If you look close enough you can see it, feel it, and smell it. You know something is happening things are different, but you just can’t put your finger on what “it” is. There seems to be a growing trend of discussion on the new, evolving role your business, and business in general, is taking and where it will lead.

Many businesses express their mission, their reason(s) for existence in exponentially increasing numbers. Until recently, a business would have one stated mission that was well understood: to make money. That mission, as we know either form experience or intuitively no longer guarantees business success or human satisfaction. In reality, people need more motivation these days other than just making money for the boss.

“Today, as the proliferation of mission statements incessantly remain, a corporation’s role is considerably expanded,” notes William Miller, while making a profit is still a requirement, it is no longer the focus of all activities. And as those same mission statements reflect, business is acknowledging and responding to a variety of expanding demands.

“Through social evolution, the organization has become the primary economic, social and political form, and since business is a dominant cultural force in America, organizations in general and cusiness in particular must deal with these sweeping and profound alterations in American society,” Warren Bennis suggests. The last great overhaul of American business occurred between 1890 and 1910, when our modern corporation was forged. Clearly we are in the middle of another transformation, and this one has implications for virtually every American.

Because the organization is the primary form of the era, it is also the primary shaper. Historically, the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church, the Monarchy and of late, the Government have shaped society. Over the past 50 years business has taken on the challenge as the leading force for change and as the means to make and deliver goods that drive not only America but now the world.

Business is no longer limited to its own neighborhood can no longer have the luxury of being the only or the biggest fish in its pond. The whole world has been shrinking, with global competition knocking off local suppliers. Shifting demands from an increasingly sophisticated and educated population has demanded that business deliver the goods and services in ways thought impossible 10-15 years ago.

What major organizational structure has been the driver as well as the drive? Business and it is only just beginning.

“The business of business is not only business. In recent decades, business has emerged as the dominant institution in global culture,” offers Paul Hawken. Other institutions – social, education, politics, and religion – are decreasingly able to offer effective leadership. Business, by default, must begin to assume responsibility for the whole of society.

Corporations are being asked to make more than just a profit and conduct their affairs without much damaging the environment. A few leading edge firms have indeed begun to take on more responsibility through such efforts as: recycling products, training and developing their employees, offering a menu of flexible benefits and working conditions to meet shifting trends in their workforce and becoming more involved with non-profit activities – both in donations and in time volunteered.

If business does not rise to its new role as steward, including providing transformative leadership, people, through the political process, with force business into the higher position. Business is nothing until you have a product or service and you make a sale. Because our entire society is based upon the economic exchange of goods and wevices, and because business is the provider in an ever-so-demanding world, it must evolve. Because business consists of people, and those very people are themselves evolving and becoming more educated and enlightened, business must become more than just a repository of assests and liabilities and awaken to the new reality –PEOPLE ARE THEIR PRIMARY RESOURCE.

Only a few firms have really begun to tap into the power of their people, and a growing number are changing to give people the chance to realize their capabilities. “Ruthless management may succeed in holding change at bay for a while, but only visionary leadership will succeed over time,” the New York Times notes. The new thinking of business defines companies to exist primarily as structures within which people come together to create cooperatively.

How do we get corporations to change? The first task is “to realize that we can no longer afford to hide the truth or shrink form telling the truth about everything,” Herman Maynard recommends. Only when we have businesses with climates of honesty and integrity will we be able to move forward. Next, we must recognize the pressing need for corporate change, need driven by the very fabric of people that compose business. People are seeking integrity, meaning and fulfillment other than simply making money. Business life has the opportunity to unite the phenomenal knowledge we have amasses with wisdom to use it for the betterment of mankind. The best product/service from business should be a planet utilizing and respecting its most primary resource!

Author's Bio: 

Kevin has been a life and executive coach since 1995. In addition to his life coaching practice he also serves as a Group Chairman for Vistage International, where he coaches over 70 business leaders, helping them increase their effectiveness and enhance their lives.

Kevin provides life and executive coaching to Fortune 500, entrepreneurial and family-owned business leaders, and individuals seeking success and fulfillment. Kevin helps people discover their core competencies, their highest passions and key performance measures that trigger lasting and meaningful results.

Kevin Rafferty has over 30 years of top management expertise, from both major corporations and small entrepreneurial businesses. As CEO of Business Frontiers, Inc., he shares his personal and organizational success methods with top executives across all lines of businesses. Prior to founding his own business his previous background included leadership roles as: CEO, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, General Manager and Division Manager for various manufacturing and service companies in the plastics, construction equipment, automotive aftermarket, executive development and consulting industries.

Kevin holds a Bachelors Degree in Social Sciences from Cleveland State University and an Executive MBA from the Drucker Center at The Claremont Graduate School. He has also been active in leadership roles in various non-profits, chambers of commerce and school organizations. He currently lives with his wife and two children in Murrieta, CA.