My homage to the greener side of corporate America continues. Throughout my career I have had the pleasure of working with an uncountable list of corporations, and have been fortunate enough to have been able to immerse myself within the most healthy of organizations and, sad to say, also traveled the waters of terribly dysfunctional cultures.
Experiences that I am happy to say, “I am grateful for.” For with them, my understanding and empathy for the power of the individual has become what it is.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am claiming no grand expertise on the subject of corporate structure; my findings are based on observations pulled from my collaborations with the scope of my associations. But observations that I am confident run deep into the DNA of the overall structure of said corporations.
In the end one common positive organizational attribute, although adaptable in many ways, continually rises to the top, like the sweetness of cream.
That cream: respect for the talents of the individual. And from what I’ve seen, the big margins (sure, I can throw a statistical comment now and then) are a result of emotionally vested employees.
“Emotionally vested employees? Richard, you’re sounding like some sort of training guru dude. What’s up with that?”
Forgive me for the indulgence, it’s just a hot topic for me, although I won’t lie, “It would be cool to share a stage sometime at TED to share a thought or two.”
We’re almost to the introduction of our new friend, Carla; a friend that through our conversation has spurred my above dialogue.
In closing it, I’ll just note this, “’Based on my research and experience, my view is this: ‘The most progressive companies are the ones that know how to respect its employees on a personal level, not attempting to blindly incentivize actions with dangling dollar bonuses, promises of grandiose titles, blue jean Fridays or the infamous look at Bill (or whomever) proclaiming him as ‘king of the week.’ The strongest companies respect the individual, allowing them to contribute as they are inspired, and guide them in coming together in a focused approach to brand and ends. If you think I’m too naive, or glassy-eyed, look at Google or Patagonia.” I’ll rest my opinion and move on to our new friend, the lovely, compassionate and very smart Carla.
“So Richard, exactly how did Carla get your brain steamed?”
She gets it, loud and clear, so clearly that she is dedicating her life to the advancement of the individual.
I run into Carla on a shopping outing, purchasing a lifestyle product at a store she manages. A store, that by corporate policy, I am not to showcase or mention in any way. I have no intention of exploiting any one corporation, and have no issues in supporting any privacy or marketing protocols, thus, I summarize with this: Carla is as ethical as can be and a model employee.
Carla is giving, so much so that post our in-store interview, she writes me this.
We met earlier today and you wanted me to send you a couple of quotes I found inspirational. I also have to write to tell you that unfortunately, due to company policy, no pictures are allowed to be taken in the store, nor can anything be posted about my relationship or opinion of the store. I am free if you need a photo for this post. I apologize for any inconvenience the company has made for you.”
I’m blown away, but relating it to her first word of wisdom for us, Carla’s kind email makes sense. That wisdom: “Empathy is the answer.”
We regroup at my house to continue the interview and take photos.
Carla is incredibly articulate; a graduate of UCSB, she holds a double Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies and is just at the beginning of her career.
I call Carla a giver. As she fills out her 365 paperwork, she tells me, “My phone number will not be valid after March.”
Giving what? She explains, “Last year I taught English and Art in Thailand villages; it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. This year I’m going again to either Taiwan or Japan.”
I ask her, “Why?”
Carla’s reasoning, “Education is the key to change. With stronger English skills more of them will get out of the rice patties.”
If you have been reading 365, you most likely have picked up on one of its themes, The power of one.
“Looks to me that Carla is doing her part. She speaks of empathy, and it looks like she is a compassionate humanitarian. But Mr. R, “How does that relate to the corporate rant you have laid on us. Are you going psychotic on us?”
“No I’m pretty sure I’m sane, at least that is what my analyst tells me (just kidding, no analyst – I think?).”
Here we go… Upon her return, Carla plans to pick up high higher education in obtaining a Doctorate in International Law, after which she intends to focus on an overall cause. That cause can be summed up in her following statements and wishes for the future.
First the bridge from Carla’s life perspective to her future actions, she quotes, “If people had more empathy, there would be less corruption and malice.”
Carla gives a hint to her intentions of her future post Doctorate efforts, “’My wishes for the future, ‘The political sway would go more focused on individual people and less on profit-mongering.’”
Even now, pre-doctorate, Carla calls us to accountability: “It is a necessity to be more honest, less corrupt and less vindictive.”
On more of a global scope, we talk of her home culture, Argentina, the places she has traveled, and her time spent in the United States (the largest portion of her life). Her conclusions in looking towards what is to come: “I’d like to see a day where there is unification and less division in the world, and maybe a little less corporate interest in our lives.”
Every time I meet a new friend my ears are way open for gems. Carla gives us a diamond, a jewel in the form of a basic action item for us all to ponder. That jewel – “More people need to socialize and mobilize.” I love it!
I talk often of the power of one. Carla and I talk of the subject, and better still, she sends me two of her favorite quotes. Both very eloquent in discussing the premise. Enjoy!
Hope…I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor, that’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another; human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.
The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.
We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.
Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.
The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say “Do not despair.”
The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish. . .
Soldiers: don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.
Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate, only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers: don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.
In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written: “The kingdom of God is within man,” Not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men; in you, the people.
You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power, let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.
Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Look up! Look up! The clouds are lifting, the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality.
The soul of man has been given wings, and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow, into the light of hope, into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up.
There is no master race. There is no greatest nation. There is no one true religion. There is no inherently perfect philosophy. There is no always right political party, morally supreme economic system, or one and only way to Heaven. Erase these ideas from your memory. Eliminate them from your experience. Eradicate them from your culture. For these are thoughts of division and separation, and we have killed each other over these thoughts. Only this truth can save us: WE ARE ALL ONE
-Neale Donald Walsch