7 Suggestions for Those Who Want To Create Beautiful Businesses
1. Now is the time for a humanist perspective on technology and a new romantic era in business.
As big data, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality are shaping tomorrow’s business, inherently human qualities such as creativity, empathy, passion, and love are becoming ever more critical success factors. The more human capacity you build, the more you will earn full emotional involvement and deep, intrinsic, lasting commitment from your customers, employees, and partners. Myths, stories, and rituals, along with experiences of attachment, delight, and revelation constitute a culture of trust. They are the catalysts of positive relationships, learning, and imagination. They are the essence of romance, which is the ultimate differentiator in a world of maximizers and optimizers.
2. Your data, culture, and experiences must be thick, not big or lean.
In business, we typically strive to minimize risk, be in control, and follow a linear process. We consider our strategies to be problem-solving, but we often shrink the playing-field rather than expanding it. However, “The world is a garden, not a machine,” as the author Eric Liu writes, and your organization, brand, employee and customer experience are indeed non-linear, multi-layered realities. Keep your data, processes, and culture thick. Take the detours and digressions. Use data to mystify not just to demystify. Insist on wasting time. Create things that are not only useful but also more beautiful. Do good. Feel good. Feel more.
3. You are a poet and in the business of meaning-making.
Eschew the conventional belief that the more you measure the better you manage — let alone lead. Creativity thrives in messy, artistic landscapes rich with ambiguity, where metrics are hard to come by, if at all. Art gives for no reason, and it does not yield an ROI. It is the anti-instrumentalist. It offers up an escape path for anybody who wants want to lead a successful and a beautiful life. Embrace it, enable it. Act like a manager, but think like a poet. Create a “meaning surplus” in everything you do.
4. Enchantment is a key catalyst for learning, alignment, and high performance.
Rational arguments make heads nod. Experiences make hearts sing. Sustained high performance is only possible through positive energy and emotions. Any project or initiative must be something you and your colleagues can taste, smell, see, and feel. Emotionally touching interactions bring your mission to life at the workplace. Create unexpected, unique moments of intrigue and awe that translate your strategic objectives into visceral and profound experiences, online and offline.
5. Marketing and HR are your key enchanters.
Marketing is often less effective than it could be because it is too busy proving its value. HR is often too reactive, too transactional, and doesn’t have a seat at the table. Strengthen both functions and work across them to grow the enchantment quotient of your organization. Enchantment makes and breaks your culture (your internal self) and your brand (your external self). Make sure these two match and are fully aligned.
6. Innovation is culture.
Peter Drucker’s adage, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” is particularly true for innovation. Innovation is first and foremost a mindset and cultural trait. Yes, do identify user needs, ideate, rapidly prototype, fail fast, expose yourself to emerging technology and cultural trends, and cultivate a vibrant innovation ecosystem by connecting with start-ups, research institutions, and power users. But above all, foster the quintessential romantic trait of any innovator: the ability to imagine another world. When people laugh at you, you can be certain you’re onto something.
7. Every transformation is personal. And it starts with you.
Organizational change is constant, and it requires inner change. Even in the most complex stakeholder environments, the highest leverage for systemic change is not out there but in here. Every transformation is a renewal. Personal transformation is the key to organizational change, so grow your empathy, self-awareness, emotional and spiritual strength, and your ability to inspire and unite. Change and be changed.