Anita’s Politics of Consciousness

For too long, business has been teaching that politics and commerce are two different arenas. I disagree. Political awareness and activism must be incorporated into business. In a global world, there are no value-free or politically disentangled actions. Few motivating forces are more potent than giving your staff an opportunity to exercise and express their idealism to influence change—locally, nationally, and globally.

Campaigning is not only about changing the world, but changing how individuals work together. Giving people a sense of their own power is as much a part of the goal as resolving the issues. It provides a new forum for staff education. They can get into issues and into areas where they might not normally venture. Campaigns are a fabulous way of integrating the behavior of staff at work with the values they hold dear as individual citizens. Business leaders need to realize that this is the way forward in the workplace: the personal becomes the political, which becomes the global.

There are no rules or formulas for success. You just have to live it and do it. Knowing this gives us enormous freedom to experiment toward what we want. Believe me, it’s a crazy, complicated journey. It’s trial and error. It’s opportunism. It’s quite literally, “Let’s try lots of this stuff and see how it works.” I’m proud to look at my company and see that we’re at least on the right track.

The above text comes from Dame Anita Roddick CBE, the successful CEO and founder of BodyShop. Her premature death last year in September left the business world grieved. She left an institution worth studying for her vision, drive, creativity, leadership she put in. She shaped and coined ethical consumerism and practiced socially responsible businesses. For decades she has been campaigning for a sustainable economic development which is environment friendly.

This reminded me of the green store I saw when I have last in Heathrow airport and the article I recalled reading from her where she said that she was associated with 4 letter words. I still have a copy of this article written in 1998.

I have long been associated with certain four-letter words: love, give, care, feel, hope, fair, soul and true—all to be found in work, my all-time favourite four-letter word.

I would recommend you to visit her website.


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