Industrial capitalism is broken. The signs, which transcend national ideologies, are everywhere: climate change; ecological overshoot; financial exhaustion; fraying social safety nets; corporate fraud; government deceit; civic unrest; terrorism; and war. But there is hope. This book tells how transformation is taking root in the corporate world – the last place many of us would look for solutions.
The book tells the stories of seven exceptional companies. Their shared secret is a new mental model of the firm that is the virtual opposite of industrial capitalism. Each company, if not already a household name, is a significant player within their industry and, crucially, has outperformed their competitors. Lessons can be learned.
It works like this. Instead of modeling themselves on the assumed efficiency of machines – a thought process that emerged during the industrial age – these firms model themselves on living systems. Firms with open, ethical, inclusive traditions – where employees have a voice and a stake in what happens – have a distinct advantage over traditionally managed companies where most decisions are made at the top.
Understanding that everything of value ultimately arises from life, they place a higher value on living assets (people and Nature) than they do on non-living capital assets. The energy they invest in stewarding those assets – a practice described in the book as living asset stewardship (LAS) – is transformative.