A new vision of what it means to be successful and thrive as individuals and as societies is increasingly taking hold. The link between wealth, growth, wellbeing and prosperity is being re-examined and new ways of doing business are emerging cites global economic and business expert Jules Peck. In fact, Peck argues for a new economic model completely. Given the tumult in the environment and the global economy these past several years I say that the timing for a new way couldn’t be better.
Money does not bring happiness. In fact only 7% of our wellbeing comes from income. So where does the rest of our wellbeing come from? According to the New Economic Foundation, wellbeing springs from 5 critical elements.
- Connection to friends, family & community
- Giving back/volunteering
- Being physically active
- Having goals & continuing to learn
- Taking notice and being engaged
This message of an alternate and more fully integrative understanding of what corporate and individual success means has been at the heart of my philosophy from the start. It’s been nearly 10 years since I first spoke of ‘happiness’ as a key driver of lasting success to the business community via the Vancouver Board of Trade. It’s been a long haul but it is both refreshing and inspiring to see this shared idea take hold.
New Model Required
Peck argues that combined with the above findings, the economic model of constant growth and ever increasing profit has pushed both people and the planet to the edge. Not only are we seeing the vast majority of workers – worldwide – disengaged from their work but we are at the limits of many of our finite resources our way of life depends upon and we risk pushing the planet into unstoppable climate change.
Wellbeing is Primary
Instead of focusing on wealth we should instead be focusing on wellbeing. Peck highlights that consensus is building that infinite high resource intensity growth is simply not possible and that most businesses will have to adjust to a very different reality…soon. That reality will still be a a version of capitalism, but it needs to rethink the point of the system.
Instead of the goal of maximum linear growth in GDP, Peck argues that we should be thinking of maximum wellbeing for minimal planetary input. This will challenge business to move beyond efficiency gains and really rethink their business models.
In both Britain and France, Prime Minister David Cameron & President Sarkozy have taken notice and have instigated policy reviews and frameworks focusing on wellbeing & community instead of wealth and individualism.
Peck points out that new “holy grail” for many progressive companies has become the “wellbeing dividend” where sustainability efforts can be shown to increase rather than damage worker, customer and societal quality of life and wellbeing. Hurray.