A Zoom meeting with some colleagues who are friends. Topic: a pretty big, pretty smart project for startups and how we can generate tailwind and upwind for it. What's it really about? It's about money, as usual. So it's not about the money that's there, but about the pile of money that's needed. Investors are being sought.
During this meeting, the keyword "social entrepreneurship" falls out of someone's mouth (guess who) and Red Flags go up in clusters all around (guess who doesn't). A massive multi-voiced hint wind blows in my face the info that social entrepreneurship in the investor scene and the hunting grounds of real business, is causing serious allergies. "One can hear that already no more!", I can hear. And "It's getting on everyone's nerves already!" because "No one takes anything like that seriously from the investor:in!" Fie, in short.
1. Is this really so?
2. If so, why is this so?
Too lazy to read on? Then listen to me!
In the blogcast, I read this recent blog article to you. With emphasis, of course!
In any case, a massive pain reflex obviously ramps up in this direction. Otherwise, would the immune system of my interlocutors have kicked in so vehemently? All of them are business professionals and empathetic, big-thinking people, thoroughly sympathetic to the idea of social entrepreneurship, although some of them (like me) are built into a somewhat old, gray-white male body.
I think social entrepreneurship is a great thing: someone recognizes that a socially relevant issue has arisen, that a problem needs to be solved here, there or elsewhere, and tackles it with entrepreneurial expertise. Entrepreneurial expertise includes two factors: a professional solution to the problem and a clear understanding that this work must ultimately generate a profit that can be used to achieve all kinds of things. Even your own pleasure, absolutely.
In the past, this was simply called entrepreneurship, no social was needed in front of it, and many wonderful things blossomed out of it, such as the social market economy and prosperity. Not the announced "prosperity for all", but for quite a few, even most. There were undoubtedly excesses into the wrong world, man without lived greed all too often feels a bit incomplete and deprived of his freedom. Capitalism halt, part of the game, one gives then to the best, or to what one holds as best for itself.
However, things became really difficult on a large scale when the capitalists took over the helm of capitalism, because that's when it really started to run out of steam. Where once entrepreneurial expertise was entered in the logbook, now shareholder value was to be marveled at, i.e. those mechanics that elsewhere are hailed as porn. Perhaps that's why people talk about "a barrel of money"?
Suddenly, a unicorn was no longer recognized by the fact that it vomits multicolored rainbows in the realm of fantasy, but by the fact that it rushes to the exit in Silicon Valley and rakes in at least a billion for the investors. Moneybags 4.0, in other words.
And so, similar to the successful action of a stink bomb, the fatally wrong story spread consistently and structurally, which tells us that successful companies can be recognized by their spicy growth and magnificent profits. There's nothing to be said against these indicators, except that you can 't recognize successful companies by them. You don't recognize successful politicians by the fact that they win elections, and you don't recognize successful teachers by the fact that all their children get straight A's and a Smurf stamped under every homework assignment. (By the way, you also don't recognize good students by all their A's, but that's another story).
What are we doing better?
Both sides are concerned with making a positive contribution to shaping the world. In the indivisible vision that everyone and everything is better and better every day in every way. And better. Better can go.
Yes, even today, even if you can no longer hear it, annoyed by the loud "Fie!", and it has become necessary to signpost the way there with Social vorm Entrepreneurship, because you can no longer see the forest for the red flags.
Seen in this light, this is not just a mandate for companies, not just a flood of opportunities, but - especially in our societies, which despite everything are described as civilized - the categorical imperative of entrepreneurship par excellence.
Seen in this light, the UN's much-cited Sustainable Development Goals are not a reference to suffering and deprivation; they are less an exhortation than a wake-up call in the business world, and much more a picture book for innovation and entrepreneurship with a demand guarantee from the United Nations. Delightful, isn't it? The 17 goals do not describe 17 problem areas, but 17,000 unfounded companies that are not only good, but good for something, if you think away greed & greenwashing.
Apart from my Zoom review mentioned at the beginning, I have a number of other experiences in this context that amaze and encourage me in equal measure.
