“One of my biggest wishes is that we could figure out a way to live with the natural world instead of on top of it.”
– Songwriter Isaac Brock in the audio commentary on the Modest Mouse song Coyotes from their album Strangers to Ourselves.
I share his wish to realign people and nature.
Here: a personal go at his artful articulation of the issue.
“What does it mean that the earth is so beautiful? And what shall I do about it? What is the gift that I should bring to the world? What is the life that I should live?”
This line from poet Mary Oliver‘s Long Life was read by Krista Tippet on a recent episode of On Being.
I’ve not yet enjoyed a truly epiphanal moment with regard to beauty, gift, or purpose, but I’ve seen varied and fleeting glimpses in sustainability. At that intersection of people, nature, and business.
Ray Anderson, on the other hand, has.
The easiest thing for companies to do in hard times is to eliminate jobs. You read about this constantly as a reaction to lowered earnings, reduced margins, and dimmed prospects overall. I saw this cycle frequently toward the end of my local television career: positions held open for a couple extra months, hiring freeze across all positions, buyouts of tenured people, then elimination of positions.
The cuts seem necessary and beneficial at the time, but it’s a long, slow death. The expense cuts tend to mask deeper problems with value proposition, business model, or strategy. People will ultimately be necessary to bring life back to the operation, to create and deliver its value.
Downsizing (or, the sadly hilarious “rightsizing”) seems to be a quick fix that immediately cuts expenses. The problem: the benefits provided are short-term only. Continue reading