Are These Our Rules?

100 Years ago, the back office called the shots, and everyone did what they were told. There were no other options. Cutting costs was the order of the day. “Only the strong survive,” and “Nice guys finish last,” were the tenets on which businesses were built. It was a dog eat dog world, and the only way to win was a race with rats.

Corrupt corporations were protected. They were untouchable. The rules didn’t apply to them.

After someone screwed their pal over to make a deal, it made sense to say, “Hey no hard feelings, buddy. It’s not personal, it’s business, you know?” “Yeah, buddy, no hard feelings.”

The 4 Pillars of the 20th Century Business Model: Product, price, marketing and distribution were all that counted. Leaders were selected based on who had the most money.

The business with the right product, at the right price, with enough money for marketing and getting their product into the hands of their customers quickly won the day.

Profit equaled success — and power.

Today, the new landscape brings considerations to the conversation that mean that even if the 4 pillars exist, success and power might not follow.

Today, the public demands something more. Transparency, authenticity, accessibility and honesty.

The marketplace has opened itself up to you, to me, to anyone who wants to put their skin in the game, and do the work — the emotional work that our culture has begun to expect.

To bypass these opportunities is absolutely a choice. But, as opposed to the past, today, it is a choice. We are no longer relegated to the back room, forced to play a lesser role, or wait to be picked.

If we choose to, we can hold back, we have that right. Just as we have the right to lean in, and contribute to bringing the playing field to another level. If we choose to, we can stay silent, we have that right as well. Just as we have the right to share our ideas, add value to the world, and shine our light in the world.

We’re still playing the game with antiquated rules. The world is no longer “according to Hoyle.”

It is 100% absolutely according to us. Isn’t it time we exercised our options?

But, if we make that choice, if we want to share our voice, if we exercise our options, we also have to be willing to do the emotional labor that comes with success. In some ways, it’s harder but, it is a lot more accessible for people like us, as long as we’re ready to put some skin in the game.


Also published on Medium.

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