Dame Anita Roddick, Business As Unusual
by Gerald Neo
“The old views of business as a jungle where only the vicious survive will, I hope, soon be giving way to a new view of business as a community where only the responsible will lead. If yours values are heralded and if your heart is in the right place, if your feeling are recognized and your spirit at play, I believe there will be footprints out there for all of us.” –Anita Roddick — Business As Unusual
The late a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Roddick”>Dame Anita Roddick (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Roddick) is one of those few business person whom I always admired. She had built a business empire The Body Shop not just on making profit out of producing cosmetic products but also an ambassador for fair trade, environmental awareness, animal protection and respect for human rights.
Anita had always being known for her campaigning work on social and environmental causes. And through campaigning, she had caused multi-national companies like Shell and government to take remedial action on the things which they have done wrong.
In one of her books “Business As Unusual”, she mentioned the following reasons as how The Body shop maintains their identity in a business environment that usually alienates humanity in every way.
- We didn’t know how to run a conventional business. We had never read a book on economic theory and had never even heard of Milton Friedman.
- We valued and respected labour as fuzzy and cuddly, nerdy as that sounds. We understood that life was no more complicated than love and work.
- We had no money. Every original was based on reusing everything, refilling and recycling we could.
- We were naïve. We didn’t know you could tell lies. That grace has stayed with us to this day.
- We loved change. We believed everything was subject to change.
- We had a secret ingredient called euphoria. We shared an extraordinary level of optimism, and we still do.
Finally – and this was the main ingredient – we couldn’t take a moisturizer seriously!
Anita had built every business relationship on those reasons. And those reasons had also become the foundation for the values, which every employee of The Body Shop used to guide them as they worked with each other.
In the ever-changing business world, companies can only be successful if the people running it are true to their values. And usually how are they being judged on that? It’s not based on their bottom line but how they maintain their business relationship with everyone from business partners, customer, vendors and even their employees.
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