ISIL want their Caliphate to grow, and to last forever.
Most CEOs want the same for their corporations.
Both would do well to brush up on their history.
Because the history of the world is pretty clear that murderously intolerant regimes, whilst brutal and hugely damaging, just do not last over the long term.
The same is true of corporations run on an overzealous ‘command-and-control’ model. They ultimately break down.
Humans need something different. They need to feel that they can thrive.
Smart leaders, political, religious and corporate, know this. And they create structures and cultures that enable it.
Take the ‘Golden Age of Islam’; when muslims dominated an empire that stretched from what is now Iraq in the east to Southern Europe in the west. The values that underpinned it could not have been more different from those of ISIL and others, who seek to ape that success today.
The Caliphs of the Golden Age deliberately filled their jasmine-scented, fountain-adorned courts with astronomers, doctors, mathematicians, physicists, philosophers and thinkers of all kinds. They tolerated other ideas, other religions – not for tolerance’s own sake but because they recognised that the resultant technologies and truths, that would emerge from such tolerance could be leveraged to ever-strengthen power and dominance. They saw that progress, development and growth were good: good for individuals, and so good for society overall, and so its leaders too.
ISIL, well, not so much. And, no matter how awful their presence is today, does anyone really think that they will be a credible force in, say, a hundred years’ time (at least in their present form)?
So it’s uncomfortable, but for business leaders – if they have the genuine long-term interests of their corporations at heart – the question they need to ask themselves is:
What type of Caliphate do I want this to be?