Taking Back Our Work

Pull the emergency handbrake on business as usual and, individually and collectively, accept the choice of hitting one of two buttons: the panic or the pause. Let’s embrace the pause.

Lisa Richardson, Communications Strategist, Arc’teryx

This is a moment where the source code of capitalism can be reworked.

Max Levine, CEO, Nico (Neighborhood Investment Company)

The idea that companies, markets, the capitalist system could ever stop, change course, and focus on what matters seemed absurd just a few weeks ago. The question for business becomes: What’s possible for companies today that was impossible, and what’s impossible today that was once possible?

Some of what was accepted now seems absurd.

Almost all of the advertising on TV seems absurd—messages imploring consumption for a lifestyle that doesn’t exist right now. Relics of a past era that look naive — simple optimism and individualism from an era that feels ancient already.

After that, we will need a time of massive reconstruction. We will need to reconstitute careers, teams, companies, and communities. But having seen behind the curtain, and now knowing that the old premise of radical individualism and relentless shareholder primacy are mirages that don’t stand the test of time or strain, companies will be called to operate radically differently.

The social contract that applies to capitalism has been rewritten. Creating value for shareholders at the expense of everything else will seem radically out of touch. Creating value for the world now seems the only viable thing to do.

Perhaps in that, we can find the inspiration and agency to take back to our work: We can achieve what previously seemed impossible. This mind-set shift could create the next era of great leaders, companies, and massive value for the world.

Sebastian Buck, The Impossible for Capitalism is Suddenly Possible

Leave a Reply