Two keys to Laura’s success. One, she recognized that if the users took into account increased water cost, environmental permit fees, hazardous material handling fees and other indirect but very real costs that not only was PreKote more effective than the hex chrome based product which it is proven to be and non-toxic but it also costs less to use.
The second one and perhaps more important is that Laura recognized that the true costs of hex chrome included the effects on the health and well-being of people and the planet.
The point of this story: we can recognize that everything is connected to everything else. We can recognize the full effects of our actions and we can discover effective ways for doing things differently. And doing things differently through business is not just about the products we create, it’s also about the way we work together.
What is business? At lunch we had an awesome conversation. I love Grand Rapids. You guys are great. Yeah really let’s hear it. Really alive and thoughtful.
So what is business and business is people, right — people coming together to do something together, to create value for themselves, for others and for each other.
It’s not a coincidence that Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways are consistently the most successful and have the highest customer satisfaction. And it’s not a coincidence that Costco outperforms Sam’s Club and other competitors. And it’s not a coincidence that The Container Store and Whole Foods Market enjoy incredible employee loyalty and customer engagement and loyalty.
Through conscious capitalism, these companies and countless others of all sizes in every industry throughout the globe are transforming the way we think about business. They begin by treating people with trust and care and respect. And many of them, even proclaim their intent to treat people with love. If you go to Kelton, Texas where The Container Store is based, the roof of their building is painted: “we love our employees” and you go downstairs inside in the offices there’s this long wall filled with photographs 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years that people have been with the company. They love their employees and their employees love them.
These businesses focus on creating value for all of their stakeholders, their customers, their employees, their vendors, their investors, the communities they do business in, while respecting and even restoring natural ecosystems.
By recognizing and embodying the interconnectedness that John Muir spoke of, and by expanding the focus of their attention from shareholders and profit to include people and planet, they’re creating incredibly successful and resilient businesses while elevating humanity and generating effective responses to the challenges we face.
Imagine. Imagine if each one of us tuned in to what’s going on inside and recognize how it ripples out and affects others, right, our actions affect others. And if by extension every business, every organization and if you can believe it, even every government agency was to recognize the broad effects of their actions and to focus their attention on nourishing the health of their whole ecosystem.
And imagine if we were to really pay attention to each other and cultivate a culture of deep connection, paying attention is the simple yet profoundly powerful key to connection, as it was when I got the wake-up call from Merrill Fay. As it is when we listen deeply with each other and as it is when we recognize the effects of our collective actions and transform the way we create and use the products that fulfill our needs and desires.
Everything is connected to everything else, yet we forget. Between stimulus and response, there is a space. Let’s pay attention to that space. In it lies infinite opportunities to connect to ourselves, to others, and to the possibility of transforming our relationship to the world, our lives, and the lives of our children, their children, their children’s children may depend on it.
When we connect we always make a difference, and paying attention is the key to connection.
Thank you very much.