Business and society
Economy is the most vital aspect of any society. Not only do businesses provide livelihood to many, they are also an expression of creativity in solving real world issues. A business idea becomes successful and profitable when it serves a genuine need in society. Every experienced businessman knows that the real wealth is the trust that they build in their customers. It is this trust that gets translated to financial prosperity and sustainability. Business could never run without trust and retaining the trust of late has been a challenge. Unfortunately, due to the numerous scams that we have seen in the past years, this trust among people in society has turned to mistrust. It is the responsibility of business enterprises to bring back trust in the minds of people and that requires a sustained effort to establish integrity and ethics.
When creativity, experience and expertise are put to use to benefit people at large, a viable working model evolves on its own. The Art of Living Foundation is collaborating very closely with a few corporates for some of our rural development programs. For example, the Light A Home project of the Art of Living brings solar lights to areas that are still without electrical connection. The project has sustained itself well and has illuminated thousands of rural homes as well as promoted entrepreneurship by skill development programs. Likewise, there are many non-governmental organisations working closely with the corporate sector. This sense of contributing to society has to be re-awakened. Businessmen in society have to come forward and reinforce the message that you can still be prosperous without resorting to corrupt or unethical means. It is to provide a platform for this message to come through that the World Forum for Ethics in Business was founded.
Corruption is an issue that ails all societies all over the world. It happens because of lack of connectedness among people. One cannot indulge in corrupt practices if you feel connected. It is much more difficult for an individual to fight corruption alone while collective efforts have always paid off. It is time for well-established businesses to promote ethics in business so that the young entrepreneur finds a hope of doing business without corrupt practices.
Business institutions can also help mould the education system in which they are also direct stakeholders. Often, students go through years of expensive courses only to be re-oriented by their employers before they begin work.
Businesses can play a key role in ensuring that the curriculum stays relevant and also provide students exposure to elements of professional life while they are still studying, making them better prepared for their new roles after college.
In all this, one should not forget that the happiness factor plays a direct role in the increase of productivity and success.
The fear and insecurity that accompanies an attitude of ‘How can I get more?’ vanishes with an attitude of ‘How can I help?’
Prosperity in society is sure to follow when in business, passion is balanced with fairness; profit with service; and the feverishness to get things, with a compassion to give back to the society.