Do you have an extra basement? So Carol and I can move in with you?
There are Tuesday Report readers everywhere—Germany, Great Britain, Australia. Who can put us up Say, for just a few years?
We’re not really showing up on your doorsteps—you can heave a sigh of relief. Actually we’ve given thought to the alternatives, but all things considered, we’re staying put.
Election Day 2020
Today, US Election Day, may be the most important—and certainly most stressful— election of our lifetimes. It could have major impacts on countries around the world.
This election cycle has done what nothing else has been able to do in the last 30 years—focus our attention on the election. We are a distracted nation, everyone looking down at their phones, unaware of our surroundings. Social media gives us infinite possibility and drives us apart to games, groups, and online videos.
Suddenly people are together in a pandemic in long voting lines. People have driven across the country to vote and drive back home. Those who have never voted before have voted for the first time.
A Divided Nation—Tensions Mount
People in the US are profoundly divided, left and right, into two camps around two seemingly irreconcilable sets of values—and the tension is so great you could cut it with a knife.
Each side is literally despairing of the other side’s pathetic inability to see the plain truth—as they see it. In the US today, there is only the true or the false, black or white. Shades of grey are seen as betrayals of the truth. Black and white are the two alternatives, with anything in between being traitorous.
Today we live in tribes, political, religious, academic, and scientific. As members of tribes, it is much more important who said something rather whether it makes any sense at all. If one of our tribal opinion leaders says something crazy, we just all nod our heads to say yes. I have relatives and friends who are members of these tribes, and as everyone knows, it’s better to be silent than engage in an argument where no one’s opinion will change.
Why Business is the Vehicle to Help Us Survive and Thrive
So what is the role of business? I get emails almost daily from everywhere declaring that business is The Beast. Business must be chained, strictly controlled, and to a few extremists, it must be eliminated. The reasoning is that business is corrupt, exploitive, and driven by greed.
There is truth in almost everyone of these criticisms, and people at the highest levels in business would largely agree.
My view of business is that there must always be “a cop on the beat.” There must be rules and regulations both for businesses and employees. This is the case in most democracies around the world.
Here are some things that strike me as important about the role of business in our society today.
- Business has a surprising ethical core. You may way to laugh, cry, or just throw up, with the scandals surrounding megabanks like Wells Fargo or health insurance companies that deny the dying the coverage they’ve already paid for.
The reason I think that companies have an ethical core that no other institution today has is because business is organized around outcomes—they have to be ethical at many levels to survive.
Products and services must be increasingly useful. Companies that don’t deliver quality don’t stay in business. Businesses want low unemployment to assure there’s a market to buy product. With low employment, wages rise, although it is true they have been largely stagnant over time. Employees demand that their companies be socially responsible, and companies are donating to causes and creating environmental strategies.
Many traditional organizations’ outcome is to advocate their ideas—often lofty and good. But many times great ideas and visions have terrible unintended consequences. Political and religious organizations as well as the media on all sides manipulate emotions and cause conflict to increase revenue. On the other hand, successful businesses have a neutral objective—to sell and deliver products. In order to do that they generally have to comply with rules and honesty.
- Business competition builds national character. We are huge believers that free enterprise builds the personal and national character. People who want to get better, compete. We believe that although we must support the most vulnerable with help and education, competition allows people to do something very important—to fail. We’ve all lost and failed. That is the way we get better at what we do. Socialism kills character. Competition builds character.
- Business trains employees and builds skill sets. Business inculcates important values into employees as few other institutes in America do. Family or religious training seldom has specific training for communication and interpersonal relationships.
Organizational training includes openness and transparency, understanding managing differences, direct feedback, managing conflict, interpersonal relationships, and effective communications. Some of these skills were taught in communities of faith in previous generations, but now it’s ironic the only place where they are systematically taught is in business.
- Business builds diversity—creates a platform for communication. The controversial affirmative action programs of the 1960’s that placed a race quota for employment positions, did in fact jump start racial progress. Now after this initial program is long gone, you would think that diversity would no longer be a priority.
Although equality goals have not been met, diversity is a major concern of organizations. There is the concern for equity as well as research that shows that a diverse organization is a more effective organization. Once again, business often does the right thing because it’s to their advantage.
- Winning Through Innovation
All of us now live and work in a global world, and the US. does not have a corner on innovation. The US may not be the world leader in business and innovation, but we are strong players.
When the Covid-19 pandemic became part of our daily lives, US companies became huge partners with other world players to create the vaccine, which is close to being released. From Tesla’s Rocket X that is the first private enterprise to put satellites in orbit to Zoom that unites the world of business communication, innovation that moves us forward as a cohesive society where everyone has a stake continues.
So be sure, if you live in this country, VOTE! If you don’t live in this country, please pray for us. But no matter who wins the election, America will survive and thrive! We are all in business together!