As the American marketplace becomes more socially aware, businesses of all sizes are finding that responsible business practices and treating employees well is no longer optional. Dale Partridge, founder of Sevenly, is living proof that socially conscious business models are not only imminent but surprisingly profitable.
With years of personal experience and market research under his belt, Dale has discovered the seven core beliefs shared by consumers, starters, and business leaders who are breaking the old profit-first cycle and finding success by doing good. The following is an adapted excerpt from Dale’s new book, People Over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, and Be More Successful.
We can create a new and permanent future where people hold companies accountable, businesses honor those they serve, and capitalism is no longer a dirty word. You have the power to help build a sustainable future where the marketplace is dominated by those who are committed to telling the truth, positively impacting the world, and valuing people.
How do you begin?
First, you need to be honest about your current state. At what level are your organization, team, and household operating in right now? Humans are intuitive and have a sense of where they are, but answering this question will still require a bit of investigation.
Once you understand where you are, you need to determine how to get to where you want to go. Where should you begin? Which beliefs could you and your organization adopt now? And what about your home life? How can you live what you believe after you’ve punched out?
What about expectations? How long should transformation take? Organizations are made of people, and the more people you have, the slower change occurs.
Transformation is possible whether you’re an intern, entrepreneur, or executive. It doesn’t matter if you work for a giant corporation or own a small boutique, if you have two employees or two thousand.
Creating a people-over-profit world begins with you, right now, where you are.
Who are the most powerful people in your organization? The CEO? The board of directors? Shareholders?
Wrong. The most powerful people are your customers. These people can put you out of business or propel you to unimaginable heights. Those who refuse to take them seriously become the authors of their own demise.
Recognizing this can leave one feeling a bit insignificant, but it is also incredibly empowering. Because you, too, are a customer. Which is to say, You are one of the most powerful people in the marketplace.
The way you spend your money will help determine who stays in business and who goes belly up. How you talk about a company on social media or over coffee with friends can dictate that organization’s future. The decisions you make will help determine prices, expected levels of quality, and which products are in demand.
You may be an entrepreneur or established business leader, but you are also a consumer of hats and hamburgers, movie tickets and massages. If your boss hands you a pink slip today, you’ll still be a consumer. If you decide to become a stay-at- home parent you’ll still be a consumer. So long as you’re breathing, you’re a consumer.
And this means you are powerful.
In order to break the system, then, we must first learn to be good consumers. But most people are passive participants in the marketplace. They make purchases and select goods without much thought or intentionality—except maybe when it comes to price.
What if you demanded uncompromising quality in every item you bought, even if it cost you a bit more? What if you chose between two comparable products based on which company was more charitable and generous? And what if you told everyone you knew to follow suit? How might those decisions change the marketplace?
No matter where you stand on the corporate ladder, how much money you make or where you live, you are a powerful consumer. You must commit to never forgetting that you are, and always will be the most powerful people in the marketplace. Your daily decisions can and do make a difference.