Last month, the CEO Roundtable (a group of top CEO’s chaired by JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon) issued a statement that a corporation’s responsibility was no longer just to uphold shareholder interest. Corporations must also invest in their employees, protect the environment and deal fairly and ethically with their suppliers. Now one could easily argue that doing those things actually benefit shareholders’ long-term interest but let’s not argue semantics. Let’s instead be the everyday leaders who do pause in our choices and check in with our humanness.
Balancing a need to be profitable with a need to support the health of our employees, the earth and everyone we work with (and perhaps even the health of those using / consuming our products and services) seems like common sense, right? Kind of like eating fresh fruits and vegetables, getting outside and taking a walk, connecting with others directly (technology doesn’t count) while earning a living also seems like great advice.
So why do these common sense things often seem so at odds with how we live today?
Is it because we allowed it to happen; because somehow through the great power of consumer marketing and Freudian psychology, we allowed money and stuff to become the great behemoths defining success with everything else, including time, rest, healthy food, play, creativity and connection as secondary? When did competition so powerfully overrule collaboration? You can google “wealth inequality in the US” to read lots of different perspectives and the shifts and trends over the last 100 years. And, given all the challenges in our mental, emotional and physical health as a society, I’m advocating that the balance the CEO Roundtable shared is paramount for us to create a sustainable, regenerative, thriving world.
These questions are not about politics. They are about leadership. Each of us carries profound leadership in our lives. What we choose to value in all aspects of our lives creates the world. And nothing has to be either…or. It can be yes…and.
Last week I highlighted the documentary “Biggest Little Farm“, a story that awakens a yearning and a smile of connection and wonder while also demonstrating the collaborative and healing power of nature. This week I’d like to recommend “The Century of Self,” a documentary on Edward Bernays (Freud’s nephew who’s often credited as the father of modern advertising) which highlights some of the earliest steps that helped get us to this cultural place where material and financial gain often override our deeper knowing about health and prosperity.
I am deeply excited that corporate leaders have opened the door to place balance beyond Wall Street profitability. Now, how do we create that balance of health, connection and prosperity…and make daily choices in our lives to remember our humanness…and think about why we are here. And that is what Six Minutes Daily is all about. For a few minutes each day, breathe in and check in with the values you want to embody. Then give yourself a couple of minutes to write down and confirm your intention. And then allow yourself one minute to write down and perhaps share with someone for whom you are grateful.