What made us create the ROUNDMAP™ can be captured in one word: EQuitability. It means being fair, just, and honest. We believe all businesses have a social responsibility to their stakeholders, including employees, customers, patients, viewers, fans, shareholders, animals, and nature. In other words: Profit is good if what we do is just.
Most will be familiar with the word equity, which, according to Investopedia, represents the amount of money that will return to a company’s shareholders if it liquidated all of its assets and paid off all of its debts. It also refers to having a stake in a company’s future benefits.
Equitability is about offering people a fair chance in life while taking into account one’s social background and abilities. In essence, equitability, similar to equity, is about one’s future benefits.
MEANING AND PURPOSE
We believe that being equitable towards customers and colleagues provides us with a sense of meaning and purpose. Let me share a compelling story that got me to rethink my perception of work, and maybe it does the same thing for you.
A young French woman requested an urgent meeting during one of my assignments. She told me she could no longer sell or support the company’s flawed products to her fellow citizens. I asked her why.
As it turned out, French people, before discussing business, tend to build trust by having a casual conversation. Following these informal introductions, and despite her knowledge of the malfunctions, she had to play dumb and thus was required to lie to customers all day long. Her consciousness became obstruent, and she felt sick as she battled with her emotions. I assigned her, at her request, to a different task.
Although I had already made plans to dispose of these flawed products, the CEO made it clear that the company had to earn wages, and since there were no alternative products to sell, we were obliged to continue selling and supporting them.
While I had often witnessed the positive effect of an individual’s commitment to an equitable cause, she made me aware of how destructive an unfair reason can be to a person. And it made me respect her even more because I knew most people would not object to selling inferior products to customers as long as it gave them a job.
However, I have to mention that by building rapport, contrary to most other employees, she often acquired intimate knowledge of a customer. This knowledge had, no doubt, personalized the relationships, making it harder for her to ignore her belief system.
Once we allow ourselves to ignore our inner voice and participate in practices that are harmful to others, we will find ourselves on a slippery slope. We become detached from our sense of fairness, purpose, and meaning, allowing ourselves to exchange responsibility and commitment for indifference and injustice.
Given the trend towards hyper-personalized experiences, what will be the effect of having intimate customer knowledge on employee-customer relationships?