It is about enlightened business management. This book owes much to the ideas of R. Edward Freeman, who in made a strong case for a stakeholder-based business model in his book Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach Pittman Publishing. As management professor Ronald W.

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A door like this has opened up only five or six times since we got up on our hind legs. Looking back hundreds of years—thousands of years, say some1—this new era may be unmatched in the scale of its effect on humankind.

Numerous credible authors have testified in their writings that something this big is happening. The next year, British economist David Simpson claimed that macroeconomics had outlived its usefulness in The End of Macro-Economics Then, science writer John Horgan ticked off legions of scientists with his provocative book The End of Science That same year, Nobel Laureate chemist Ilya Prigogine told us in The End of Uncertainty of an imminent broad-reaching shift in scientific worldview that would make much of what stands as scientific truth today scientific myth tomorrow.

So many endings must mean so many new beginnings. Around the start of the s, virtually no major field of human endeavor was spared from predictions of its ending—not literally, but certainly in terms of past conceptualizations of its nature. The world of business is no exception.

It is experiencing far-reaching changes in our understanding of its fundamental purposes and how companies should operate. Indeed, looking at the magnitude of change in the business world, it is not overreaching to suggest that an historic social transformation of capitalism is underway. Twenty or so years ago, just as the Internet was going mainstream, few could have credibly predicted the scale of this transformation. In this book, we provide some measure of that scale by profiling companies that have broadened their purpose beyond the creation of shareholder wealth to act as agents for the larger good.

We view these companies not as outliers but as the vanguard of a new business mainstream. We call this era of epochal change the "Age of Transcendence.

Subjective perspectives based on how people feel have gained greater acceptance in recent times. Others have taken note of the rising subjectivity of worldviews. One is French philosopher Pierre Levy, who has devoted his professional life to studying the cultural and cognitive impacts of digital technologies. He believes that the shift toward subjectivity may prove to be one of the most important considerations in business in this century.

The dramatic upsurge of interest in spirituality in the U. People who lead companies are not insulated from the influences of culture. After all, they drink from the same cultural waters as the customers they serve and the employees they lead. It is a vision that transcends the narrower perspectives of most companies in the past, rising to embrace the common welfare in its concerns. They are resolute and highly successful business professionals who augment their human-centered company vision with sound management skills and an unswerving commitment to do good by all who are touched by their companies.

These executives are driven as much by what they believe to be right subjectively grounded morality as by what others might more objectively claim to be right. Ponder for a moment what the results of a Conference Board survey say about the moral outlook in executive suites across the country. Seven hundred executives were asked why their companies engaged in social or citizenship initiatives. Only 12 percent mentioned business strategy. Three percent mentioned customer attraction and retention, and one percent cited public expectations.

The remaining 84 percent said they were driven by motivations such as improving society, company traditions, and their personal values. More likely, we believe, most simply feel in their gut what they should be doing. This is how movements and revolutions unfold: as much from the heart as from the mind. What we write about in this book is a powerful movement if not altogether a revolution. We are poised precariously at what physicists call a bifurcation point—an interregnum of normalcy between the poles of death and birth or rebirth , when an old order faces its end and a new order struggles to emerge from its fetal state.

At such times, the future becomes more uncertain than usual because events within the time and space boundaries of a bifurcation point have infinite possible outcomes. That these two epochal events in human history occurred in the same year is an extraordinary historic coincidence. The former event was about a free society, the latter about free markets. Joined at the hip, democracy and capitalism marched into the future to bring forth a whole new world, one that would elevate the lot of the common man to heights never experienced or imagined before in human history.

For the first time in history, ordinary people were empowered by codified law to shape their own destinies. People born without social distinction could raise themselves from abject poverty to the highest public and private offices.

A free market economy aided their efforts. As decades went on, millions of families rose out of subsistence existence. The aristocratic culture of Europe may have generated great philosophic thinking in the Age of Enlightenment, but common folk in America generated great material accomplishment in the Age of Empowerment.

By the end of the Age of Empowerment, which we mark around , America was connected coast-to-coast by telegraph lines, railroads, a single currency, and a national banking system that the Lincoln presidency had established. Another great accomplishment of the Lincoln administration was the establishment of the land grant college program that increasingly brought the benefits of higher education to the masses.

The nation was primed for its next great cultural era. The Age of Knowledge The intellectual and economic liberation of the masses paved the way for the Age of Knowledge. Within a half-dozen years of , Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, the first practical incandescent light bulb, and the first central electrical power system.

During the Age of Knowledge, the U. Science exploded into daily life. The time from laboratory prototype to the marketplace came to be often measured in months instead of decades.

Great scientific breakthroughs spawned great industries. And great industries created the modern consumer economy. Economic gains across society raised living standards to previously unimaginable heights. Childbirth and childhood deaths became rarities. Life expectancy in the U. Business management took a seeming leap forward in the early years of the twentieth century when Frederick Winslow Taylor introduced scientific discipline to the practice of management in Scientific Management Alfred P.

Sloan invented the modern corporation after becoming president of General Motors in Walter Thompson advertising agency to establish the first consumer research center in the nation.

