If there’s one thing we’ve learned from working with our soulpepper community is that consistent, audacious results are founded in positive relationships. These positive relationships in turn are founded in personal responsibility. So if you think about relationships as the premise of all results, then embedding generosity in the way you’re being everyday is a key business strategy when planning to take your company or organization to the next level.

Generosity Is As Much Biological As It Is Emotional

If you lead a relationship with generosity, it can’t help but be paid back to you

Think of us as organisms that conduct energy. Have you ever seen energy photos of flowers with some of their petals removed? The energy field continues through the outline of the missing petals. The same can be seen with people who are amputees. We all conduct energy. The fact of the matter is, if you are generous to somebody, they are going to be generous to you. It’s an actual, physical connection between two people. And it’s real.

Which means if you lead a relationship with generosity, it can’t help but be paid back to you. That’s the underlying premise no matter whether it’s personal or business, and why the two really can’t be separated. Because in the end, we’re just humans in corporations.

Why Build A Culture of Generosity?

Research proves that strong corporate cultures that facilitate adaptation to a changing world are associated with strong financial results.  In an extensive research project published as Corporate Culture and Performance, HBS Professor James Heskett and John Kotter studied the corporate cultures of 200 companies over an eleven-year period and how each company’s culture affected its long-term economic performance.

The results were staggering.  In one standout exhibit, twelve firms with performance-enhancing cultures showed a 900% increase in equity value compared to a 75% appreciation in equity value for twenty firms without. To consider that the difference in appreciation in equity value is somewhat attributable to the strength of a company’s corporate culture highlights the significance of this often-overlooked issue.

Debunking The Myth That A Generous Culture Is Expensive

You don’t need to spend money to be generous. Autonomy, responsibility, delegation and empowerment are zero cost items of a generous culture.

Nobody will deny that if you treat people better, they will be more loyal. This extends to employees, suppliers and customers. The reason for not embedding generosity is a misinformed perception that it’s too expensive to implement. But the simple truth is you don’t need to spend money to be generous. Social media is virtually free and can be generous. Take employees for example. We know that compensation is part of the attraction when joining a company, but is a very little part of the retention. Loyalty in this case, is belief in a value system and how employees feel they are being treated, which costs no money. Autonomy, responsibility, delegation and empowerment are zero cost items of a generous culture that lead to mega employee retention. The fact of the matter is, if you aren’t generous and have to constantly rehire and retrain, then you’re spending way more money. Embedding generosity in the HR departments alone can save corporations virtually millions of dollars.

Corporations Are Not Evil. They’re Just Clueless.

When we say treat people better, it’s not because we think corporations are generally evil. They’re just clueless to what people need and how they need to relate to each other. If corporations invited people to be part of the conversation, and that conversation was contextualized based on a value system and a desired outcome; if they knew what was in it for them, they wouldn’t leave. But most companies don’t do that because they are only in it for themselves.

And that’s the key distinction.

A B-Corp is in it for their community of employees, suppliers, customers and environment whereas a profit-based company is only in it for themselves. And they can’t win, because it’s not a fair fight.


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Written by Rik Klingle-Watt

About the author

Rik Klingle-Watt is a soulpepper and writer of the award winning documentary Not Business as Usual, a film about disrupting the business quo.

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