Anti or pro business…?

I’ve just come from a very productive meeting with a gentleman who has very a impressive business and government policy pedigree; the intent of the meeting was to get some feedback from him on the Business Detox Project and some insights on how I might accelerate moving it forward.

Perhaps not surprisingly, his opening statement was “…I thought your brief was a bit radical, in a Naomi Klein kind of way…”. Basically his take was that “business detox” as a positioning statement will immediately be taken by business and policy leaders as an anti-business statement and so only serves to turn people off who might otherwise be aligned with what the project is really about.

Of course, that is not my intention — I’m a strong believer in the free-market economy and its associated corporate business structure, and believe that reforming it (or re-engineering it?) will only serve to enhance society by letting business get on and do what it is incredibly good at doing; innovating, solving problems, creating wealth, and supporting productive lives for millions of people.

Interestingly, it did in fact turn out that much of his and my thinking was highly aligned and that he did recognize the strong desirability of driving change in our current system to improve society’s outcomes — and we both agreed that business and business leaders could and should be major players in driving this change.

So my question: does branding this initiative as “The Business Detox Project” actually get in the way of making real headway by turning off the key constituent of serious business minded people?

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