In Support of Human Capital
What If Aristotle Ran Your Company?
By Christos Papoutsy
If Aristotle ran your company, what would he do? How would this great and wise thinker create lasting excellence and long-term success in the globalized business community of today? What if Aristotle re-appeared as your chief executive officer? What would be his mission strategy and plan? What advice, guidance and leadership would he suggest that your company follow?
The philosophers of antiquity have left us the equivalent of a huge bank account of wisdom from which we can withdraw a wealth of insight applicable both to business and the rest of life, a great harvest of dividends from their treasury of wisdom, common sense, and positive results. These philosophers should be our shadow board of directors, guiding our thinking and actions, as we stand on their shoulders to position ourselves to move forward towards genuine excellence, true prosperity and proficiency. We should not settle for anything less in our efforts to operate corporate socially responsible businesses.
Aristotle, who lived from 384 to 322 B.C. and was the beneficiary of Plato, combined the pragmatic ethical interest of Socrates with the systematic mentality of Plato. He brought a talent for careful observation into the service of an incredible analytical ability to see beneath the surface of life. And whenever he thought about human nature, he had insights that are to this day unrivaled for depth and power. So, it's to this wisdom that we now turn for guidance.
But happiness is not identical to pleasure. Even so, there should be as many pleasures as possible connected with our work. People do their best when they enjoy what they are doing. Company-citizens should be well paid for what they do, and it's important to give fellow company-citizens the recognition they deserve for a job well done. In preserving this very important form of capital, a business acts from self-interest but promotes social well-being and social justice at the same time.
The company can motivate and honor its citizens in many ways. Increased responsibilities can and should be awarded to those citizens who demonstrate an ability to lead and be productive. A business invests in its human capital, too, when it provides better lives and working conditions for its employees and their families. Certainly the enjoyment of money, status, recognition and responsibility can contribute to a happy life or workplace experience. But if we want our fellow citizen to experience a measure of happiness in the work place, we have to do it together, as an entire company of citizens.
By working together, we can create a deeper sense of dedication and motivation resulting in remarkable performance--a noble and worthy goal for all.
For more information about Mr. Papoutsy, or to read other articles on corporate social responsibility or on the topics of the Horatio Alger Lecture Series, log onto the Business Arena section of the Hellenic Communication Service website at http://www.HellenicComServe.com, or visit the webpages of the Christos and Mary Papoutsy Distinguished Chair in Business Ethics at Southern New Hampshire University at http://www.snhu.edu. Mr. Papoutsy welcomes comments and may be reached via email at email@example.com .
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