“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” ~ Rumi
( Reference: Part 1 of the series )
The journey of discovery begins with first uncovering the known unknowns to meeting the unknown unknowns!
Ever since coming across the works of M Scott Peck in the late ’90s — “The Road Less Traveled” and “Community Building in Business” — I intuitively and anecdotally believed that Scott and the idea of Community in Business was on to something pregnant with immense possibilities …although I wondered at the time whether the failure to examine the business models around the ideations and experimentations was a critical flaw. So in 2016, when I was invited to take part in putting together Nusantara Collection, I decided to test out a few ideas.
So what are the missing pieces and how do the dots join?
I was already convinced by Scott that a ‘community’ can synergize businesses as it provides a safe place where we can discover and be our authentic selves… but I could not visualize the business model/structure that would support this journey. So is Rumi right? All I needed to do was to walk and the way will appear?
Perhaps The Nusantara Story will reveal the answer.
My initial focus was the business model. What would that model look like if those who contributed to value creation were to be recognized and fairly compensated? On the surface, it looked like a technical investigation. The financial wherewithal and the decision models to get there. Here, I was fortunate—or serendipitous—to have Prem (The Nusantara Story, P2) as well as our original potential ‘investor’. The latter had been there for us from 2016 to the present, taking meetings whenever I got stuck. Our meetings lasted for hours and he would slowly tease out the areas where my lack of understanding led to some confusion, and he would suggest solutions. For that, I will always be grateful for I know how busy he is. And the business model slowly revealed itself. Our last meeting in late November 2023 led to a decision to put Nusantara Collection on hold while we focused on non-platform marketing.
I was also to discover more issues on the walk along the Nusantara story. While a supportive business model was important and necessary, it was still insufficient.
And the issue that kept resurfacing with each step was Cognitive Dissonance, the process of both learning & unlearning. Every time I tried to join 2 dots that revealed a picture — I was emotionally unprepared to see or challenge a previous understanding of how I thought business worked or should work — I would get into a spin. Quite the quandary because this little walk was beginning to challenge my previous worldviews and education, while also bringing my childhood issues to the fore.
I realized I had thought of Spirituality, Reality and Business in separate silos — Spirituality as the ‘study’ of the mysteries of life… Reality as a ‘subset’ of psychology… and Business as the study of the ‘maximization’ of profits. But the Walk was beginning to conflate spirituality, reality and business. The artificial compartmentalization was incongruous with reality and authenticity. While the tools of compartmentalization may work in academia, it also served to fracture my psyche. It created internal conflicts between my mind, body and spirit. As I allowed the separations to dissolve slowly, I reduced projecting my damage and misunderstandings onto my perceptions. And as the integration began so too began the process of healing.
With this approach, I found that with each new dot I joined …I found new interconnections & pathways. With each step forward, where I had to face my fears …I found catharsis. With childhood issues addressed …I was more at ease with the flow. And in the interaction with each treasured team member …I was learning about Community.
And Business was able to provide an anchor to the cognitive issues. Business has decision-making models that “move the needle” — ie. those measurements that allow us to monitor the desired results. That means if those models are given the right parameters, they can help us chart the way out of the spin caused by cognitive dissonance. So instead of inputting parameters like maximum profits, I asked broader questions that related to psychological health, for instance. Also, Business recognizes priorities and move orders in problem-solving. And those are very important life skills that can take us out of the spin… if fully integrated into mind, body & spirit.
Now I was beginning to understand why Scott thought Business could be a medium for Community Building.
I continue to believe the right business model can facilitate a community… and like an invisible conductor to a band or orchestra, it can either produce music or cacophony depending on its configuration. The questions remain if such a model could be deemed ‘successful’ — what that success means and if it can be achieved at scale.
If you are open to exploring the above idea, I invite you to sign up for this blog or join our Facebook Group below…