Whenever I am driving on a highway, I try to maintain constant speed. Maintaining the tender balance on the accelerator gives a certain thrill. I can only do this when no vehicles ahead of me. What I observe is vehicles behind me turn restless. Even though I am going at max speed limit, people look to overtake me. May be they do not like to cruise at constant speed. They either need to accelerate or decelerate.
That is what we see even in economies. Companies are expected to grow, to look normal, else are considered stagnant or dead. If everything else around us is moving at same speed as us, we are stagnant with respect to things around, even though we are traveling at enormous speed. In this race, we tend to go ahead of others and try to stretch ourselves in all possible ways. This artificial stretch gives us a sense of motion but we are moving away from our core. This is what we are doing with our companies and economies. The economists in positions of decision making should understand that the size of earth is not growing by 3% every year, nor the resources growing. The only way to grow the economy in conservative terms is to produce and consume more goods, causing more pollution. In business, we target plausible growth but in the process push ourselves as if it is only way to survive. We have heard this in history books. Small kingdoms dreaming to be the empires, are in constant war with neighbors. Few of them get successful but end up breaking up into pieces as they cannot maintain the vast empire. In today’s world, actual wars are replaced by non-violent ways-economic and ideological wars.
Today’s businesses do the same to capture the market. As we pull ourselves more, we break into pieces. In this process, they break into groups, away from their core. We have seen many examples – Shivaite-Vaishnavite, Shia-Sunni, Catholic-Protestant ideological clashes. Both the groups, though sharing the same source, claim their path to be only true, but there is a chance that both are true. If there are infinite possibilities of reaching point A from point B, there could be infinite ways to know truth. If we traveled the path, we would know.
Running Behind Profits:
If we take the case of Facebook. In pursuit of profits, users’ data was allegedly given to other companies. It lost the trust of some users. Growth cannot be always be through stretching in one direction we think is best. If growth of a company is only measured in terms of revenue, profit alone then, it will not last long as it takes a lot from the employees, owners, stake holders and customers. Growth is best if it is in all directions, like a lake. A lake expands its shores in all directions during rains and humble enough to shrink back. Even though it expands or shrinks, it does not lose its core. Similarly, growth of a company has to be a product of willing contributions from all the employees, suppliers and customers. Also the growth should have a positive impact on the lives of the employees. Everyone should take pride in their role and contribution and supporting each other in ups, downs and flat roads!
Downtime is actually a good time to take stock of the company, resources, skill set and other factors. Its time to improve overall process, improve and upgrade skills through training. One has to experience stillness to enjoy movement! One cannot be in constant expansion, to miss the beauty of stillness. Let’s move with a sense of stillness; and be ready to become still while on the move.