Cutthroat and Darwinian---these are standard business perspectives aided by the inevitable profit motive. These seemed to fly under Reaganomics when the whims of the free market were incontestable. But many recessions and decade-defining bankruptcies, corporate failures, and market crashes later, business analysts, if not business owners themselves, have gone soul-searching about their attitudes. They wonder if these need adjustment in an age where people are holding institutions and influential private entities accountable for their welfare.
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Today, the leadership current favors humility. No less than the academe, if the word of the new dean of Harvard Business School is anything to go by, recognizes the virtue as "an approach [to leadership] in which the starting point is our lack of knowledge." This new moral paradigm, then, is in aid of knowledge acquisition, obviously fitting for the Information Age.
The perspective also questions priorities in addressing global issues. As more citizens become conscious about lifestyle changes and sustainability, business leaders realize that margins are not necessarily end game. Corporate branding now emphasizes a good-natured image rather than an efficient and imposing one. Thus, consumers have been capable of taking to task even the biggest multinationals and financial institutions previously thought unsinkable. Meanwhile, they support businesses that listen to their needs.
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They are also more receptive to companies with visions for humanity. The exploration of new frontiers, whether they be other planets or new sources of clean energy, represents one of the most powerful business strategies today on which the most rigorous and humblest leaders must capitalize. Before leaders can dip their hands into new ideas for entrepreneurial success, they must first lend an ear patiently to consumers before they self-consciously dig deep into their perceived inner genius.