The idea of bridging the gap from Indigenous principles and wisdoms to the modern business world, and the notion of applicability between these seemingly divergent cultures is not necessarily a new one. Not that I’ve found anyone writing about this, talking about it or necessarily helping companies to integrate these principles, rather what I see all the time is great thought leaders such as Tony Hsieh, Seth Godin, Jim Collins, Gary Hamil, Raj Sisodia and so many others writing and talking about principles that bring about a culture shift in a business context that employs many of the principles that Indigenous people have been living by for thousands of years.
The principles themselves are not new as they are universal and belong to all of us, not just Indigenous people. They are the principles that when applied as a collective will enable us to live in balance with each other and our natural environment.
What is new, is the idea that those people who live in structures with dirt floors, who heal with herbs, roots and songs, who see all life as sacred, and who live a life that those in the fast moving complex world of business and commerce would tend to view as simple, primitive and superstitious, are the ones who hold the key to culture change that can bring us from instability, uncertainty and imbalance to harmony, prosperity and balance.
The principles, ideas and philosophies written and talked about by our wonderful business thought leaders are highly valuable and effective. The difference that flows from our Indigenous friends across the world is that they practice and live the principles that have been handed down for generation after generation, and that they practice all of them. They hold the wisdom for a way of life and being that incorporates a complete system for living and working.
So the difference is between practicing some valuable principles that enable our growth and transformation, and practicing all the principles that as a collective enable us to bridge the gap from disconnection, imbalance, disharmony, comparison and judgment, to a place of vision, passion, balance, harmony, and here comes that one word avoided like the plague in the business world: Love.
Yes, love. Why should we avoid this word in business? Well not to tax your time quotient in this post, but it’s a big part of what the Indigenous wisdoms have to teach us, that there is no separation between our working world and our living world, our homes and our business, our personal values and our business values. It’s all one and the same, and that is part of the wisdom that will help deliver us from a world in which business exploits people, planet and places; to one where we flourish in business personally, emotionally, financially and even spiritually if we so choose.
For a snapshot of the Indigenous Principles, those that can be readily applied to our working world click here.