In many countries, businesses (and other organisations) are legal entities like individual humans. Many have inspiring, socially-aware brand values, caring cultures and strict codes of ethical conduct.
At the end of the day, however, the expression of caring comes only from the individuals within those businesses. Interestingly enough, even in the most unconducive circumstances, the most toxic cultures, the most stressful/demoralising work conditions, there are those people who still care beyond what can be reasonably expected.
- Germans saving Jews in the WWII Underground Railway.
- Employees going the extra mile to ensure quality even when management doesn’t care.
- Employees working beyond the stipulated hours; unpaid.
- Employees innovating despite the clear organisational preference to just do what has been done before.
- Cafe owners giving food/drinks to homeless “customers”.
- Bosses giving employees off-the-books compassionate time off.
- Doctors making shoes for homeless patients before discharge.
These are all unofficial, unsanctioned acts of innovation, excellence, kindness and humanity. Even if we were to discount pragmatism (a family to feed) or mental disorders (obsessive compulsive disorder), many of us clearly do do these things under other, innate, and more fundamental drivers.
Imagine if these can be consciously encouraged and reinforced by an organisation. How potentially transformative would that be?!!