Being in business all too often is seen as a right, an imperative. However, if this pandemic has put anything into sharp perspective, it’s this: being in business is a privilege.
Businesses that realize this privilege know, almost on a contemplative level, that they are part of an inextricably complex and interconnected web of resources that make their very existence possible.
Whether we are aware of it or not, as a business, we exist solely because we borrow from precious world capital:
Human capital (in the form of your employees, consumers, and partners)
Environmental capital (in the form of your raw materials, energy sources, even the space you occupy on earth)
Societal capital (in the form of the intellect you borrow, the communities you affect, the children and families you impact, and the future generations you influence)
Realizing this, a new consciousness for businesses arises, which is this: If we need to borrow from the world capital to run our business, then we need to be concerned with our Return On the World, our ROW™.
So in this moment of great disruption, where our privilege has been swept away from under our feet, and where we are being invited to reignite our highest creativity, the question we need to be asking ourselves is, How might we reimagine our businesses and economy to be more than about ROI, but about ROW™?
In a world that’s woken up to its privilege, a singular measure of fiscal profits runs counter to our ability to create a resilient and flourishing future for our business and society. Perhaps it’s the moment to focus on generating world profit — the growth of our humanity, the flourishing of our society, the health of our planet.
Our current physical distancing shows we are lost without each other. We are lost without our mother earth. Especially now, we need to take a more holistic view of our future and the future of our economies. It is our highest duty as leaders and organizations to become economic, social, and environmental innovators. To not ever again forget that business is a privilege, that our existence is only possible thanks to borrowed world capital.
This Earth Week begets the question, what’s your ROW™?
Written by the founder of HelloHumanity, Caroline Chubb Calderon. Learn more here.