The world of business can often feel cold and calculating, a relentless pursuit of profit and market share. But what if the key to true success lies not in ruthless competition, but in a deeper understanding of the human element?

Steven Milicevic, a lawyer with over two decades of experience navigating the complex landscape of business, believes that a focus on human connection and integrity is not just a moral imperative, but a powerful strategy for building lasting value. Through his experiences, he has come to understand the profound impact that embracing humanity can have on the success and longevity of any enterprise and the humans it touches.

“It’s tempting to believe that business is all about numbers,” he states, “but the truth is that every interaction, every transaction, at the end of the day, is ultimately between human beings.”

Milicevic’s philosophy is built on the fundamental principles of kindness, respect, transparency and forgiveness. Yes, that’s right.  This is not what you would typically expect from a seasoned lawyer.  “In business, we often forget that we’re dealing with people, not just roles,” he explains. He emphasises the importance of:

  • Treating everyone with respect, regardless of their position. Whether you are a CEO or a barista, every person deserves to be acknowledged and valued.
  • Doing things right, even when no one is watching. Integrity is not a matter of public perception, but a deeply held personal value. “There’s a misconception that business is about taking advantage of any opportunity,” Milicevic says. “But true success comes from building trust and trust comes from consistent integrity.”
  • Being transparent and honest in your dealings. This is how you build trust, it is essential for lasting relationships, both in business and in life. 
  • Recognising that everyone is human and makes mistakes. We should approach each other with understanding and compassion, offering forgiveness when appropriate.  We are all human, we are fallible beings, each with our own unique set of experiences and challenges.
  • Remember that we don’t always know what’s happening in other people’s lives. A person’s words or actions may be more about their own struggles than any personal attack on you.

This focus on humanity, Milicevic argues, goes beyond mere platitudes. It has concrete benefits for all stakeholders:

  • For employers: Fostering a culture of kindness and respect attracts and retains talented employees, builds a stronger team and fosters innovation.  It feels different to be in and work this sort of environment and culture.
  • For employees: A workplace built on human connection creates a sense of purpose, belonging and trust.  It challenges the norms of your stereotypical law firm.  For any type of business, compassion leads to higher employee satisfaction, lower turnover and better customer loyalty. Kindness creates a positive work environment, fostering creativity, collaboration, and commitment.
  • For customers: Transparency and honesty build trust and loyalty, creating customers who feel valued and supported.
  • For the community at large: Businesses that operate with integrity and a sense of social responsibility contribute to a stronger and more ethical society.

This approach isn’t just nice—it’s smart.  

This vision resonates with the powerful message of Simon Sinek, who emphasises the importance of finding your “why” – your purpose and passion. Sinek famously states, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”  

A Human Business perspective suggests that the “why” of business must extend beyond profit and encompass the genuine desire to create a positive impact on the world through human connection.  When we align our actions with a greater purpose, we tap into a wellspring of motivation and inspiration that can even transcend our personal selves.

In a world increasingly driven by technology and bottom-line results, Steven Milicevic’s approach offers a refreshing and impactful alternative. In a world where the pursuit of success often overshadows the human element, it’s time to recalibrate our priorities and remember that at the heart of every business lies a network of human connections. By embracing kindness, respect, integrity, empathy, and purpose, we not only create more fulfilling and rewarding work environments but also foster stronger bonds with our customers and the communities we serve. After all, we are all in this together, and it is through our shared humanity that we can truly thrive

A Call to Action

In sharing his philosophy, Steven Milicevic isn’t just reflecting on his journey; he’s issuing a call to action. He challenges every business professional to see beyond spreadsheets and strategy decks, to the human beings behind every number.

You can start small:

  • Express genuine appreciation to a colleague, customer or a company you have had good dealings with.
  • Listen empathetically to each other’s concerns.
  • Make decisions as if everyone would know.
  • Really connect with someone, put the phone and laptop away (at least for a little while).

Over time, these actions compound. They transform company cultures, redefine industries and ultimately, make business a force for good. As Simon Sinek beautifully puts it, “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”  What do you believe?

In the end, Milicevic’s message is both timeless and timely. In our rush to digitise, automate and optimise, we haven’t outgrown our need for human connection. If anything, that need is more acute than ever. By placing humanity at the heart of business, we don’t just boost our bottom lines; we enrich our lives, strengthen our communities and inch closer to the kind of world we all wish to see.

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