"If you're in a bad situation, don't worry, it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry, it'll change."
-- John A. Simone Jr.
Great article over at worldchanging called: Enlightened Capitalism: Building a New Corporate Consciousness.
Rachel Botsman writes that for corporations to make the shift to new, truly sustainable ways of doing business they need to look at the best practices of companies like Timberland, Seventh Generation, Eileen Fisher, Patagonia and Stonyfield Farm. I would also add Burgerville in Portland OR to this list of sustainable business leaders.
She lists the following practices as key to making and maintaining the shift to sustainability:
- Abolishing the term or notion of “Corporate Social Responsibility”: Couldn’t agree more. The thinking behind CSR tends to create a separate culture of giving, donating and contributing to causes. It is often a band aid approach instead of a coherent, organization wide commitment to generating value.
- Shifting from linear to systems-based thinking: The world is neither linear nor solid. Everything is connected, constantly changing and affecting that around it. Markets are fluid and unpredictable. We, our communities and organizations are open systems. To understand them and their interactions requires systems thinking capacity and competence.
- Teaching employees new types of collaboration: Creativity and innovation emerge from the chaotic soup of interaction and interrelation. This requires unlikely and unconventional partnerships and communication. Co-opetition in place of competition.
- Showing respect for employees: Why, if everyone I speak with wants a Theory Y workplace, do we have so many Theory X organizations? People want empowering, life-enhancing relationships and work. Yet what we often create for each other are demotivating, controlling and dispiriting working conditions. Showing respect means finding a way to help employees live and work in fully engaged and healthy ways.
- Empowering employees by helping them to make a difference: Increased capacity for performance needs learning, development and sincere support. When people can see how to and actually do make a difference in or outside of work they grow in unpredictably wonderful ways.
- Setting goals that challenge the imagination: No waste! Try that one on for size.
- Using transparency to solve problems: It’s amazing how many problems remain problems simply because no one is willing to discuss them. Or, we just shut them out. Many problems are actually not problems at all. They’re dilemmas or polarities that need to be managed. Understanding that can free many of us from the dark traps our problem avoidance routines put us in.
Tags: Burgerville, capacity evolution, creativity, csr, Eileen Fisher, enlightened capitalism, innovation, Patagonia, Seventh Generation, Stonyfield Farm, sustainability, systems thinking, theory x, theory y