Kim Cramer: Giving is the new taking

Something is changing. I dream about it. I feel it. I see it around me. And it is powerful. It is powerful because it comes from many. Because it grows. And because influential people and organizations are embracing it. The concept?

by Kim Cramer PhD

So simple that one would almost forget about it: DOING GOOD.

More and more I hear and read about people and companies taking responsibility in their own small or large way. They have ceased seeing enrichment and money as their highest goal and have started looking for a higher reason for their existence. Why do we do what we do? What is it we want to achieve for the world? Why is that important? The answers to these questions have nothing to do with 'growth' and 'profit', but with a deep rooted passion to care. Fulfilling a soulful role in society. Inspired to make the world a better place. To give instead of take. And the funny thing is: organizations embracing this principle, receive! They perform better. They literally ‘deserve’ it.

I'm not talking about CSR-programs where giving back is seen as a luxury. Separate from the main business, and only if the budget allows. Packaged in a CSR program. I have nothing against such programs, which are often far reaching and full of good intentions. But they are temporary and often they stand quite separate from the main company objectives. I mean companies that take ‘doing good’ at the heart of their entrepreneurship. Companies whose purpose, whose faith, whose passion is to contribute to a better world. In an inspiring and authentic way that is relevant and appealing.

Social media are an important catalyst of this phenomenon. In this transparent world, merely being in business for selfish reasons can have impactful consequences. The greed and gluttony that once might have remained hidden behind closed doors, is nowadays exposed within seconds. It also works the other way around: who does good, will be rewarded by positive stories that are frequently shared. People love to be involved and associated with beautiful stories. They want to be part of it. This applies not only to the public but also to employees. That's why I look forward to a new generation of corporate leaders who are prepared to show engaged humanity in their leadership role. So they are a true source of inspiration for the people who eventually do the work.

From post-capitalism to the economy of the gift. ‘From greed to generosity’. I do not just think it is wonderful that more and more organizations demonstrate their humanity. I am also personally inspired to help them. To start searching for the answer to the why-question and to (re)discover their reason for being. Vague? I guess so. Idealistic? Absolutely. And I admit, we're not there yet. Will we ever live in a world where it is more important to give than to take? I dream on ...

Translated article first published as SWOCC column.

Kim Cramer is co-owner of BR-ND and member of the Advisory Board of SWOCC.

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