The impulses in my keynotes about a NEW STORY we need, a new story, especially in business, which after all almost dominates every decision-making in our communities, regularly trigger positive reactions from audiences and industries where I tend to expect resistance in the lazy bed of my own prejudices. After all, if I'm prepared for the ensuing Q&A sessions to be labeled an illusionist, a dreamer, and a raghead (which I certainly take as a compliment), even there I hear over and over again, "What you're saying is exactly what we feel all the time, but don't know how to bring together."
Recently, I got a booking as a keynoter for an IT and high-tech congress where I was a thousand percent sure that, given my topic focus, it could only be a mistake and that the organizers were expecting something on "Storytelling with AI" at best. On the contrary. In the briefing conversation, I learned from the staff member responsible for the event that I was booked precisely because the impulses of NEW STORY are considered super important, especially for this technology-driven industry.
Yes, we are experiencing revolutionary achievements in high-tech, IT, AI and things like that. That's exactly why we need nothing less than a revolutionary new story, the NEW STORY REVOLUTION - a New Story that makes us strong as people, and therefore as a company and as a society.
This new story is necessary. It turns everything upside down, it sets everything right. It tells about what we are here for, we humans, as the only species that can create beauty, just like that - so that there is beauty. The only species that can create and heal at all - itself and others. And even more: which not only can do all this, but even has to do this, so that it remains healthy in mind and body, because it experiences meaning through this. Purpose, Why and Meaning, as it is officially called in the business context lately, and hopefully not unofficially marketing gag.
To inspire instead of to afflict.
The new story tells of harmony in connection of opposites in a better future, in which we inspire each other instead of afflicting or even fighting. It is about enabling instead of hindering, about listening, about tuning in to each other, about cooperation, about mutual support, about understanding, about heart building. In this future, we must no longer vainly try to fill the vacuum of meaning in ourselves, and especially in the so-called economy, that is, in our businesses and in our society, through careers, metrics, and consumerism, that is, through material growth for growth's sake, through profit and profit by defeating, by means of the exploitation of resources. In this future, we go for each other, and towards each other, but never at each other. This would be a happy ending and thus a real beginning, because it would make us grow beyond ourselves and our trees into the sky. Those trees that we plant, even though we know we will never enjoy their fruits, to nibble on the wisdom of Rabindranath Tagore.
In this future of NEW STORY REVOLUTION, each and every one of us accepts his/her call. Each of us has such a call - large or small, universal or private. This call is precisely "...what we feel all the time, but don't know how to bring together." Most of us have heard it, many have listened away, some have overheard it, often it has simply been drowned out. But more and more people are now hearing a bang: the starting gun for a departure into a - no, into their - better yet: into our New Story, for every person, for teams, brands, companies and for our society.
If you feel that a new story is needed for yourself, your profession, your company, your team or your brand, if you are on the verge of transformation, you probably want supportive guidance. At this point of the hero's journey, the mentoring force usually appears.
And if you feel like I could be that as a mentor to you, I would be honored.
There are several possibilities for this, depending on the state of your affairs. The PowerHour as a very simple, fast impulse unit, the New Story Bootcamp as an intensive work package especially for brands & companies, or the structured New Story Mentoring - i.e. my platinum program in One on One.
In either case, we will work together on your powerful inner story that moves, guides and drives you.
We sharpen your perspective, find out what the real core of your task is, what meaning your work has for you and your audience, and what your decisive step is after the famous "why". And finally, we specify what makes the unique impact of your work and formulate the crucial guiding principle for you, your work and everything that comes after. For your New Story, which you share with the world because it is good and good for something.
The NEW STORY REVOLUTION story is written with a hot heart and brought to life with a cool head and a steady hand. As one of the first measures, the Red Flags that stand between Social and Entrepreneurship will be cashed in, because the NEW STORY is the ancient and yet revolutionary story of our connectedness in the For Each Other.
We alone are responsible for this: we, you, me. And if you squint your eyes, you'll see a little energetic old lady on the horizon. That's my grandmother, old Story Dudette, waving at us not a red flag but a colorful one that reads in bright letters, "New Story. New Glory."