We must admit that commedia dell'arte offers beautiful lessons with a real purity or innocence that leads the ordinary man or woman to enter into a reflection full of salutary humility. There is certainly, in this art form, a teaching that pushes us to take the path of introspection. This popular theatre from Tuscany has given us a gift to revisit: Pinocchio. Now, keep in mind the little boy's nose made of wood...
Short-term vision, maintenance and risk
Opting for a short-term vision in business means essentially aiming for a maximum and rapid return to shareholders. By taking this route, the expenses or investments devoted to improvement with a view to sustainability are reduced to their strict minimum, or even non-existent. The modus operandi is to maintain a profitable revenue that works in the present context. When the context changes, the recipe will not be improved, but replaced. Products and resources are thus disposable.
On the surface, therefore, the short-term vision model is a winner, because it maximizes profits and minimizes costs. This is true, but only for a short time. Because the short-term vision without regard to resources (internal or external) and the environment (economic, societal, ecological) necessarily leads to crises, and these crises represent a risk in the business world. When the crisis comes, it will often no longer be possible to replace the recipe.
Risk: 1, Sustainability: 0.
Long-term vision, change and security
For its part, the long-term vision consists in opting for governance that is open to awareness of the long-term effects of the responsible approach to sustainable development (human, societal and environmental aspects). The long-term vision in business is driven by listening to the environment, great adaptability and capitalization of resources.
When the crisis comes, it will usually be possible to improve the recipe. The organization that must recover from a crisis, the post-crisis organization, has learned its lessons and takes into consideration its impact on its partners, suppliers, customers and employees. It is the awareness of the impacts that guides the decisions of the organization that opts for the path of sustainable development.
Contemporary business space
The business world is certainly a world of values. A world that evolves well when it is in tune with its societal environment, much less well when it is on the margins. Societies have evolved, and inevitably so has the business world. Taylorism and utilitarianism are gone. An organization that aims for a certain degree of sustainability must take the path of sustainable development, which involves a Human-Centric management philosophy, a business ethic based on respect for human resources as a primary resource.
Crises offer an ideal opportunity to question one's orientations, choices and values. And this capacity for questioning is at the heart of the Human-Centric management philosophy.
Pinocchio was honest
Pinocchio, like all of us, had the ability to look far ahead and project himself into the future. This ability gave him the opportunity to see that his nose was growing longer with each of his lies. Certainly, he could have sunk into denial and pretended he could see nothing by staying in the immediateness-both before and after... thus avoiding the efforts necessary for change, change itself even more than necessary. But Pinocchio opted instead for a sustainable approach, responsible governance.
And what Pinocchio reaped was great, true.
Is your organization made of wood or people?
LUC LACHAPELLE B.A., M.A., M.B.S.I.
Certified PROSCI, SIX SIGMA
Director, Strategic consulting services