Business has been a game of cards. The game has been measured by how much money you had at the end of each round. The deck of cards have been designed as a “numbers” game and markets were ruled by end results.
Markets had been created by titans of business and capitalism fueled mass consumption. The rules of the game were set by rulers in high places who made sure businesses played by their rules and their prices.
The house, rulers of businesses, knew the odds were in their favor as long as they controlled the rules of their game and the players of the game followed their rules. Markets behaved by the rules of the game and the decks have been stacked in favor of business rulers.
Buyers have had little power, employees have been considered expenses to be cut for the sake of profit and suppliers were chosen based on price. The BIG were able to buy political power that gave them favorable position in the game and all the little people paid over and over to play in this game with little influence over the rules. Everything seemed fine for about 100 years. The deck just got shuffled every once and a while.
Then a funny thing happened. The little people began to learn more about the unfairness of the game and the ego-system that controlled it. The internet revealed lots of information that was previously unknown about organizational practices, insider trading, corporate corruption and how the game of business and the deck of cards have been stacked for the benefit of the few. And then all the little people began to collaborate around building a new kind of deck to play their game with a new set of rules measured and built around intangible capital and not simply money.
The First Intangible Needed Was Trust
Charles Handy wrote “Markets rely on rules and laws, but those rules and laws in turn depend on truth and trust. Conceal truth or erode trust, and the game becomes so unreliable that no one will want to play,” Trust is fragile. Like a piece of china, once cracked it is never quite the same. And people’s trust in business, and those who lead it, is today cracking.”
If you haven’t notice there is an entire generation of consumers who are questioning every practice, assumption, rule, business model and even the laws behind such things not only because they don’t trust the old business rules and rulers but because they believe it is time to change the rules and rulers. You see the trust lost from the errors of the past can only be rebuilt if we allow the next generation to rebuild it by reinventing and recreating the rules needed to sustain the one principle that enables any business to thrive.
That principle is Trust.
The new game of business in the 21st century is being built on a deck of cards where players exchange intangible value for the benefit of all stakeholders. The results are gained by maximizing human, strategic, structural and strategic capital which are not measured by money but by value.
The end results are greater than playing the game of business with a deck of cards where rules and rulers simply measure tangible results as the means for counting winners and losers. We’ve played that game for over 100 years and now the people want to play the game with a new deck, new rules and new rulers who understand the result of this intangible thing called trust.
Markets grow from an exchange of intangible capital created to enhance the real value people seek not from an end result we call money. The game of business, the rules and the deck of cards have had it backwards for way too long.