Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Benevolent capitalism

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By now you’ve probably seen a link to one of the many articles or blog postings writing about the speech Bill Gates gave yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. I read a pre-announcement two days go in The Wall Street Journal.

In his speech Mr. Gates talked about the growing divide between the worlds’ poor and wealthy. He’s concerned that new technology, health care, education and other advances are not within access of the poor. He said: “we have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well.” He stated clearly that he believes the system of capitalism is not broken; in fact, the self-interest behind capitalism had driven multiple innovations, but to harness it to the benefit of all will require the system be refined.

There’s a lot more to the speech, and much of it is captured in the WSJ article, which I recommend to your reading.

Over the years of my career I have not been a fan of Bill Gates or his company; in fact I have worked for a few companies that competed directly with Microsoft. So I’m about to make a confession that I thought I’d never make…I think Mr. Gates is right. I agree with the basic tenet that well-off people and companies need to find ways to extend their bounty to others who are less fortunate. As we create opportunities to help poor people we will not only get the benefits of seeing them improve their lives, but I believe we will find new avenues for business and revenue generation. To make this happen we need to open avenues between their world and ours.

A good friend of mine, Ross Kellyn Moore, is working on a program that will offer companies and individuals organized opportunities to take humanitarian excursions with their co-workers and/or families to places where they can spend time and energy working to help other people. These excursions will provide opportunities for people to see parts of the world they’ve never seen, and at the same time let them find ways to help others improve their socio-economic status. Ross is rolling out his program through CreationTree Coaching. Stay tuned to his site for further details.

Ross’ program may not be exactly what Bill Gates is calling for, but it’s a great idea that will catch on and, I believe, make a tremendous difference in the world. Taking small steps like these will lead to much bigger opportunities for people no matter their economic status.

Disclosure: I am a licensed coach with CreationTree Coaching

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