What are the solutions to the biggest hot-button global issues? I have one: your Mom. No, that was not an attempt at a tasteless joke, but a guide to answering issues facing the world. At five-years-old, you had the solution all along and you have your Mother to thank for it.
She taught us one lesson about the “Golden Rule”– treat others the way you’d want to be treated. By applying that simple concept into core business thinking, we can repair the world.
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Pope Francis used the “Golden Rule” as the central message in his speech to Congress during his September trip to the U.S. He said, “We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’”
The Golden Rule encourages us to think of the needs and conditions of others as a guide to our actions. We have reached an age where consumers expect business and its leaders to be as responsible as they possibly can with the privilege they have been given. Business should be about solving a problem in humanity, not about generating profit. As the Dalai Lama says, “Wealth should serve humanity, not the other way around.”
As leaders, we should use the power we have in a responsible way. We can start by instilling a culture of care in business using the Golden Rule as a means to getting there.
Companies need to invest continually in the community. We should stop looking at our clients as wealth to capture and our employees as an expense to avoid. Instead, base your relationship with the world on ethos.
An easy way to assess how you are being a steward for society is to apply the Golden Rule to your business actions. Some major areas to grade your company by are: economy, privacy, community, government, the environment, and health. For example, do your employees have to take a second job to survive? Are you charging your customers outrageous prices for a product like Martin Shkreli did with the life-changing drug Daraprim? Are you not securing your clients information creating a lack of trust?
If you are failing in any area, make it your mission to change it.
Earlier this year, I realized I was actively contributing to income inequality and chipping away at the well-being of my team. I was on a hike with a friend who was worried about affording a $200 monthly increase in rent. At the time, I was making $1.1 million, so I could not understand how a meager $200 destroyed a person’s lifestyle. Then it hit me. She was making more than most of my team at Gravity.
What was my team sacrificing? I found some were waiting to start a family, racking up student loan debt, and living in a home without running water. I was not doing right by them. I know the hard work, sacrifice, and character of my team, and I know for a fact they would not let me struggle if I was in a similar situation.
I had to do something. I needed to represent a significant shift, and the change had to be bold. There had to be a new floor – a new minimum wage at Gravity. I crunched some numbers. I could afford my team a $70,000 minimum wage. It was risky, but I knew it was a moral imperative.
I asked myself, “Am I going to do what I say I believe in?” Fifteen days later I made the announcement. It is the best money I have ever spent.
Pope Francis said, “The yardstick we use for others is the yardstick that time will use for us.” Those you can help you should. Those who need a home, give them refuge. Those who need their voices heard, speak for them.
Although our Mother’s Golden Rule is a simple concept, it reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development. To be given the privilege to hold a leadership position at a company provides us with an even greater responsibility to make a positive change in the world. As one philosopher said, “The ultimate measure of a man is what he does with his power.”
Though this question is left for superheroes, ask yourself: Are you using your power for good or for evil? What if each of us as a business leaders made that one bold change at our company? Individually, we cannot solve all the world’s problems, but we can each make a small difference. Imagine, though, what all those small differences can do when put together.
(originally posted via LinkedIN)