By Joe Sibilia
“Eliminate the competition – crush them – subjugate them. Smear the competition – expose their weaknesses – distribute false information. Take market share from the competition -steal customers and employees – do anything to beat them!” That’s the model executive inspiration speech if you really want to make money. Forget about the movement towards a more economically just and environmentally sustainable society. Make a boatload of money and sail away, that’s the only boat that matters to some business executives.
My friend and CEO of a popular CSR social networking site shared his strategic initiative clearly to me: “I don’t care about the movement, I just want to make a boat load of money.” Another friend and CEO of a popular green business site advocates for ‘invite only’ and ‘exclusive’ meetings, “they’re more profitable and everybody wants to be special”, he said. Sounds like the same old same old…to me.
When this competitive behavior exists in an environment that yearns for improved living conditions for the common good, it shatters authenticity and places the desires of the few in front of the needs of the many. It’s sending the opposite message. It’s fake. It’s a yacht in a small pond. These actions force the authentic movers in the movement to defend their relevancy as change agents. The good ship lollypop lands on a sandbar; it’s business as usual with a different sail and flag. It’s not gathering the best and brightest minds together for a coordinated assault on the seas of change.
If we genuinely want to improve the quality of life for the common good, we must cooperate – not compete. Why is the CSR/Sustainable advocacy environment (call it what you want) so fragmented? Why do we create more and more enterprises, contests and events on the same topics? Why do we still have a generation gap? Why do we continue to fight over the crumbs?
Hopefully, we’ll advance to agree on generally accepted principles, standards and measures for the new economy. Hopefully, we’ll reward experience and innovation. Hopefully, we’ll create a marketplace that rewards improving the common good. I have great faith that it will happen.
There is so much work to be done that having a fragmented competitive environment, makes little sense. Duplication of effort on the same idea or enterprise only slows down our pace. The ‘other side’ laughs at our lack of cohesion. It’s easy when your direction is focused exclusively on one tack – make money at any cost. It’s hard to sail against the wind.
Disrespecting experience and youthful enthusiasm hurts everyone. It dramatizes ego. If we let go of the ego and accept that getting the job done without personal credit, we have a chance of improving things for a lot of people.
We live in a time and place where the relationship between ‘high touch/high tech/high performance’, combined for the common good, can really make a difference. Lets get on with the work and begin to cooperate with our competition and ELIMINATE THE COMPETITON. We’re in the same boat!
Joe Sibilia is founder and CEO of Meadowbrook Lane Capital (MBLC), described by the Wall Street Journal as a “socially responsible investment bank” specializing in turning values into valuation.
He is also the CEO of CSRwire.com, the social responsibility newswire service that distributes and archives corporate social responsibility/sustainability news to journalists, analysts, investors, activists, academics, public relations and investor relations professionals worldwide.