When I operated on a patient as a surgeon, I couldn’t just deal with the various anatomical and physiologic systems as if they were magically isolated. Indeed, the health of the underlying vascular system dictated where I could make surgical incisions in the skin and where and how far I could rotate skin, fat, and muscle to reconstruct a body part or close a complex open wound. I had to consider multiple factors, including the limitations and consequences of the factors individually and collectively. Clearly, integrating and adhering to fundamental surgical principles and “best practices” increased the odds of the surgery being a success – a life is saved, a limb is salvaged, a face rejuvenated.
In the business world, we deal with multiple, complex, and changing variables as well. But traditionally, instead of saving lives and limbs, the ultimate measure of success in business has been to ever increase the single bottom line of profit. To our great detriment, this goal has frequently been undertaken with an attitude of “success at any and all cost.” In large part, this mindset has contributed to the global economic turmoil and ecological endangerment that we find ourselves grappling with today.
As various parts of the world have dominoed into economic and social turmoil, I’ve felt an inner calling to contribute ideas and energy to lead and encourage fellow entrepreneurs to be part of the solution. A couple of years ago, I started hosting an interactive conference call series entitled, “Conscious Leaderpreneurship Conversations.” These calls were inspired by my desire to experiment and expand the blending and showcasing of spiritual awareness as the cornerstone of success and fulfillment in the entrepreneurial world and expanding the depth and breadth of how we, as entrepreneurs, can blaze trails into a new era of prosperity.
Inspired by these conversations, I’ve outlined five fundamental business principles and practices that I collectively termed the “Exponential Bottom Line.” In contrast to the single bottom line of profit, this term refers to five business practices that reflect how a business:
- Enhances the quality and duration of the lives of People today as well as future generations to come.
- Restores and renews the resources and ecosystems of our Planet.
- Generates Profit sustainably, fairly, and responsibly.
- Promotes Prosperity locally and globally.
- Models and perpetuates Peace through its values, mission, vision, business practices, and ultimate impact on society.
While the specific practices and principles that I outline are nothing new, the context is. In fact, the “Triple Bottom Line” of “people, planet, and profit” has been championed for years. But to me, those three elements alone are still too “stingy.” It felt as though something was missing. So I added the elements of “prosperity” and “peace.” I assert that these five elements constitute a fresh, holographic, and integrated approach to how a “prosperity era” business makes its mark on the world.
Here’s my challenge to you
Embracing the mindset of the “Exponential Bottom Line” is one thing. Applying it in the real world is another. Under economic and a myriad of other pressures, existing mindsets, practices, and habits tend to persist and “die hard”.
Yet, consider what might be possible if we adopted the notion that rather than the singular focus of profit at any and all cost, we focused our entrepreneurial endeavors on playing a bigger game – one of challenging ourselves to define what each of the parameters of the “exponential bottom line” means to us and our particular businesses. The next step would be to apply and fold these ideals into our daily business activities in creative and innovative ways.
To play this game, it would take a commitment to reinventing our business models and practices. It would take a willingness to tell a different and bigger story about ourselves, what we stand for, what we’re willing to fight for.
If adopted by even a fraction of businesses and consumers worldwide, the practice of the exponential bottom line” ideals could synergistically shift the dynamics of commerce to effect lasting change and transformation in our global economy, ecology, and sociology.
Now, isn’t that a game worth playing? In what ways will you take this on challenge?