One of the most fascinating topics is that of Behavioral Economics. The idea that cognitive response could somehow be separate from economics and therefore warrant a separate theme of study from economics is in itself an interesting phenomenon.
However here it is: a whole area of investigation to study the effects of social, cognitive or emotional factors on the economic decisions.
The idea that there is on one side cold hard economics, with strict rules and mechanisms, and on the other side warm blooded, emotional, irrational beings making strange buying decisions seems so awkward to me that I had to mention it here. There are theorists who make mathematical models as their way to understand people. Since people are a wide topic, and mathematics tends to be rather precise, the best and most honest way for modelers to proceed is to model a small part of human activity. Thus economic models. Then, there are those who draw conclusions. They generally don’t need models to draw conclusions, but they like math models because it allows them to communicate their conclusions, and convince more people. They also do not like the model when it doesn’t suit their intuitive point of view, and will then seek to show that the model isn’t pertinent. And then the modeler is piqued and increases the validity of his model by adding yet new parameters.
And then, complete domains of interest are generated, specialized and sub-specialized until it all stops to make sense. Here we are with behavioral economics, psychoacoustics, sport medicine… and the list goes on and on.
I guess that what I trying to say here is that we are just dealing with information. With data. Our senses usually have no need of any of these theories to tell us what is right for us. We just have had a lifetime to learn to ignore all these signals.
What is it that makes us have more confidence in a model than in what we KNOW?
In 2014, it is very common to follow some sort of discipline pertaining to personal development. We are well aware that as an individual we need to grow and develop no matter how many candles are on the birthday cake. We are taught to believe in ourselves, to trust ourselves, to re-appropriate what we already KNOW down deep inside. We learn to seek for internal strength with meditation, yoga, religious or spiritual communion, diet and exercise.
We learn that the images of ourselves that we receive through our social upbringing are fabricated. The do’s and don’ts, the perfect silhouette Hollywood of actors, and all other self-images we can catch throughout our stay on earth are merely fabrications, merely social conventions and norms. Our true self is something else. We KNOW this to be true.
Then why would the social construct of economics be different? And if so, why would the socially accepted norms of economics apply to your company? Well, if you offer a bland, meaningless product based on social trends and mass-market acceptance, then perhaps yes, they might. But no one wishes their product to be bland. Every company makes that special product, for a special person, at a special moment. Or at least that’s what they wish. By listening to the competition and other critical experts of the trade, they might be led to think that they sell run-of-the-mill, meaningless, bland, mass-accepted commodity products.
I believe that just as each individual is unique and he or she is greater than what they perceive, so is it with businesses.
I believe that business would benefit from introspection, exercise and spiritual discipline to grow constantly in more ways than the strict economic sense usually accepted. This could be in the form of time allotted to think about the business itself, what it stands for, where it is going and how. Think about internal relationships, human rapports, education, and well-being. Think about customers, about their needs and the way they have evolved. Imagine how they will evolve and how the business can contribute to help that. Think about how the business will contribute to its social, political, and natural environments.
Make special time, with your teams, your customers, your board members, to introspect honestly, regularly and frequently. It has to be a discipline. Something you do because you know its necessary. Not just when you feel like it or when business is slow... all the time.
Businesses (and humanity) could benefit from raised ambitions. Let's ambition to attain new levels of consciousness. Our non-financial business environment pushes us strongly in that direction. Ethical business practices, environmental issues, fair trade, equal opportunity… these words, associations, NGO’s have been with us for decades and being integrated into marketing strategies of leading companies worldwide.
Lets take it one step further and really consciously embrace human development as an essential part of our business practices.
Lets put our personal financial interests behind us and work on developing our fellowman’s human interests with abundance, honesty, trust, collaboration, and truth to ourselves.