Can A Company Have a Soul? Should It?
John Battelle
136

Lions, Tigers, and Bears…Oh My!

There is no question that companies exist to offer a service or a product to society at a cost. Of course, all of this puts people to work, and when things go well, shareholders are happy. When shareholders are happy, usually the CEO is very happy. But there is more to it than all of this. That “more” is power. The interesting thing is how the power is used. Many companies use a negative vibe approach. They offer few perks and they want employees to feel extreme gratitude for a job, and employees usually nervously arrive at work, breathing a sigh of relief that the company will allow them to return the next day. It appears that in the “glass house”, the CEO and negative vibe validators discuss how they can cut costs, cut people, cut services, charge more, and then call a realtor so the CEO can buy a tenth house…or is that an eleventh? Unfortunately, the negative vibe approach is quite common, as evidenced by the CEO at Wells Fargo. What an interesting power story…but I will save that tale for another time. Then there is another power strategy that was coined by the Wizard of Oz. This is definitely a good power vibe…it is all about having a brain, a heart, and most definitely courage in this competitive marketplace full of flying monkeys trying to carry off those convinced that companies can do well and do good at the same time. Like I said, you have to have courage…a heart…and brains. Companies that they have a heart truly care about customers and employees. Companies that do what is right have courage. Companies that have brains…they realize that giving back comes back in the most extraordinary ways. As more companies shift to the Oz approach, the power shifts in society. Suddenly, companies are not sitting isolated, but rather engaged. They feel the world’s heartbeat, and through dedication of purpose and a powerful voice, the world hears them speak. Suddenly, everyone is on the same team. It is almost unimaginable what good could be accomplished. Companies are a part of society. They are not people, but they can be many voices speaking for good. It is my hope that in years to come, the yellow brick road will become a worn out path as companies go in search of a heart, a brain, and courage. How can they possibly go wrong?

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