“You’re a Social Capitalist!” A friend called me that the other day. At first I was taken back. The words on their own, depending who you are, could be insulting. I’m not a socialist! I’m not a capitalist! But when you take the good stuff from each, it starts to make sense. I think it’s not a bad label for those who strive to both make a living and make a difference with the goal to change the world for the better. It seems we’re at a point in history when, like no other time, this type of worldview is so doable.
Seth Godin, marketing and business guru and author of many books including his recent, Poke the Box,states that “the industrial revolution is dead.” There is a new revolution forced on us through the new age of information combining with the failing system created to sustain the old revolution. We now can do work that matters and people can choose to make a difference as opposed to getting a job and being told what to do until you retire and die.
A majority of our “modern” education, political and business models were birthed out of the Industrial revolution, based on a system of efficiencies and created the mass labour movement. (Factories, corporations, etc) It was also based on control due to fear of what could happen if people actually thought for themselves or dare say, come up with a new way to build, learn, govern, care, etc.
So what do we do now? We’re 100 years entrenched in a values system that is “dead.”
Many would say, great, bring on the new revolution! And I agree, but with any revolution it needs to based on precepts and principles to guide us. And although we need to learn to cast off the shackles of the industrial age mindset, ”shut-up and do your job”, we need to embrace our need for accountability, community and to serve others.
As Seth Godin says, “Humanity has been boiled out of us.” The “just do your job” systems turned us into cogs. We are now starving to belong and be loved and be unique. The knee-jerk reaction to the old system is to shake our fist at all authority and demand recognition. Thus, the age of entitlement. We need to be careful we don’t jump from the pan into the fire. The goal of us entrepreneurs is to seek to be empowered and to empower others.
Some of us react to the new revolution by swinging too far to the other side. We can teeter on the brink of anarchy and neo-liberalism to our demise or to social change through collective innovation and enlightenment. It’s time to choose for the good of our community.
So here we are thrown into a new age where large factories will become automated. Companies will downsize their square footage as their “employees” who, most will now be independent freelancers or smaller enterprises working from anywhere. The “home office” movement started already, but the real game changer in today’s market is how to work independently, but not alone. This talks to both how we work and the resources we need to work, but also our need to still be held accountable to some sort of value system and to each other.
It’s like a bomb went off and it fractured our tight knit machine of people and processes built to control and keep things normal. We are scattered across the ground waking up to find our mechanisms of control and safety and security are not there. It’s both freeing and frightening. But, we have a choice. Clammer back to the centre and try to put the machine back together, which is as futile as cramming toothpaste back into the tube once it’s out. Or we assess where we’ve landed, address who we are and the gifts and abilities we have or could hone, and get to work making a difference for the good of the community. The other big choice is to do it alone or together. As I stated in a previous article, we need to be part of a team. The key is to find out what makes you come alive for the betterment of our culture?
So what’s the answer for us ents and company owners. How do we reflect the new age of individualism without become narcissistic or bulldoze people with our “I’m gunna change the world no matter what” mindset? Sure we shouldn’t go through life doing what we’re being told all the time, but we cannot all become self-proclaimed kings either. There had better be some guiding values, if not actual mentors, modeling for you the path to greatness. Not success, greatness.
As we break free from the system of “get a job – do what you’re told – retire comfortably,” let’s embrace our individualism and innovative spirit without ignoring our call to serve alongside one another. Love your neighbor as yourself is what drives me in life and in business.
I’ve chosen to be a servant leader, or as my friend labelled me, a social capitalist.