Dear CEO, have you ever felt the need to choose between making a living and living a meaningful life?
⦁ Have you ever felt inauthentic? Like there’s a gap between what you’re feeling and what you’re doing?
⦁ Have you ever felt torn between earning a living and living a meaningful life?
⦁ Have you ever felt the pressure to focus on quarterly shareholder returns rather than what is right for everyone?
We were living in a VUCA (Volatile, Unpredictable, Complex and Ambiguous), world pre-pandemic, , but as a result of this unprecedented pandemic, war and high-interest rates that the world is simultaneously experiencing, we are smack-bang in the middle of a transformative phase. A transformative episode impacting almost all nations of the world at the same time however also gives rise to the opportunity to re-make and create a better world, a more inclusive and fairer world, a world and world system that rewards wellbeing creation not just wealth creation, is sustainable and works for everyone. According to Ray Dalio ‘we need a system that helps us live peacefully with one another, where more can thrive’.
8 individuals in the world today are as rich as 50% of the world, Men own 50% more wealth than women. Women who comprise almost half, of the world population, are overworked and underpaid- they spend two to ten times more time on unpaid care work than men (if you ask me this is actually slavery in the name of gender roles), work which has no economic value attached to it, but also work in their workplaces where they are paid less than men for the same work. Systemic issues that minorities such as African Americans in the US or the Aborigines in Australia face which stops them from progressing, ageism, discrimination against sexually diverse and differently abled people. Most worryingly for everyone the increasingly obvious climate emergency- there’s a lot our world needs to urgently deal with.
Governments could address these issues of course but they have been in charge up until now and have allowed the situation we find ourselves in. Private enterprise which has pursued the agenda of profit or shareholder returns at any cost including environmental and human, until recently, is our only hope. I’m not the only who feels this way. According to the Edelman Trust Monitor, over 78% of people believe business should care at least as much about society as profit. According to the same study, business is seen as twice as competent as government but not as well intentioned.
Given this backdrop what is the role of the private sector and their leaders to help build a better world?
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