One of the things that the Corvid-19 lockdown has done is to make people think, think about how they live their lives, think about loved ones, to think about their neighbours and their community and also to think about how they do business.
With this in mind, I have started to think about what things will look like beyond this pandemic and have concluded that perhaps it’s an opportunity to make some changes.
The Forum are a Business support organisation, so we want to focus on business and the first thing we need to remember is that those businesses are all run by people, hardworking, creative people, and I think many of them are ready for a change.
On Wednesday the 18th of September 2019, the Financial times led with a headline, “Capitalism, time for a reset, business must make a profit but should serve a purpose too!”, well I think it’s time to find that purpose and to change the way we do business in the UK.
This current Coronavirus situation has shown some very poor work behaviour, very often from large businesses that seems focussed only on money, they seem distant from the community of which they are part and despite being the most likely to survive the current crisis, show themselves to be shallow and driven by greed. I think this is a shame because the truth is that all of these huge faceless corporations were originally set up by an individual or a small group of creative owner operators, just like their small business contemporaries, the difference being that their idea became successful, the business grew, outlived its founders and along the way lost something!
They are also the businesses who have the deepest pockets in terms of lobbying and are the people Government seems to talk to and think of first.
On the other hand, we have seen small local businesspeople who are far more likely to go out of business as a result of the current situation, who are doing extraordinary things in their community. They are thinking of others, closed down when they were told to, with little notice, gave stock away, gave food to foodbanks, hospitals and charities, gave remaining handwash to people who needed it, volunteered to help deliver food and medicines locally and behaved in a very caring and ethical way, without being forced into doing so or for some commercial benefit, they did it because it was the right thing to do.
We have seen some of the lowest paid workers being hailed as heroes and doing some of the most valuable work. I haven’t seen many people during this crisis bemoaning the lack of a highly paid CEO of a financial institution to help with the situation. Our values have been turned on their head and by that, I mean what is really important to people in society and how we measure success within the business world.
I have always felt a little uncomfortable about using GDP on its own as a measure of the country’s success as it counts many things within it, that add no real value or benefit to society and I cant help but feel we are in need of a change and the Financial times call for a reset is relevant!
If you ask people what really matters to them then several things come out, our health and wellbeing, both physical and mental, for ourselves and our young ones, (the suicide rate amongst young people is horrendous!) The education of our children is a big priority as is the state of the planet, it is a precious resource and we only have one and we need to take care of our environment. The care of the elderly as they now live longer matters to us all as does our overall happiness.
These are all matters that need to be included in our future measures of economic success, not just profit and the financial benefit of a minority, we all need to prosper and succeed, taking everyone with us and perhaps out of the tragedy of this crisis we will see some good and a proper reset of capitalism and our economy here in the UK.
Ohana means family, family means no one gets left behind or forgotten!