Do you ever wonder, given the sheer scale of the climate change problem, what difference we can make as an individual?
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I do. But the constant efforts by little people and big people alike continue to encourage me. Seeing the semi-constant Twitter messaging and online buzz about Copenhagen, for example, tells me that we can achieve something big through lots of small efforts – because there is belief that change is possible.
But it also got me thinking about whether I make a difference in what I do for a living. Do companies have the same kind of belief? Are they faceless money-making machines? Or do they have a soul?
Speaking from my own perspective, I can confirm that they do. In fact, I believe they HAVE to. Ethics and economics are essential to a successful business. If a company exists just to create revenue, they may be successful, but they will never be as successful as the company that believes in what it is doing.
Here at Powwownow, we are a humble conference call provider. A pretty good one, and we have lots of people around the world using our service. It brings in money; it pays the wages. But everyone here knows that there is another dimension.
We know that if people use us more, they are travelling less. Every conference call means a little CO2 stays where it is instead of disappearing noxiously into the atmosphere. And that makes us feel good. In a little way.
Every day, employees around the world make a conscious decision about how they will exchange their time for money. Largely, this depends on their skills, their time availability and their geography (and unemployment levels of course). If you want to live and work in a rural setting, merchant banking is not for you. If you can’t drive, don’t become a cabbie. But beyond that there has to be an incentive for people to work where they do.
Give me money, but also give me something that makes me happy and fulfilled as an individual. And when you work for company with belief you end each month with two pay packets: one that pays the bills, and one that we collect on behalf of a much bigger cause. If it was translated into money, it would not amount to much, but put it all together and the Little Guys in the Little Companies are definitely doing their bit.