does in individual actions.
So we need to start, and a good place is to look hard at what we are doing today and talking quietly, in an unhurried way about it, with those around us.
That’s what we are working, with others, to enable at Originize.