Something is happening, and it affects us all.

A global revolution is changing business and business is changing the world; a new generation is rewriting the rules of business.

Today, as society confronts a global pandemic, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and demands to end systemic racism (on top of climate change and growing income inequality), it’s time to rewrite the rules yet again.

Rule #1: Bring Democracy to Work

The actual spread of COVID-19 forced many employees to work from home. All illusions about the value of hierarchical leadership “blew up”. It is now, more than ever, for a business to thrive, essential to create fairer and more inclusive workplaces and corporate cultures. Corporate leaders and business owners, more than ever, should voluntarily share data about pay and diversity metrics, encourage employees to speak up when they see wrongdoing, and find ways to extend benefits and opportunities to all employees.

As companies respond to employees’ calls for racial justice,corporate leaders and business owners needs to listen to their employee, show some empathy, and then act. This means inspecting every aspect of hiring and promotion, and implementing routine financial and compliance audits. That democratization needs to extend to workers at all levels.

Democracy in work is not merely a new rule of business. It can be a business model.

Rule #2: Invest in Your Community

Today and the future, companies and businesses have no choice but to rethink the way they engage and invest in the communities they operate in.

Rule #3: Be Authentic

Today and for the next 25 years, the concept behind "authenticity" it is more crucial than ever. As today’s crises are prompting a more candid, raw dialogue among colleagues, we are at a point where we, as corporate leaders and business owners, are being asked to open up and share our own hearts. Today, "empathy" is a nonnegotiable leadership skill.

Honest messaging requires thoughtful consideration. You cannot stand for something if you do not stand for something.

Rule #4: Curiosity is Currency

For companies and business owners trying to stay ahead of business and social trends, it is imperative to question assumptions.

For individuals, inquisitiveness may be what keeps their jobs from being automated or displaced by artificial intelligence. That which can be digitized will be, but machines cannot replace the things that require creativity and humanity and curiosity.

Rule #5: Remember: "Change Must Be Constant"

Most companies and business owners say they embrace change, but all too often they are really just reacting to external forces. What is to be created is organizations that are capable of rapidly changing as conditions require. Such organizations will gain from disruption rather than being broken by it.

For many leaders, creating nimble organizations comes down to people: change is not the "what" but the "who ”, and the "Who" are the people who can change, who have that ability to let go of something they have been doing a long time.

In these fast-­moving and uncertain times, the only thing any business can prepare for is change.

Michel Ouellette JMD, ll.l., ll.m

Systemic Strategic Planning / Crisis & Reputation Management


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