One of the first steps to building regenerative business is rejecting the idea that your business is just a piece of property. Regenerative businesses prioritize people, then they prioritize mission, and then they prioritize maximizing returns for shareholders.
Sound radical? Well, apparently, even someone like "Neutron Jack" didn't think so:
“On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world. Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy… your main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products.”
– Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric
Think a minute about what Welch is saying when he says that “shareholder value is a result, and not a purpose for business” - he’s saying that even if you do care about shareholder returns, focusing on building shareholder value is not how you get there.
How do we go about building regenerative businesses that sustain themselves and the broad range of stakeholders on which they depend, and do so for the long-haul?
I'm not particularly wedded to the word itself. That said, I think there are some nice connections there. To be "generative" is to be able to create, and I like the idea of tying that creative process to a specific purpose, or mission. Constraint is a real catalyst for creativity. To be "regenerative" is to be able to reproduce or regenerate that capacity for creativity.