Science now undergirded the full spectrum of business—from product design and organizational management, to consumer research and marketing. Ever since Ransom E. For a long time, this served society well. Quality of life steadily rose while the cost of living steadily fell.

The material wellbeing of ordinary people reached astonishing levels. Materialism became the bedrock of business, society, and culture. In time, however, preoccupation with productivity and cost cutting to improve bottom lines began to take a toll on communities, workers, their families, and the environment.

Scores of communities fell into economic disrepair as companies abandoned them for venues promising lower operating costs. Legions of families endured abject suffering as their breadwinners struggled to find new jobs. Life was sucked out of villages, towns, and center cities across the nation. Sprawling slums filled with the carcasses of abandoned factories became unwelcoming neighborhoods. The pro-business argument was simple: To reap the benefits of capitalism, society must tolerate the pain it sometimes causes people on the lower rungs of society.

But growing numbers are now wondering, "How much more pain do we have to live with? They feel that most companies see them as just numbers to be controlled, manipulated, and exploited. They know that to many companies they have little flesh-and-blood realness—that they have the same abstract quality as people on the ground have for pilots dropping bombs from 40, feet.

But the times they are a-changing, as Bob Dylan sang in the s. New Republic senior editor Gregg Easterbrook has observed, "A transition from material want to meaning want is in progress on an historically unprecedented scale—involving hundreds of millions of people—and may eventually be recognized as the principle cultural development of our age.

Indeed, Steve McIntosh suggests that this is the very purpose of evolution: The evolutionary story of our origins has tremendous cultural power that transcends the boundaries of science; it shapes the view of who we are and why we are here.

Yet many of the scientific luminaries responsible for educating the public about evolution tell us that it is an essentially random or accidental process with no larger meaning. However, as the scientific facts of evolution have increasingly come to light, these very facts demonstrate that the process of evolution is unmistakably progressive.

While scientific discovery and technological development have been the primary catalysts in the evolution of culture, recent demographic changes have played quite a large role in reshaping culture. Aging populations are altering the course of humankind. But this is not the first time demography has reset the directions of humankind. Recent findings by anthropologists indicate a sudden increase in longevity 30, years ago that changed human culture dramatically.

The longevity gains created a population explosion among grandparents. For the first time in human history, relatively large numbers of postmenopausal women were available to support their daughters and granddaughters and to begin refining domestic life. Among other benefits, the sharp increase in the grandparent population led to a moderation of the aggressive behavior of youth. This reduced tribal warfare, freeing tribal attention and energy to move toward higher states of cultural development.

Something similar could be happening today—that is, the rapid growth of an aging population is altering the zeitgeist of society, driving humankind toward higher states of cultural development.

We can cite as the formal start of this new course because starting that year, most adults in the U. Bush in Within a few short years, the Internet went from being an arcane communications tool used mostly by an elite few to a mainstream artifact used by tens of millions.

The World Wide Web shifted the balance of information power to the masses. It dramatically changed how people interact with each other, democratized information flow, and forced companies to operate with far greater transparency.

He describes the Conceptual Age as the successor to the Information Age. We define our term for the same era a bit differently. The Age of Transcendence signifies a cultural watershed in which the physical materialistic influences that dominated culture in the twentieth century ebb while metaphysical experiential influences become stronger. This is helping to drive a shift in the foundations of culture from an objective base to a subjective base: people are increasingly relying on their own counsel to decide their course of action.

That shift acknowledges a long suppressed idea in a world largely guided by the Newtonian certainty that Ilya Prigogine says is scattering to the winds: Ultimately, everything is personal.


Moral Markets?

I learned how to plan and execute campaigns precisely to achieve optimum media reach, frequency, TRPs, cumes, and CPMs. I learned about developing campaigns to win the greatest media "share of voice" and ultimately achieve the largest "share of mind," which of course we measured with research unaided recall, aided recall, brand associations, etc. But the Ronald McDonald House and a little girl with Wilms tumor taught me that hearts cannot be bought or sold with hard-core marketing but must be earned through good works and honest values, forthrightly expressed. I discovered something much more important from a consumer standpoint: "share of heart. I have learned in 30 years that we consumers have a lot of heart to give back to companies that take care of us and reflect our deepest values. One critical reviewer posting here does not apparently understand that appealing to endearing emotions -- and building brands based on appeals to the emotions seeking affinity and their underlying core values -- is the wave of the future.


Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose

Creative quality of life benefits Primary elements of the corporate vision for a Firm of Endearment include: A purpose more broad than just wealth generation Dedication to servant leadership Commitment to exemplary citizenship Recognition that they are part of an economic ecosystem with many interdependent participants The bullet points seem an obvious checklist for business leader aspirations. So why are there not more organisations that can refer to themselves as Firms of Endearment? What are we doing here? I entered the management profession in my 20s with an inherent belief in managing with principles of equality, empowerment, hope, and love. This belief led to self-doubt through my 30s as my ideas bounced off the rational ceiling of traditional top-down management. These insecurities in part drove me to embark upon studies in management-focused social science to determine if I was simply an idealistic fool or if the corporate world really did have it all wrong. A few months away from 40 and two modules away from a Masters of Applied Social Science Management , I find myself getting increasingly frustrated as I read books like Firms and Endearment.

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