(by invited blogger Erna Oldenboom)
I am very pleased to read many “different” articles lately on “shareholders” value. I mean that I recognise, observe more and more conscious people who explain an other point of view of doing business. I am a granddaughter of a remarkable grandmother who started an enterprise (the first female to do so) in the Netherlands. After her husband died she had to take care of her 10 children. She always explained that she did not have possibilities and time to feel victimised by the circumstances. I still remember the stories of my grandmother, who was always thinking and taking care of Human Beings that worked WITH her. She lived that Humans Beings were the KEY factor for the Company. The customers were served with great pleasure and all the people who worked with my grandmother made sure that nothing was unnecessary spoiled during the different production processes. In her opinion it was of great importance that her company should enrich people’s lifes. Quality methods were not invented by official institutes but it seemed to be “natural” behaviour. When my grandmother passed away many people came to honour her and showed their gratitude for everything she did.
I firmly believe that some organisations lost (Human) values and it is always in time to show that we have more creative possibilities than to continue with the same egocentric and short term visions in mind. We have responsibilities for next generations and the classical (old-fashioned) idea of shareholders values only brought many disasters. We face a challenging time and I am very grateful for the Human Beings that use common sense and creativity to “drive” in a changing direction. It is obvious to observe that “Survival of the fittest” and the never ending competition leads to wars, (natural) disasters and poverty. The shareholders suffer most from poverty since it seems that they have never enough. It seems that they are almost never satisfied and I believe they never will, since more and more of the same (money and power) is never enough.
My husband and I met once a wonderful man in Varanasi (India) who started to work early (6.00 am) and finished his daily activities late in the evening. The only observation people were able to make was, that this man was and is always smiling. Some people wanted to express their gratitude to him and bought him some new clothes to wear. As usually he smiled and showed his gratitude but explained that he did not know what to do with his new clothes. Every year he bought something new (one piece) and he washes himself and his clothes in the river Ganges. The only thing he owns is a small bag. As somebody explained: “The River is his bathroom, the sky is his bedroom and he receives enough food for his hard working”. Instead of giving him a present, they gave him a problem. In many ways we could call him poor but in his entire being he only showed richness: fearless, friendly, smiling, respectful and loving.
We do not need to transform ourselves completely, but it might be a wonderful idea to experience at certain moments in our life, to have enough and to enjoy these moments of richness. We can offer the shareholders and ourselves new possibilities that will enrich their lifes and the lifes of others. We need more constructive, long term visions to create a “better” world. I still believe that shareholders in the first place are human beings not different from me and other people, who also want to create a more sustainable environment. When we talk about sustainable development and performance we have to include all living beings on earth. Everything and everybody is interconnected, related to each other. It is a mistake to think that we can separate ourselves from others and from nature. We are part of the whole.
I hope that the new chosen presidents (of countries and organisations) and members of the different parliaments (and management boards) in many places in the world, know their responsibilities and the impact that their behaviour, perceptions, attitudes will have on future generations. I hope to observe politeness and respect in their expressions, dialogues and discussions (also during the elections). I wish they were able to share and show values, wisdom, knowledge and experiences to create a more peaceful environment. I wish I will observe that their performance among themselves is an example of communication in a non-violent way. I wish I observe creative human beings that are able to built bridges. I hope I will observe I HAVE ENOUGH (money and power) faces. I wish I will see them smiling and enjoying their jobs since they know they enrich many people's lifes. Let us start with ourself. Le me start with myself.