Tuesday night I attended Deepak Homebase, a periodic event hosted by Deepak Chopra at ABC Home when Dr. Chopra is in New York. This evening happened to be a very special one with featured guests: media powerhouse Arianna Huffington and political commentator, show host, and author of Greedy Bastards, Dylan Ratigan. As the talk opened, Dylan and Deepak respectfully and laughingly referred to Arianna as a 'goddess,' a Greek Goddess to be specific. If you've ever been in her presence, you know she is.
She has managed to build a media empire that was sold to AOL for $350 million in less than six years. Her presence is electric with an air of grace, and power. A former employee shared she is a 'dogged Editor in Chief.' I asked what he meant; he said, "She seems to know where a story is going and how to follow it." Can we say, trust and intuition?
I begin with this, because for me the conversation of the night, Corporate Greed, is generally one of energy, which Arianna Huffington knows and lives. Now, I can talk business and politics, etc., but honestly there are enough people doing that. Plus, I better prefer talk about the people-ness of the matter. When I say this, I mean the realness and the impact. I believe this is a more grounded way to approach a solution rather than lofty intellectual rhetoric. Though, it has its place -- somewhere, I'm sure...
At the end of the day corporations are comprised of people. A year ago, at a talk in Los Angeles, Deepak Chopra, author of The Soul of Leadership said, "The way of the Future for Corporate is bringing the Feminine into Corporate." He continued, "What do I mean by this, how do women relate? They connect with one another, they talk, share news..." (When he said this my jaw dropped -- it being the month of the launch of the Corporate Goddess. This idea is a significant component of the inspiration that spawned The Corporate Goddess.)
So, here is my perspective on the conversation of corporate greed and where we stand today. Some may call it naive, simple, and obvious, maybe. But as Einstein said, "You can't solve a problem with the same thinking that created the problem."
I think 'it' -- the dissolution of big business as we know it today and the re-structuring of something different -- is happening from the inside-out and the ground-up. Conditions in politics, economics, society and technology are forcing companies to take a serious look at their ethics, the way they do business, and their leadership. And yes, some are getting nastier, just like a fight does as the falling champion fights to hold onto their reign.
I am reminded of the scene in The Matrix Revolutions where the big machine destroyed itself. Companies that refuse to take heed are killing themselves, and the harder they fight the Shift, the faster they will go down. There is no need to fight them, as an opponent anyway. The current climate of the world, which social movements such as those we see in the Middle East and Occupy have contributed to, will no longer allow for this to continue.
The question then is, "What about those whom want to survive, thrive?" That, to me, is where the real work is. Plus, in supporting this new environment and the restructure, we are reinforcing the climate, which suffocates the existing broken structure.
How are we re-defining corporate America and the way business is done? When the current system dissolves what are we replacing it with? In the time I spent in Zuccotti Park, which honestly wasn't as often as I would have liked, this was one theme I often heard -- and there didn't seem to be a consensus on it. This seemed to be where the movement's inner struggle was. "Are we bringing into the park another version of what is out there?" a 'since day one' occupant shared.
I won't say I have the answer to this, though I am sure quite a few of us have some conjectures on the topic. I will say three things that hopefully are fodder for thought and stimulate ideas for deliberate action, specifically, in how you can make a difference in supporting the Shift that we are going through as a country and as a planet.
1) Greed and Creativity cannot thrive in the same environment. The climate and energy that is required for greed does not support creativity and vice versa. The success of companies such as Yelp, Groupon, and even media companies such as The Huffington Post Media Group, show the level of input and involvement that consumers, people -- we -- want to have in selecting a quality experience. Demand high quality, innovative products, and only support companies that provide this.
Take the time to research products before you buy them: know about the company and the quality. Fun blogs such as uncrate.com or even DailyCandy.com help you find things that are off the beaten path that you may not have heard of otherwise.
2) Listen to your Heart, Follow Your Passion, and Support (or Start) a Small (viable) Business. Now this may sound fuzzy and feel good. For those that have done it know it is not at all fuzzy and takes lots of courage; sometimes long nights, and absolutely requires you to lean on your support network, i.e., community... as easy as it sounds.
High paying jobs at the cost of selling your soul are "so yesterday." The layoffs of the recent years have been scary, dreadful, and for many it's provided the space for them to really follow their passion. At such a poignant time in history there is something for you to do. There is a talent, skill, gift, or even access that you have that can uniquely contribute to someone, some community, some cause. Don't take it lightly, truly honor this and move forward.
3) People Matter and People Know: If you are a business owner or an executive, specifically at a large company you are in a position to help usher this Shift. Listen to your inner guide, notice what's happening in your company, and be willing. The great part about what is happening today is as scary and unknown as it seems. Deep down within we know; slow down and pay attention. Signs of how to support and even thrive as you go through this Shift are all around you. Now is the time to say yes.
Some of these concepts and suggestions may seem a bit abstract to some or even lofty to others. All I can say is try it on, test the idea that it may work, and see what you begin to notice. At the end of the day, there is no us versus them; it is one world and we are all impacted. Unfortunately, those with less economic power feel it first, but know this is an indicator of something that affects us all. If you're not feeling it yet, you will. The question is how will you experience it?