Different

In everything we do we need to think differently, to do things the way nobody expects us to, to never accept that the way everyone else does something is the right way, and to do everything with the ultimate aim of producing a social good in some form.

A better kind of business – Patagonia

Here’s how it works. Flexible Purpose Corporations can write one or more special missions into their articles of incorporation. They can be as ambitious as fighting climate change or as modest as maintaining a park near the company’s office. The law instructs directors to consider the special aims in their decision-making, even when it could mean lower returns for investors. To make the appeal as broad as possible, the law’s authors avoided setting a minimum standard for what a “special purpose” could be.

From an article on the outdoor clothing/adventure company Patagonia and its adoption of a new incorporation model under California law.

I strongly believe we need similar laws in Australia.

Life as a Conscious Practice

“What if, instead, we practiced consciously, deliberately, and became good at the things we really want to be good at? What if you first, above all skills, learned to be more aware of what you are practicing? What if constant conscious action is the skill you became good at? If you could learn to take conscious action, you could learn to practice other things you want to be good at, rather than the ones you don’t.”

– Life as a Conscious Practice :zenhabits

Betterness

Over the Christmas break, I read Umair Haque‘s new book, Betterness. It’s one of the most clear articulations of the way I believe economics and all organisations should function that I’ve come across. Available only as an ebook, just 64 pages in length and at less than US$3, it’s a bargain available through Amazon and direct from HBR.

Not an anti-business screed, Haque is perfectly happy for us all to make money. But what else is there? Where is the real, tangible, actual good for humanity in the way we do things?

He proposes we take a eudaimonic approach to our businesses, seeking to add to a Common Wealth where our work produces the eponymous betterness in what we do. He articulates how this change can be wrought by arguing powerfully, with concrete examples of how businesses and organisations go “… from business to betterness means going from vision, mission, strategy, and objectives to ambition, intention, constraints, and imperatives.”

He wants our organisations to evolve such that “… the organizational mind make[s] an evolutionary leap: ambition, intention, constraints, and imperatives supplant vision, mission, strategy, and objectives as the cognitive building blocks that judge, weigh, and guide human effort.”

Betterness and Haque’s vision of changed business have made me sit down and articulate how acidlabs will behave in a world where we conduct “betterness” instead. So too, I will evaluate who I do business with based on their (intentional or otherwise) moves to betterness.

The video below shows an interview between Umair Haque and Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC. It’s worth watching.

How are you doing “betterness”?