Musings on ‘Meaning’

Ever thought about ‘Meaning’ and what it means to you?

Earlier this month I went to a conference in Brighton run by the innovative Nixon McInnes on the theme of ‘Meaning’,

To be honest I didn’t know what to expect. Anything could happen at a conference in Brighton called ‘Meaning’, if you get my drift!

The conference was exploring what better business in the 21st century should be given the mess economic mess we find ourselves in. How can we accelerate positive change, face new challenges, embrace new technology and shape the future world of good work & business.

There were 10 really inspiring speakers.

Margaret Elliot and Pamela Warhurst told us of real action by real people. Pamela had changed her run down town of Todmorden by encouraging the town to start growing vegetable and fruit that everyone shared. Margaret, from very small beginnings, started a cooperative that’s now one of the most successful in the country. They were feisty ladies who didn’t take not for an answer!

Then there was the Meaning of Happiness from Alexander Kjerulf. Scandinavian companies come out top in Happiness surveys. They call it ‘Brbejdsglaede’ meaning a feeling of happiness – liking what you do, very different than just work satisfaction, and apparently we don’t have a word for it in English.

They’ve demonstrated that being happy at what you do contributes to bottom line results and a personal satisfaction of making a difference in your work. To achieve it you need to take time to get to know the people you work with, praise people and be positive around others.

Check out this happy lady Valerie to see what he means – You Tube ‘Valerie’s Happy Rest Room’.

Vinay Gupta told us about Valve the most profitable company in the world per employee, where they don’t have a hierarchy, people just get on and do what they love!

This is only a snap shot; there were some thoughtful and challenging views.

So what thoughts did I take from the day?

To have Meaning you need to have a purpose. This transcends just ‘existing’. It’s about wanting, as an individual or company, to be actively involved in your community, in your world, and to make a positive difference. The future we’ll have is the future we aspire to.

Recent events all over the world through the power of the internet have shown us our social and community currency defines our reputation and therefore our success. So it goes without saying that no matter how big or small we are, all of us can have an impact in the way we live our lives and do business in the 21st century.

You could say that In many ways it’s a good thing that the economic crisis has happened. It’s opened our eyes. We’ve moved from just doing, to questioning and finding new solutions.

Online, social media means that our reputation is transparent to everyone. And with this transparency comes greater responsibility and opportunity.

Business has shifted from macro to micro with the growth of entrepreneurs, new platforms, co-ventures and new supply chains. It means that even if it is just you, you now have the means to influence and have a positive voice, both for now and for the future.

Individuals can now join the debate about the future of business and their views on organisations – good and bad.

Companies can have a voice through the way they conduct their relationships with consumers, suppliers, shared partnerships and living their company values, to influence business in the 21st century. And this influence cascades out to their competitors and other organisations on how good business needs to be run to remain successful and leave a positive legacy for the future.

So what does ‘Meaning’ mean for you?