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Best survival strategy for the long term

Published: 
Thursday, June 19, 2014

Q: Why is it so difficult to persuade the corporate world and the government to partner with businesses that are willing to provide a service to a community for positive change? As soon as I mention that profit is not our focus, they lose interest. How do I overcome this problem?

 

Rod McBride, 
Johannesburg

 

 

Business used to be a cutthroat world where the only thing that mattered was profit - but that’s changing quickly. It has become easier for people to learn which companies pursue profits at all costs and which behave ethically, and to make purchases based on those decisions. This means that business models like yours, Rod, are more likely to survive and thrive in the long term.

 

While technology is driving this shift, recent research demonstrates the strategy’s benefits. Last year I read about the results of a game theory study that showed that selfish behaviour does not improve the odds of long-term survival. The researchers, Christoph Adami and Arend Hintze of Michigan State University, found that communication and co-operation are far better strategies. Adami told the BBC, “Being mean can give you an advantage on a short timescale, but certainly not in the long run - you would go extinct.” While he was talking about surviving in an evolutionary environment, his advice can be useful to entrepreneurs and managers, too.