Book Quotations – From “Beyond Reasonable Greed”

Beyond Reasonable Greed

Book Title: Beyond Reasonable Greed: Why Sustainable Business is a Much Better Idea!

Authors: Wayne Visser and Clem Sunter

Publication details: Tafelberg Human & Rousseau, 2002

For more information: See the Book Profile

Quotations

  1. Magic is the revelation that results from a profound change in perception or understanding

  2. Bad magic has moved many companies into a state that is beyond reasonable greed

  3. The board of directors have become a group privileged people driven by unreasonable greed & feathering their own nests

  4. Corporate governance is sometimes not worth the (shredded) paper it is written on

  5. If the people implementing corporate governance do not have their hearts in the right place, it becomes a charade

  6. We must constantly shapeshift, liberating ourselves from the old form that defined and constrained us in the past

  7. Shapeshifting means morphing into a completely new being, with new characteristics & potential for the future

  8. Sustainability is a new way of perceiving business – its purpose, its methods & its impacts

  9. For companies that can adapt & respond to sustainability, there are new markets to capture & profits to be made

  10. For companies that are ill-prepared, sustainability is going to become a financial burden, even a threat to survival

  11. In order to make real progress towards sustainability, companies must first admit that we face a serious global crisis

  12. The fact of the matter is that our lifestyles, our products & our business processes are unsustainable

  13. We need companies that have the foresight & courage to be part of the solution, rather than remain the problem

  14. Being in business today is a lot like falling down a rabbit hole to Wonderland – a chaotic & confusing place to be

  15. The demigod once known as the shareholder has mutated into the multiheaded beast called the stakeholder

  16. Introspective accounting has been turned inside-out & become accountability to the big wide world out there

  17. Suddenly, the formerly mute public citizen has an amplified voice through technology-enabled networking

  18. Today, the bark of a small NGO watchdog can echo and resonate around the world

  19. Amidst whirlwind changes, many companies operate on high alert, in a permanent state of emergency response

  20. Our corporate culture is saturated with military jargon, with strategies, tactics, competition, targeting & launching

  21. Businesses struggle to distinguish between short-term storms and the long-term trend of a climate that’s changing

  22. When business fails to distinguish the long-term effect of gradual changes, it displays classic boiled frog syndrome

  23. There are many threats that could boil the corporate toads, from creeping income inequality to climate change

  24. Most companies are already in hot water – perhaps mistaking the cooking pot for a jacuzzi?

  25. The rules of the game are changing in radical ways that will make cherished business thinking & practices obselete

  26. The best chance for companies to survive change is to develop a better understanding of how evolution itself works

  27. Remember that evolution also happens in great leaps of sudden transformation, so-called discontinuities

  28. Mathematicians know well that dynamic systems often go non-linear after a specific tipping point is reached

  29. Change is often like an epidemic – it starts slowly, but when it reaches the steep part of the S-curve, watch out!

  30. In change, the tipping point is always a relatively small number, substantially less than the expected 50 percent

  31. The universe & society as a rational, mechanical construct is giving way to a new, creative, holistic understanding

  32. Sustainability stands on the brink of transforming the underlying business model of the past few hundred years

  33. Holism is a fundamental tendency in nature & society to form wholes of every-greater synergy

  34. The relationship between things – be they objects, people or systems – is as important as the things themselves

  35. The greatest creativity – in nature, huamns, organisations & society – happens when different fields overlap

  36. Some strategies of global business are like selfish cancer cells taking over – and ultimately killing – their host body

  37. The current model driving business has outlived its usefulness

  38. The symbols of success so beloved by CEOs, the financial media & market analysts alike are beginning to look empty

  39. Business already faces clear and present dangers in the economic, social and environmental spheres

  40. No society can function fairly or effectively if every individual is blindly pursuing his or her self-interest

  41. Each time the world changes, humanity is forced to let go of some of its most cherished beliefs

  42. As a global society, we desperately need to create a new mythology to guide & inspire our collective psyche

  43. We are living through a time of profound change & no more so than in the business arena

  44. The old ways of the past are no longer appropriate for a postindustrial, sustainability-driven society

  45. Sustainability is not only a new scientific concept, it is an entirely new busienss philosophy based on a new mythology

  46. Sustainability requires that business thinks differently about its role in society and how it goes about what it does

  47. For business to survive & thrive in an age of sustainability, it must rethink its identity, its underlying nature

  48. At the moment, the majority of businesses embody the characteristics of a lion – an impressive predator

  49. The future calls for different strengths in business, such as those of the mighty elephant – a wise leader

  50. Faced with the changes & challenges ahead, the skill of shapeshifting is going to be indispensable to companies

  51. The world is changing so fast that only a company with the adaptability and resourcefulness of a fox will survive

  52. Sustainability only works when it is a passionately embraced philosophy that infuses every business level and action

  53. There is nothing small about multinationals – the critical thing is what they do with their immense size and power

  54. As military jargon crept into the boardroom – strategy, tactics, targeting – so did the persona of the predator

  55. Companies regularly shrug off their social & environmental impacts in the pursuit of economic growth & profits

  56. Business has become used to viewing its economic contribution as a justifiable end in its own right

  57. Companies, and their government regulators, seem unable or unwilling to say no to harmful economic growth

  58. The biggest myths of our time – which pervade business – are that growth is always good and bigger is always better

  59. In contrast to trickle-down economics, in most companies, the benefits always seem to trickle upwards

  60. Prevailing economic incentives make it almost impossible to not to choose profits over people & the planet

  61. Nature’s underlying characteristic is one of interdependent relationships & symbiotic co-operation

  62. Competition in nature only takes place within a broader context of co-operation

  63. In a sustainability era, a company’s success will depend on cultivating multi-stakeholder, win-win relationships

  64. Cowboy companies believe there are no restrictions on growth, resource consumption or waste generation

  65. The world has become a smaller, fuller place, in which the corporate cowboy lifestyle is no longer appropriate

  66. Are we ready to accept that the common good is not being served by today’s predatory business model?

  67. For companies that wish to endure – to be literally sustainable – adaptation is the key

  68. Most companies have a very poor radar system for detecting & responding to threats that build slowly over time

  69. Forget quarterly; companies are going to need to learn what it means to survive epochs & symbolic ice ages

  70. Sustainable companies survive & thrive by their capacity to identify, nurture & sustain cooperative relationships

  71. Like Dumbo, sustainable companies need to believe they can fly against the odds & in the face of public perception

  72. In business, we are short-sighted slaves to this year’s calendar, next quarter’s performance & this week’s diary

  73. Business & economic growth will always be dumb – rather than smart – until it mimics the intelligence of ecosystems

  74. Sustainability extends accountability to stakeholders; so sustainable companies choose to engage constructively

  75. Unsustainable companies waste time, energy & money trying to manipulate or fight their stakeholders

  76. Sustainability raises the bar of legislation; so sustainable companies proactively anticipate the rising tide

  77. Unsustainable companies will increasingly incur fines, penalties & clean-up costs & be targeted for litigation

  78. As the rules of trade shift, sustainable companies will increasingly refuse to trade with predatory companies

  79. In the future, access to finance by unsustainable companies will become more difficult and expensive

  80. Avoiding the costs of social and environmental impacts will make sustainable companies more profitable in future

  81. The switch to a sustainable economy is creating new market opportunities that smart companies are investing in

  82. Unsustainable companies will increasingly fail the corporate governance acid test applied by investors

  83. Government policies must make companies reap the full cost of the social & environmental impacts they sow

  84. Unsustainable companies must expect to suffer consumer boycotts, civil lawsuits & disruptive NGO activism

  85. In the high stakes game of public reputation, sustainable companies are more likely to attract loyal support

  86. Only when sustainability is an investment criteria will sustainable companies will reap fair financial rewards

  87. Values are exactly what they say they are – a reflection of the things we value

  88. Companies’ values are made visible by their actions, not their words or spin doctor’s marketing material

  89. Profit maximisation is often anti-competitive, driving companies towards market domination & monopolistic control

  90. Companies have adopted the predator persona so completely that hunting & killing in the market feels natural

  91. Businesses are not genetically programmed to be predators & neither are the people that work for them

  92. Why do we teach our kids to be caring at home & then teach our executives to be ruthless in the workplace?

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